I desire to be clear in the message I convey to my children. How I punctuate each sentence as our story unfolds makes all the difference. Meaning can shift as simple as a comma moves in a sentence.
Observe the two sentences. Note the difference punctuation makes:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
See how punctuation has made the same sentence mean two exactly opposite things? The same type of confusion can occur within the home.
- Grace without truth or truth without grace promotes an environment of unsecure love, weak faith and uncertain purpose (Grace-Based Parenting).
- Failure to build character in to the lives of our children leaves the garden of their hearts full of weeds stealing valuable nutrients (Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right).
- Carelessly placing an emphasis on consumerism over a passionate love for God embodies worldly success — power, wealth, beauty, fame — instead of an unquenchable love and concern for others (Raising Kids for True Greatness).
- A parent high on control and low on poise/grace conveys a lack of earnestness to know and experience the goodness of God (The High Cost of High Control).
For several years, I’ve been digging in to the scriptures for the necessary punctuation marks, their meanings, and when to use them in order to set the tone of our home and transfer an eternal message to my children.
Here are some great tips we’re incorporating in to our marriage and family:
- Capital Letters: As you might begin a sentence, begin every day purposed: who is your master, what is your mission, how will you treat your mate? Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Capitalize the value each family member has in the Kingdom of God – live a life worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1). Demonstrate how to love and revere God and respect His authority as master/creator. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16). A leader becomes a servant to all.
- Commas: As a comma invites pause, insert regular occasions to connect independent people. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39, 1 John 3:16b). The Bible speaks of over 35 ways to relate to one another: be kind to one another, be compassionate to one another, bear with one another, be devoted to one another, serve one another, forgive one another, do not deceive one another, live in harmony with one another, teach and admonish one another, do not slander one another, offer hospitality to one another, have fellowship with one another, accept one another.
Be sure to provide opportunity to practice, without electronics, these expressions with face-face interactions: meals together, play games together, go on dates together, and partake in outdoor adventure as a family.
- Semi-colon: The semi-colon helps to sort out and organize many things. Like the semi-colon, God’s Word allows a family to sort out and create significant harmony in thought and attitude. The scriptures of old are relevant and relatable to the events of today. For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope (Romans 15:4).
- Colon: The colon allows for a formal presentation of information intended to equip the reader with knowledge. As with the colon, foster formal presentation of what to believe and why to believe it. Develop self-sustaining disciples of Jesus who can defend the faith. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15).
Stay tuned for Part 2 of 2!