Category Archives: Parenting

Summer: Boost Reading Skills and Christian Growth

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

School is out, and summer is here. 4595018_s If you have children, you know that they look forward to a much-needed break from the classroom and very intense learning and studying.  But, just because summer is here, doesn’t mean they should abandon the books.  There are many studies that show children fall behind in reading skills, and other academic skills when they don’t continue summer reading.  Young children, however, need more than just having access to  books.  They need guidance to make sure that they the books are age appropriate and they are developing comprehension skills as well.   The best way to develop comprehension is to ask questions, and that’s where parental involvement is so vital.  If you are also wanting to build spiritual understanding and growth, then reading with your children during the summer can incorporate biblical teaching as well, and this can be a great bonding time.  
This summer, my soon to be 10 year old is at that age where she really enjoys reading together and wants to be asked questions.  

For the summer, we have chosen 2 reading projects.
Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Measuring Up

Wisdom is Realizing The God Given Value Of Being Uniquely YOU!15038359_s

“If I was the only one I wouldn’t be littler or bigger, would I? I’d be just me, wouldn’t I?”
 ― Fynn, Mister God, This Is Anna

It’s back to school time, and unfortunately, that also means the return of many children to an unfair world of comparison and peer pressure.  For those who are not considered one of the “in crowd” this can be a tough time, and the devil uses such opportunities to bring our children into the bondage of insecurity, and possibly even self-hate.  How do we help our children keep the right perspective on their value and keep their God -given potential from being tarnished? Read the rest of this entry

Watch Over Me

Wisdom is……being diligent to watch over and protect what is entrusted to you.

It was busy this weekend in the grocery store.  I sat in my car waiting for the cars behind me to clear. 13140028_s When my car is in reverse, my bumper camera comes on and a beeping sound is emitted if  something is detected behind my car.  The beeping was getting annoying because cars were behind me and not moving anytime soon.  I decided to just put my car in park and wait patiently… Read the rest of this entry

2012- A Year of Developing Character

As I reflect upon my spiritual goals for the year 2012, I desire most to focus on developing Godly character. When I would encounter difficult challenges in life during my growing up years, it became a common expression of my mom to say “Great chance for character growth,” and that would usually halt my pity party. For some reason, changing my focus to developing character always made it a challenge, and gave the circumstance a focused goal….thus the grit that often needs to accompany God’s grace began to be molded into my life.

Ephesians 6:10-18 – We must put on the whole armor of God.  We must have the character of Jesus Christ.  It is impossible to have the power of God without having the character of God, which is holiness.

The Bible lists many attributes of godly character, and I would like to borrow from a list of 49 attributes ( and their opposites) that was developed by Drs. Debbie and Don Dunlap ( biblical counselors that were very instrumental in developing my character through the years.)
They encouraged parents to teach these qualities to their children and developed a worksheet of 7 steps to guide parents with the teaching process.   1. Know the definition (dictionary and biblical).  2. List synonyms and antonyms.  3.Name similar character qualities (Refer to list).  4. Find examples in scripture.  5.Name some men/women in the Bible who did NOT demonstrate the quality.  6.Talk about how Jesus demonstrated the character quality in his ministry and life.  7. Identify how you can demonstrate the character qualities in your own personal life.

I plan to look at a character quality each week on this blog site.  Hope you’ll join me in your own pursuit of character development.

List of Character Qualities (and opposites):

Alertness vs Unawareness * Attentiveness vs Unconcern * Availability vs Self-centeredness *Boldness vs Fearfulness *Cautiousness vs Rashness * Compassion vs Indifference *Contentment vs Covetousness * Creativity vs Under-achievement *Decisiveness vs Double-minded * Deference vs Rudeness * Dependability vs Inconsistency * Determination vs Faint-heartedness * Diligence vs Slothfulness * Discernment vs Judgement * Discretion vs Simple-Mindedness * Endurance vs Giving Up * Enthusiasm vs Apathy * Faith vs Presumption *Flexibility vs Resistance * Forgiveness vs Rejection * Generosity vs Stinginess * Gentleness vs Harshness * Gratefulness vs Ungratefulness * Hospitality vs Loneliness * Humility vs Pride *Initiative vs Unresponsiveness * Justice vs  Fairness * Joyfulness vs Self-Pity * Love vs Selfishness * Loyalty vs Unfaithfulness * Meekness vs Anger * Obedience vs Willfulness *Orderliness vs Disorganization * Patience vs Restlessness  * Persuasiveness vs Contentiousness * Punctuality vs Tardiness * Resourcefulness vs Wastefulness * Responsibility vs Unreliability *Reverence vs Disrespect * Security vs Anxiety * Self-Control vs Self Indulgence * Sensitivity vs Callousness * Sincerity vs Hypocrisy * Thoroughness vs Incompleteness * Thriftiness vs Extravagance * Tolerance vs Prejudice * Truthfulness vs Deception * Virtue vs Impurity *Wisdom vs Natural Inclinations

