Derek on July 10th, 2013


Effective Parenting (Aina) was interviewed by on the topic of your kids and social media.  Aina offers 6 tips on how to safely bring social media into the family.

6 Ways To Manage Your Kids & Social Media

Let us know your thoughts.  Enjoy.

Derek on April 5th, 2012


The following article is a must read for all parents.  It’s a powerful glimpse into the childhood of the late Kurt Cobain, the lead singer/songwriter of the rock band Nirvana.  As you read, make note of Kurt’s sources of influence.  Determine if the influence was positive or negative?  Finally, what was Kurt ultimately looking for?

 As you see, there were critical influential factors that shaped Kurt’s thinking.  Unfortunately, his unfulfilled need for love created destructive decisions and behaviors that would eventually take his life.  Outside of God, I believe parents are the only other messengers that have the power to help meet our children’s need for love and significance.  Siblings, relatives, friends and even band mates can’t reach the deepest longing for acceptance like a parent can…because they are not suppose to.  Parents are God’s entrusted agents through whom He expects His unconditional love for our children be sincerely declared.

Do you think better parenting could have made a difference for Kurt Cobain?  What could have been done differently at those critical influential crossroads?  Please comment and/or join the twitter discussion at hash tag #parentingcobain

Shelby Cheek on February 4th, 2012

family home smallHome, what is home you might ask?  For many people there are different definitions of what home means to them.  For some, home could mean the house you live in, or home meaning a place to go to after being away for awhile.  There are many different meanings of home for many different people.  But for me, home means one thing. 

At this time in my life, my family and I are getting to experience what it is like to move.  We sold our house and now we are looking into having to buy a new one.  There are many emotions that we did not realize we were going to feel having gotten into this.  Throughout the whole situation, we have dealt with happiness, stress, sadness, and much more.  But, through it all we have decided to stick together, and lean on one another.

When looking for a new home it can be exciting.  You get to pick out your room and decorate it.  You get to furnish it and put everything in its proper place.  You also get to envision what it will be like when you have friends and family over.  Sitting near the fire or having a nice dinner all together talking about the many joys that happened that day. 

Once all that excitement is settled and you have to start packing up your old house, you realize that you have to leave some things behind.  Like, memories and laughter that you have shared for so long in a home.  For me I grew up in this house.  I have never really experienced what it is like to leave things behind.  After a while the happiness starts to fade away as you realize you have to move on.Home-HappyFamily small

But over the time of packing and spending these last few months in my home, I realized that the house is not what makes it my home.  It’s the things beneath the brick and stone that leave marks and memories that will last a life time.  It’s the time you spend together with your family and enjoy their company.  So for me it is not the house that makes it my home, it is the people that I share life with everyday.  It’s the memories, through the happy and the sad.  Home for me is not a house, home is my family.

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Derek on January 9th, 2012

podcast-icon small


Our two daughters have a passion and talent for creating melodies and writing songs.  As a Christmas gift, we bought them a series of components that when put together creates a home recording studio.  After spending most of the day putting the system together, elation occurred as we all heard the first musical tones emerging from the studio monitors.  However, confusion quickly overcame us when we discovered voices sung through the microphone were not being recorded in the software.  The digital meter on the vocal track danced up and down in appropriate response to our voice, but still nothing was heard during play back. 

“I know you can hear me!  Why are you ignoring my voice??”
(I verbally grumbled)

Maybe you have experienced this frustration with your children?  As you are talking, and/or barking perhaps, your child presents you with a non-responsive numb-looking demeanor.  You know the look.  That dazed look like nobody’s home.  “Hello, is anyone in there?  Earth calling Tommy…can you hear me?”  Or they say “yes ma’am” to every command and immediately do the opposite because they forgot.  What happened during that split second that caused them to forget???  No matter what you try, their actions show that they are not listening.  In reality, they are not caring to listen.  What is causing this disconnect?

There are three types of voices that get ignored by our children:
Voice of Nag
Voice of Perfection
Voice of Control

Voice of Nag

I think I would be safe in saying no one likes to be nagged.  Nagging is birthed when an expectation is not met and it continues to live until a) the expectation is met, or b) the consequence is carried out.  If “a” or “b” never materialize over multiple expectations, the “Voice of Nag” becomes your prominent voice.  Since your children will eventually ignore this prominent voice, the frightening truth is they will also bypass your infrequent voice of influence and wisdom.

