Talk, Pray & Be Vulnerable – advice for parents of teens from co-pastor and mother of 5, Trudy Tucker

FullSizeRenderMother of 5 and co-pastor at Family Word and Worship Church, Trudy Tucker is advocating that talking with your children, being vulnerable and practising consistent prayer are powerful tools in parenting teenage kids. In an interview with Family and Faith Magazine, the passionate pastor shared practical, sound examples of effective parenting at work.

“Once the kids grow up, one thing we have to do is talk. I try and talk to my teenager and teach her the Word,” she admonished, noting that “A big thing for teenagers is the whole idea of sex. The hormones are going, there is attraction and I have to give her the Word and I have to say this is why the Word of God says to wait.”

Laying down God’s rules is not the only thing Pastor Trudy does. She also emphasizes God’s heart and mind towards His children. “He doesn’t want you to wait because he doesn’t want you to have fun. He wants you to wait because he is protecting, because you are valuable, you are important, God has a call upon your life, you have a purpose,” she explained.

And what if those teens still disobey? The Family Word and Worship Pastor recommends prayer!

“I think we underestimate the value of prayer. We have to pray for our children and we have to cover them. We think sometimes that prayer is not enough and we have to take this into our own hands, no God is able. The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to reach them right where they are. We underestimate the power of God – we think to pray is just a little thing but we must really value prayer and you will see prayer work in your life. It can change things. It can change the circumstances and it can change people,” pastor Trudy testified.

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The down-to-earth pastor also highlighted the importance of being vulnerable with teenagers. “I have to be vulnerable with my girls to say listen, this is what I went through and this is why I don’t want you to walk the same road I did. We have to be real with them. The time has changed. They are exposed to so much more than I was at their age so I have to be willing to step out there and be real to let them know this is the road I went down, you don’t have to go down that road,” she reasoned.

Tucker family
Pastor Trudy Tucker (left) with 3 of her children and husband, Pastor Junior Tucker

With children ranging from 21 to 6 years, Pastor Trudy counsels that disciplining each child may require a different approach and that it is very important to instill values and correction from children are very young.

“With one of my children I would just have to look at her, and that was enough for her to get her straight, with another one I would say that I am very disappointed and I know my little boy is like that, if I tell him that I am disappointed he is heartbroken but you have to start very early and in that way when they get older now they will listen so you don’t have to get to the point where you are now beating and spanking them because you have instilled the values very early on,” she counseled.

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However, what if you didn’t cultivate that relationship from the beginning? Pastor Trudy says it’s never too late. “A scripture that I love is that love covers a multitude of sins. It is never too late to start building that relationship and what it takes is a lot of love. Meaning you have to start putting in the time. It is unfortunate you don’t get it back. When they are older the time for the spanking, to me, has passed. Now you are going to have to reason. We are going to have to talk about it,” she insisted.

Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

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Parents of 10, Major Neil & Jan Lewis on Effective Parenting Strategies & Outcomes that Inspire!

With 36 years of marriage, 10 children and 6 grandchildren in their quiver, Major Neil and Janice Lewis share their faith-imbued parenting and family management strategies and outcomes with Family and Faith Magazine. The Lewis family has 4 boys and 6 girls ranging from age 34 to 14 years of age. They are: Noel 34 yrs, Priscilla 32 yrs, Kathryn 31 yrs, Christina 29 yrs, Gabrielle 27 yrs, Raphael 24 yrs, Michaela 23 yrs, Elizabeth 19 yrs, Joel 17 yrs, Emmanuel 14 yrs. Family and Faith Magazine couldn’t be more pleased to share their testimony of faith in parenting, marriage and family life at a time when Jamaica and the world urgently need strong positive examples of success on the home front.

Lewis Family

Child Birthing Decisions

FFM: Did you make a decision to have so many children?

Major Neil and Jan: We decided that we would live by faith in Jesus, and made a decision to NOT ARTIFICIALLY RESTRICT the number of children we had but allow the Lord to decide how many children we would have.

FFM: Explain how your faith impacted your decisions about having children.

Major Neil and Jan: The song ” Living by Faith in Jesus….” became our operating principle. Initially Jan wanted 3 children because her mother had 3 children; I had wanted 12 children because my father had wanted 12. Although we had 10 children, Jan had 2 miscarriages. Because she hemorrhaged with No. 9 we decided to have any further children by caesarean section, hence No. 10 was a caesar. However, a failure of faith at this time caused us to make a decision to tie off Jan’s tubes. We were later convinced that this was a wrong decision and constituted a breach of our faith in Christ.

Education

FFM: How are your children schooled?

