Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coaching Your Kids

No, we haven't suddenly jumped into the world of sports with our children. :) I get email encouragement from the National Center for Biblical Parenting, and I thought today's was one I needed to hear. I highlighted the part that jumped out to me.
Be a Coach to Your Children

I'm sure that as you look around you see other families who have rather strange relationships with their kids. Some parents seem to have a boss/servant relationship with their children, as if the parents own their kids. They order them around as if they were slaves, being demanding about obedience and respect.

Others act like policemen allowing children to do anything they want within boundaries. When the children move outside the boundaries then the parent blows the whistle to get them back in line. Other parents have a little prince relationship with their children. These parents go out of their way to make their children happy, sometimes trying to make up for their own unhappiness as a child.

A better analogy is the one that views the parent as a coach. Your children need training every day, involving teaching, correcting, firmness, and encouragement. A coach builds a relationship with the child, recognizes weaknesses and equips the child to succeed. When a runner falls down, a good coach doesn't condemn but motivates to excellence through support and encouragement. The coach and the athlete are both on the same side, working to make that young person successful.

Don't let childish problems like anger, impulsiveness, or meanness motivate you to become an opponent to your children, allowing the problem to come between you. Instead, partner with your children, moving the problem to the side, with you and your child working together to conquer it. Your attitude in conflict will mean all the difference for a child who needs to be coached out of immaturity. Children need to know that their parents believe in them. It helps them in the deepest areas of their hearts.

If you'd like to sign up for the emails yourself, head over here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kids and Money

Several months ago, Noah let me know that his bike was getting too small. It did look like it was the size for a small seven-year-old and not for my growing almost-10 year old. I encouraged him to start saving his money, and to be patient and diligent, and before he knew it, he'd have enough to buy one himself.

Little did I know that this would be almost as hard for me as for him!

I made him a little chart to hang up to track his progress saving, and in the meantime, watched him ride around on his comically-small bike along his friends on their appropriately-sized bikes. I have to tell you that this made me feel like a bad mom. I kept thinking, "Oh, I could just go give him the rest of the money and we could go get a bike today! He's been so faithful to save and wait patiently...." But I knew that this would thwart the lesson we were trying to teach him; one that kids need so desperately in our culture of immediate gratification.

So, I held on. Even when a neighbor offered for Noah to borrow her son's old bike. She completely meant this as a kind gesture, but I felt a bit embarrassed. We can afford to get him a new bike, I wanted to say. We're just trying to teach him to save his own money for something he really wants...But I didn't.

Mama pride.

The happy day did finally come when we made a beeline for Wal-Mart and picked up the bike. We held up the check-out line as many small bills were fished out of pocket and wallet.
I was so proud of him.

And proud of me. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sleeping Like a (Mom With a) Baby

How can such a cutie be such a tyrant at night?

Last night he was up, hungry, six times. You'd think, this being my seventh child and all, that I'd know all kinds of tricks to get babies to sleep through the night by three months. However, a strange thing's happened.

With my first and second babies, I read every parenting book I could get your hands on. I knew when the developmental milestones were so I could mentally check them off. I knew what foods to start when and in what order and how to schedule the 'right' way. I knew exactly what all the experts were recommending and took it all to heart.
By the time baby #3 came along, though, I was feeling pretty confident that I could handle a baby without re-reading all the books and magazines (hardly used the internet in 2002!). Then, by the time baby #4 came along, I was hearing that much of what the experts said had changed completely! So, my faith in them was dampened anyway. Add to that my terrible memory (Mom, at what age do you know the color that babies' eyes will stay? Hmmm....Let's look it up!), and you have a Mom of many who hardly knows everything.

This time I also feel so distracted; like it's really hard to think too much about any one thing because there's so much vying for my attention.

So, please help me out. Any ideas 'bout how to get a three-month-old to sleep through the night?!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Making the Lord's Day Special I

Here are some of the ideas I said I wanted to share. They're all adapted from a compilation put together by my friend Barb. Hope they bless and inspire you to make the Lord's Day special at your house!

