Ten Ways to be a Better Mother
About the Guest
Today Karen Loritts, a wife and mother of four grown children, shares ten practical ways to be a better mother.
Karen LorittsKaren Loritts is a speaker, teacher, and author. Karen has served in ministry since 1972 with her husband, Crawford, who is currently the Senior Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia. Karen served as the keynote speaker for the True Woman conferences held by Revive Our Hearts. Karen and Crawford are also featured speakers at FamilyLife's Weekend to Remember marriage conferences. Karen enjoys her four grown children and eleven grandchildren.
Today Karen Loritts, a wife and mother of four grown children, shares ten practical ways to be a better mother.
Ten Ways to be a Better Mother
Karen: [from audiotape.] One time that I came home, and Crawford was in the living room. He was on one sofa, and she was on the other sofa, and she was crying her eyes out. He was, like, "What do I do next?" you know, and I said, "What's the problem?" He was telling me, "Well, Heather says she doesn't have any clothes," you know? And I'm saying, "Uh-uh."
So I quickly put my groceries down, and, you know, I said, "Heather, go get all your junk. Empty your closets and your drawers and bring them up here, and let's show Daddy what you don't have."
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, March 13th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. If you're a mom, and you want your family to survive, to even thrive, then your husband and your children need you to be at the top of your game. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Friday edition. Dennis?
Dennis: Bob, I am so pumped about today.
Dennis: I really am. You know why? We are going to come alongside some of the heroes of America today – moms. And I want moms to look at their radios very carefully – however you're listening, whether it's on a computer, in your car, as you're running errands or if you're at home, if you're just listening, watch carefully as a giant encouragement arm is going to come through the radio, and it's going to wrap that arm around you and give you some great encouragement today.
Bob: Yeah, we have got a classic message from our friend, Karen Loritts. Karen is the wife of Dr. Crawford Loritts, who is the pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta. Karen and Crawford have spoken at FamilyLife Weekend to Remember Marriage Conferences for many years. They are the parents of four children, and this is a message from Karen designed to provide a little coaching, a little mentoring, and, as you said, a whole lot of encouragement for moms who are raising the next generation.
Dennis: That's right, Bob, and the good thing about this is Karen is speaking to a live audience, and she is going to give 10 practical tips that are just going to be huge takeaways for every mom.
Bob: Yeah, in fact, Crawford introduced Karen in this message by saying, "She is raising our kids on her knees with the Bible in their ears, and then if they need a rod" …
Dennis: And I can believe that. If you know Karen, she's feisty.
Bob: Karen begins this message by talking about the four things she wants to make sure she gives her children.
Dennis: Besides a spanking.
Bob: That's right.
Karen: [from audiotape.] I want to make sure that I give my children a mirror, that I am a mirror to my kids; that when they look into my face, they see the me reflecting what God is in my life. I also want to be a model. Another thing I want to give my children – motivation to go on. Our kids need to be pumped up, motivated, by their parents and also I need to give them a mission in life. I'm going to give my kids a mission in life.
But let me just give you about nine or 10 things that I think that would help us to turn the tide, because I believe, unfortunately, women, we can either make or break it. We were the cause of some civilizations going down the tubes because we did not do what God has called us to do.
The first thing is God needs to hear from us regularly. He needs for us to be effective mothers is that we need to love God and love Him with a passion. That means spending time with Him, being that godly role model that our children see us praying, listening to us talk about the good things of the Lord. To be a good mom, you have to start with God.
The second thing is, you've got to love your husband. If you're married, you've got to love that man – just not say it. Just not say it, but you have to show it. We have to respect these men, and respect is not something that you earn. Respect is something that you give. And, let me tell you, when you look in Ephesians, it talks about – tells the men to love their wives as Christ loved the church but, ladies, if you look further down, it tells us to respect.
Whether I understand it or not, it's just right, so we have to respect them, and I have to voluntarily do that. And also loving him means I have to submit to him. If you want him to be all that God wants him to be – this is heavy – because God has called your man to be the man of that house. And the only way he can be the man of this house is if you give him the freedom to do that. And one of the vehicles that we give him the freedom to do that, guess what, is that magic word called "submission."
The third thing about being an effective mom is that you have to make your home a priority. Your home has got to be a place to come in from this dark and dreary world. Is your home a haven or is it a hall of horrors? You know? Our responsibility as the nurturers is that our people and our family, our children, our husbands, have got to come to a place that's a haven and is not a hall of horror.
A fourth area is that – to be an effective mom, is that we give respect to our children. Respect involves consideration and acceptance and encouragement. You know, that's a big one, because we want our kids to respect us but do we respect our kids? Out of all of our four kids, the child that probably rubs me the wrong way all the time who is not like me – because usually I'm the type of person when I say something, you just be quiet and you listen and you pay attention and you just obey.