Voice of Perfection

The voice of perfection is the verbal commentary from measuring your children’s performance against unachievable expectations.  Phrases like “You never ____”, “You always_____”, “Why don’t you ever____”, are usually used to address a specific situation but are received by our children as their inability to ever achieve a certain ambiguous standard.  Not only will this voice be ignored but it creates long-lasting insecurity wounds.

Voice of Control

The voice of control is a close relative to the voice of nag. However, the difference is there is no opportunity for the child to meet any expectations.  In an extreme case, the voice of control removes all decision making responsibilities from the child.  If a child is easy-going they become very passive and lazy.  If a child is strong willed they rebel and can’t wait to get away from the voice of control.

The solution to our digital studio dilemma boiled down to pressing the correct button at the correct time.  Sounds very simple, but we easily overlooked that important element that awoke the software to hear us and capture what we were saying.  When the voice of nag, voice of perfection, or voice of control speaks…mute it.  Engage the voice of encouragement, voice of acceptance, and the voice of affirmation.

These are the voices of authoritative relationship they desire;
The voices they need to fulfill their full potential;
The voices that awaken their spirit to record what we are saying.

Paul Anderson on January 7th, 2012

baby needing adopted

“What is different about parenting children that have been adopted as opposed to biological children?”

My wife and I are the parents of two wonderful, incredible children who we adopted internationally. Our 12 year old son was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia at the age of 21 months, and our 4 year old daughter was adopted from Guatemala City, Guatemala at the age of 7 months.  I have often been asked, “What is different about parenting children that have been adopted as opposed to biological children?”  It’s a question that, to be perfectly honest, I have struggled to answer myself on many occasions.  Since my wife and I don’t have any biological children, we can’t really provide a first-hand comparison, but can only compare our parenting experiences to those of our friends who have biological children.

Often, when dealing with behavioral , emotional, or spiritual issues with our children, I have to stop and ask myself, “Is this an issue that has its roots in the emotional and spiritual effects of being adopted, or is it simply the normal, challenging behavior of ANY child of this age?”  With over 10 years of experience in raising adopted children, some things are fairly easy to determine which category they fall into, but there are many more times when it is NOT so obvious.  So in some ways, raising adopted children is no different than raising your own biological children – much of the time, we as parents are clueless and somewhat at a loss for answers!!  Seriously though, regardless of the birth origin of your children, we have to pray and seek God for the wisdom we need to deal with each specific challenge that we face.

With that said, there are a few things that from our experience, we can say for certain are unique challenges faced by adoptive parents.  On a very practical level, if you have ANY information on the health profile of one or both of the birth parents, it is usually very limited.  So those annual child visits to the doctor become interesting, because you just don’t know you child’s family medical history.  From an emotional and spiritual perspective, adoptive parents will certainly have to deal with some abandonment and mistrust issues along the way.  We’ve heard from numerous adult adoptees, who all say that there has not been a single day in their life that they haven’t had at least a passing thought of wondering who their birth parents were, and why their parent(s) gave them up for adoption.  This is an issue that requires constant attention, and as a result, adoptive children need constant and consistent affirmation that they are loved, valued and important.  ALL children need that of course, but adopted children need it 10x more, because of the sense of abandonment and loss that they already feel due to their history.  The last unique challenge I will mention for adoptive parents, is one that is near to our hearts – neurotransmitter and sensory issues.  This is an entire field of study in the adoption community, because it is so prevalent in children that are adopted out of orphanages or are removed from their birth parents due to abuse or neglect.  Children with these issues are FAR too often mis-diagnosed by the educational and medical communities as being children with ADD/ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD), and a host of other “conditions”, OR as just being rebellious, difficult children.  In fact, many times, it’s simply that the chemical levels in their brain and/or the functioning of their sensory systems are out of whack.  There are numerous clinics that offer specialized treatment for neurotransmitter and sensory issues, often involving nutritional supplements and altered or special diets.  We have had firsthand experience with this subject, and can tell you that finding one of these clinics has saved us untold grief and suffering in raising our two children.

adoptionSo, in conclusion, what’s so different about raising adopted children?  In some ways, parenting doesn’t change – children need love, security, consistent discipline, and parents that model through their own lives what they teach and expect.  However, there are a few, but very critical areas that require special attention and awareness, and can present some unique challenges – emotional insecurity and distrust, abandonment issues, and neurotransmitter/sensory issues.  For any adoptive parents wanting more information on any of these subjects, feel free to contact us at


Derek on January 3rd, 2012

I would like to introduce you to Paul and Diane Anderson.