  • Set a family policy regarding the Lord's Day so that when situations come up (i.e. sports, invitations, etc.) you have something in place to guide your decisions.
  • Be in church both a.m and p.m. to create well-grounded attendance habits. Even for those with babies or toddlers, this is important. You are communicating that "this is very important and it's a priority in our lives." Parents who excuse missing church communicate that church is something you can take or leave--depending on what is convenient.
  • Be on time--even early! Are you ever late when attending a baseball game or movie? Being lazy about arriving at church on time communicates quietly about how important it is. (This one was convicting to me!)
  • Help children be prepared with memory work and supplies needed. Prepare the night before by laying things out.
  • Encourage your child to be thinking of someone they could encourage in some way--perhaps with a card, or just a special greeting. Have them think of what they could say to an elderly member that day. This is a good focus for teens who are worried about their hair, clothes, etc., when getting ready for church.
  • Teach your kids to serve their church. Have them be ready to help with clean-up after fellowship dinners, set up chairs, or pass out papers when needed. Can they be ready to hold umbrellas on a rainy morning or assist elderly members as they walk from the parking lot? Young mothers often need help carrying things or corralling toddlers.
  • Provide your child with a special church notebook. Encourage them to take notes on the sermon or draw a picture of something in the sermon.
  • Consider sitting toward the front of the sanctuary--another communication of how important worship is. You want good seats for this event! This also leaves the back seats available for visitors who might feel uncomfortable walking to the front to look for a seat.
  • Fix a special meal with nice dishes, tablecloth, and candles: things you wouldn't use on other days.
  • Have members of the congregation over for lunch on the Lord's Day. Involve children in meal prep and clean-up. Have them take care of answering the door, taking coats, keeping water glasses filled. This is good practice in ministry to others--sharing toys, home, and themselves. It's also a great way to practice manners! Having guests also provides children with natural opportunities for spiritual conversation around the table and fun times getting to know fellow church members. One family often had college students over who were missing their younger siblings and enjoyed being with a family for an afternoon.
  • Have a special, traditional snack saved only for Lord's Day evening. Some ideas are pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, root beer floats, popcorn, or some other favorite recipe. Time around the table at this time of the day is a great opportunity to discuss topics that the kids are dealing with, or to ask a conversation-starting question, such as "If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?"
  • Consider excusing your kids from dish duty on the Lord's Day to emphasize that this day is their day of rest. Mom and Dad can do the dishes on this day.
  • Read Bible stories aloud and act them out using props. Bible charades is fun, too.
  • Sing Psalms or hymns together. Listen to Christian music together.
  • Make a mural of drawings from the day's sermon or SS lesson. Add to this weekly.
  • Color with your children in Bible-themed coloring books and discuss the story or theme represented.
  • Play "Who am I?" and try to guess the mystery Bible character.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Free for Homeschoolers: History Channel DVD Series

Go here, and on the left sidebar, you'll see a link underneath "America: The Story of Us" where you'll be redirected the registration page for your free copy of this new series. I love free! :)

From The History Channel website:

America The Story of Us tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented, focusing on moments in which everyday people harnessed technology to advance human progress. This 12-part series, premiering April 25, 2010 9pm/8c covers the scope of American history, from the rigors of early settlement to the construction of the transcontinental railroad – the Internet of its day – to the Apollo 13 mission.

A 'family viewing guide' as well as a teacher's guide are available here.

Thanks, Summer, for passing on this great offer from The History Channel!

Monday, April 12, 2010

On James 3

"And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so." Jas. 3:6-10

Keeping the Lord's Day

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”-Isaiah 58:13-14

When the Lord led us away from the Southern Baptist denomination (where we have many loved and faithful brothers and sisters), one of the areas where our understanding was changing was concerning the Lord's day, or the Christian Sabbath.
It began when Kevin was talking with the kids about the Ten Commandments. He began wondering in his own mind if he really understood and knew how to obey the fourth commandment. Through months of careful study, prayer, and talking with others, he became convinced that this directive from the Lord does still apply to us today (cf. Heb. 4), and so we started the process of trying to figure out how to "remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." (cf. Exodus 20:8-11) Now, I must take just a minute to clarify by saying that keeping God's law does not make us acceptable to God. We can't keep the law, no matter how hard we try! This is why Christ came: to be our righteousness. (cf. Romans 3:9-19) The law shows us our need for Christ; our sinfulness and inability to be 'good enough' for God's perfect, holy standard. It is ONLY by the saving work of Jesus Christ that we are made acceptable to God, not by any of our 'good works,' which are not really good when they're held up to the standard of God's holiness, anyway...Isaiah 64:6