Well, Brendan is not that way. He is a very aggressive, stressful child. You know, he's a unh, unh, unh all day long, and I had just to – you know, you have that child that you just don't get along with? Well, Brendan is that child. But he is my most compassionate child. He is my child that will come and hug me – because he's taller than I am – and patting me, you know, and kissing me and telling me, "You know, Mom, you're such a good cook," or "You look nice." He's a real sweet child, but yet he has this personality that is completely different from me, and I believe God has given me Brendan to help me learn how to be more understanding, how to be patient, and how to give respect to him, because he demands it.
A fifth thing about being an effective mom is communication – not only talking but being a listener. You know, sometimes, as a mom, it's hard for me to be a good listener, because I'm the mom. You know, I'm the adult. But I have to know how to verbalize our goals – "These are the things that are required of you in our family. You represent the Loritts home, and these are things that you are required to do."
Then also listening to them – there are things – like, Brendan – one day he went out of the house. He had these sweatpants on, and one leg was all the way up, and one was all the way down, and he going to school looking like that. Well, I had to decide – were we going to have a battle over something that, to me, was a major deal, but to him, you know, this is the way that everybody dresses. So I had to pick my battles, waste my energy, doing that I could lose the whole thing.
The sixth thing to be an effective mom, we have to teach life principles to our children. I've jotted down a couple of things that have been really helpful to me, as a mom. Some things that we really work on with our kids is that we teach them to have integrity and self-confidence; to teach them that you have to be a person of your word. If you said you're going to do something, then you do it, even with your friends. We teach them to have goals in life, and that is true.
Every August, the weekend before they go back to school, is they sit down, they have to write out their goals, measurable goals, measurable goals. You know why that is? Because when they get out of high school whether they go onto college, a secondary education, or go into the army or just into the workforce, they have to have a goal. That does something for them on the inside – help them to achieve their goals.
Help them to have a spirit of independence. Not against anything but towards God – help them to become independently dependent upon God themselves and not dependent upon you. Show them how to walk with God, show them what it means to read the Bible for themselves, to dig the things out at an early age and then, sometimes in the teen years, you have to make them read the Bible. I require Heather to read certain portions of Scripture. She has to do that.
Show them how to handle money. When the money is gone, the money is gone. You know, kids think money grows on trees, don't they? You know, Brendan would say, "Well, let's go down to the tilly," that's the ATM, you know, "Let's go down to that machine or just write a check." Like a check is on a piece of paper – you just put your name on the piece of paper, and you can get anything you want. I tell him it's not that way.
And so what we do is that when we give them an allowance, we say, "Well, this is your allowance. When the money is gone, you made your decision, it's gone." But it's helping them to see that – first of all, money doesn't grow on trees; that you have to be a responsible, good steward of your money, and that God will help you to be faithful in what he gives you.
Also, teach your children, when you talk about life principles, is that teach them academic excellence. We stay in the faces of our teachers at the school. We are card-carrying PTA members. We are there to support the school, the people know that we're there, we love them, we support them but also let them know that this is the direction our children are going, so these are our expectations. Can you help us? And if you can't help us, point us to the teacher, the principal, that can help us. And there have been several times – even when Brian was – I'll never forget this – even when Brian was a junior in high school, the counselor said, "Oh, he doesn't need to take this course. Let me wait to take that." I say "No, we've already got the whole curriculum for the state of Georgia. We know what every child from kindergarten through 12th grade is supposed to know, and at this grade, this is what college prep students are supposed to know, and can you help me?" And if you can't help me, I went to the next level. I'll give the teachers the first shot. If the teachers can't help me, then I got to the principal.
And I have a relationship with the principals, they call my home any old time. I mean, one time Brian tried to get out of an advanced placement class, and they already knew, "Oh, Brian, you can't change this class. We've got to call your mother." Since I wasn't home, they found Crawford at his job and called him to make sure that he couldn't change his course selection because he knew that we held that school accountable to us, because we had been there, you know, helping the teachers and the counselors, map out where they're going in life, so that when they come to their senior year, they're short credit hours. That's a horror for your children.
Are you holding your kids' feet to the fire concerning academic excellence? And also we have to teach them to live in an understanding way. You have to get the girls to know what the guys are about and the guys to know what the girls are all about and help even your dad. There is a magical line, I don't know what age it is, but there is a magical time whereas before it could be just the mothers and the sons are so bonded together, and then the girls and the dads. Daddy's little girl, but there is a magic time, but sometimes now when the dads have to come over and help the mom. You've got to jack them up.
