It’s 11 o’clock on Thanksgiving night and the house is peaceful and quiet. The soft whir of the fan in our bedroom is accompanied by the rhythmic turning of the air conditioner fan outside our bedroom window. My sweet husband is sleeping beside me breathing softly, tired from a long, wonderful day of feasting with family. Our 2012 Thanksgiving was spent mostly with just us and the kids. James’s Dad and Step Mom came over for the dinner hours and some church friends stopped by in the evening. Now is a good time to reflect on how grateful I am for our blessings, the small and large. To include what an awesome and challenging responsibility it is to be a parent. One of our personal goals as parents is to teach our children to have a spirit of thankfulness year round. We have made intentional choices in regards to “commercializing” the holidays, but every year I feel the true meaning of the holidays slips further and further out of reach. I sit here and analyze why, despite much effort against it, this true meaning seems to be growing fainter; as if each year the batteries are becoming weaker and weaker. How can we fight this tidal wave of self-gratification, wants confused with needs, new technology, the violence of black friday, ad nauseum? This question has haunted me for over a month now, with each Christmas commercial and sales ad fueling this burning search for an answer. My family has always waited until the day after Thanksgiving before switching into Christmas mode. As the years have drawn on, more and more of our culture seems to skip right over Thanksgiving in a desperate attempt to fulfill the Christmas desire. What so draws Christians to leap over an opportunity to reflect and be thankful for our blessings? Is it really that we’re so anxious to celebrate the birth of our Savior? As I definitively respond with a NO, let me also say I don’t believe Christians have forgot the reason for Christmas. However, it seems we have concluded that setting up the Christmas tree, hanging lights and buying Christmas gifts somehow brings us closer to celebrating His birth. Now that it appears I have painted these things as evil, allow me to elaborate. Decorating the Christmas tree is fun and traditional, hanging lights is artistic and beautiful, buying gifts can be very gratifying, but how do we ensure our heart’s motivation is in the right place? I arrive squarely back at my original question, how to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas amidst all the worldy static? As parents it seems we sit at a fork in the road. One way leads us down the lonely path of secluding ourselves off from the commercial hype and fun of Christmas and the other leads us down a path of blissful, ignorance where we chase down the very last gift left on the shelves, bought with our very last dollar! Depressing choices it seems, but depressing choices have always made me search deeper than the surface for the truth. Before I began this current writing I felt like I was poised to run at that previously mentioned fork. I had a choice to make and no time left to make it. Tonight’s the night I told myself and thus started the “googling.” Any Mom reading this knows exactly the heart pounding moment you step out to find your solution. You feel as if the future of your family rests upon your next choice. Will you lead them to seclusion or ignorance? As I researched the origin of the Christmas tree, searching for a limb to hold on to , God spoke to me. Not in an audible voice, that’s never been how He chooses to guide me. I recognized the sweet thoughts that fill my mind and know that they are not my own. The Lord did not give me those two choices, I painted my own map, complete with a fork in the road. My search for the answer had given me a black and white option. God wants to paint my map with colors beyond what I can even imagine! He reminded me each family is on a journey mapped out by Him, as Christians our desired destinations may be the same, but our paths to get there are not. It’s a personal answer I’m looking for, one that God tailored for the family He gave me. My question all along was wrong. It’s not, “How do I teach my children the true meaning of Christmas?” It’s, “God how would You like the Stafford Family to bring honor and glory to Your Son’s birthday?” There exists no more fork in the road. Only a blank canvas map, ready to be drawn on by God. I don’t have the complete map yet, but I know that by faith through this 2012 Christmas season, God is going to begin to fill it in. It’s not about how successful you are in blotting out the commercial side to Christmas, instead it’s about how you can intentionally focus your family on its’ meaning of Christmas. A focus that requires God’s input. Now the question to you, my dear reader, is “When will you ask God what your family’s Meaning of Christmas is?”
Tis the season for keeping our houses clean in expectation of company! Here is an example of a “paid” chore list we use at our house.