Character Quotes:
Character, not circumstances, make the man.
Booker T. Washington

Distance tests a horse’s strength. Time reveals a person’s character.
— 
Chinese Proverbs

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Helen Keller

Everyone tries to define this thing called Character. It’s not hard. Character is doing what’s right when nobody’s looking.”
— 
Unknown

A man’s reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.
– 
Unknown

Prayer for 2012:  May you grow in your knowledge and understanding of God.  May you allow Him to mold godly character into you in whatever circumstances this year may hold for you.

Image Above:  Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Linking Up To:
 

Touch ME

  Do you remember this picture?

This is a picture from an article called “The Rescue Hug”.
The article details the first week of a set of twins.
Apparently, each were in their respective incubators,
and one was not expected to live.
A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules
and placed the babies in one incubator.

When they were placed together, the healthier of the twins
reached out an arm over the sister in an endearing embrace.
The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.
(Verified by Snopes as true).

Both of these babies survived, and the story is a touching example of how important human touch is, and how God designed us to need it for survival, for life.

How comfortable are you with touch? American culture is typically very “hands off” and touch starved.  I would like to encourage you to examine your own comfort level with touch and being touched as a means of communication with those around you.  Touch doesn’t have to be sexual, and it is a very important communication tool.

A touch can convey:  I am thinking about you.   I noticed you.  I want to show I care.  You are important.  I empathize with your situation.  I want you to feel better.  I am happy to see you.  I am happy to be with you.  I sense your suffering.  I want to comfort you.  I see you.

Touch can have healing power:  comfort, decreased anxiety,  decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased pain, decreased tension, decreased restlessness, decrease in stress hormones, improved circulation, relaxation, increase in chemicals and hormones that promote a good immune system and promote emotional and mental well being.

Challenge: Reach out and connect with the people in your life via touch….a gentle hand on a shoulder, a gentle press of another’s hand in yours, a hug, a massage.  Let your kids lay on you, snuggle with you, give them hugs and affectionate touches.  Give your husband hugs and kisses, massages, and snuggles.    Connect even with strangers as opportunity presents itself with gentle touches that bestow friendliness, caring.

Touch and be touched.

A Touching Prayer for you:  May you become more and more comfortable with the life giving connection of touch….as God meant for it to be shared with others as an important expression of His love and concern.  May you give and receive many touches in your lifetime.

For More Information on the Importance of Touch:
5 Benefits of the Human Touch:  http://www.modernmom.com/article/5-benefits-of-the-human-touch
The Healing Power of Touch:   http://www.odemagazine.com/blogs/readers_blog/13878/the_healing_power_of_touch
The Healing Power of Touch Reduces Anxiety and Tension:   http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_n6_v9/ai_11489808/
The Healing Power of Touch: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/womens_health/83603
The Power of the Human Touch-How Important is the Touch?:   http://veronicaallen.hubpages.com/hub/The-Power-Of-The-Human-Touch
 The Power of Touch: http://scrubsmag.com/the-power-of-touch/