Some of these boys are – it could be age 12, it could be age 13, but there is a magical time that we have to back off women and let the men – if you have a husband, let the men [inaudible] these boys, because otherwise some of you can identify with this – we may marry some of these spoiled mama's boys. And then women – sometimes we have to rescue these crybaby girls from these guys because these men will be able to give them everything.
I can remember that one time that I came home, and I went food shopping. I had just been gone for 45 minutes to an hour. It was just a quick to the store, and I came back, and Crawford was in the living room. He was on one sofa, and she was on the other sofa, and she was crying her eyes out – this was last year, she was in high school. And he was, like, oh, like a whoopee dog, you know, he was, like, out. He was, like, "What do I do next?" You know, and I said, "What's the problem?" He was telling me, "Well, Heather says she doesn't have any clothes," you know? And I'm saying, "Uh-uh."
So I put my groceries down and, you know, I said, "Heather, go get all your junk. Empty your closets and your drawers and bring them up here, and let's show Daddy what you don't have." Because he was about to give her some money that we didn't have, and she's – I made her bring all of her junk. Now, she had a lot of stuff – piles and mountains of clothes she didn't have.
And I'll never forget what Crawford said, you know, after I straightened that all out. He said, "Just thank you for rescuing me." We, sometimes, women, and Dad's got to listen to this – you let your wife rescue you from these manipulating little girls. There is a magical age, I don't know what age it is, but you've got to step in and help them and say, "Girl, listen, if you start manipulating now, that's the manipulating spirit that was conceived in the Garden of Eden, and it hasn't stopped yet." And sometimes we've got to rescue these daddies from these girls. And they start young, and you listening to us now, you listen to us, because we're telling you as another woman, another female, what the deal really is.
The seventh thing is good mommies are doing just – we just learn how to do right. And doing right, as it says in James, chapter 4, verse 17, is that doing right is that we have to live in fellowship with our children, we've got to live in fellowship with them, live in peace with them. Do you understand what I mean? Sometimes we'll have these power plays with our kids, and we're losing these children. We haven't asked God about that, we haven't started to live in peace, we're just stressing these children out, and the only way they get relief is that because they want to be out there with their friends, because every time they come home, is that you're like a monkey on their back. You've got to live in peace, we have to live in fellowship. We have to live in an environment of forgiveness and reconciliation.
You know, our kids will say things to us that they really don't mean, but in the heat of the argument and the time, they think we don't understand. We have to give forgiveness back and then reconcile together. It takes a lot of work on both parts. If God, who is living inside of me, He wants me to live in peace, He wants me to love and to forgive, then I have to be a type of a person that is doing that with my child, especially my daughter.
And so I made a commitment to being a friend. The eighth thing is to be a friend, to be a friend to your child. I want to be a friend to Heather, and Heather is my good friend. You know, we'll have little secrets, and she knows that – she comes to me, and we'll have a spirit of confidentiality, and I'm a friend to her, even though I'm still the parent. You know, Heather and I go knock, knock, knock together, but then we're still friends.
The thing about a friend is that you have to learn how to relax with them, and you have to learn how to release them. The hardest thing I had to do was when Brian went away to college is that I had to release him, and I really saw that when he came back for his first Christmas holiday, you know, he's a young man, and I have released him to the care of God. And if we are raising them with the Bible in our hands and on our knees, that if they mess up, they messed up because they messed up. And if they're going to fool around, somebody go out there and mess up their lives, they messed up their lives knowingly, and I'm not going to feel guilty about it. If you ever hear that my kids messed up, don't come and say, "She was a bad mother," or "He was a bad father," because he was not a bad father and I was not a bad mother.
God says that you have to release them back to God. They are God's gifts. God just gave them for a little bit of time. The nice thing is, to be an effective mom is that you have to win their world for Christ. Not like teach them how to win others for Christ, but win their world, not take them out of the world, but win their world, whether [inaudible], they'll hear the Gospel, they'll see the Scriptures and things like that, and then we will worship together.
And the last thing is that to be an effective mom, you've got to be wise, and wisdom only comes from God. You've got to search the Scriptures, you've got to be on your knees. Sometimes nothing will work. I don't care how many books you read, I don't care how many sermons and manuals you collect, the only thing sometimes that is going to turn these kids around is through prayer, and the only one that can do that is Jesus. The only way we're going to turn this tide is that we have to be all the things that God has called us to do as mothers to save this lost and perverse generation that we're living in.
Bob: You know, that is as good a quick, concise summary of a mom's responsibility as I think you'll ever hear.
