Category Archives: In-Laws

Creating a Spiritual Heritage

A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family by Glen & Ellen Schuknecht

As a mom and grandma, one of my primary goals in life is to make sure that my kids and grandkids are not simply following Jesus, but really following Jesus. That they have a faith that sticks in times good and not so good. This seems to be more of a challenge with each passing year. Not only does the culture create increasing obstacles, but even defining what following Jesus means in today’s environment seems to be a moving target. Even more challenging is how we as older adults speak well into the lives of our adult kids and grandkids.

Glen and Ellen Schuknecht offer a plethora of good information in their new book, A Spiritual Heritage: Connecting Kids and Grandkids to God and Family. They are involved in discipleship and family ministries at Veritas Academy in Manchaca, Texas and have made a deliberate commitment to daily build a spiritual legacy in their family. This is done more by dozens of small actions and rituals rather than by one grand thing.

Glen says, “These little things are what allow your precious kids and grandkids to fall asleep safe in God’s arms and wake up knowing they are part of something big and special.” He encourages us “through careful prayer and intentional conversation,” to “build a legacy of faith that will sustain your kids, your grandkids, and all your future generations throughout their lives.” That’s a goal I can subscribe to.

But the Schuknecht’s don’t just spout platitudes and sanctimonious words. They offer practical tips and examples in every chapter. And while their family seems to be one of those Norman Rockwell paintings, they offer examples of other less idyllic families they’ve worked with using their conversational coaching RITE formula: Relate, Inspire, Teach, Equip. Finally, each chapter includes one or more “Quick Tips” sections that summarize their points.

While much of this book is common sense and while some who have been Christians a long time might say, “I knew that…,” I found enough good ideas to consider this book a good investment. For those who are new to the faith or who grew up without strong family bonds, it’s a must-have.

Thanks to Kregel Publications for inviting me to review this book.

It is What It Is – And It’s All Good

We just got back from a week with our kids in the Houston area. When we visit them, I always have so much planned, so much I’d like to do. Far more than is probably realistic under any circumstances, and with a 22 month old and a 3 month old, ….

Sikora Family in San Antonio

Sikora Family in San Antonio
Photo Credit: Random Stranger

On the flight out, both Hubby and I got sick. There were animals on our flight, and I’m terribly allergic, so my immune system was compromised by the time we got there. For some reason, he got full-blown sick while I just diddled around the edge with sore throat and sniffles. The weather in Houston was “stay home hot,” but of course, Grandma wanted to take the toddler to the playground. We paid for it the biggest crop of mosquito bites I’ve ever had.

On top of the usual, we planned a three-day adventure to San Antonio to celebrate DIL’s 30th birthday. We headed to San Antonio with a forecast of 70s and clear. We arrived in a downpour that remained until Sunday morning. And we didn’t take jackets for any of us.

Nonetheless, we celebrated DIL’s birthday in style. We visited the Alamo and the grownups took advantage of the kids’ naptime. Sure, both girls had meltdowns during DIL’s birthday dinner Saturday night, relegating Son or myself to the car with them. But Sunday the sun shone and we got to swim and then take a boat ride on the River Walk, followed by a much more leisurely dinner on the River.

Traveling with little ones is different from traveling with the adult kids, which we have always cherished. But this is the season we’re in and we’re loving every minute of it. We are learning to flex, to move to Plan B, and to laugh in the midst of it. We’re building memories with our family. We get to watch the children’s development for a week. We are available to help wherever needed, to give Son and DIL breaks for both personal time and date time. We’re investing in their marriage and their family. We are thankful for the relationship we have with them. We are reaping where we have sowed. It’s all good! And it’s all God!!

Developing A Great Relationship with Your Daughter-in-Law

 

Family by Choice

Family by Choice
Photo Credit: (c) Joshua Sikora

How’s your relationship with your daughter-in-law (DIL)? Or is that too touchy of a subject? I think a lot of moms of sons are surprised by the challenges of adding a new woman to the family, especially if we have a close relationship with our sons.

I was blessed with a friend who was years ahead of me in the mother-in-law (MIL) business. She was so diligent in maintaining a good relationship with her DIL. She pointed out that when a young man marries, the new wife often sees the MIL as competition. At first that didn’t make sense. Don’t we both love the same man? But that’s precisely the point. And to complicate the matter, most families don’t seem to put words or even cognition to that dilemma, so other conflicts arise to express it. Since they aren’t the real issue, they often don’t get resolved. Hurt feelings abound. And the man we love is caught in the middle. Another thing that happens is making the transition from child to adult and developing an adult relationship with your son and his wife rather than a parent/child relationship. If you’ve been close, that’s a hard transition for both parents and son. And here, the new wife gets caught in the middle.

Deb DeArmond has written a wonderful book about this issue.  Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Transforming Mother-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law Relationships (Kregel Publications, 2013) talks to both mothers of sons and wives of those sons, addressing the most common glitches in this vital relationship.  It’s helpful to see both sides of the issue, as well as the side of what she calls “the man in the middle”—your son. The book is easy to read and features questions and personal evaluations at the end of each chapter to help you be more honest with yourself. And who wouldn’t want the goal: a better relationship with the wife of your son and the mother of your grandchildren.

If you’ve felt that your only option in dealing with your adult son and his wife is to “wear beige and keep your mouth shut,” the book is for you. If you’ve had misunderstandings with your DIL, there’s hope for reconciliation. And if you have a good relationship, you’ll learn ways to make it great.

I’m so thankful for the wonderful relationship we have with our DIL. She’s a treasure, and we tell her that regularly. It hasn’t always been easy, and still isn’t. But we’ve both worked hard and continue to find ways to make our family work. I feel like I’ve given and changed a lot, but I’ve also been very aware of the many concessions she has made to include and honor us. And ultimately, that’s what this relationship is about. Each party respecting the other and creating a delightful, God-honoring extended family.