Major Neil and Jan: The first 5 children were schooled at a Christian Preparatory School, with Numbers 6 & 7 attending prep school up to grade 2. Thereafter these and subsequent ones were home-schooled.

FFM: What factors influenced your decision to school your children in that way?

Major Neil and Jan Lewis: Jan was very involved with our children’s education even to the point of jointly with 2 other persons acting as headmistress of the School while the Principal was on a six-month Sabbatical. She participated in bringing the Abeka home-school curriculum to the school. She also acted as Principal of a Prep school sponsored by our Church and our children attended that school during that period

So, all in all the last 5 children were home-schooled. This school developed into Redeemed Preparatory and Reading Centre operating out of our home.

We made conscious decisions to home-school the children up to grade 6 and send them to traditional High Schools for secondary education. These were Ardenne High and St Andrew high School for Girls, Jan’s Alma Mater. No. 10 attends Wolmer’s Boys, my Alma Mater.

FFM: Some of your children are now grown up, how do you now feel about your choices for them? Did it pay off? Are they becoming the people you have trained them to be?

Major Neil and Jan: Excellent without exception for the girls and the older group of 5. Less so for the boys who had difficulty with socialisation and adjusting out of the home-school environment into the public-school environment.

  • The first 4 earned full scholarships to the US Military Academies (3 Navy and 1 Air Force)
  • The fifth, a girl, is paying her own way through University
  • The sixth, a boy, is working to pay his way through Edna Manley School of the performing Arts in pursuit of a degree in piano.
  • The seventh, a girl, is on a scholarship from the Government of Brazil, studying Medicine.
  • The eighth, a girl, is on a scholarship at Venlo University in the Netherlands studying Microbiology and Statistical research
  • The ninth, a boy, is currently applying for suitable scholarships preparing for University, and
  • The tenth is in his fourth form year at Wolmer’s Boys School.

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Parenting Decisions

FFM: Share 2 effective ways in which you motivate your children.

Major Neil and Jan: We eventually, as we discovered the principle, divided the children’s’ lives into 7-year blocks as follows:

  • First 7 yrs motor skills and communication/language skills development ensuring they learned to read very early and were encouraged to maintain a high academic average of 95% in preparatory school
  • Second 7 yrs formation/development of supervisory and home management skills; i.e. cooking, cleaning and sibling leadership/discipline. Each one had responsibility for a younger one especially while the family is travelling; or supervising all younger siblings if the parents are out for hours, such as date night.
  • WE BRING THEM INTO ADULTHOOD AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN; First they take a coming of age hike to Blue Mountain Peak (as part of a group), on return from which their status in the family changes as follows;
    • Corporal punishment ceases as a disciplinary method
    • They can take part in major family decisions and are privy to confidential family issues and discussions.
    • They must be prepared to supervise and manage the entire household in the event of absence of the parents over days rather than hours:
  • Primarily through the Prep and early High School years, we encouraged them to try different sports and skills such as competence in music,
  • Additionally, we told them we would ensure that they got a 1st class Secondary Education but that they had to earn Scholarships for their tertiary education which we regarded as compulsory or they must pay for it themselves.

FFM: Share 2 effective ways in which you discipline your children.

Major Neil and Jan: Up to coming into adulthood corporal punishment is applied according to age; “Spare the Rod, Spoil the child.”

  • Mother; one slap at age 1, 2 slaps at age 2 to 3 slaps at age 3
  • For severe offences requiring referral to father then this punishment is doubled
  • The end result is that especially for the girls, corporal punishment was no longer necessary by age 9.
  • Post thirteen years, withdrawal of privileges became the method of choice for disciplining.

FFM: Do you practice different parenting approaches when disciplining and motivating your girls versus your boys?

Major Neil and Jan: We encourage all the children to confide in us as parents even their most intimate secrets, primarily through family prayers and a once monthly Family all night Prayer Meeting, where each person is free to criticise/rebuke anyone else even us as parents with no fear of a negative response. The girls have an easier time doing this. We were deliberate in engendering a spirit of seeking and granting FORGIVENESS between them. The result is that there is no lingering strife and rivalry and they remain loving.

FFM: In general, what are your top 3 lessons you have learned about parenting over the years?

Major Neil and Jan: PRAYING FOR THEM INDIVIDUALLY DAILY.

  • This is a responsibility largely fulfilled throughout their early lives by their mother. This made them malleable in our PARENTING hands and enabled the Holy Spirit to reveal when things are going wrong.
  • Later we also implemented a Prayer Project System where we prayed and reported progress on an ongoing basis for every prayer need until the answer is granted.
  • Now that they are all adults, resident in many different time zones our family Whatsapp group is very helpful as a tool of encouragement, responsive (24 hr.) prayer and counsel for our daily lives.

