At least 17 Things Parents Need To Know:

Funny GirlsI sat beside my three children at a local coffee shop savoring the moments together. They are becoming very rare that the five of us have some “hang” time. My children are fun and inspiring. I still think I have some things to offer them in their maturing process but now I am more a student of them. Watching them grow is amazing.  My wife, and co-laborer in this parenting process, remains my best friend and partner in our role as parents.Bransons at Frothy Monkey

Most of my Facebook friends are parents, so I posted a request on my wall for sage advice from them on what parents need to know. I learned from them, hopefully you will find a nugget of insight for yourself too! Here is a selection of their comments.

  1. His Grace is new every morning.
  2. How to share their faith with their children.
  3. No child is perfect, but God’s saving grace is! (BF)
  4. Pick your battles! Not everything is worth the energy or time to ‘fight’ over!!
  5. Listen: It gives children, power and trust.
  6. Read to them, read with them, let them read to you.
  7. Kids thrive on acceptance, encouragement, AND correction.
  8. Give them permission to succeed AND permission to fail.
  9. Bike helmets work.
  10. Daddies, love your daughters. If she doesn’t find love and acceptance and affection from you, she will one day soon find it from another man.
  11. It can be cleaned up, it can be replaced, it will heal.
  12. Words can not be taken back and they will be remembered well. Choose them well.
  13. There is no greater kindness than when God lets you watch your children become the adults He intended them to be.
  14. Time together. There is no substitute.
  15. Disciple them to love and follow Jesus. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
  16. How to communicate love in a language your child understands. Time, Touch, Gifts, Words of affirmation, Service.
  17. Having a child is a lifetime commitment. You are in this until death do you part, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Yes, it sounds like wedding vows, and it should.

 

 

Before You Die

Before You DieLet’s imagine that you have chosen the still most common arrangements for your funeral.  Your corpse is lying in an open cask surrounded by flowers, photographs, notes, cards, etc. The line of people who are there to express their comfort to your loved ones or to grieve your loss are each waiting to pass by you.

Ok, I understand that this scene is not one that most want to think about, even dwell on at all.  However, if we are honest with ourselves we will pause to acknowledge that we will have an earthly end.

I won’t leave us here in this place for much longer, but stay with me long enough to think about these questions;

  • What will people say about you when they pass by the coffin?
  • What will their memories of you include?
  • What impact will you have had on them?
  • How did knowing you make a difference in their life?

We could ask more of these type questions, but the idea is established.  When you die what do you want to leave behind? What can you do now before you die to help make the desired answers to these questions mostly happen?

This is an example of Life Transition Coaching.  The questions I ask you to consider are a key part of what helps propel you forward in your thinking and actions.  Will your answers to these questions cause you to live differently?  Will you create different goals, strategies, priorities as you ponder your mortality?

As the song chorus says, “Time keeps on, slipping, slipping away…” What will you choose to do today to leave a lasting, positive, legacy?  Who/what is important enough to you that you will consider your part in their life story?  What do you do in this life that will outlast your time here?

I will stop with the questions and urge you to consider your death, now before you die. You could begin now to make a checklist of things you need to do and what to do.

  • Legal matters (like Wills, Trusts, etc.) could be put in order.
  • Funeral arrangements could be made while you can be a part of the decision. There are some interesting alternative-funeral arrangements available now; check out the options on the internet!
  • Personal relationships could be strengthened with family and friends.

You may want to work with me for a brief time to help you move through setting these goals.  An advantage I have in being a Life Transition Coach is that I don’t have any bias or agenda related to your decisions. I am not trying to sell you a product or service related to death.  I am proposing you have help in designing your process of preparing for tomorrow today.

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3 Things That Steal Joy From Relationships

Joy StealersThese are not the only joy-stealers, but the three things mentioned below will rob you in the workplace, friendships and family!