1. Clean out kitchen fridge $2.00
*Remove old food containers
*Wipe down shelves, door and any messes
2. Clean out kitchen freezer $2.00
*Wipe down shelves, door and any messes
3. Sweep and Mop kitchen floor $1.00
4. Sweep the front porch and walkway $.50
5. Pulling weeds from front flower beds $1.00/Walmart bag full
6. Washing windows $.25/window
7. Dusting wood banisters $1.50
8. Cleaning dining room table and chair legs $2.00
9. Dusting window sills $.10/window sill
10. Wipe down air hockey table $1.00
*Pledge and paper towels
11. Washing walls with magic eraser $2.00 upstairs $2.00 downstairs
12. Clean leather couches and chairs $1.50
I allow my children to pick which chores they want to do (as of right now.) When they start on a chore they put their initials next to it, ensuring that no one else comes along and starts it. Then when they are finished they must find me or Dad to check it off. When it meets our standards we circle their initial and it’s considered completed for the week. We pay once a week on Saturdays, that way they can tithe on their weekly earnings the next day . These chores are in addition to their “you live here so you’ll help” unpaid chores! That list would include keeping your room clean, making your bed, putting away your clothes and keeping common areas clean. This “paid chore” list also helps with discipline, James and I use work around the house as a discipline tool. For example, if a child whines when asked to do something we immediately assign an additional task. We can use this list if nothing comes to mind quickly
I would like to thank my Mom, PJ Roberts, for this brilliant idea! She used this with Arissa and I growing up and I remember it to this day. I loved getting to pick which chore I wanted to do and getting paid for it! Thanks Mom for laying a great foundation for your grandkids!! Love ya.
I had such great intentions before school let out last spring. I had visions of blogging leisurely while my children enjoyed their first summer in our new house. Oops! I didn’t blog even one time, I spent every minute with my precious children…and enjoyed EVERY minute of it! As I sit here and write, I am accompanied by total silence. My four oldest are in public school for the first time and my 3 yr old is napping and the quiet is almost deafening. Today is Wednesday and their third day of school. We are ALL going through an adjustment period, but I know that God works things together for our good. So as I re-adjust to my “new” days I will choose to be productive and share our journey.
And just a reminder if you haven’t liked us on Facebook you can find the link on our homepage!
I’m going to preface this post with the assurance that I’m sharing these events in my day for comic relief not sympathy! Feel free to laugh, cry or decide to “bubble wrap” your family bc I’m sure going to after today…
I was taking a nice rare break in my bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The two older boys were playing xbox and the girls and my youngest son were playing with the guinea pigs outside on the patio. All was peaceful and calm (again a rare occasion ) the girls brought the two guinea pigs back inside and placed them in their cage. A few minutes later I heard my 5 yr old daughter yell to my oldest, “Naomi the guinea pigs are fighting!” Naomi responded, “Oh they do that sometimes,” and ran off upstairs to check it out. I was still enjoying the last five minutes of my rest before cooking homemade spaghetti (important detail for later events.) All of a sudden I hear Naomi say with great urgency, “Mom!!!!!! Speckles bit me and I’m gushing out blood!!!!!” I promise I’m not a materialistic Mom, but at that moment I’m thinking….Oh man, I just had the carpets shampooed last week!!! I yell, “Go to the kitchen!” I rush through the doorway and see splashes of blood all over the floor leading from the steps to the sink where she’s already crying hysterically and holding her right thumb in her left hand. There is blood sprayed all over the white sink, water faucet, clean dishes next to the sink and it’s running down both her arms. I grab a paper towel and wrap it around her thumb and lift it above her head with one hand while I try to rinse the blood off the sink so she stops seeing it. I ask my 5 yr old daughter to get me more paper towels. About a minute passes and I’ve managed to calm her down a small bit. I peel back the paper towel and for a brief second before the blood starts gushing, I can see the bite, it’s an inch long rough laceration that is pretty deep…most likely stitch worthy deep in my humble Mom opinion. I rewrap her thumb with clean paper towels and send my 8 yr old son across the