Tag Archives: parenting

talking, listening & short shorts

talking, listening & short shorts

I talk a lot.  Sometimes I actually get tired of talking.  I’ve gotten better over the years, and have learned what conviction is, although sometimes it’s a little too late.  That’s the problem with us folks of many words.  The more you speak the more opportunity you have to say things that you probably shouldn’t have.

I think the gift of talking, comes with the gift of listening.  The first can be self-serving and empty with out the second.  Believe it our not, even God pointed that out in His Word… (Pro 10:19, 12:18, 13:3 & James 1:19, Matt 12:26-37 (ouch).  If you can listen, you can speak life or death, and even be quiet when necessary.  You can help people, or hurt them.  I can testify to this, from years of experience!  That’s why I think the two gifts go together.  God usually doesn’t give us something that we won’t have to work out, besides salvation.

A couple of months ago, at one of my son’s baseball games, I accidentally sat with the opposing teams parents.  The lady sitting next to me was pretty sweet, and we chatted all though the double header.  We cheered for each other’s boys, and congratulated each other for good plays.  She’s a cheerleading coach and has a daughter and son, both in middle school.   We shared lots of “mom” stories, and we really seemed to hit it off.   One of the things I shared with her was the difficulty of raising a daughter and a son just a few years apart.  I warned her about the “crushes” from her daughter’s friends, and I told her about the “modesty” rules we had to have in our home.  My husband and I take modestly pretty seriously, and want our home to be a safe place, where my boys, and my husband, are not faced with “stumbling” in lust.  I casually told my new friend, that we didn’t allow any of my daughter’s friends to hang out in short shorts and tank tops, while lounging in our home.  It was a challenge! Especially through middle and high school!

That topic was really just one of many my new friend and I shared, and honestly, I didn’t even really remember it.  I don’t normally remember most of my conversations, until the middle of the night when conviction or Satan wakes me up.

We went back to play that team last week.  I will tell you that my insecurities were large and in charge, as I saw her sitting down the line with her family and friends.  I was expecting her to give me a half wave, and look away, as I was sure I probably offended her in some way or talked too much at our last encounter.  I know, I know… Lame.

Much to my surprise, she waved and even moved her chair down and sat with me.  As I sat there, thinking what an idiot I was, she excitedly told me that she had thought about me, and something I had said stuck with her, and has made a difference in her life!  What?  Really?  Excuse me, but being the Mom of 3 adults, leaves me in a mostly constant state of frustration.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had that statement said to me before…(I’m sure my mom can relate)

I looked at her, with obvious shock, and said, “what?”  She then excitedly told me that she had never thought about her son and daughter and the entire hormone thing together.  As a cheer coach, she had never even thought about those short shorts and tanks, and it hadn’t ever occurred to her that the way the girls dressed, just might be a stumbling block for hormone raging boys.  She had to order uniforms for her team, and she didn’t order the short shorts!  She was even communicating with Nike about trying to find more athletic attire for her girls.  She told me that those girls are athletes, and should look more like that as well!  She was even doing away with the hair bows.  She was on fire and focused on the challenge to modest up those uniforms, as well as staying aware of keeping her home a safe place.

Wow.  I was amazed.  First, that any of my babblings would be remembered, but then more importantly, I marveled at this women and how God was working in her life.  Her determination to make a difference was inspiring.  To be even more transparent, I was actually envious of her conviction that obviously surpassed mine.

It made me think about talking and listening.  I did listen to her, and she apparently listened to me.  How responsible should we be about what comes out of our mouths?  How thin is the line from hurt to help, and where does that responsibility lie? With the speaker or the listener?  God used something, as he usually does if we are really listening to things he wants us to hear.   She is using her voice and her influence to make a difference, and I believe she will.  I can only pray to do the same.

Are you a talker or a listener, or have you mastered the balance?

 

 

Expedition

Expedition

Last week was spent on an annual field trip called The Expedition on Jekyll and Saint Simons Islands. We went with our youngest son’s home-school, school.  It was my second time, but my husband’s 5th, since 2 of my older kids attended the same school several years ago.

