Category Archives: family

I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom
I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom. My children are all grown now, except for the baby, but he’s half way to 18, so I am working on letting him go too. I am also finally a grandma! We are even expecting a little boy this month. (I’m just too excited to function sometimes!)

I was praying for my kids this morning, and was overwhelmed by the love I have for them. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor it has been, and still is, to be their Mom.  I was also reflecting on how blessed I have been to have raised my children, and all of the memories that come with that…. So, I thought I’d share.

Raising kids has been the most challenging, rewarding, heart breaking, joyous, painful, growing process of my life. Just when you think you got it, a new level opens and it’s brand new.

IMG_5851Babies were tuff, but OH so amazing!! Even the long nights, when I thought I was going to pass out (and I did a few times) I just couldn’t get enough of watching them grow. Those “firsts” will always be remembered. I learned pretty quickly to not rush those things. Everything comes in time.

Toddlers were exhausting, but a constant source of smiles, giggles and exhaustion. Even when they were stubborn, it was fabulous watching them grow and figure out what they were capable of. I didn’t have any trouble with my weight when they were in this stage! I think my favorite memories from this time was when they would be so defiant, but then just want to cuddle, and learning new words and trying to express themselves.

Elementary age was more of the same, just on a higher level. I never tired of answering questions and explaining all that peaked their interests. Children are little sponges! That’s a saying for a reason… I homeschooled off and on over the years, and being such a big part of that growth truly inspired me. A child’s mind is a blank slate, where the things they see and hear will be forever written. I always took that very seriously.

Middle School – OK. This is the only time period I really didn’t like. Maybe because I have 3 boys, but even for my girl, this period seems to be the most challenging. Kids in this space are really trying to figure themselves out – and where they fit. They are usually pretty gross too…. At least, mine were. (are – hahaha) If anyone has ever considered home schooling, this is the age. It’s the time where you can have the greatest impact – instead of their peers. They are still yours! They still need you, now more than ever! I think many parents start to pull away during this period, when it’s really the time to pull in. It’s definitely the time to be the keeper of your word – to have clear boundaries and to know what hills you are willing to die on. Prepare for this, and don’t give up – that’s my advice. I’m just glad we all survived.100_9244

High Schoolers…. Well. Honestly, I loved this too. It was probably harder on me than them, as I know parenting is a runway into adulthood… you are near the end of that runway and preparing them is at the highest level. I wanted to do so much more for each of them, when I knew I shouldn’t. I remember my daughter could only have 4 saves a year – that is, 4 times I would run whatever it was she forgot to wherever she was…. After the 4th time, whatever the consequences were to forgetting, she would have to suffer. It killed me!! I think there were a couple of years she got 5 or 6… Now, as a college graduate, she is much better at remembering… but I’ve come to think forgetfulness is in the DNA somewhere…

IMG_7369Consequences. That’s the hardest part of this whole parenting thing – and it becomes even bigger when they are in college and on their own. I think most parents IMG_5635want to protect their kids from unsavory consequences, but in doing so we stunt their growth.

Responsibility is learned, not assimilated. Kids have to see it and experience it in order to do it.

Now, as I “parent” adults, it’s a constant exercise in self-control. Not telling them what to do. Not trying to help – unless asked. It’s not checking on them everyday or expecting them to include me in everything. Agh. It’s about faith, and trusting God, and even just trusting them. It’s easier though, when you have seen it coming and have traveled the “run-way” with your kids. Praying is the biggest influence we have, and it is what can keep you focused on what matters.

Being a Mother-in-Law and a Grandma is also a whole new ballgame! I want them to leave and cleave, and grow together.11061253_10153213821815561_6693171734193154490_n

IMG_7099I did my best to teach my kids dependence on the Lord instead of me. I won’t always be here, but He will be. I will mess up, (and OH have I ever) but He won’t ever leave them or forsake them. He created them. Not me. He sustains them. Not me. He has a plan for their lives and it’s way better than anything I could have come up with.

It’s so cool to see my kids living their lives now. I still remember those “firsts” like they were yesterday, but seeing them launched into the life God has for them, is just A-MAZing.