Let’s look at what the wisdom book tells us about it…

Joy Stealers:

1. Gossip. Idle talk or rumors about others.

The bible calls one who gossips a talebearer, a busybody and a whisperer. Leviticus 20:16 “You shall not go out as a talebearer among your people.” Proverbs 17:9 “He who repeats a matter separates (best) friends. Proverbs 16: 28 “A whisper separates (chief) friends. Proverbs 20:19 “He who goes out as a talebearer reveals secrets; *therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.

* Take special note of the word therefore. Why is it in the sentence? Because there are gossips in the world today and the work place, we are to stay away from them.
Why avoid gossipers?

Because if they are coming to you revealing secrets about someone else to you don’t you think they will leave you and go tell others your secrets?Of course they will. It’s in their nature to do so. It’s what they live for.

How do you stop a gossip?

It’s very simple. Don’t listen. That is all there is to it. It’s just that simple. Don’t give them an ear to gossip in. Tell them this, “I can’t believe so and so said that, let’s you and I go ask them if that is really what they said.

One more thing about gossip…

Proverbs 26:20, “Where there is no wood the fire goes out, and where there is no talebearer, the strife will cease.”  And where there is no strife, there is peace.  And where there is peace, there is Joy!

2. Selfishness. Loving ones self first or self-seeking.

Proverbs 11:26 talks about withholding something good from someone who needs it. “He that withhold corn, the people will curse him, but blessings will be on the head of him that sells it.” If we sell something to someone who has a need for it is good. What happens if we choose to give it to them? Luke 6:38 “Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Mark 10:37 gives us a look at James and John being selfish, seeking the best place. “They replied, Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at your left in Your glory.”  Jesus proceeds to tell them that to be great you must serve, and to be the greatest you must be a servant of all.

How can you change?

Servant leadership is one of the antidotes to self-seeking behavior.

3. Jealousy. Resentfully suspicious of a rival or a rival’s influence.

Genesis 37:4 – Joseph’s brothers. “And when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him”

I Samuel 18:8 – King Saul. “Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him, ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘ but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ and from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.”

In summary:

Instead of Gossiping – Edify one another

Instead of Selfishness – Give to one another

Instead of Jealousy – Love one another.

Keith Talks

Keith speakingTo arrange for Keith to speak, coach, or train call 615-596-4474 or email keith@keithbranson.com. The topics, listed alphabetically, below can be adjusted to your needs.  Other topics can be presented as well.

Speaking Topics:

1.Abortion and Men – A highly charged topic with surprising outcomes! Learn what Abortion does to men and what they can do about it.  Discussion can be tailored for all ages.

2. Age to Age – Life’s transitions are easier when we know three things; who we are, what we need, and how we can finish well. Understanding the truth about yourself and how to be satisfied through every season of life, is possible!

3. Conflict – We all have it in our lives at some level. Learn how to manage tensions, prevent abuse and create satisfying solutions. There are four key stages that I guarantee will lead to long-lasting, satisfying relationships.

4. Death and Dying – Preparing for departure from our earthly bodies is not as hard as people imagine. Know the basic things that legally must be done at death and options you have before and after death. Alternative funeral ideas are included in this presentation.

5. Leading from back stage – Leadership models, principles and “how-tos” abound. Most have you in charge, leading from the front and center. Strength, guidance, vision and direction can be instilled in a team, a family and other groups without having your face or name on the headline and your place in the front of everyone.

6. Marriage and Family – What else could possibly be taught on this topic with so many resources already available? Divorces are still occurring, blended families are now the majority of households, same-sex relationships in marriage and parenting are legal. A fresh, relevant talk on today’s tough issues.

7. Men – The world needs godly men; men who will step up and courageously lead and serve at home, at church, at work and in their communities. Learn what holds men back, how to bring them forward and empower them to fulfill their role and mission.