I am still in awe at the mere production of this trip.  There were 85 explorer students, then about 30 servant leaders (high school students), 20 chaperones, then a host of staff, and “Hanger On’ers”, which are family guests.  I think the total head count was around 180.  This group was active from 7:30AM until 10-10:30PM – give or take an hour or 2…

The activities included 3 square meals each day, devotionals in small groups, and seining.  There were several experiment stations, dissections, sand sculpting, and hiking, as well as,  visits to the Turtle Center, Fort King George and the bird sanctuary.  There was also time spent shopping, watching educational and funny skits, apologetics teaching, praise & worship, and lots of prayers… It was a packed week. Really.

The most powerful part of this trip, as well as this school, is their Servant Leader program.  It’s not a mandatory program, as the commitment is huge, and the students even have to apply to be a part of it.  Freshman are Training Servant Leaders, then each year they progress to full Servant Leader status.  These students serve in the classrooms, assist the teachers, and lead devotions. Some of these students are also on the  worship team, which is called Living Sound.  It’s an entire student band.  Each group of middle schoolers is lead by the Servant Leaders during small groups and  these young leaders even help write the skits, as well as implement the entire production.  These kids have their own trips and put in hours of training and studying to learn how to lead, by serving.

There’s something about witnessing youth serve and worship that blesses me to tears.  Having witnessed all of that last week, as well as 3 baptisms, has left me hungry for more.  It’s funny how the closer we get to God, the closer we want to be.

I must admit, the best part of this trip for me was after it was all over.  Our son told us that he had decided to apply to the Servant Leader Program.  He also decided to get more serious with his music lessons, so he could try out for the worship band.  After that, we had to download all the songs we had heard all week, so we could sing them all the way home…

To find out more about Living Science Home Studies, you can visit their site HERE

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Black Friday.

Black Friday.

Today is Black Friday.  The biggest shopping day of the year.  I am sitting on my sofa, still in my pj’s and it’s after 2PM.  I did get up around 9 this morning, but I cleaned the kitchen floor, did a load of laundry, vacuumed my bedroom, and the ceiling fan in my bathroom.   I have also managed to read about 4 chapters in The Circle, by Ted Dekker, the 25th Proverb and Psalms 132-135.  I’ve checked out Facebook this morning too.  Many of my friends have been posting about shopping and all of the great deals and crowds.  I’m not jealous.

There was a time in my life, when I planned my Christmas shopping and headed out before the sun.  I’ve stood in lines holding toys and electronics for hours.  I fondly remember applying for my Target card, while standing behind 200 other people, holding a hopping Tigger, that I almost didn’t get.  It was a dive and grab, and I was victorious.  My youngest son beamed with delight on Christmas morning, and we tolerated that bouncing, chatty Tigger for many, many hours, days and weeks after.  I asked him if he remembered that Tigger today.  He said, “no.”  I wanted to yell, “Really?!? What!?!  I almost committed assault and battery for that thing!  I stood in line forEVER!”  Really??  He said that he does remember the Thomas the Tank bike, that we purchased at 4:30AM at Zany Brainy in 2001.  I only stood in line for about 45 minutes for that one.   It was the bike he learned to ride, and I have scrapbook pages of the event in memorandum.  I guess I should have taken a picture or two of that dang Tigger.

Several years ago, we started a new tradition at our house.  We only give the kids 3 gifts.  A gold, which represents a treasure they have wanted.  A frankincense, which is something for their mind, and a myrrh, which is something for their body.  We still hang the stockings, and fill them with fun things, in keeping with Christmas traditions.  It has been AWESOME.  Having 4 kids, I still must shop for 12 gifts, but there’s a defined point and a plan.  When they tell me what they would like, it’s a short list.  Also, by calling it what it is, it keeps the theme of the real meaning of the holiday in focus.  I can usually get everything online too… Usually.  Last year they couldn’t think of anything that they really wanted, so we adopted a few families in our community and put all of our resources there.  We still surprised them with a treasure on Christmas morning, but it was more memorable to shop together, and deliver the gifts to those families than lots of gifts under the tree.