street to bring our babysitter over because I’ve made my decision to take her to the ER. As he runs out the door I send my 7 yr old son to retrieve my cell phone so I can call my husband’s parents for back up. No answer on their cell, but here comes my 8 yr old son and he says, “Ms. Charli isn’t home but I brought someone better – her DAD!” Du du dudu, in walks Mr. Todd. I showed him the bite mark and he calmly takes over holding her thumb while I text my in-laws and get out the first aid kit. About 5 minutes has passed and the bleeding has slowed down, enough that we are able to get some bandages and tape on it before it bleeds out. I decided not to wait for my inlaws because my neighbor so graciously offered to watch all 4 other kids while I took Naomi to the doctor. Now a little background on Naomi would be useful here…she’s super observant and has a lot of common sense. Combine that with a lot of boys in the house who get hurt a lot…she knows that the only reason I would take someone into the doctor is because the wound is stitch worthy! And in case I hadn’t mentioned it, she’s already freaking out. She cries all the way to the urgent care center and the rest of the visit just got worse. She was so panic stricken by the time the triage nurse called us back that she refused the pulse/ox fingertip thingy. I put it on my own finger and still had to convince her it wouldn’t hurt. She was so upset she couldn’t even tell me what she was afraid of. The sweet, patient nurse leads us back to a room and when the door opens and the light comes on, Naomi sees the hospital bed and flips her lid. She backs up into me all the while whining like a stuck pig (guinea pig pun intended!) I coax her into the room and into the CHAIR. The nurse has me take of the bandage and does the little Mmmhmmm when she sees it. From here on out we’ll call that the “yep she needs stitches” Mmmhmmm. The doctor comes in right away and Naomi grabs the side of the chair and is crying hysterically. I don’t mean just upset, I mean snot spraying, wild eyed, you’re going to stick me with a needle upset. And folks, he has nothing in his hand and no one has said anything about stitches or needles or anything. (This is one of those times you wish you child wasn’t as observant as they are) He asks us a few questions about vaccination history for her and the guinea pigs and then looks at it. He responds with the tell tale Mmmmhmmm, and looks at me. I respond with the Mmmmhmmm I thought so that’s why we’re here sound. My smart, beautiful, tender hearted daughter hears this and proceeds to “wig out” for lack of a better word. The doctor leaves and the nurses come back in to put a cotton ball soaked with lidocaine and some other stuff on her finger to numb it for stitches. I had already removed her dress shoes because I had a feeling they were going to cause some issues, good thing I did. By the end I had her knees bear hugged with my left arm and was holding her left arm with my right hand. Both nurses were holding her right arm trying to tape the cotton ball on her thumb. Fast forward 10 minutes, of which every second I spent trying to calm her down, telling her Daddy would be here if he could and trying to reason her into complying with the doctor. The doctor came back in and she turned around backwards and death gripped the chair. I managed to muscle her over to the bed and was practically laying on her to hold her down. The doctor calls the nurse in and they proceed to tell me that she’s too big to restrain and that the only way she’s safely getting stitches is if I take her to the ER. Hearing that she about topples off the bed trying to get away By this point I had already stopped being nice patient Mom and moved into the strict serious “get er done” Mom mode. As a Mom, if the doctor says they need stitches, then they need stitches and come hell or high water it’s GOING to happen because that’s what’s best. The doctor then says he’ll just clean it up and bandage it and prescribe antibiotics!!! WHAT!!!!!! I didn’t know who to direct my rage at…my 9 yr old who’s absolutely freaking out almost peed her pants from fear, or the doctor who apparently decided the stitches were just one out of our multitude of options. Grrrrr. I was actually so mad I had to take a seat and let them calm her down by telling her they weren’t going to stitch it. After about 5 minutes of irrigating the wound my curiosity became bigger than my anger. I really wanted to see how bad it was now that it was all cleaned up. Still looked pretty swollen and gruesome and the scar is going to be a lot bigger because of no stitches. They bandaged it up with glued on steri strips and then wrapped it with