My top 10 things to remember in parenting? (I wrote a while ago on the Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

)

Set clear boundaries – don’t be wishy-washy

Be proactive not reactive!

Remember it’s a run-way. There’s a process to a launch!

Consequences and trials grow us/them more than anything. Really.

God loves them more than you do.

Responsibility is taught…

Always, always put your spouse first (after God)… it makes the nest a much happier place when it is finally empty. (getting a dog helps too..)

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Pray with them from birth – all the way through. Never stop praying for them and with them when you can. Pray for their challenges, their victories and most importantly, their hearts – pray for their future spouses too! It teaches them that God is in everything – and he hears and answers. That’s the best lesson we can teach them.My kids

I am so far from a perfect parent – I learned the most through the trials though, and for that I am grateful. Really.

What was your favorite time?

Xo

 

 

Because Everyone Loves Marriage Advice, Right?

Because Everyone Loves Marriage Advice, Right?
Because Everyone Loves Marriage Advice, Right?

Two of my sons got married recently… three and a half months apart. Barely time for this mama’s head to stop spinning! Our family has added 2 new daughters as well as 3 new grandchildren and 1 on the way!I do

My boys married very well. Both brides are from years past, and have grown up, drifted apart and reconnected with our family. Both women bring out the absolute best in my sons, and I can see the love they have for each other, as it is as obvious as the grey in my hair! (even with Loreal it’s pretty obvious)

marry meI will admit that this has all been a little overwhelming – in an amazing, fabulous, OH MY GOSH kind of way. To me, getting married is the biggest deal next to accepting Christ as your Savior.  So choosing a life partner has been the focus of many prayers for them, and my prayers have been answered.

So, why write a post about it? A common theme at weddings and showers that I’ve attended, is to offer some marriage advice… Ya know, write it down on a piece ofdate night and advice paper and put it in the jar… or a date night idea. I’m not as good with the creative date night stuff, but advice? I’ve got plenty of that after a couple of failed marriages, years of counseling and a pretty AH-Mazing marriage for the past 18 years. I was also thinking, if I did it in my blog, then I won’t seem like a meddling mother-in-law either… right?

So here’s my top 10 list of advice I would offer any married couple;

1. Never go to bed mad, or in a argument. Agree to disagree if you must, but always kiss good night. (Eph 4:26)
2. Love covers a multitude of sins – it’s a verse for a reason. Remember that you chose and love each other first. Love is verb. (1 Peter 4:8)
3. Your spouse isn’t supposed to complete you, no matter what the movies say. Only Christ gets that job. The sooner you stop putting that expectation on each other, the sooner you can get on to really appreciating what you each bring to the marriage. (Col 2:10)
4. Assuming all of your past relationships have failed, then your experiences haven’t been successful… so remember that. Neither one of you is perfect, or really even know how to have a good marriage. Accepting that in yourself and in your spouse will alleviate some unmet exceptions and keep you humble. You are both on the learning curve – together.
5. Accepting #4 should naturally bring you both to a place of learning – God’s Word says a lot about marriage! Study it together. Look to seemingly happy marriages around you – ask for help – ask for advice. Go to counseling if you feel lost. Just try. There’s no shame in that game! (as my man says, “Never Give Up!”)
6. Even though you are still individuals, you are now joined together. The marriage is a life of it’s own, with 100% of each of you. Dying to self for the marriage covenant is where you really live out the “love is verb” thing. Treat it as the sacred gift that it is.
7. Get in community that’s doing life where you are – and more importantly, where you want to be. If you want a godly marriage, get in a group of people that are working on that same goal.
8. Your spouse should come second only to God. Your marriage should come before your kids. They will grow up and leave, and cleave, and you will be left with each other. If you don’t invest and keep your relationship at the helm, the empty nest will be a very lonely place. Plus, a happy marriage is the best place for nurturing your children.
9. Date! Even if it’s just a walk around the block. Connect weekly if you can’t daily! Have a party and set out a jar and little pieces of paper and ask folks to give you ideas if you’re lost… or just google some great ideas… Whatever you do, just do it!
10. Pray. Pray together even when you’re tired. Pray when you start and end your day, and especially if you’re mad at each other. It’s really hard to hold onto your anger when you are holding on to each other at the throne of God.

wedding funSo, that’s my top 10. There’s many more I could list, but these are the ones that have come to mind for a short post… These are the things that I pray for my children’s marriages. If you would like more advice, feel free to ask. I’m practicing being quiet unless asked these days. I’m a mother-in-law after all. Really.