So, what did you do today?  Are you finished your shopping already?  I still have to get the 12…  I wonder if it’s too late to go find a good deal?

 

TV…What’s on Yours?

TV…What’s on Yours?

So. We are sitting here, again, watching a little television as a family.  This is an activity that is not as easy as it used to be.

We have a security block on our televisions.  If a show is rated “M”, we have to enter a code to see it.  We never had to enter it before 10PM, but now, at 8PM most shows are blocked.  What do you do with a 13 year old in the house – or younger?  You end up watching PBS, History or Disney Channel.

Tonight, we are watching a show called, So Random on Disney.  It seems to be a kid version of SNL.  It used to be a really funny show, called, Sonny with a Chance, until the star of that show went to rehab for some destructive behavior.  She is doing better now, and is pursuing a musical career. I miss her. Really.

Even Disney is not always family friendly anymore.  Now there’s even a show called My Babysitter is a Vampire.  It’s ridiculous.  Just about every show on Disney highlights stupid parents, really smart and good-looking kids, who are all dating, or consumed with the opposite sex.  Our family favorite is Good Luck Charlie.  The kids are usually lying about something, and the parents usually let them get away with it.  The mom always makes me laugh though and Charlie is adorable.  I do think about the kids that watch television  without any parental filters.  My prayer is that most parents are pro-active with their kids viewing habits.

Television is a hard call for Christian families these days.  We know that culture is wrong on so many levels.  We know that television is a huge influence on culture – and on people in general.  So what do you do?  Do you watch shows or movies that promote everything you know is wrong – biblically?  Man, it’s hard.

So, we just do our best.  We stay in God’s Word, and actually go days without even turning on the television. We have the “block” and we have a Clearplay DVD player. (www.clearplay.com) We discuss stuff that we do watch, and will compare culture with scripture when we need to. We do miss most of the popular shows and movies, which is sometimes frustrating.

There is a story I heard once, a long time ago, that goes like this:

Some kids came to their parents and asked if they could watch a movie that many of their friends had seen.  The kids said that it was not all bad, with only a little bit of profanity.  The parents said they would think about it and discuss it again the next day.  The next day came, and the parents set the kids down at the table in front of a big plate of brownies.  The kids were thrilled, and went to grab one.  The parents said, “wait, let us tell you what is in the brownies first”.  The parents then told the kids that the brownies were made with the best ingredients, and they even went and gathered some dog poop from the back yard and put in just a little bit for extra flavor.  They told the kids if they were OK with that, and could eat the brownies, then they could go to the movie.

Isn’t that the way it is?  The sad part about that story is that we have all been eating the brownies for so long, we don’t notice the poop and we don’t even care.

We are not a perfect family.  We have a hard time with the “Be in the world, not of the world” teaching from scripture.  So much so, we have an ongoing debate in our house.  I like to think that too much sports viewing is worse then TLC’s Sister Wives or Toddler’s & Tiaras.  My husband and son’s disagree. Either way, it’s all brain candy – and too much candy is not good for us, but it’s hard to resist.

So, what do you watch, with or without guilt?  How do you live out being “in” and not “of”?  I’ll let you think about that, while I go watch Sister Wives.  Really. Pray for me.

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.

Revisiting the College Preparation Blog…

Revisiting the College Preparation Blog…

Back in June, I blogged about helping my daughter prepare for college.  I re-visited that post this evening,  to see if I was still feeling the same, and if my Top 10 list held true through-out the summer.  I can testify that it did.  It is all true…every last one.

Tomorrow morning, we will unload my little girl, with a truck full of boxes, in the middle of a big city, and leave her there to start a new chapter in her life.   It will also be a new chapter in mine.

I’m sure I will cry, but that’s OK…Really.

Below is my blog from June… enjoy.

Yesterday, I took my only daughter shopping for dorm supplies.  She will be heading to college in August.  She is not my oldest, but she’s my first to go, and live on campus at a university, so this is new territory for me.

