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Things that Build Confidence

Becoming good at the things that build inner confidence and calm takes practice—and a dash of creativity! The following list might provide some cloudseeding for a brainstorm or two of your own. Have some fun with your family...and get ready for a good rest.

1. Pay off your credit cards.

2. Take off ten pounds or accept where you are without any more complaints.

3. Eat dinner together as a family for seven days in a row.

4. Take your wife on a dialogue date (no movie, guys).

5. Read your kids a classic book (Twain’s a good start).

6. Memorize the Twenty-third Psalm as a family.

7. Give each family member a hug for twenty-one days in a row (that’s how long the experts say it takes to develop a habit).

8. Pick a night of the week in which the television will remain unplugged.

9. Go out for a non-fast food dinner as a family.

10. Pray for your spouse and children every day.

11. Plan a vacation together.

12. Take a vacation together.

13. Read a chapter from the Bible every day until it becomes a habit.

14. Sit together as a family in church.

15. Surprise your teenage. Wash his car and fill up his gas tank.

16. Take an afternoon off from work; surprise your child by excusing him from school and taking him to a ball game.

17. Take a few hours one afternoon and go to the library as a family.

18. Take a walk as a family.

19. Write each member of your family a letter sharing why you value them.

20. Give your spouse a weekend getaway with a friend (same gender!) to a place of their choice.

21. Go camping as a family.

22. Go to bed early (one hour before your normal bedtime) every day for a week.

23. Take each of your children out to breakfast (individually) at least once a month for a year.

24. Turn down a promotion that would demand more time from your family than you can afford to give.

25. Religiously wear your seat belts.

26. Get a complete physical.

27. Exercise a little every day for a month.

28. Make sure you have adequate life insurance on both you and your spouse.

29. Write out information about finances, wills, and important business information that your spouse can use to keep things under control in the event of your death.

30. Make sure your family car is safe (tires, brakes, etc.) and get it tuned up.

31. Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm.

32. Put a security system in your house.

33. Attend the parent/teacher meetings of each child as a couple.

34. Help your kids with their homework.

35. Watch the kids on Saturday while your wife goes shopping (but if a friend calls, don’t say that you’re “babysitting”).

36. Explain to your spouse exactly what you do for a living.

37. Put together a picture puzzle. (One thousand pieces or more.)

38. Take time during the week to read a Bible story to your children and then discuss it with them.

39. Encourage each child to submit to you his most perplexing question, and promise him that you’ll either answer it or discuss it with him.

40. Finish fixing something around the house.

41. Tell your kids how you and your spouse met.

42. Tell your kids about your first date.

43. Sit down and write your parents a letter thanking them for a specific thing they did for you. (Don’t forget to send it!)

44. Go on a shopping spree where you are absolutely committed to buying nothing.

45. Keep a prayer journal for a month. Keep track of the specific ways that God answers your needs.

46. Do some stargazing away from the city with your family.

47. Help your children identify constellations and conclude the evening with prayer to the majestic God who created the heavens.

48. Treat your wife to a beauty make-over (facial, manicure, haircut, etc.). I hear they really like this.

49. Give the kids an alternative to watching Saturday morning cartoons (breakfast at McDonald’s, garage sales, the park, chores, etc.).

50. Ask your children each day what they did at school (what they learned, who they ate lunch with, etc.).

51. After you make your next major family decision, take your child back through the process and teach him how you arrived at your decision.

52. Start saying to yourself “My car doesn’t look so bad.”

53. Call you wife or husband from work just to see how they’re doing.

54. Compile a family tree and teach your children the history of their ancestors.

55. Walk through an old graveyard with your children.

56. Say no to at least one thing a day—even if it’s only a second piece of pie.

57. Write that letter to the network that broadcast the show you felt was inappropriate for prime-time viewing.

58. Turn off the lights and listen to a “praise” tape as you focus your thoughts on the Lord.

59. Write a note to your pastor praising him for something.

60. Take back all the books in your library that actually belong in someone else’s library.

61. Give irritating drivers the right to pull in front of you without signaling and yelling at them.

62. Make every effort to not let the sun go down on your anger.

63. Accept legitimate criticism from your wife or a friend without reacting or defending yourself.

64. If your car has a Christian bumper sticker on in—drive like it.

65. Do a Bible study on the “wise man” and the “fool” in Proverbs...and then apply what it takes to be wise to your life.

66. Make a list of people who have hurt your feelings over the past year...then check your list to see if you’ve forgiven them.

67. Make a decision to honor your parents, even if they made a career out of dishonoring you.

68. Take your children to the dentist and doctor for your wife.

69. Play charades with your family, but limit subjects to memories of the past.

70. Do the dishes for your wife.

71. Schedule yourself a free day to stay home with your family.

72. Get involved in a family project that serves or helps someone less fortunate.

73. As a family, get involved in a recreational activity.

74. Send your wife flowers.

75. Spend an evening going through old pictures from family vacations.

76. Take a weekend once a year for you and your spouse to get away and renew your friendship.

77. Praise your spouse and children—in their presence—to someone else.

78. Discuss a world or national problem, and ask your children for their opinion on it.

79. Wait up for your teenagers when they are out on dates.

80. Have a “quiet Saturday” (no television, no radio, no stereo...no kidding).

81. If your children are little, spend an hour playing with them—but let them determine the game.

82. Have your parents tell your children about life when they were young.

83. Give up soap operas.

84. De-clutter your house.

85. If you have a habit of watching late night television, but have to be to work early every morning, change your habit.

86. Don’t accept unnecessary breakfast appointments.

87. Write missionaries regularly.

88. Go through your closets and give everything that you haven’t worn in a year to a clothing relief organization.

89. Become a faithful and frequent visitor of your church’s library.

90. Become a monthly supporter of a Third World child.

91. Keep mementos, school projects, awards, etc. of each child in separate files. You’ll appreciate these when they’ve left the nest.

92. Read the biography of a missionary.

93. Give regularly and faithfully to conscientious church endeavors.

94. Place with your will a letter to each family member telling why you were glad you got to share life with him or her.

95. Go through your old records and tapes and discard any of them that might be a bad testimony to your children.

96. Furnish a room (or a corner of a room) with comfortable chairs and declare it the “disagreement corner.” When conflicts arise, go to this corner and don’t leave until it’s resolved.

97. Give each child the freedom to pick his favorite dinner menu at least once a week.

98. Go over to a shut-in’s house as a family and completely clean it and get the lawn work done.

99. Call an old friend from your past, just to see how he or she is getting along.

100. Get a good friend to hold you accountable for a specific important need (Bible reading, prayer, spending time with your family, losing a few pounds, etc.).

101. Establish a budget.

102. Go to a Christian marriage enrichment seminar.

Little House on the Freeway, Tim Kimmel, pp. 219-223