Anderson small

They are leaders of a parenting LifeTeam for adopted children in Family Life ministries at Covenant Church.  Paul and Diane have two beautiful adopted children.  Their 12 year old son Alex was adopted from St. Petersburg, Russia at the age of 21 months.  Their 4 year old daughter Mandy was adopted from Guatemala City, Guatemala at the age of 7 months.

Paul and Diane have a deep passion in connecting orphan children with Christian families.  Because of this passion, they created a ministry called H.E.R.O. (Helping Every Rescued Orphan)

H.E.R.O.’s vision is to see every orphaned child find a Christian family to call their own, and to support, train and encourage foster and adoptive families through the unique challenges they face.

H.E.R.O.’s mission is to:
(1) Raise awareness of the God given mandate to “care for the orphans”
(2) Provide information and resources to couples and individuals interested in fostering or adopting
(3) Provide support and encouragement to couples and individuals as they walk through the fostering and/or adoption process
(4) Provide support, training, and encouragement to help couples and individuals through the lifelong journey of foster/adoptive parenting.

We are excited to announce Paul and Diane will be guest post writers for Effective Parenting.  Their articles will address many of the H.E.R.O.’s mission topics listed above.  For those of you who’ve adopted children, you will benefit greatly from Paul and Diane’s experience and extensive research in behavioral, emotional, and spiritual challenges.

Please welcome Paul and Diane to Effective Parenting.

Derek on January 2nd, 2012

Blooper…never knew it would be so tough to do an introductory video! We strive to have a great time together. Family can be fun!

Derek on December 24th, 2011

holy night

Words: Placide Cappeau
Music: Adolphe-Charles Adam

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hears the angels’ voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise us,
Let all within us praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Merry Christmas from the Cheek family

Derek on December 24th, 2011

dad reading-the-bible

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” ~ Luke 8:15 (niv)

We discussed in part I and part II how our unintentional hypocritical behaviors from a “crowded” heart, represented by “thorns” of distraction, is negatively influencing our children’s heart to be “shallow” where they are unable to grow a strong root of faith. We are now at a point where we have awareness and are diligently removing our subtle “thorny” behaviors with trust, wisdom, and contentment. Our soil (heart) is cleaned and tilled by our high moral character and our heart is vacant with room for God to occupy. However, we cannot stop here because our life will still not bear the quality of maturity needed unless we plant, fertilize, and water the word of God in our receptive heart. How? By hearing it, retaining it, and persevering.

Hear it ~ planting
We need to show our children what it means to abide in God. To hear from God we must dwell and endure in his presence. Here are 3 ways we can receive seed to plant.

  1. Daily Bible Study
    The “seed” in the parable is referring to the Word of God. As we abide in Him we let His word abide in us. God’s word passes through our mind and lands in the deepest parts of our heart and we allow him to fully influence and rule our whole being. It is merely impossible to trust, receive wisdom, and be content without studying Gods’ word. If we do not discipline ourselves to studying the bible, we risk allowing the thorns of distraction to creep back into our heart.

  2. Prayer
    Families should pray together. Let me restate that. Families must pray together. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~ Matthew 18:20 (NIV). A praying family will experience God’s voice of assurance in time of need and will not be led astray. Because of self reliance; the secular worldview lifestyle is at a huge disadvantage over a God directed lifestyle.

  3. Church fellowship
    We also hear the word of God from a pastor of a church. Attentive listening of a sermon augments your daily bible reading and provides a supplementary perspective in receiving revelatory understanding and application of scripture. Regular church attendance presents an opportunity for building lifelong covenant friends. Volunteering reprioritizes our availability to serve others. Church fellowship is a vital element to hearing the word of God.

Retain it ~ fertilizing
Retaining the word of God in our heart simply equates to doing it. Maturity is gained by seizing every unrighteous thought before the point of taking action. (Philippians 4:8-9) Application of spiritual nutrients in all of our decisions promotes vibrant growth in our life. Our children will see the benefits of a righteous lifestyle and will want to continue it as they grow into adulthood.

Persevere ~ watering
* The word perseverance here is translated to “patience”, which means strength of mind sustained by a good hope. Many times a righteous decision does not seem to have an immediate impact or benefit, especially during those times of persecution and testing of our faith. Perseverance is discipline to be unwavering in holding on to truth with patience. Watering the word of God in our deeply embedded root system with perseverance will carry us through seasons of drought. Our perseverance will help answer those difficult questions and strengthen our children’s faith that God is in control, on their behalf, over any situation.

