PRIMARY SCHOOL!! Some pointers to making it less stressful and more successful


It is the teacher’s responsibility to re-enforce those manners

You need to discipline and disciple your child, care and nurture your child. You are not called to be their friend. They will have lots of those.

MAKE SURE THE INSTRUCTIONS YOU GIVE YOUR CHILD ARE VERY CLEARLY EXPLAINED and also give them a reason why they need to do certain things.

A father came home from work one day to find his children brushing the dog’s teeth with his toothbrush. He was horrified. His little daughter looked up and saw his horrified expression and immediately said “Don’t worry daddy, we will put your toothbrush back exactly where we found it”. As I said, explain the reasons for things!

They need a minimum of eight hours sleep.

During the week have a set bed time and a set time to wake up. Prepare everything the day before.
Make sure that their school uniform is laid out ready for them in the morning. Check the timetable and ensure that they have the correct PE clothes, books etc. that they will need. Don’t do it for them, but do supervise them doing it.
The homework diary needs to be checked and signed.

The supper table is the place where children learn to communicate and interact on a social basis and where manners are taught.

TELEVISION TIME DURING THE WEEK SHOULD BE SEVERELY LIMITED and there should be no television at least an hour before bed. They need to prepare for school and then get to spend some time with you.
Read them a story, lie on the floor and tell each other stories. Do relaxation exercises. Watching television stimulates their brains making it difficult for them to fall asleep

How was your day? Fine
Did you have fun today? Yes
What did you do today at school? Work
Instead ask something like: Did your teacher do or say anything funny today?
Did you find anything really difficult to do today?
On a scale of 0 to 10 – with 10 being absolutely amazing and 0 being just okay – what number would you rate your day.
Avoid words like 0 being terrible as that puts a negative spin on the question.Then tell your child how you rated your day and why. This encourages active communication and teaches your child to listen to others.

Your child is an individual. There are always going to be children who are more organized, who learn at a faster pace, who will always look clean and tidy and neat.

There are few things more discouraging to a child than to hear “why can’t you be more like her – she never loses things”. “Just look how well she has done, you are going to have to work harder”

DON’T PANIC IF YOUR CHILD IS THE LAST CHILD IN THE CLASS TO LEARN TO READ, it does not mean they are stupid. Children mature academically differently.

It is paramount that the fundamental basics of education are firmly in place – should you wish your child to not only perform well later on, but also to support their confidence in themselves so get involved with their homework and projects. Show interest but please don’t do it for them.

Short of them being bullied, stay out of the fight.

You are only going to make it worse and they generally manage to sort themselves out.Only intervene in a friendship if it is negatively impacting your child on a long term basis and even then proceed with caution. Children generally have a way of working things out themselves.

It is not fair on your child if you are negative about her teacher – she still needs to be in the class every day.

And on that note if you are unhappy about something please make an appointment to see the teacher. If things don’t improve then only go to the head mistress.

This is the group of parents who meet on the pavement outside the school and gossip about the teachers, each other and the children. It is a horrible group!

Your child will go through various stages of behavior – some good some not so good and whilst dealing with it just keep repeating ‘this too will pass’.

There is a Nigerian proverb that says “It takes a whole village to raise a child”

You need to start building your village as soon as possible. You need to make friends with your children’s friend’s parents and start sharing the responsibilities of raising children. You cannot raise a child on your own. It is vital that you receive support from the community.

-Take the stories your child comes home with from school with a pinch of salt – and don’t believe everything they say BUT
watch their long-term happiness-levels! If too quiet (or playing up), something is up!

-If homework is a problem: play games that teach what your child has to learn!

-Go to all the sports-games! You will meet other parents, have something to talk to about to your children, get to know other people’s children (whom you are lifting) and it’s exciting to watch your own child play – even if it is a sport you don’t usually like. You will be amazed at how enthusiastic you become when it is your child on the sports field or in the swimming pool!

-Teach your child how to take responsibility for their property and don’t bale them out by bringing their lunch, homework etc to school if they have forgotten it at home. Children need to know that there are consequences – both negative and positive – for their actions. You rob them of this learning if you always bale them out.

-Teach your child good work ethics – this begins with them making their own beds, doing the dishes and helping with house hold chores.

-Instill in your child during primary school years that she/he is a clever child with lots of potential and you will be setting the basis for a successful school career.