What would you add to this list?

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?
Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

I read plenty of blogs and books about forgiveness and grace and how the Father’s arms are open wide.  I also read posts about hope for children as they grow and how everything will be ok. Really?

But what if you are in the position of the Dad in that story.  (Luke 15:11-23) What if your child is still out there in the pig pen, even though you did the best you could. How do you get to the place of daily living and being ready to open those arms when and IF they return?

I love that picture of love, grace and forgiveness for the returning son.  I am a true recipient of it.  I was in the mud and the muck and my heavenly father lifted me right out of it.  (Ps 40:2) I don’t even remember running to Him – He was just there, pulling me to himself, washing the grime and shame right off my face.  He beckoned me and I went.  Without that daily grace and love in my life I just know I would curl up in a ball and never function.

It’s that unconditional love that I have been given that stirs the desire in me to share it with everyone, especially my children.  I want to be that person, patiently waiting with open arms, filled with love and grace.  But what if that child doesn’t want it and what if they never come?  And what about those times I just don’t think I can?

Nothing in life guarantees that the sweet toddler you can’t get enough of will grow into the adult you have envisioned.  The reality is, they will grow up and be the person they want to be, and God will allow trials and consequences to grow and shape them.  (James 1:2-4) You can love them till it hurts and it might not make a difference for a very long time or seemingly never at all.  How then do you have hope and patience?  How do you get through those times of blaming yourself, fear or regret?

One of my favorite verses is Phil 4:13. “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” We can do all things. We can love when it seems undeserved. We can bite our tongues when all we want to do is scream.  (Col 3:12-13) We can pray continually and feel the flood of God’s peace fill our hearts and minds when all seems lost. (Phil 4:6-7) We can rest in the real hope that God is sovereign, and He can and will take care of everything, either in this world or the next. (Rom 8:28) We can cast our burdens on Him, and He will take it. (Ps 55:22) We can be that person, with open arms, without judgment, when the prodigal returns.  Even if that child doesn’t return, we can cry out in the stillness of pain, and know that God is God and that can still be enough.

Find your peace and hope in the eternal Abba Father that is worthy of it. Love your children and enjoy the moments you have with mother prayingthem. It’s the closest example we have of how God loves us. Just never forget they belong to Him first, last and forever.   We can do our humanly best, and even our worst, and God is still in control.  I believe that’s how the Prodigal Son’s father did it.  His hope was always in the sovereign One who made us all.

One of my favorite quotes is this: “Everything will be ok in the end.  If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” Fernando Sabino

Sometimes the end takes a very long time to get here and sometimes it’s here in a flash. Either way, it’s never quite what we expected.  But, if we’ve spent time dwelling in the awareness of the ever-present God, and we’ve learned to acknowledge Him in all our ways, when that end finally does arrive, we will be ok… And what a celebration it will be!…Really.

 

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and things that go bump in the night.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and things that go bump in the night.

I wrote this post last year – and for the record, I still hold to it… BUT, I will add, that my youngest son is named after Saint Nicholas Day, and we have always told the kids the actual truth about who the man really was – a wonderful saint of a man, that loved and cared for children, in the name of Christ… you can keep your traditions, with out lying or trying to convince your children to believe in the lie… the truth really is fun… I swear.

* Spoiler Alert (if you believe the above are real, do not read this post)

There are many “acceptable” lies that some parents tell their children.  The 3 biggies are: Santa, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

I honestly never gave these things much thought, except the Easter Bunny… As a Christian, I always had trouble making the leap from Christ’s resurrection to a giant egg- leaving rabbit, but that’s not my point today.

 It seems that many parents in America don’t have a problem telling their kids that a big fat man, a giant bunny, and a fairy, will sneak into their homes, in the dark of night, and leave surprises.  Some parents even drag their kids to the mall, stand in line, and put them on a strange person’s lap for a picture….  When I put it that way, it sounds kinda creepy, doesn’t it?  I’ve had parents tell me that it’s fun!  It’s tradition! It’s harmless and kids love it. Seriously?

