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Living Life in the Dash

When you look at a tombstone, you see a name, something nice about the person, the year they were born and the year they died…and a small dash in between. The dash…it’s what we do between the time we’re born and the time we die…that’s what’s most important. It’s critical because the dash is your identity…it’s who you are—husband, wife, mom, dad.  The dash is your influence…it’s how you touch the lives of others.  The dash is your legacy…it’s what you’ll leave behind to future generations.  For ideas on living life to the fullest in your dash, check out my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

How Building a Tree House is Like Building a Relationship with Your Child

When our boys were young, we built a tree house together. I learned some important parenting principles from building that tree house.  Here are four of them. First, it takes time.  Just as it takes time to make a plan, gather tools and construct the tree house, it also takes time to plan and make memories with your kids.  Second, it requires a firm foundation.  A tree house needs to rest on a sturdy foundation. Your relationship with your child requires a firm foundation also. It’s a foundation built on truth and love. They need to know that you’ll always speak the truth to them and always love them for who they are. For more, check out my blog at MarkMerrill.com

How to Make One-on-One Time with Your Child Special

You may have heard me say…your kids spell love T-I-M-E.  And spending one-on-one time with them individually is a critically important way to communicate love.  Great conversations can happen while you’re folding clothes or cooking a meal together.  When you’re driving them to an after school activity, turn down the radio and strike up some conversation.  Or get out of town for an overnight trip.  Your time alone with them will surely create some lasting memories for you both.  The important thing is to just spend time together with your child. For more ideas on How to Spend More One-on-One Time with Your Children., go to my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

Fight for Your Marriage, Not Your Pride

In his book, Uncommon Marriage, Tony Dungy shares why couples often fight harder for their own pride than for the good of their marriage.  He says “it goes against our human nature” to apologize when we think we’re right and our spouse is wrong.  It may not be easy to take the high road, but here are 3 steps to fight for your marriage rather than your pride.  First, identify what the conflict is really about.  Fighting for your pride will seem more important until you realize what the heart of the issue really is.  Second, realize what is worth fighting for: being right or being loving.  For more ways to fight for your marriage, visit my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

New Research: Teach Gratefulness by Giving Your Kids Less

Unfortunately, our culture constantly tells our children they need more and more.  And most of the time, that “more” has to come from us.  As parents, we like to make our children happy.  But recent research cited in the Wall Street Journal says our children would be much happier if we didn’t give them everything they wanted. So, here are a few ways to give your children less. Instead of just feeding your children, have them help with the cooking as they get older. Instead of just buying them things they want, give them work around the house so they can earn money to buy those things.  For more ways to give your kids less, check out my blog at MarkMerrill.com.

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