some kind of finger type ace bandage thingy and sent us on our way. My husband calls to check on us and after hearing that Naomi was ok he proceeds to tell me he just fell and busted open his knee and several spots on his foot! Geez what a night, what else could happen???? Never, never, never even think that! We made it a block down the road and Naomi looks down at her thumb and says, “Mom the end of my thumb is purple.” I look over and sure enough it is. First thought, they wrapped it too tight, but I had strict instructions not to remove it until Tuesday when we go back in to have it checked for infection. BECAUSE the gaping wound is not stitched closed!!! I call the number on the discharge sheet and the nurse tells me there’s not way they wrapped it too tight. She tells us to come back in. Two minutes later we’re back in the office and they rewrap her thumb because it was too tight, and we say goodbye for the second time. I call my husband back again to give him the update and to find out if he’s been able to bandage up his wounds. He’s telling me the story as I’m sitting at a red light, which happens to turn green while I’m looking down at Naomi’s thumb. I look up and see it’s green, I put my foot on the gas petal and begin to inch forward. Something catches my eye from the left and ZOOM this car runs the red light bigger than Dallas!! Had I been 3 seconds faster we would have been headed back to the hospital with me on the stretcher! At this point I’m thinking, “Go home and wrap everyone in bubble wrap and don’t answer the door!” I forge on to fill the antibiotic prescription and realize that it’s now almost 7 PM and my homemade spaghetti didn’t cook itself. Taco Bell is right next to the pharmacy so I swing in and “cook” dinner. I proceed home, thank the inlaws, relive the gist of the moments and close the door behind them. I lay out my slaved over dinner at the table and call the herd Everyone sits down and I realize how hungry I really am. I’m bordering on that grouchy, mommy hasn’t eaten all day kind of hungry. We pray and I’m just about to take my first bite…”Splash” my 5 yr old daughter spills her entire medium sized fruit punch. It’s now dripping through the space in between the leaves of the table, off the chair and all over the cloth centerpiece. And of course nobody else moves to clean it up. I quickly grab a paper towel and have been cleaning it up for all of 20 seconds when my 3 yr old, less than a week into potty training, little boy says, “Uh oh, pee pee Momma!” Really? Really? I quickly finish blocking the fruit punch in so it doesn’t flood anywhere else and get more paper towels to wipe up the pee! Several minutes and almost half a roll of paper towels later I take my first bite of burrito, it was delicious!
I hope you can all hear that sang in my best “rocker” voice! Ok some things are lost in the translation I’m sure we’re all excited that school is out, or almost out for summer break. No more arguments about school clothes, no more searching for lost homework, no more frantically packing lunches that will pass the nutritional standard, etc. The list could go on for quite awhile, but I won’t take up any more of your precious summer break time with them. Summer break is usually nice for the first week or two…being lazy, no schedule, kids can do what they want when they want. However, for some households that doesn’t work out too well. You already know if you’re one of them…I am. With 5 children so close in age “free” time doesn’t result in sweet children lazing in hammocks reading Shakespeare! Our family operates better with a loose schedule and an understanding of what activities are ok and when. I’m including an example of my “Spectacular Summer Schedule 2012″ so you can see what my family will be doing this summer. It only took about 30 minutes total. I sat the kids down for a SHORT family planning session. We talked quickly about the fun stuff; trips, pool times, tv time and video games. Then I moved into the chores that had to be done and when they were expected to be done. As a family we also choose to stay fresh on our math facts and spelling through out the summer. So those were included as well. I also know that the neighbor friends will be hanging out more so I printed off extra copies for them. That way they know when the kids are available to play, that helps me out a lot! I hate turning kids away from my house. So with no further adieu, here’s a screenshot:
All you need to make this on the computer is a word processing program. Most programs will have the capability of inserting a table. Although, don’t underestimate the power of a schedule written on construction paper with a crayon!