I used to leave reindeer snacks, cookies, and carrots out for our annual intruders.  I never even really minded that my kids didn’t have to thank me for their gifts cause they were from Santa, and he wasn’t there on Christmas morning.  If you are a parent that has had your kids write thank you letters to Santa – kudos!  I tried… but then forgot, and my kids didn’t remind me.  Those dang kids.

It all changed one day back in 1997, when my darling daughter had just turned 5. My second child told her that all of these American icons, where not real.  She came to me, and asked if it was true.  I sat down and confirmed what her stinker brother had said.  She looked right at me, with big blue, tear filled eyes, and said, “Mommy, why did you lie to me?”  Really.  My heart broke.  I told her all of those great reasons, and she said, “but mommy, it’s not fun. it always scared me”.  After that, we had a family meeting and we found out that all of our kids found it a little scary, and they never really understood thesanta sees you when your sleeping connections… Santa/Birth of Christ, Bunny/Christ resurrection or Teeth/Fairies… At the time, I was expecting my fourth child and the kids informed me that, if we planned on “lying” to the baby, they would not participate.

That was the end of the mystical characters in our home.

It has served us well, even though some of my friends have been annoyed with us.  Especially when my kids told their kids the “truth”…(sorry)  Through all of that though, it was probably one of the best changes for our family.  Christmas is now 3 gifts, a “myrrh” is something for their bodies, a “frankincense” is for their minds and a “gold” is a treasure that they have wanted.  We still do the stocking for our country tradition, and we fill them with small fun things.  Easter is focused just on Christ, but we still will participate in a good egg hunt on occasion, and we have had a photo or 2 with the Bunny…just for fun.  When the kids lost a tooth, they just handed to me…and I handed them some cash…lame. I know.  You can judge me all you want next time you are waiting for your kid to fall asleep, and then spend 15 minutes digging under their pillow looking for a tooth…

We are always honest with our kids, even in the name of fun.  We leave the make-believe to their imaginations…. If you are a die hard traditionalist, good for you.  But if you ever want to come over to the less stressful side.. I’ll be waiting. 😀

I have also written a post about the, “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”… if your interested, read it HERE.

I would love to hear how YOU handle the holiday!

Really? for the week

Really? for the week

These are a few of the things that caused me to say, “really?” last week…

  • Watched 4 hours of a Storage Wars marathon…And liked it.
  • Traveled for 2 hours (each way) for my son to play baseball. Twice in one week.
  • Have the worst sunburn on my knees.  Just my knees.
  • Pollen.  Just pollen. (GA broke the count record at 9,369)
  • Spent an hour on the phone with a dog whisperer… (prozac dog post HERE)
  • Found out there’s a TV show called Duck Dynasty…(wondering why we can’t come up with a show idea and make it big…)
  • Had my daughter tell me that the larger spoons threw off the “feng shui” of her breakfast cereal experience.
  • Caught my husband watching Welcome Back Kotter on his iphone…
  • Had my son tell me the Hunger Games really wasn’t that violent.
  • Had to remind my son that 22 children were killed in the Hunger Games…

I also found out that my daughter is almost to her fundraising goal for her mission trip this summer.  She will be heading to Africa for 2 months.  You can read my original post about it HERE

If you feel led to contribute, please do! otherwise, we certainly covet your prayers for her as she fulfills her call.

What made you say Really? last week?

 

Where am I From?

Where am I From?

I went to a blogging conference last weekend. http://www.thesitsgirls.com/ It was a little overwhelming, and exciting hanging out with a hundred other bloggers, and learning about things I didn’t even know existed. I had to really define my goal and reasons behind blabbering to all of you on a regular basis, and I think I did.  I definitely have my work cut out for me if I truly desire to share my life, help others, and point toward God with my stories and experiences.