Dennis: Good job description. I want to go back to her second point, very early in her message. You need to love your husband and, ladies …
Bob: Is there a reason you're picking that one?
Dennis: Well, it's not self-interest, at least not for me, but it is for the husbands of the wives who are now listening, and the moms who have now soaked this into their hearts. Do you know what I want to encourage you to do? I want you to call and find out where the closest Weekend to Remember is near you, and I want you to love on your husband, and you know what? I have a feeling you're going to get loved on in return by taking a weekend away from the children.
Now, this almost sounds counter-intuitive, Bob, to get away from the kids so you can be a better parent, but, I promise you – and if I'm not right, we'll give you your registration back on the conference. Whatever it cost you, registration-wise, to attend, we'll give you that money back if it was not a great investment in your children and in your family and also in your marriage. I'm telling you, this is a rugged culture financially, it's a rugged culture in terms of morals, spiritually it's challenging. We need to do everything we can do to make our marriages solid so we can be better parents.
Bob: You know, I'm going to be speaking at a Weekend to Remember in two weeks up in Rhode Island – Newport, Rhode Island.
Dennis: Come and hear Bob. What a romantic idea, huh? There you have it!
Bob: We also have four conferences kicking off tonight. We've got a conference in Colorado Springs, one in Kansas City, one in Omaha, one in the Washington, D.C. area. Next weekend, conferences in Anchorage and Baltimore; Chicago; Des Moines; Kansas City; Nashua, New Hampshire; Roanoke, Virginia; Tulsa – so a lot of conferences going on this spring, and then dozens of conferences into April and May.
If you'd like more information about how to attend a Weekend to Remember when it comes to a city near where you live, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and the information you need is available there. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, and someone on our team can answer any questions you have about the conference or let you know when a conference is coming.
Again, 1-800-FLTODAY is the toll-free number or go to FamilyLifeToday.com. And, by the way, on our website, we have listed some classic books to help moms be the kind of mom that Karen was talking about in the message today. We've got Jean Fleming's classic book, "A Mother's Heart," and I know this is a book that Barbara found very helpful as she was raising your six children. We also had Ted Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart." Other resources designed to equip you as a parent to do the job that God has called you to.
Information is available online, FamilyLifeToday.com, or call 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY and, again, someone on our team can let you know how you can get the resources you need sent to you.
Then you've also heard us mention this week the upcoming Bible Bee, the qualifying rounds for the National Bible Bee are going to be taking place in September, and registration is currently open. If you would like your elementary age, junior high, or high school student to be a part of the competition with over $250,000 in cash prizes being made available to the winners, get the information about the upcoming National Bible Bee at the FamilyLife Today website, FamilyLifeToday.com. There is a link there, and you can register online and begin to make plans to have your son or daughter compete in the 2009 National Bible Bee. Again, all the information is at FamilyLifeToday.com.
Now, four weeks from this weekend will be Easter weekend, a time when we reflect on what is the heart of our message, as Christians. Jesus demonstrating that He is, in fact, God by going to the cross to suffer and die on our behalf and then conquering death. That's what the message of Easter is all about.
This year, in preparation for Easter, we would like to send you a copy of the "The Jesus Film" on DVD. This is the most viewed motion picture of all time – an accurate recounting of the life and the ministry of Jesus along with His death, burial, and resurrection, and there are a couple of things about this DVD that make it very special. First, the audio track is available not only in English but in Spanish, German, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. This is something that you can pass along to someone who might not be a native English speaker, and they can view the movie in their own language.
In addition to that, there is, on the same DVD, the story of Jesus for children. It tells the story of the life of Jesus through the eyes of a child. It's perfect for elementary age and younger children, and the DVD is our gift to you this month when you make a donation of any amount for the support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today. Because we are listener-supported, we depend on your financial contributions to continue this ministry, and because of the challenging financial times in which we find ourselves, your donations now are more important than ever.
So if you are able to help with a donation this month, please feel free to request "The Jesus Film" on DVD. As you make your donation online, type into the keycode box on the donation form, "JesusDVD," and we'll know to send a copy of it to you. Or call 1-800-FLTODAY, that's 1-800-358-6329, 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY. You can make a donation over the phone and simply ask for a copy of "The Jesus Film" or the DVD, and we'll be happy to send it to you as our way of saying thank you for your partnership with us and your financial support of this ministry.
And we hope you have a great weekend. I hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend, and we hope you can join us back on Monday when we're going to talk to a mom who found herself in the very difficult and unenviable position of being a single-parent mom when her husband decided he was done with being a dad and a husband. We'll hear from Jill Rigby about the challenges she faced as a new single-parent mom, and I hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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