I flip on the light. “Time to get up guys” I say in my soft loving voice. I then set their clothes next to them on their bed and head down stairs to start my morning. I shut off the house alarm, dodge random toys that litter the floor and head to the back door where my two crazy pooches are at eager to get outside. Five minutes later and still no boys, I holler (yes I said holler) up the stairs “Come on boys!” Then five more minutes go by, “BOYS GET OUT OF BED! BREAKFAST IS READY!” I am now screaming like a wild woman. Then a few minutes later they finally “grace” me with their presence. Is this what your morning’s sound like? Well I figured out a trick, not only to get your kiddos out of bed but have fun and praise the Lord at the same time. I am still old school and use a boom-box for my music needs you can use an Ipod or whatever you have that can play music. I turn on my favorite Christian radio station and jump into their room like a ROCK STAR! I begin singing at the top of my lungs and jumping around like a crazy lady sometime even playing my trusty air guitar. The look on their face the first morning is priceless if you have an accomplice make sure they are armed with a camera. Now my mornings are more like a worship service than like a screaming match. When they are eating breakfast and I am in the kitchen fixing lunches I have the same radio station on rockin’ out. I am known to bust a move right there in my kitchen. Starting my mornings off praising the Lord helps to keep me in His light all day!
I am going to admit something to you that I haven’t told anyone. Okay I did tell my sister but that is it, other than her you are the only other person I have told. My two oldest sons have never been to the dentist. UGH! Okay I am a bad Mom! Who likes the dentist? It’s not fun and really I just want to hide my head in the sand and act like brushing is enough. It isn’t like they complain of pain or sensitivity, we eat healthy and brush! I woke up last week and realized that at some point I am going to have to take them so I called the insurance company hoping to find a pediatric dentist in our town. You know the cool ones that have the underwater theme, all the great art work on the ceiling and goofy assistants that make the kids feel at ease. Yeah well that didn’t happen, they couldn’t find any pediatric dentist in the entire surrounding area. Now for those of you that don’t know I live just outside the Nation’s capital, how on Earth can their not be a pediatric dentist in my area that takes my insurance. I honestly thought my insurance company had lost its mind so I tried calling a few of the dentists that have cool commercials. Sure enough they don’t take my insurance but the sure want to schedule an appointment and I can make payments. Sorry folks I am not crazy or rich! LOL! Eventually I found this dentist that was willing to see my boys so I set an appointment for Monday and decided that I would just keep my oldest home from school. After arriving at the house, I mean office we were greeted by three ladies that were jammed into a small office like sardines in a can. It was so hard for me not to laugh out loud at the site of them asking each other to pass things. As soon as I was done filling out the first visit paperwork, they called us back. I was not very impressed with the facility or the technician that was assisting us. I explained that this was their first visit and that they didn’t know what to expect. The lady just looked at me like I had spoken to her in Greek. She dawned her gloves and started in on telling my eldest what was about to happen and how she was going to clean his teeth. All the while I am thinking, I am never coming back here! He surprisingly sat very still and allowed her to do the cleaning and even was very good when the dentist came in and checked his teeth. Sadly he had one small cavity and I was told that his six year molars are in and that he needed them sealed. I said okay and we swapped out the boys. Now with the middle guy in the seat I braced myself for the inevitable, and the screaming began!!!! I stopped the crazy technician and had my guy look at me I said “If you want me to stay with you, you are going to have to stop screaming. They will make me leave if you keep screaming and crying.” With that he stopped and allowed the technician and dentist to do their thing. Afterwards the dentist informed us that he has four small cavities. He looked at me and said, “They have too much sugar and soda!” I was now fuming! Why must dentists assume that you feed your children junk! I stared straight back at him and said, “They don’t get soda or even juice, candy they get on special occasions!” At that he said to make a follow up appointment to get the cavities filled and sealer put on the molars, and not to worry there is no shots involved. That was the best news I heard all day! I went to the front desk as the boys got toys out of the treasure box. They told me that they had an opening on Wednesday afternoon and so I hesitated but took the appointment. Fast forward to today! On the way to the dentist the boys question me about my wedding or lack thereof. (We eloped secretly) The best part was when they asked, “Did you kiss?” and then hysterical laughter ensued. LOL, my boys constantly make me smile. After we arrive they whisk us in the back put both boys in separate chairs and got to work. This time the dentist and an assistant work on the middle guy and a tech and an assistant work on my big guy. Well, apparently the prayers and pep talk in the car didn’t work and the big guy bursts into tears and it takes 15 minutes to calm him down. All the while the middle guy is still and quiet. Who would have thought? After the appointment, I realized that first impressions aren’t always good and that you really need to give people and businesses second chances. When I arrived home I was looking over my receipt and realized that they didn’t charge me for all four of the middle guys fillings so I called the office and explained that I thought they had under charged me. The receptionist put me on hold and after a few minutes she came back on the line and said I checked with the doctor and he said the receipt is right and that he had filled all four of the cavities. Yippee! It cost me $90 less than I was quoted! God is good all the time!