-Encourage your child to take part in extra-murals but also keep in mind that your child also needs time to just relax and play.

The following is an incident that changed my whole perspective of parenthood!

When our middle daughter was eight years old I was driving her and a friend to a birthday party and the two of them were sitting on the back seat discussing the jobs that their parents did. My daughter’s friend said “my mommy is a writer, a teacher and an editor”. I said “don’t forget that one of her jobs is also being a parent”. Her response was instantaneous “o no, my mommy says that is not a job that is sheer joy”.

Don’t let your children feel like they are a burden or a job, let them feel that they are sheer joy.

Children are a gift from the Lord…(Psalm 127:3)

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PARENTS!! Get up and dance…


What we need to remember as parents is that our children’s negative behaviour/habits do not define who they are and we should not allow those traits to cancel out the overwhelming good in our children.

Our children are far more than their present behaviour.

As I recognise my own bad behaviour towards God and as I start to forgive myself I find it so much easier to forgive my children and to move on.  I find that even in the midst of the storm, once my reaction is over, I am able to dance to the music of the thunder and in the light of the lightning and that when I firmly place my hand in God’s hands I am able to dance through the storms in the sure knowledge that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose”

I can dance in the storm because I know that ultimately none of this will matter when my children and I are safely  home with Him one day!

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Being a parent of a teenager is a bit like being a tight rope walker. It often feels like one is ‘walking on egg shells’ as we find ourselves challenged by them and the world we live in.

What is really great, however, is the fact that even if we misstep and fall off the tightrope, our safety net is ginormous!

GOD IS OUR SAFETY NET and when we go to Him in prayer for wisdom and discernment FOR OURSELVES in raising our children and we request wisdom, self-control and safety FOR OUR CHILDREN we know that He hears us and responds in love.

My all time favorite Bible verse is found in 1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins”. Instead of sins I put ‘mistakes’ because as  parents we make countless mistakes in raising our children but as long as they know they are loved and prayed for I believe that in the end they will develop into the people  God created them to be.

“And now these three remain:  faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love”  1 Corinthians 13:13

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Cape Town-20130919-01089

In the month of December 2014, a total number of 1 184 people died on the roads in South Africa.

During the Christmas period of 2015 my family and I took a drive one night to go and look at the Christmas lights in the main street in Cape Town. As we were driving along, the conversation turned to these horrific statistics. Imagine 1 184 people dying in one month on a country’s roads.  It works out to more than 38 people on average, dying needlessly, every day.

Our one daughter commented “If we were to be involved in an accident tonight I hope that we all die and not just one or two of us.  I want us to go together as a family”.

Another daughter replied “If that happens, God will be getting five amazing gifts!”

For a moment I didn’t understand what she meant and then it struck me.  That if we, as a family, died tonight God would be receiving “five amazing gifts” in the form of us that evening.

I have never heard death described like that before.

That if a believer dies, he arrives in Heaven as a present, with people waiting in anticipation to receive him as a gift – people who have gone before, as well as God Himself.

I have no fear of my own death but for many years I questioned what would happen to my faith if Steven, my husband, died.  He is my soul mate, my prayer partner, my best friend, the father of my children.  If he died, would I still be able to say ‘God is good’, would I still be able to believe that God is a God of love?  Would I still be able to cling to the knowledge that “His plans for me are for good and not for evil?”

Over the years, as I have spent more time reading His Word, more time in prayer, more time in just ‘sitting’ before Him, I have come to the realization that “Yes”, I would still be able to say all those things once I had finished crying and wailing and asking God “Why?”.  I am not sure how long that period would last, but I do know that eventually I will come to a place that I will once again be able to praise God and find peace in my soul.

The words that He has given us in John 14:27 are not idle words.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”


God’s gift in turn to us, besides our earthly lives, is the gift of eternal life.

“…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”  (Romans 6:23)

Adapted from the following blog post:

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“If you have failed and you are filled with despair, with no idea where to turn for inspiration and strength, remember then the compassion of Jesus.  In the power of His love He encourages you to persevere and to rebuild your life”. Solly Ozrovech

One of the most comforting verses God put into the Bible is the one that says “…though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:24) If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour and truly desire to serve the Lord and live our lives as His children the following verse will apply to us “If the Lord delights in a man’s way he makes his steps firm” (Psalm 37:23) . It doesn’t matter how many times we may fail or feel we have blown it – if we are prepared to go before Him and confess our sins He says  “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  (Isaiah 43:25)

Jesus knows exactly what we are like.  In fact He made allowances for our bad behavior when He answered Peter’s question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21 & 22)
He knew that we would need to come before Him time and time again to ask forgiveness for the same sin.

