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Make It Personal

Disclaimer: All these thoughts originated from my study of Orange.   They are specifically taken from the Essence of Family teaching given by Reggie Joiner, and can be found in his book, “Think Orange.” This is a fantastic book, and if you work with churches to reach kids then this should be your Manifesto!


Five Essential Parenting Skills

3. Make It Personal

Deuteronomy 6:6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.

These commandments have to be in my heart, before I can hand them off to my children.   It has to be in me, before it can be in them.   Consider this free wisdom from someone that has worked with kids for years:   You must never try to impress your kids with who you want them to think you are.   You can only fool them for so long.   And when they find out that you’re a fraud, they’ll only resent you for it.

It’s okay for my kid to see who I really am.   Especially if I want them to see the difference God is making in my life.   Do your children know what your weaknesses are?   If you say they don’t, then you’re only fooling yourself.   What you’re bad at is obvious to everyone.   I struggle with a bad temper, and can become easily frustrated when things don’t work out as I planned.   Do you really think my family doesn’t already know this?   They’ve probably known it longer than I have.   When I decide to make my weaknesses a point of teaching my children, then I can create a new parenting strength.   Every time I mess up and fail to keep my word, or fail to control my anger; I then have the opportunity to ask my children to forgive me.   I don’t often miss the chance to ask my children to forgive me.

Kids need to see their parents:

Struggle with answers.

Face their weaknesses.

Deal with real problems.

Admit when they are wrong.

Fight for their marriage.

Resolve personal conflict.

My kids need to see me make relational, emotional,and spiritual growth a priority.

I choose to Make It Personal and let my kids see what God is doing in my life.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Kendra Golden · July 29, 2009

    Very cool. Thanks for posting about this. I look forward to your other insights about the orange stuff. We are trying to be more orange in every area although only a few of us use that term. We just shifted to an org chart that puts all of the curriculum creators on one team for kids, youth, and adult small groups. And the people who lead the executive and administrative sides of those ministies all work together too. I can’t wait to see all the ways this supports parents getting back into the driver’s seat.
    .-= Kendra Golden ´s last blog ..Job 40 =-.

  2. Brian · October 23, 2009

    I am thankful that this is something that I am able to do after I mess up. I am able to go to my children and tell them I messed up and ask for forgiveness. I’m not perfect and I do not expect them to be, but I(we) need to realize that when we do mess up we need to make it right and learn from it. What greater opportunity than this to show my kids that I am real and experience ups and downs, joy and heartbreaks, yet through it all I still love them and am willing to fight. We need to realize, we will struggle, we will face probelms, but don’t give up.