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Puppy Training: Day 2

Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn  from it. 
   Proverbs 22:6


“Set up rules of conduct, then strictly enforce them”

What you allow and enforce in the beginning quickly becomes a pattern. Inconsistency can cause confusion and long-term problems in producing (or eliminating) desired behaviors.

Our vet said that puppies are always forming associations. The only problem is that they are often wrong. We must look at what we do from their perspective to see if we are sending the wrong message.

Parenting books also make amazing claims about the age at which certain aspects of a child’s personality are developed. Fortunately for the human race, children are amazingly resilient, but rearing children isn’t just about what we tell them, it is about a million non-verbal cues that they pick up before we even know we are sending them!

I think of the old proverb, “Well begun is half-done.” What is true of puppies and child-rearing, is so often just the way that life works. In the early stages of learning a new skill, if we don’t practice basic skills correctly and with consistency, we can find ourselves stuck with bad habits that are hard to un-learn.

Sometimes the long-term tone of a friendship is determined by the circumstances under which we became acquainted. We may know someone so long in one context that we are “shy” about extending our friendship into another area: We have our “work” friends with whom we discuss work issues, our “golf or tennis” friends with whom we compare swings and scores.

Right now we are in a wonderful couple’s Bible study that has met twice a month for three years. One couple has expressed a desire for us all to get together occasionally for a strictly social evening—dinner out, a game night-- yet when we try to plan something, everything that is suggested is in the church-social-with-a-speaker vein. Evidently, we are firmly stuck in a contextual rut!

The take-away is that life has far fewer throw-away situations than we might imagine. Life isn’t always serious, but it is purposeful.
Nancy Shirah

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