One of the break out sessions focused on writing.  They gave us a template of the poem by George Ella Lyon, Where am I From.  Wow.  Several of the ladies filled theirs out in no time, and then shared them with us!  I was only on line three by the time we were supposed to be done.  I don’t know what that says about my creativity, but I was truly intimidated.  Being the good mom that I am, I printed a copy of the template and gave it to my son to fill in as a writing assignment.  He did it faster than me too.  Really.

The session leaders suggested that we put our poems in our next blog, so, now that I finally finished mine, I am sharing.  I asked my son if I could share his too, and he said, “I don’t care.” So here you go. A two for one from the Motmob.

From me:

I am from homemade clothes, from gardening, canning and religion.
I am from the single family home with the mattress, blankets & cuddles in front of the fireplace and corelle dishes that really do break.
I am from the strawberries that hide in the weeds, till my fingers ache.
I am from creativeness, sarcasm and the wringing of hands from Mom and Dad and Mommom Ruth.
I am from do it yourselves, the strong willed and the always right.
From Heaven is real and there’s never enough money.
I’m from Philadelphia and Ireland, beanie weenies, PB&J and mashed potatoes.
From the 500 Ford Galaxy that got pushed up the street at midnight for a moon lit drive on the beach and from being grounded for sneaking out and stealing the car.
From the ship yard, the seamstress, the lawyer and sunday school teacher.
I am from memories stored in boxes and albums, of every scrap of paper and photo from the past, that will be moved from attic to attic until there is nowhere left for them to go.  I am Jennifer.

From our 13 year old son:

I am from blenders and cereal bowls from Imacs and Bibles.
I am from every kind of ball there is.
The cinnamon stick in every room.
I am from the 18 rose bushes.  The cherry blossom tree whom long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from 3 gifts on Christmas and going out to lunch after church. I’m from Mom & Dad.
I’m from cleaning up a mess and leaving the dogs outside and from sneaking a cookie.
I’m from not wanting a gift from Santa, but from my parents and never swallowing my greens with water.
I’m from Jesus loves me this I know and from getting a back scratch.
I’m from Atlanta, Italy and Ireland, chicken puffs, green beans and Friday night pizza.
From my Dad getting hit with a high heel by his mom because he broke a china glass.
The bunny ears behind the head, the box of toys under my bed.
I’m from a great family who loves me and I love them, from baseball to ballet, my family is awesome.

After all my thinking about my life, I think this was a fun exercise after all.  If you would like to do one yourself, here’s a link to a blank template: http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm and here’s a good one for your kids: http://www.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/t/Target_I_am_from%20poem.pdf  OR you can share some of yourself on the comment section below…. I would love to see where you are from.

Gratitude

Gratitude

Most folks have heard the term “gratitude list”.  Usually when things are a total mess in ones life, someone will suggest making that list.  That’s how I learned about it anyway.

It was many years ago, and I really didn’t have much hope, to say the least.  I got a notebook, and tried to list the things I was grateful for.  It was hard at first, since I really didn’t have anything at the time.  I was freshly single, with 3 kids, no job, no savings and I was in a new state, without any family or friends.  I didn’t even have my salvation.  I found that notebook recently and this is a few of the things I wrote:

My daughter’s eyes. My son’s eyes. My children’s giggles. My mom & brother. Birds. Fall. My friend Lees’ laugh. The Bible. White clouds against a blue sky.

That was it for my first list.  The short list did grow and eventually I had a whole book of lists from that season in my life. There were a few more seasons that came, where I had to go back and just read those lists to remind me what my blessings were.

Today my list is miles and miles long.  I am Job before Satan messed with him… well, maybe not as wealthy.

The top of my list is my salvation.  I know that no matter what happens in this life, I will be with my God for eternity.  I didn’t deserve it, and I am always in awe that it’s mine.  Second, is my husband.  He’s the bomb.  Really.  My kids are always on my list, even when they are driving me nuts and my mom and family are permanent happy sighs as well.  My friends are like whipped cream and chocolate syrup on my ice-cream.  Some days, when I am noticing,  I will thank God for a green light or even a red one.  There’s that perfect cup of coffee and humming birds hanging out by the window.  A song, a word, a prayer, a hug or a smile.  Laughing to tears and making someone’s day are some all time favorites. There’s lots of food on my list and books, my health and even my occasional sanity. Recently, I added a puppy to our house… she is close to the top of my list, even when she wants to play at 4 in the morning…

So, do you have a list?  What is your silver lining in this messy world we live in?  If you have never made a list, I suggest that you do.  It will open your eyes and your heart to all that you are blessed with, and it will be there for you in those times that you might forget.