This Little Light of Mine

I’ve been so excited about the Making Your Home a Haven challenge that is being offered on WomenLivingWell.org.  The first step in the challenge was to light a candle everyday in a central focal area of the home, and then to pray for peace whenever your eye caught the light of the candle.  Monday was the first day, and sadly, my candle never got lit….too much chaos with everyone in my household off in different directions.  There never really was a time for us as a family that first night and I felt like I had failed… I decided to not despair, however, and make the most of Day 2 when all would be home with no pressing obligations.
I finished my day of work and got off at a decent time.  I drove to daycare with excitement about a good night at home.  I walked to the playground and looked around for my 7 year old.  Neither I nor the daycare person could find her at first.  We kept calling, and slowly a dirt covered object rose as if from the dead out of the sand at the back of the playground.  My daughter had let other children bury her up to the neck in sand.  She also had a note from school about misbehavior (after many warnings the note said).  ugh! I thought…this can’t be a good night, and where has this behavior come from when she has been doing so good. My car was filled with sand.  My bathroom floor was filled with sand…but I kept it together.  I thought, a quick shower and all will be ok, but NO…in the shower my child proceeded to misbehave.  When I asked her what’s wrong, and why are you acting this way, she said “Because I want to do what I want to do!”   She is at least brutally honest..no sugar coating or rationalizing for her. Her father came in and was informed about the days misconduct and when he began to talk to her she argued with him (very brave I might add!) and her sassy mouth went in to overdrive.  Uh oh! I thought….there goes my haven.  Of course my child was given consequences for her behaviors, and as soon as her father left, she said “I hate having parents who are not nice.  You are not nice parents.”  I have never heard such words from my child before.  All of these behaviors were so bizarre, even for her.
But I kept my focus.  I went and lit my candle, and I prayed.  As the flame flickered, I saw life glowing and my hope was renewed.  You know my heart, Lord, I said.  I give what’s left of this night to you.
I called my 7 year old to the kitchen to sit and start her homework while I prepared supper.  I helped her with her homework and tried to make it fun.  Immediately she calmed down and a peace settled over the remainder of the night.  She focused and minded.  Her father returned about an hour before her bedtime and commended her for changing her behaviors.  My teenager volunteered to make some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.. “and by the way mom, I like the candle”, she said.  As I sat with my 7 year old and we finished our cookies, I asked her what she had learned today…and very sweetly, she said..”to mind, and to think about what I’m doing, and to do the right thing.”  And she gave me a hug.  I thanked God for answered prayer, and the peaceful end to what started out so chaotic.
And I leaned over and blew out my candle with peace in my heart.
( Image above:  Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos)



A Teen Caught Between

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man (adult), I gave up my childish ways.”
(1 Corinthians 13:11)

My teenager is a mystery that baffles every sense of reason and logic that I try to apply to being her guide and mentor.  No matter how many times I think I’ve gotten past a gap in our communication, I slam into yet another seemingly impenetrable wall, and feel like I have to start all over again.  I love my daughter very much and I know she has a deep love and respect for me, so it is very stressful I think for both of us when anything disturbs the usually calm waters of our daily interactions.  The latest emotional meltdown and typical teenage shutdown that occurred created in me a deep desire to try a different approach to reaching out to her that would hopefully bring a much needed change in our ability to interact more effectively…What did I try?
I simply waited for her to be very calm and non-emotionally involved in any issue between us, and I had a heart to heart talk about what is going on through her eyes.  The insight shared was very enlightening and matched alot of the information I had been reading on the internet about what our teenagers have to deal with.  Most importantly, I realized that I was making the mistake of trying to look at her too closely with the eyes of an adult expecting her to be able to respond and interact with me as a mature adult.  Big mistake….huge in fact!  In reality, our teens are not mature adults, but they are also not children….they are caught somewhere in the twilight zone of being between 2 worlds and trying to transition through a very confusing time in their lives.  We may never have a full understanding of what they are going through, but we have the opportunity as Christian parents to apply enormous amounts of grace in to the midst of their rapidly changing worlds.
Here are some of the things that my daughter and I gleaned from our conversation and some applications for future interactions.
1. Teenagers may realize that they are overreacting and blowing things out of proportion, but at the same time, feel overwhelmed in their efforts to calm their emotions.  Thus the emotional meltdown, or the shut down or both.
  Application:  Both recognize this is happening.  Teenager should ask for some time to get their emotions together and then resume discussions.  Parent should recognize that the teen is not capable at that moment of being rational and allow the teen some reasonable time to calm down, or just be alone to think through their inner reactions, and organize their thoughts.

2. Teenagers can be overly sensitive to direct confrontations, especially if they perceive anger in the tone of the adult’s voice or mannerisms.  Teenagers can work on trying to remember that the adult is wanting an issue dealt with, and may not realize they are being overbearing in their directness.   The adult can work on remembering that a teenager may be more sensitive and defensive with a very direct, confrontational approach and make special effort to be less direct.
 Application:  Instead of the adult saying bluntly or maybe even with a stern tone, “Why haven’t you_______, (can come across as a very confrontational, accusatory attack)”.  The adult can say, I noticed you are doing_____________, and I had expected that you would have done____________.  Is there is a reason why this hasn’t been done yet.  Is there a misunderstanding in what I expected of you?  This approach, is indirect yet still addresses an issue is present.  It gives the teen opportunity to explain and not feel so attacked.  Many times, I think I have clearly communicated my expectations, and we have a mutual understanding, but when I hear my teen out, I realize she had a very different perspective or an incomplete understanding.  I may have assumed she was intentionally ignoring her duties.  She may have been on a different page all  together.