That said, God's word is also clear about our obedience: If we love God, we obey Him. We do so imperfectly, failing daily, but it is our aim. (John 14:15) Loving God and desiring to obey Him flow out of a heart that is being transformed by the Holy Spirit.

I have to be honest here, and admit that I really resisted Kevin at first. I didn't like this new development. I felt policed and constrained.
What? I can't throw a load of laundry in the washer on Sunday afternoon? I complied, but grudgingly. I was like the little child in the story who was 'sitting down on the outside, but standing up on the inside.' Thankfully, the Lord slowly worked on my rebellious heart. I began to submit to Kevin, and as I did so, I began to actually enjoy the Lord's day! It stopped feeling like a burden, and started feeling like a treat. I was supposed to rest! I could take the time to read a good Christian book or my Bible, without feeling pressured to be occupying myself with housework or bookkeeping or homeschool planning. The truth of Deuteronomy 12:28 was what I was seeing: God's commandments are for our good!

So, this is a very abbreviated account of why we desire to keep the Lord's day holy. Now, I hope to share some really fun ideas with you in future posts! At our presbytery's retreat last week, my dear friend Barb shared all kinds of creative ideas for making the Lord's day special for families and children.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Promised Pictures

Quick Little Project

I picked up these prints at a garage sale for $2 several years ago. Yes, I said years. I've been meaning to do something with them all this time. Aren't they cute?

These $5.99 frames were on sale at Hobby Lobby. So, three bucks a frame.

The color, however, doesn't quite fit with Row's girly room. So...I picked up a can of this wonderful stuff.

And the big blank pink wall has something to make it interesting and cute now.

Please don't anyone point out that I don't have curtains up there yet. I'm basking in the satisfaction of one little project completed today! :)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Oh, Goody!

I'm so excited to have in my hot little hands a CD of the pictures my new friend Oni took last Saturday! There are some really beautiful ones. I was, however, reminded of why having pictures taken is an all-day event for our family. Actually, an event that begins the night before.

Night before: Bathe younger kids, making sure noses and nails are presentable. Goad older kids to shower and
do a thorough job. Iron clothes and lay out socks, shoes, accessories.

Morning of: Feed children hearty stick-to-their-ribs breakfast to carry them through all that smiling. Dress others, dress myself, fix hair of several little girls. Warn said girls to avoid rough-housing that might muss their hair. Nurse baby, praying that he will hold up well and act cute for his first photo shoot.

During: Remind everyone to smile, smile, look at the camera. Stop fighting. Stay out of the mud. Please, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I'm sorry your shoes hurt. Smile anyway and
don't ruin the pictures for us all! This approach probably didn't qualify me for the Mommy of the Year award.

After: Hustle hungry and smiled-out children home for lunch and down for naps. Collapse on the floor. Not really...but it was a bit tiring! However, SO worth it! Who knew all these beautiful shots would come out of what felt chaotic at times? Thanks for a beautiful job, Oni!
I hope to share some of the shots when my computer-savvy husband can reduce some of them for posting.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Three Little Months

Sometimes I'm Accidentally Green

Keely and I have been sorting through the enormous pile of stuff in the basement to get ready for a garage sale. I've been combing the house, keeping an eye out for stuff we can get rid of. I've encouraged the kids to let go of some of their toys, and we've implemented the new rule that they have to get rid of something they have if they want something new. I don't know about you, but I look at all the stuff and see more work: more to clean, more to organize, more to manage. So, when I started thinking Easter baskets, I knew we didn't need six more plastic buckets hanging around. These drugstore paper bags were perfect: I love consumables!