I often feel that nothing in my life changes. That I am still the same person I was before I accepted Christ as my Saviour.  That I will never gain victory over certain sins/wrong behavior/bad habits in my life.  I go before God and ask for forgiveness time and time again for exactly the same ‘sin’. It is then, in that moment of despair, that I cry out to God to give me the faith and the assurance that I am forgiven and I hear Him say “I am the One who began the good work within you and I will keep right on helping you grow in My grace until My task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns” (Philippians 1:6)

To back that up He put this in the Bible as well for whenever our hearts condemn us

 “ For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”   (1 John 3:20)

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The writing of the book “God’s Promise for Families” brought immense healing to my life.  It was written over a period of 12 years and initially started off as a journal.

I have a friend who is a Narrative Therapist and on a regular basis (more so when our children were younger) I would phone her up and cry “HELP”.

One day, after listening to me rambling on she asked me “Noel, what do you want for your children? What do you want for yourself?” and I replied “I want them to be happy. I want to be happy!” and she said to me “You can’t want that for them or for yourself.  If they do not experience unhappiness and sadness how will they ever know what happiness and joy is.  If they never experience failure how will they be able to enjoy success.  If they never experience feelings of depression, loneliness or hurt how will they ever be able to develop feelings of empathy for others who suffer with these emotions?”

In other words how will we or our children ever be able to grow into our full potential as human beings if we do not experience pain, hurt and disappointment? It is what we do with these emotions that is important.
If I am asked the same question today “Noel, what do you want for your children?”  My answer is “I want them to grow up with a sense of their own self worth and in the knowledge that God loves them and desires the best for them”
My prayer for myself and everyone who loves the Lord is that they and I, through God’s immense grace, will grow in the knowledge that God loves us and that He is still true to the words He spoke so many years ago:

“I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. (Jeremiah 29:11).

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A couple of years before my dad died I attended a service in a really quaint church in a small town known as Bathurst in the Eastern Cape.  The minister entered the church wearing black flowing robes and had an almost snow white beard.  He took his place behind the lectern and his opening words were “I better introduce myself.  I am Father Abraham and if you are here for the Christmas day service you can meet Father Christmas!”
The minister was my dad Ray Lutge, who in fact had been ministering in the Bathurst church for many years, but had been on a month’s bush camping holiday with my brother in Namibia and had decided not to shave!

His sermon that morning was on the gifts of the Spirit and I was amazed to find out that there are in fact 27 Spiritual gifts noted in the Bible.

They are prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, mercy, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation, apostleship, helps, administration, evangelist, pastoral, celibacy, voluntary poverty, martyrdom, hospitality, missionary, intercession and exorcism.

I have to laugh sometimes at how practical our God can be.  Here we have all these lovely ‘spiritual’ gifts and in there somewhere is this amazingly practical gift of administration!
Romans 12 says “Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others. God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well”

If you look at the list of gifts there are some there that each one of us should be practicing.
The gift of giving, the gift of mercy, the gift of helps and the gift of hospitality are all gifts that we are capable of exercising.

The gift I found very interesting was voluntary poverty.  “It is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to renounce material comfort and luxury and adopt a personal life-style equivalent to those living at the poverty level in a given society in order to serve God more effectively”.  
Well, Mother Teresa was certainly given that gift in abundance. She founded the Missionaries of Charity ministry in Calcutta and for 50 years she lived and worked among the poorest of the poor. She cared for orphans, AIDS patients, lepers, tuberculosis victims and many more in need.
God was speaking about material poverty and yet how many of us live in absolute poverty spiritually and emotionally. This kind of poverty is something that we have control of and it is in our power to change.

Even though, on a daily basis, Mother Teresa saw people starving with hunger she could still say the following:

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless.  The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.  We must start in our homes to remedy this kind of poverty.  Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat”

Each one of us is capable of doing something about this kind of poverty – all it takes is love.

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