Several old military sayings I heard from our time in service come to mind right now… “Hurry up and wait!” and “If the military wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one!” I say this because my DH called today and said his return date may be changing. Inside I was screaming, but I tried to stay calm to hear the rest of the story. The company is short handed the entire month of July so his return could be delayed until mid-August. He was also quick to tell that mid-August was better than what the schedule currently read – December!!!!! All of a sudden August didn’t sound too bad. We had a lovely talk that lasted over an hour, a luxury that is few and far between because of lousy internet connections. As I cleaning up after dinner, or should I say “feeding time at the zoo,” I thought about how tired I was. Not physically tired, but the kind of exhaustion only a single-mom or military spouse will ever be able to fully understand. It’s a bone-tired, reserves are depleted kind of fatigue. Nothing but reuniting with your spouse can fix it BUT, just as single mom’s and military spouses around the world do, I accepted my current situation and began to think about ways I could make life a little easier. I laughed out loud as I thought about the events of the day; EVERYONE, except me, woke up on the wrong side of the monday morning bed and was subsequently cranky and irresponsible about school assignments. At recess time we lined up at the back gate to head out to the park and I realized my 8 yr old son had no shoes on AGAIN. Not wanting to allow this to become a habit I headed in to help him find them, bc if he went in alone we’d be waiting for hours! Just as soon as we found them I heard a scuffle outside, I looked out the window just in time to see my 9 yr old daughter “sword fighting” with my 3 yr old son. BAM! She accidentally hit him in the mouth, several bloody rags later and some hugs and we were ready to go again. Once out the gate the 9 yr old had a total meltdown that the entire world was unfair to her, then moments later my 7 yr old son ran through a fire ant hill, ALL the way across the park from me, in bare feet! I ran across the park (which mind you was sopping wet from the sprinkler system that had just finished) to him and quickly swept them off his legs. Phew, disaster averted…at least that’s what I thought until I heard my 5yr old daughter yell for me. I turned around and saw her standing in the middle of the sopping wet grass I had just ran through, she had slipped and fallen and her whole back side from the top of her head to her shoes was soaked! At that point I really wanted a do over, let’s just all go home and go back to bed and try it again! LOL. Anyway fast forward through the rest of the day and a few more unmentionable accidents and events to my current mindset of trying to make things run more smoothly until July or August or whenever DH gets to come home. I realized that I had plenty of discipline and consequences built in to my day, the kids know that Y happens if you do X. So this begs the question, “Why aren’t they doing the right thing consistently?” I understand normal child development and I also understand that a certain amount of that is normal with my children’s ages. This knowledge and experience also tells me that somethings out of balance. I love how God drops little nuggets of wisdom right where we need them, well in my case He has to keep re-dropping them because I keep forgetting! If your encouragement vs. discipline percentage isn’t in balance the result is what’s occurring in my house right now as we speak! I once had a college professor of child development tell us that you need at least 80% positive interactions in a day to allow the 20% of discipline to succeed. I certainly had not encouraged my children 80% of the time today or any other day in near past. It’s a slippery slide that we walk on as Mom’s. We all inherently know this balance between encouragement and discipline exists and we naturally try to create it, but over time we slip away. We don’t usually slip towards more encouragement either! I firmly believe the more kids you have the quicker and further you slip down this slope before you realize it. Now away with the thoughts of failure and negativity all you lovely Mom’s out there, because if you’re feeling convicted at this moment AND you’re exhausted thinking about the climb back up the slope there is hope! The conviction and exhaustion mean you HAVEN’T GIVEN UP!! The solution is simple, not easy, but simple. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel you just have to try to encourage as much as possible for the next week or so. You don’t stop all your discipline, but choose your battles very wisely. Children respond to their environments very quickly and your household will not be any different. Stay focused on your goal and pray that God will show you all the places you can encourage your children.