Each and every day, people choose which orchard of fruit – biblical worldview or secular worldview – to consume in order to satisfy needs. The data is showing Christian parents are consuming from both. We have also made a mistake in expecting and solely relying on the church to be our children’s biblical worldview tutor. All of which have caused confusion for our children to not see a distinction between the two worldviews. They are easily persuaded into deceptively buying the fruit with a poisonous core from a variety of “snake-oil” influential sources.

boy_reading_bibleWe can reverse the statistics where our children long to continually abide in God. It is up to us to faithfully model the biblical worldview. God will honor our righteous decisions and bless our lives as He promises. This will produce a crop full of the fruit of truth providing life’s essential nutrients of peace, joy, and happiness our children will desire more than anything.

*from ”The Critical English Testament” adaptation of Bengel’s Gnomon 1876

Derek on December 17th, 2011

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature” ~ Luke 8:14 (niv)

thorns smallIn part I “Expecting Fruit among Thorns”, I left you with a question to think about. “What parable category am I among?” All of us, in varying degrees, fall into the parable’s definition of “thorns”. However, the real question becomes “How long do I reside there?” Residing there starts patterns which lead to habits that could ultimately result into a lifestyle that’s conflicting to our beliefs. That lifestyle chokes, or suffocates, the word of God we have heard, whereby becoming ineffective in our lives. Behaviors contrary to what we actually believe create an illusion for our children that the biblical worldview and secular worldview are synonymous. Before we can effectively influence our children toward righteousness, we first must remove the fruitless stranglehold of “thorns” in our daily life and set our eye toward “good soil”.

“Trust” removes “Worries” thorns

Life does get tough at times. With a loss of a job, a marriage headed for divorce, or a lab report denoting a terminal health condition, fear and worry can quickly consume our thoughts. What behaviors do we manifest during waves of anxiety? What behaviors do our children see? God did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), so when we worry we detach from God and prevent Him to work in us. To help distinguish a difference from the biblical and secular worldviews, our children have to see us trusting God in our countenance, attitude, and action. To remove the obstructive thorn of “worries”, we must trust in the Lord with all of our heart and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). In addition, our children need to see trust in action.

“Wisdom” removes “Riches” thorns

“Riches” in and of itself is not the thorn. Being under the power and influence of “riches” is. The addictive nature of persistently looking for monetary gain consumes and captivates our thoughts blocking out any room for the seed of God to mature in our life. No one can serve both God and money. (Luke 16:13) If we love money with all of our heart, mind, and strength, God is pushed out of our life. Inevitably, greed becomes our master and it will bring ruin to your household. (Proverbs 15:27) In this environment, our children will perceive money to be the only answer to satisfy their need for peace and joy.

We need money to support living, fulfilling of dreams, and growing ministries, but how do we serve God with all of our heart and still manage the need for money? The answer is to seek wisdom. In Proverbs 8, wisdom is calling us and the chapter describes the benefits to our life when we receive it. Wisdom has more value and is more precious than gold, silver, and rubies. Positioning God first in every area of our life opens an unobstructed conduit for wisdom to pour into us. In addition to reaping knowledge, understanding, and a long life, wisdom has provisional blessing…“With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.”(Proverbs 8:18) “…bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.”(Proverbs 8:21)

To remove the smothering thorn of “riches”, we need to focus our daily energy to seeking Godly wisdom. In doing so, our children will witness the miraculous provisional power of our God that the world cannot compete with. They will be secure in knowing they do not have to chase riches.

“Contentment” removes “Pleasures” thorns

Remember trying to get your toddler to look at the camera and smile when attempting to take their picture? You would make noises, funny faces, or wave a stuffed animal sporadically hoping to capture their undivided attention. Like the toddler, the family is enticed by many “pleasures” hoping to capture our exclusive attention. Because of our activity laden lifestyle, the family has fallen into the trap of overindulgence. God has no vacant room to live in our hearts because it’s fully occupied by “pleasures”. Our children begin thinking God is out there somewhere like a distant uncle they haven’t seen in years. Discontentment in the home will create a longing for something better than the present situation. This type of restlessness leads to poor judgment and hypocritical behaviors.

To remove the suppressing thorn of “pleasures”, we have to push out some “pleasures” from the rooms of our heart and let God inhabit them. Contentment starts with serving and obeying God (Job 36:11). Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6) Mom and Dad keeping their lives free from the love of “pleasures” and being content with everything they have will demonstrate to our children God’s promise…”Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

hypocritical smallTrust, wisdom, and contentment remove unintentional hypocrisy and models what we believe. In the final part of this series, Producing Fruit on Good Soil, we’ll discuss the final stage of transforming us to being the biblical worldview influencers God has called us to be as parents.