Q: I love learning about the past. But it bothers me when I see people's ignorance of history on full display -- and I'm discouraged that our culture doesn't seem to value its importance anymore. I want my kids to develop an appreciation for history but don't know where to start. Do you have any suggestions?
Jim: I'm encouraged by the spirit behind your question as well as its timeliness. After all, here in the United States we're celebrating a significant moment in history: the 245th anniversary of the birth of our nation.
History IS important. But sadly, many people have come to regard it as just a bunch of dates and events from long ago that have no relevance today -- or worse, they might even deny some events ever happened. These sentiments couldn't be more misguided. As philosopher George Santayana observed, "Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repeat it." I believe there's great value in history's ability to teach lessons, impart wisdom, inspire and build character.
I'd suggest you begin by exposing your children to biographies and stories that will help them enter the worlds of key historical figures as well as everyday people of the past. Who were they? What did they value? What conflicts did they confront? Was their response villainous or virtuous? As your kids actively engage history in this way, hopefully they'll see that the universality of the struggles and principles of the past are just as applicable today.
Focus on the Family's media discernment website, PluggedIn.com, offers informative reviews of movies, TV shows and books -- including many historical and biographical accounts. I'd also recommend DriveThruHistory.com -- the home for an entertaining and educational range of video programs hosted by Dave Stotts. You might be particularly interested in the 12-episode Drive Thru History series "America: Columbus to the Constitution."
Q: Our 3-year-old son insists on sleeping with us every night. We've tried almost everything to keep him in his own bed, but we're at our wits' end. Help!
Dr. Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting & Youth: This is a fairly common question -- and I hope you'll be encouraged that it's a winnable battle. You and your spouse must be unified and committed to reclaiming your bed, your sleep and your intimacy.
First, consider WHY he wants to sleep in your bed. If it's based on fear, try to solve the issue from his perspective (e.g., surround his bed with stuffed animals to keep guard at night). You're helping him learn how to manage and respond to his fears, which is a big and important lesson. But if it's a struggle for control, be ready to patiently and firmly redirect; success depends on your ability to establish meaningful consequences and consistent follow-through.
After you've put him to bed, be prepared to sit outside his door and intercept him immediately if he gets up -- but don't let it become a game. If he comes out, take him back to bed calmly, with a firm but loving demeanor, repeating the process as many times as necessary. It's a matter of simple endurance. And don't give in to deflections like yet another glass of water, etc.
Ultimately, your toddler needs to learn that you are the one in control and sleeping in your bed is not an option. If you or your spouse give in, this process will become more difficult.
Meanwhile, affirm him when things go well. For example, you might put a handful of marbles in a jar every time he stays in bed without issues. (Combine this with teaching him counting.) When the jar is full, you can celebrate by planning a fun family outing to the park or playing a favorite game.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT SECURED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.