I would love to take credit for the wisdom that is about to come, but alas I did not come up with this idea! LOL. On first glance encouragement and praise seem like they can be used interchangeably, in fact dictionary.com uses the word praise in it’s definition of encouragement. However, I challenge you to dig deeper with me. When it comes to teaching your children to continue a behavior because it means something to them rather than because someone else wants them to, the difference becomes crystal clear. In my mind I equate praise with flattery. Most of the time flattery is empty, in fact Proverbs 26:28 says, “A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” The writer of Proverbs, inspired by God, speaks of flattery in the same sentence as lying. That’s because flattery simply tells someone else what you think of the action they did, it doesn’t inspire them to see how they feel about the action they did. It’s the difference between making your children dependent on what you think or teaching them to evaluate their actions for themselves. I first heard this topic discussed in one of my early childhood development classes in college, but like a lot of other bits of wisdom, I shelved them for later use and forgot about them. God brought this to my remembrance today as I sought His help on dealing with what feels like a landslide of parenting issues! I came across the following article while refreshing my mind about the difference between Encouragement and Praise. I have only read the the article and comments following on this topic, I have NOT researched this child psychologist any further or read any of her other ideas on parenting. She does not appear to have used any Christian influence or background in her personal summary of Encouragement vs. Praise, but she does sight some other books. My Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Early Childhood Development gave me the background to know the conclusion that Encouragement being better for children than praise was accurate. On a personal note I would encourage you to be careful, actually be diligent to compare the parenting advice and ideas you find online to the Bible. Even if the author claims to be a Christian authority on parenting practices and principles, you as Mom are the ultimate authority and the only one that will answer to God for your discipline techniques. God’s word says He is faithful to give us what we ask for, I know that He has always provided me with the answer to my parenting question when I took the time to ask Him. Unfortunately, too often I sought “googles” thoughts first! God entrusted your children to you for a reason. No behavior they display shocks God. He’s waiting to be your “go to guy” on anything parenting wise. He may lead you to a book or an idea that’s already been discussed by another Christian, but we would be wise Mom’s if we asked for His guidance first. With no further distractions here is the link:
Why is it that some of the most important moments we will ever spend with our children, happen at the most exhausting part of our day? I don’t know what bed time looks like at your house, but let me just tell you it’s not always pretty at mine! Don’t get me wrong, I have a bedtime routine which should look something like this: All five beautiful angels pajama themselves and do an exceptional job flossing and brushing their own teeth (without being asked.) They each settle down with an educational book allowing me to put my three yr. old to bed without interruption, AND he of course doesn’t fuss because he loves to lay down in his bed. I read and pray with him and then repeat the process with each child in age order. Always having uninterrupted time to pray and answer all questions that are asked. They sweetly pray with me, understand their devotional and drift off to sleep quickly without getting out of bed. I peacefully retire to my own bed to enjoy some much needed reading and praying time…NOT!!! Oh how I wish this happened every night, ok who am I kidding, maybe just once a week???? All joking aside, for most Mom’s this is the hardest part of the day to follow through with. We are exhausted and pulling our hair out by then, and want nothing more than a huge chocolate bar and some peace and quiet. However, as exhausted as we are, it’s imperative to our children’s spiritual development that we persevere. Those final precious moments that we spend with our children every day leave a lasting impression. Our children vie for our attention all throughout the day whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. Sometimes tucking them in and kisses their sweet faces is the only time they had our undivided attention that day. Can you blame them for wanting it to last just a little bit longer? Mom, you are such a special treat, and your loving prayers and words mean the world to them. The Bible says we are to teach our children about God from the time they get up until the time they go to bed AND all the time in between. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children to fall asleep one more night without thoughts of Jesus filling their minds! Who better to put them there than you…So I ask, have you prayed with your children tonight?