Guest Post – Parenting

Guest Post – Parenting

I have been crazy busy over the past couple of weeks.  Trying to keep a daily exercise program, baseball season for Nick, home-schooling, fulfilling my role as CFO for our company and just taking care of our home, as left sporadic times for writing.  I’ve got a few blogs in the works, and will be posting again soon.  Meanwhile, I do read several other blogs in my morning coffee time, and this one sounded like something I would write.  I always enjoy this blog, and today I thought it was something you would enjoy as well…

Here is a link to it on the Church & Culture site

http://www.churchandculture.org/blog.asp?id=1729

Or you can read it here as well –

Home > Resources > Blog > The Under Protective Parent

Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last weekend, I launched a series of talks under the title “The Under Protective Parent.”

 The thesis was simple: there is much talk in our day about avoiding being “over protective,” but little to no talk on being “under protective.”
It’s a significant cultural question.
Let’s go back a few decades.
In the 1930s and 40’s, parents and families were conventional, strict, focused on appearance. Then, in 1946, came a book titled Baby and Child Care by a man named Dr. Benjamin Spock, an American pediatrician.
A book which continues to shape us to this day.
Building off of the field of psychoanalysis, Dr. Spock told parents to loosen up, back off, and let the child go. Be more flexible. Treat them as individuals. While he admirably called for love and affection, he often paired that against discipline and control.
Tell your child they are special, loved and unique.
Don’t ever spank them.
Feed them whenever they are hungry.
Don’t try and put them on a schedule.
By 1998 it had sold more than 50 million copies and been translated into 39 languages. Many critics felt that the proof of his advice was in the pudding. They quipped, “What do you get when you raise a generation on the permissive ideas of Dr. Spock, saturate them with rock and roll, introduce them to drugs and alcohol, overshadow them with the threat of nuclear holocaust, and then tell them that God is dead?
The sixties.
Whether that was a result of new parenting styles, or simply the way of the world, the parenting pendulum had swung. From hands on to hands off; from discipline to persuasion; from moral authority to moral influence. And while we may have backed off from some of the more radical ideas Spock put forward that our parents and their parents embraced, here’s what stuck:
The one thing you don’t want to do as a parent is be “over” protective. And we’ve attached all kinds of pejorative words to it.
Hovering.
Smothering.
Babying.
Coddling.
Sheltering.
But it sends a very strong message by insinuation: it’s wrong to be over-protective, but it’s not wrong to be under-protective. If you’re going to make a mistake, make a mistake in being loose, in playing fast and free, in not protecting enough.
Because the one big parenting sin is protecting too much.
Really?
In a world of sexting and Facebook, bullying in schools and internet porn, the Jersey Shore and OC, cutting and hooking up, is it time for hands off or hands on? Time for more Spock, or something else?
Nobody wants to raise kids who are so sheltered that they are socially arrested or incapacitated, or have a parenting style that’s so heavy-handed that it invites resentment and rebellion.
But in our fear of being over-protective, we’ve been under-protective.
We let culture dictate what is normal; if “everyone” is doing it, wearing it, seeing it, going to it, or listening to it, then we feel we will be doing our child damage if we don’t go along.
But parenting by “everyone” is madness.
And if we do it, we’re putting our children’s very childhood at risk.
The assumption with parenting is simple: your children are immature and need your maturity. Yet some parents are more eager to be liked, or accepted by their kids, than they are to be parents to their kids.
So instead of being active, they’re passive.
And in so doing, they drop their protective guard.
The very idea of childhood is that there is a time when a young person is sheltered from certain ideas, experiences, practices, expectations and knowledge. They are sheltered from adult secrets, particularly sexual ones. Certain facets of life – its mysteries, its contradictions, its tragedies, its violence – are not considered suitable for children to know. Only as they grow into adulthood are they revealed in ways that they can assimilate psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.
This is why for years the books that were read in the fourth grade or seventh grade or ninth grade were chosen not only for their vocabulary and syntax, but because their content was considered to contain fourth, seventh or ninth grade information, ideas and experiences.
But when the line between the adult world and the child’s world becomes blurred, or no longer exists, childhood disappears.
So we let our eight-year-olds watch Modern Family or Glee;
…we let our girls dress provocatively and begin dating at ridiculously early ages;
…we ignore the fact that our kids have lied to get on Facebook (you have to be 13), or even lied for them;
…we let “godaddy” commercials come and go without comment, or even changing the channel, while watching the game with our sons;
…we have no idea what Rhianna, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga is singing to them on their iPod;
…and we don’t screen friends.
So am I saying that children should be naive? With all that is in within me, yes! That is what childhood is for. A time for wonderful, beautiful naivete and innocence.
So what should a properly protective parent do?
It’s not complicated:
Be informed, involved and in charge.
To be informed is to know what is going in your child’s world. You know what they’re doing and who they’re doing it with.
To be involved means that you are part of their world. You are not a spectator, you’re a participant.
To be in charge means you are leading their world, creating their world, shaping their world.
This is the difference between being simply a mother or a father,
…and being a parent.
James Emery White
Sources 
Benjamin Spock, Baby and Child Care.
Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood.
You can obtain an mp3 file of the first talk in this series on the Message Downloads page.