We had the 10 hour orientation last week – It was brutal.  I didn’t cry, and she didn’t pretend not to know me, so I think it was a win win.  It did however, make this all a tad bit more real for me.  She seemed totally chill with everything. She told me she wasn’t nervous at all!  It was all just too exciting for her.

I know she’s a great student.  She’s pretty responsible with things that matter… to her anyway. She has a relationship with Christ, and a heart to help others.  She knows what she wants, and she’s never been afraid to go for it.  She’s a leader, and knows how to follow when she has to – something that took her mama a while to learn… I know she will be OK, and I know she will miss me, eventually.  I must admit though, I will be anxiously awaiting that first phone call.  The one where she calls just to chat and hear my voice.  When my role as Mom will start to morph, and she will also call me friend.

Here is my top 10 for the week –

Top ten ways you know you have a kid about to go off to college

  1. You cry randomly…
  2. You have more bad dreams then normal
  3. You find yourself saying, “If you can’t blah blah blah here, how will you when you’re on your own?”
  4. You notice the “eye roll” has now been replaced with the “blank stare of don’t care”
  5. You will find anyway to bring up the fact that your child is leaving, in every conversation, even if it doesn’t fit, like when you order your lunch, (Waiter) “Are you ready to order ma’am?” (You) “well, I guess, ya know… I guess I need to get used to eating out more now that my child is going off to college”. (you will get a strange look and fake chuckle with this one)
  6. You will bring it up in every prayer group too… Try not to be to trigger happy with your request.. let other’s go first if you can.
  7. You will hear your child say “I love you mommy” and “leave me alone” several times in the same week.
  8. The intensity of your lectures about sex and drugs will escalate to un-godly proportions.
  9. Your personal prayer life will also intensify.
  10. You will decide that you have done the best you can do, and you will trust in your kid, and more in the God that created them, knowing that they will make mistakes, and you can’t fix everything for them… and that is OK… Really.

If you have any words of advice or would like to share your story or can add to this list, please do!

Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

Yep… still a home school mom… Part 2

I started home schooling out of desperation, but I have continued out of conviction.

Right before I took my 7th grader out of public school all those years ago,  I had been substituting at a couple of middle schools.  My experiences in those schools were not pleasant. Things had changed drastically since my days of puberty, and it was not for the better.

I home-school because I want my son to learn without distraction.  I want his ears to be  sensitive to profanity and his heart to be soft to injustice.  I want to teach him that it’s God’s Word that matters most, not the most popular kids word…I want my son to know that God is in every single thing in his life, and it’s his very ability to learn that comes from Him.

I home school because I believe that all children deserve to learn in the way they were created and at the pace that their brains can keep up with.  I don’t teach to a test, and we don’t move on until there’s complete understanding.  The time will come soon enough when meeting the status quo will matter, but it’s not in adolescence.

I have learned that when you teach to a child’s heart, knowledge and understanding will follow.  Grades are just a way to see what we still need to learn.  They are not the defining mark of any child.  Their character is.

I have totally selfish reasons for home-schooling as well.  I love the schedule of it.  I love planning activities with my son, and going on field trips.  I love implementing life responsibilities in our education, and I just love being a part of the whole process… We rarely run out of time for the things that matter, because it all matters.

I believe that the public school systems do have the children’s best interest at heart.  I also believe, unfortunately, that their interest can only be diluted when you have the increased population in the classroom, and the varying, ever changing, opinions of those in control.  It is a government entity that has taken too big of an influence in our lives, in places where it has no business.

I choose to home school.  I take it seriously.  I don’t judge you if you choose not to, but I do admonish you to talk to your child about their day at school.  I implore you to be pro-active with your child’s studies. Get to know your child’s teacher.  They would probably appreciate your support!  Know what they are learning and be involved.   It’s your right as a parent.  You are your child’s best advocate, and their character development is up to you.

When all is said and done, and the diploma is hanging on the wall, the adult that your child becomes is really up to them.  We can only do what we can.  As I have said before…faith, hope, love and prayer will always be yours long after control and influence have expired.  Take comfort in those and know that God loves your kids more than you do. Really.

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.