I know where I am needed. I know my calling. My calling is to give to children.
My family tells me I was born a 30 year old woman; that I've always been wise beyond my years. When I was in grade school, my best friend wanted to sleep over for a third night in a row. Most kids would jump at the idea! I, on the other hand, told her that it would be best if didn't so that we wouldn't get sick of each other. At the ripe age of 10 I told her that it had already happened to me before and I didn't want it to happen again. That was the beginning of me trying to make well informed and wise decisions.
As adults we make hundreds of choices a week. What kind of coffee am I having today? Will I donate gifts or money this year? Should I tell her that her eyeliner is smudged? Choices are part of our daily routines.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18 (New International Version)
As the holiday season comes to a close, I encourage you speak in love and be humble about the choices you make. Even those of us with outgoing personalities do not need to broadcast every decision we make using every media forum available.
Stoplight Prayer: Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing me this holiday season. Give me the opportunity to share your love and show your light through my words and daily choices.
When it takes you an extra 20 minutes to flat iron your hair, the Kurig won’t brew until you to add more water and your child wants a second breakfast before you walk out the door, you know you’re in for one heck of day!
Days are busy for this working Mom and sometimes I wonder, “Mama Mia! How I’m going to get everything done?” I’m certain I’m not alone and I’m grateful for my faith that God can make a 36 hour day fit into a mere 24.
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (New Living Translation)
God will see you through the day. He’ll see you through your situation. Just remember that our timing isn’t always in line with his. When I’m overwhelmed and my faith is shaky I picture Funky Jesus singing, “Take A Chance On Me” by ABBA. Don’t make fun of me! I like to think that Jesus had a fun loving personality.
If you change your mind, I'm the first in line
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down
If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try
Take a chance on me
(That's all I ask of you honey)
Take a chance on me
And so ladies, today I leave you humming a song with a great visual and remind you take a chance on God. He is faithful to complete the work he’s started in you.
Stoplight Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for being there to guide me and love me. Help me to continue in the faith so that I may be grounded in your word.
Hungry for More: Noah built the ark in Genesis 6:1 – 9:17, Abraham offers Isaac in Genesis 22 & Jesus and Peter walk on water in Matthew 14.
While the movie is truly hysterical to watch (Mean Girls 2004), the theme is all too real for girls today and yesterday for that matter. We are always trying to remain fashionable, wear nothing larger than a size 5-6 and have the right friends. It’s unfortunate, but the reality is that many girls, to make sure that they feel good about their situation, will find someone worse off than them and make sure they know it. My daughter is only 4 years old, but as I watch her play on the playground at the park I can already see the beginnings of cliques forming. The adorable little boy with the glasses swings alone, the girl with un-brushed hair tries desperately to make it pretty with her little fingers and still none of the kids go near her. It’s sad to watch them draw these lines for themselves at such a young age but it’s worse when their parents do it for them.
Several months ago during a Mommy’s night out, a friend shared a story of how another parent had rudely snapped at her in the school parking lot. After hearing the story I was appalled. What gave this woman the right to snap at my friend for a reason that was none of her business? I wanted so badly to never speak to her during pickup or let my daughter anywhere near her child again.
The next couple of times I saw her I found myself being short and abrupt, and then I realized what I was doing. I was behaving like a child! “You’re mean to my friend so I’m going to be mean to you”… what kind of example was I setting? It wasn’t until a birthday party several weeks later that I found out her mother had been battling the final stages of breast cancer while she was working over seas for extended periods of time. In fact, her mother had passed away only 2 days before. I pray I never find out how I would behave if faced with a similar situation.
We all do the best we can for our children and for now I refuse to let my 4-year choose all of her friends. My mother used to tell me “I can see farther than you,” and she was right. When she’s older, I hope that her exposure to people of different colors, sizes, religions and economic backgrounds will give her the wisdom to surround herself with diverse friends. The last thing I want to raise is a Mean Girl.
Parents play three distinct roles as mom or dad, teaching, coaching and cheering. Confident children know their strengths and are unafraid to use them. They’re aware of their weaknesses and aren’t embarrassed to ask for help. What makes a child confident? Practice, practice, practice.
In order to raise children comfortable in their own skin, you do have to be willing to take risks. It’s not hard to watch a baby practice standing or walking because everyone knows the only way to master the skill is to practice, fall, then try again.
Children must also practice making decisions that develop their character. When parents are “coaching”, it’s important to remember that kids will make mistakes, but the way to develop strong character is practice, practice, practice.
Recently, an 11 year old I know confessed to his teacher that he had taken candy off her desk when she had trusted him to be alone in her classroom. She praised him for his honesty, they discussed how he could wrong the right, they hugged and she told him she loved him. She never changed the way she treated him and immediately gave him a "do over."
Although the student knew what the expected behavior was, he erred in judgment. Because the teacher had created a safe atmosphere to learn and make mistakes, the lapse in judgment turned into a life lesson, and he passed the test!!!
When a parent coaches, he/she stays on the sidelines and watches the choices the child makes. When the child makes a mistake, everyone can learn and win if the parent will treat the error as a practice and not the end of the world.
- When your child errs in judgement, continue to make the home environment a safe place to be honest.
- Resist the temptation to be embarrassed or ashamed of your child’s actions or words. What one child masters with five tries, another needs twenty.
- When you communicate your disappointment to your child, make sure he/she knows your love doesn't change. You don't want your actions to be misconstrued as the withdrawal of love.
You are the best coach your child can have. No one wants to see her become a winner as much as you. Stand back and watch her practice all the good stuff you've spent years teaching.