Yep… I’m a home-school mom… Part 1

Yep… I’m a home-school mom… Part 1

I haven’t always been.  My oldest son went through public school, and then he even went to a boarding school… My second son went through public school until the 7th grade…then we home-schooled through 12th.  My daughter was in public through 5th, then home, then back to public for 9th through 12th…and then our youngest… he has been in public, private and home…  I have been room-mom, PTA officer, substitute teacher and tutor.  I’ve home-schooled with the help of a couple **home-school “schools” and I’ve created a curriculum all by myself… I like to think I am well rounded in the area of educational options.

I used to think that home-schoolers were “weird”.  At the least, they were crazy!  I always thought I would end up in prison for beating my children if I ever even tried it… I was one of those moms that counted down summer vacation and never, ever thought to challenge a teacher, a specialist or a curriculum…

My second child had always struggled in school.  He had all of the extra help the public schools could provide.  He even spent every summer in summer school.  By 6th grade he had figured out how to divert the attention from his lack of understanding by becoming the class clown.  He was popular with the kids, but no so much with the teachers.  He technically failed 6th grade, but, against our wishes, was placed in 7th grade.  Things got worse.  After 1st semester progress reports, I knew we had to do something drastic.  After extensive independent testing, we found out that after all of his education, our son was on a 4th grade level…but in the 7th grade.  How did this happen?  We had to do something, and quick.

We found out that he has Dyslexia.  His reading skills were minimal, and he had mastered the art of diversion.  We got him a tutor that specialized in dyslexia, and the Wilson Program, and then we enrolled him in a home-school “school” that focused on the children’s hearts and their spirits.  With the specialized focus, and lots of one on one teaching, he was on grade level in just over a year.

We opted to continue  home schooling through his high school years.  We enrolled him in The American School, which is an established correspondence school.  We were able to continue using the dyslexia tutor and exercises, as well as one on one lessons and group activities.  He received his diploma with a 3.4 GPA in just under 4 years.  It was not always easy, but when your routine changes, everything changes, including attitudes.

So, my motivation for home-schooling, began out of desperation to help my son, who had slipped though the cracks of the public school system.  They did their best, and it just wasn’t good enough, and that’s OK.  It’s not their responsibility anyway.  It’s mine.  Parents know their kids better than anyone, or at least, they should.  It’s the parents job to be the advocate for their kids, to make sure they are getting the services they need, even if that means to be in a different environment all together.  It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.  Really.

So, that is how I started… it’s not really why I still do it though….

stay tuned for part 2…

** A home-school “school” is a program that offers classroom teaching, with pre-packaged curriculum.  Most of these schools offer classes once a week in a block schedule.  The assignments are completed at home, with the help of the parents, then turned back in to the class teacher the following week.