Lewis Kids

The larger the number of children the easier the parenting responsibility socially AND educationally AND financially became; the older siblings help raise/teach/pay for the younger ones etc. Having this large number of CHILDREN OURSELVES prepared our household to always include at least one foster child who benefitted from our parenting and family bonding. We found that consequently there is always a reserve of persons on whom to call in times of need.

“Train up a child in the way he should go AND in the END, he will not depart from it” – we encourage them to give their hearts to the Lord Jesus from an early age. The Family Altar is the most critical component in the child-rearing challenge.

Marriage

FFM: What impact did having many children have on your marriage?

Major Neil and Jan: Up to the fifth child, it was an exciting learning process because each child was so different; At no. 5 the Lord did a paradigm shift which enabled Janice to freely move forward for the next 5 of our children. The large number of children was therefore never a burden or drag on our individual lives or personal ambitions. The Lord had given us a revelation early in our marriage that children must never get in the way of ministry but equally that ministry must never get in the way of family, so wherever family was ministry must be and wherever ministry was family must be, therefore we practised taking them wherever we went. They were always polite and well behaved, this was a skill honed in the discipline of family prayers. They have been a major bonding agent and have never been a burden!! We came into a revelation of the dynastic characteristic and the demographically essential nature of HAVING A QUIVER FULL OF CHILDREN thus fulfilling the Biblical requirement of multiplying and filling the earth.

FFM: Who comes first in your relationship, spouse or children? Why?

Major Neil and Jan: We have always regarded our child-rearing as a fully joint responsibility and have tried to avoid any preferential behaviour however I have found that;

  • For Janice her nurturing, mothering heart appeared to me to give the children priority; Jan prefers to say; that for her Jesus is first, followed by her spouse then our children
  • For me my Spouse was definitely first and it was difficult adjusting to put Jesus first before her and I believe this was responsible for the failure of faith I mentioned earlier on the birth of our tenth child.

FFM: What advice can you offer to parents struggling to raise respectful, responsible and loving children?

Major Neil and Jan Lewis: ESTABLISH A DISCIPLINED DAILY FAMILY ALTAR through which you train them to behave in church from they are infants.

  • We have used the ONE YEAR BIBLE and read through The Bible every year as a family since the birth of our fourth child.
  • LOVE THEM, LOVE THEM, and VALUE THEM as A REWARD from the Lord as the Word of God insists.
  • Discipline them do not abuse them.
  • PRAY, PRAY, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING FOR THEM! God has the Blue-print for EACH CHILD, they are after all His children first!

Responses to questions were graciously provided in writing by Major Neil and Janice Lewis to Family and Faith Magazine. Comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com

Prime Minister of Jamaica Repents for the Sins of the Nation

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and his wife joined with thousands of Jamaicans on Saturday, December 2 to seek God and repent for the sins of the nation. Amidst leaders from most Christian denominations including Seventh Day Adventists, Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, Independent churches and other groups, the Prime Minister passionately and solemnly listed and confessed the sins of the nation and sought forgiveness from God under open sky in Half-Way-Tree Square.

“Lord God and Heavenly Father, I come to you today on behalf of my nation, my family, my wife who is here with me and every family and person in Jamaica. I come as Prime Minister of Jamaica on behalf of myself and all leaders of the state and their various administrative staff, operational arm, and the various agents and agencies;

Lord God and Eternal Father I come acknowledging that we have sinned against the people of Jamaica, we have sinned against our fellow man, we have sinned against our family members and relatives, we have sinned against our neighbours, we have sinned against the children, the youth and the unborn. We have sinned against the poor and the weak and the elderly, we have sinned against the free and the imprisoned…” Mr. Holiness outlined.

Moved by the Prime Minister’s confessions and supplications, the audience could be heard weeping and shouting “amen” and “hallelujah!”

“We hereby seek your face and turn from our wicked ways asking for your mercies and forgiveness for sins and seek by faith and by choice to humble ourselves in your sight acknowledging our sins individually and collectively. We now take responsibility for our sins. As we come to you, grant us grace to obey you in Jesus name,” the Prime Minister petitioned.

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Explaining his perspective on prayer, the Prime Minister also noted that: “We pray not because we don’t want to work…we pray because we know our efforts will never be enough.

“We pray because God is stronger than us,” Prime Minister Holiness declared to much cheers and applause from the audience which tarried in Half-Way-Tree Square until after midnight.

The National Day of fasting, prayer and repentance was convened by Pastor Jeffrey Shuttleworth of Tarrant Baptist Church. In addition to the Prime Minister, several church leaders from various denominations prayed and repented about several themes including the family, the economy, violence, media and culture among others.

comment below or send an email to familyandfaithmagazine@gmail.com