 

Secrets Shared

by Keith Branson
What would people say if they knew what you had done?
What do you care if now it can’t be undone?
Does their opinion make it better or worse?
Are you living with freedom or a curse?
What if your actions now cause further harm?
The stories you share raise questions and alarm?
Discretion and respect they warn are needed in your plan,
The secrets you have held, when shared cause ripples through the land.
There is a balance I agree to what is said and when.
The truth is best told in confidence to a trusted friend.
If you have a darkness in your past that holds you back from life,
Share it with someone, seek forgiveness from God; end internal strife.

SAFE CYCLE™

TOGETHER utilizes the safe cycle to help with conflict management.  We help you Stabilize the situation.  Once calming and safety is in place, the people in conflict can be helped to reach an Agreement.  A decision on how to move Forward from where they were leads to peace and even Enjoyment again.

 

Safe Cycle verses the unsafe cycle:

SAFE CYCLE™
CONFLICT → Stabilize →Agreement → Forward → Enjoy

 

UNSAFE CYCLE
CONFLICT → Chaos →Disagreement →Stuck → Misery

 

Four phases from conflict to peace

 

Abortion & Men

What is up? Why am I talking about this?

Days before the news of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions, I had old, locked down memories flood by into my mind. I know it was God prompting them because I had not read or heard any comments about abortion issues prior to that moment. I did not know why I suddenly had those memories but they came strong, clear and convicting. Once the news began to break and commentaries flowed I realized that I was being awakened to something that God wanted me to deal with personally and publicly.

My first reaction was one of anxious-to-moderate panic. “Oh no, I can’t go back into that area of my life. The lid on that box is sealed!” Then I thought, “Yes, I must open that area of my life and let it be completely healed and the seeds from its release be planted in other’s hearts to do the same for them.

The scripture John 12:24 came to mind, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” Though this refers to Jesus talking about Himself and His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection, I couldn’t help to also see it as the secrets we hold onto “alone” in our lives if shared out into the light can bring about more healing.

A Vision

men with arms up

This image and words came into my mind — I saw a crowd of men so large I could not image the number. Some on their knees, some standing, some leaning on others, some with hands stretched out to the heavens, some with hands over their eyes, their hearts, and their mouths. It was a sea of anguish.

As I looked at the men the Lord spoke into my spirit to help them. “How?” I asked. He said softly, ‘Begin with yourself.’ I committed that I would with His help. I felt His peace and comfort fill me immediately.

Then He said more firmly that, ‘The sea of blood the men are standing and kneeling in I have kept from your eyes.’ He had protected my eyes from the depth of it and its cry for justice. I sensed that His anger burns against the death of the innocent. His heart is broken from our apathy and impotence in preventing the killing of the children.

His words ended with, ‘Go and tell your story and have your burden lifted. Tell of My forgiveness for your sins and restoration of your spirit; then minister comfort and hope to other men. Encourage them to confess their sins of commission, or omission, in the murderous acts of abortion.’

My story next…

Never Cut What You Can Untie

Never Cut What You Can Untie – Nehemiah 5:1-19

Conflict resolution is important to the body of Christ. It is important to work through the knots of interpersonal relationships in the church without just cutting them off.

There is a time to back off. (vs. 7)

Sometimes the best thing we can do in conflict resolution is back off and give serious thought to the matter.

There is a time to stand up. (vv. 5-7)

Conflict resolution does not mean giving in at all costs. Jesus pronounced a blessing on the peace “makers” not the peace “lovers.” There are times when we have to “make peace.”

There is a time to give in. (vv. 10-11)

Those who resolve conflicts understand that there are times when we can lose a few little skirmishes in order to win the bigger war.

There is a time to reach out. (vv. 10-13)

There is a time to build consensus by building bridges to the people.

Jesus is the ultimate conflict resolver.

  • He backed off (see Him in Gethsemane).
  • He stood up (see Him before Pilate).
  • He gave in (see Him on the way to the cross; no one took His life from Him – He laid it down).
  • And, He reached out (see Him on the cross with arms outstretched bidding all to come to Him).

Author unknown. Published in Guidestone Financial Resources quarterly
Church Retirement Plan statement, October 1, 2007-December 31, 2007.