3. Teenagers want to be independent and yet they don’t.  A teen may toggle between presenting as confident, capable, and wanting to be  independent, and then expressing apprehensions, and insecurities.   They have unique and strong peer pressures to deal with, a constant fluctuation of hormonal changes to deal with, and they are transitioning between being dependent children and being prepared to face the “big wide world out there” as responsible adults.  They want to be considered adults but they do not feel fully competent yet to have that safety net of depending on mom and dad fully removed.  
Application: Teens need to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, even if it is done in baby steps to develop more competence and confidence.  Parents need to balance their push out of the nest with encouragement and support.  Make clear expectations.  Make clear consequences for infractions.  Give more trust and opportunity for independence yet maintain accountability and expectations of mutual respect.

To other parents out there equally perplexed by the bizarre and unpredictable behaviors of teens, I hope to offer some encouragement:  I have spoken with many friends who have already survived these challenging years of parenting, and they assure me that if the child is being raised by loving Christian parents, they will mature beyond these transitional moods and behaviors.  They can indeed become responsible and capable, and the preserved communication between parent and young adult  can develop into a new and very rewarding relationship.  In the mean time, love them bunches and bunches and try to be understanding of how difficult this transition period can be.  Don’t give up on them….God doesn’t.

Prayer for your teen:  May they find in you the example of a strong faith in God, and the reflection of God’s love, patience, and understanding as they mature into being what He wants them to be.

Picture Above courtesy of: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

It’s Just Routine.

Are routines and especially bedtime routines important for our children?  Some may think I go a bit overboard in the routines I have established for my 7 year old who is very hyper and prone to mood swings.   I on the other hand, am reassured that the routines are important, and not just because research supports this, but because my child has her own way of letting me know.  These are some of the signs:

1.  She will often begin to put herself to bed at or near her bedtime without being told, because she is tired and wants to go to bed.

2.  If she goes to bed later than usual, she is much more difficult to deal with in the morning and will often comment, “I’m tired.  I didn’t get enough sleep”.

3.  Sometimes when she is moody and having difficulty controlling her behavior, she recognizes that it’s because she is tired or there has been some other change of routine she is not used to, and she will say so.  She will say, I should have…..regarding something in her routine.

4.  She no longer has to take medications for her behaviors, and behavior issues at school are becoming rare.

5. When I am tired, and want to ditch the usual bedtime routine that she and I have done every night for the past few years, (I hope she will just go to bed without it, but NO)….she always remembers and she says “Mommie, aren’t you going to sing the song”.   That lets me know that these routines are a comfort and joy to her, and I gladly comply with her request.

Here is our unique bedtime ritual which is a song I made up for her when she was much younger.

I’m tired…so tired!
I just wanna go to bed,
Lay my head on my pillow.
Cuz I’m tired!
But first I’ll shake my cares,
Say my prayers…
(child inserts prayer here)
Love you Jesus!!!
I’m so tired!
It’s time to warm my toes
Underneath all my covers,
Tuck me tight
(tucks/hugs/kisses)
Get the light.
(Lights off)
Now, shh…shh…good night.

This is such a simple and quick routine (depending on how long a prayer she wants to say), but oh so special between us.  Sometimes it’s the little things that we are consistent about that make the most impact in our children’s daily lives.

Prayer for Your children: May they know the love and comfort of a parent who teaches them the importance of routines and consistency.  May acknowledgement of God and simple prayer time be included in what they learn to treasure as part of daily family life.                                                                         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo Above: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

My Words On Your House

Today as I was blog hopping, I found this post from  Tommy Mommy Lindsay Ferrier http://www.tommynelson.com/2011/08/he-is-always-with-us/comment-page-1/#comment-4243.  The post is about sharing God with your children in all the everyday events so they learn he is with us 24/7.  This was a great post.  It made me think of the following verses which I looked up :
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 11

Verse 20 made me think about how my mom kept so many Bible verses posted up on the walls of our home.  Thanks mom for doing that!  It does make a difference when scripture is something familiar to you….when you don’t have a Bible readily available, those scriptures are on your heart and go with you everywhere.  When people visit your home, they also see those scriptures and it makes a statement : This home values God’s word.  I have some scriptures framed in my study room, but I think I am going to find some more creative ways to post some scriptures up in my home.   Ideas include: pillows with scripture on them, wall decals (there are tons of these available and they are very elegant), and maybe even some Christian framed art.  I also want to find other creative ways to teach my children scriptures in the everyday happenings.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Prayer:  May your home reflect God’s words not only in written form, but in lived out everyday life. 

%d bloggers like this: