Parenting Choices

Parenting Choices

Children From the Authors

Parenting is hard.

turtleI sometimes joke that the hardest part of parenting is having a creature loving son who is always bringing animals of different varieties into our house. Bugs included!* Currently we have two painted turtles taking a little vacation in our fish tank, while we study their behaviors and research what turtles do and eat. The turtles are ok with me (a lot better than bugs!!). Except when you are surprised by one when you are getting into the shower.**

But really, dealing with creepy crawly creatures is easy in comparison to all the decisions a parent makes on a daily basis. Before becoming a parent, I never thought about all the little things I would have to do to help my children to grow (and I’m not talking about height here, but maturity, kindness, health wise, wisdom…).

Recently we had another fun episode.*** In public. Which always amplifies my parenting choices for me, because I feel like I am on display for other parents. And I wish I wasn’t so aware of myself, and more aware of my children. But I’m human, so I won’t beat myself up too badly. The situation was that another child took the things that my son was playing with. So my son decided to take one back. However, the other boy, seeing that my son was taking back one of the things he wanted, chased after my son and ended up falling and crying.

What to do?

Well, I have learned a few things about parenting in the last seven years. First of all, take a deep breath and don’t panic. That’s always a good place to start (and usually a miracle if I can manage it!). Second, ask questions. More and more I am not telling my children what they should be doing, but asking them what they think they should be doing. I’m always surprised at what they already know. So I asked what happened. I asked if my son thought it was okay. I asked what he thought he should do. And he had all the right answers. He even said he should apologize.

Lphone july to oct 2014 114But my heart was hurting too. Because my son has a strong sense of justice. And he knew that the other child had taken things from him. And second, he felt like he had done something wrong. And this beautiful child of mine, takes after me. So I know that if you tell him he did something wrong, he hears in his heart that he is wrong.

So all the parents got to witness our little interaction, and the resulting apology, and then the frustrated tears. What they didn’t get to see was the long conversation afterwards. We talked about how it was an accident, and that accidents are not a big deal, they just happen. Then we moved on to the importance of saying sorry, and why we say sorry. Which then brought us to our talk on justice, and finally led to more conversation on how we cannot control others or demand apologies. The other parents did not see the struggle we had to accept these facts. They only saw that tiny interaction we had at the gym.

All this to say, we need parent cheerleaders. We see so many parents doing a tiny fraction of their parenting in public. But we don’t know what they are going through on a day to day basis. We don’t know what conversations happen after they leave the gym, or the grocery store, or the playground. We don’t know.

What I do know is that encouragement can go a long way. And parents need to hear that they are doing a good job. They need to know that what they are doing is important. And it is! The things we teach our children will be taught to their children. It will help shape the future! And when we share the truth of Jesus with our children we have an eternal impact on their lives.

So hug a parent today. Tell them what strengths you see in them. And help them to realize how important their job really is. Thanks!

God bless you and keep you! I pray that God will show you your strengths, and bring you encouragement tody. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*I guarantee you will never meet an adult more afraid of bugs than yours truly.

**In which case a blood curdling scream is perfectly acceptable.

***and by “fun,” I mean not fun. Not even a little bit.

Bed Time Ritual

Bed Time Ritual

From the Authors Our Story

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. ~Psalm 63:6 (NIV)

We pray with our kids at night.
We say the same prayer with each child.

Jesus be with me,
all through the night.
Bless me and keep me
’til morning light.

Nothing fancy. Just a habit.

Here’s what I know about habits, they are sometimes hard to start- to get into the habit. But once habits are formed, they become ingrained into the rhythm of our days. We no longer work at them (unless it is exercise… or is that just me?).

I’ve been praying this little prayer every night since I can remember. As a child. I tagged my own prayers at the end of this prayer. Sometimes saying the same blessings every night. Sometimes voicing new concerns. Sometimes sharing praise. But this little prayer was my starting point.

And now it’s my kids’ starting point.

I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder... how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.
I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder… how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.

I say the prayer with my one-year-old. In the last few weeks, I started to leave words out. To see if he knows what is missing. And of course, having heard it every night, he does! And he says “me!” very clearly. And “let” for light… so it’s adorable.

My daughter, says the same prayer every night. She is four. She says our little starting prayer, and then adds “thank you for my family and uncles*.” The same thing every night, but her own personalized version. From her heart. I sure didn’t tell her to thank God for uncles every night of her life.

My six-year-old, he has an entire list of additions to his little prayer, and now even a second prayer.

What’s a second prayer? Well, after the kids pray, I pray. I pray for them. I add to their prayers. And I am aware that I am praying for them, talking to my heavenly father. But I am equally aware that I am setting an example. That they are listening, and learning (as proven by my one-year-old’s ability to fill in the blanks). So my older son says his little starting prayer, and the thank-you-for-this-and-that he’s been saying for years. But one night, more recently, when I finished my prayer for him, he stopped me. He had a “second prayer.” And he said it. A new depth of prayers, touching on his fears, and his needs. And somehow they became habit. So now I know to wait (or, believe me, I am called to task!) until his second prayers are over before tucking him in and turning out the light.

A new depth of prayers. A new insight into that little mind. That tiny precious heart.

Prayer. A gift to God, for God’s glory, and still, somehow, even more a gift for us.

May you be blessed to experience prayer with children. May your prayers become so habitual that you hardly even notice you are praying throughout the day. That every breath would become a prayer, and that your heart and ears would be open to hear God’s response. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Oh to be loved for the amount of sugar you sneak children when their mothers aren’t looking. What a joy!

Jingle Jingle

Jingle Jingle

Children

I will praise the Lord God
    with a song
    and a thankful heart.
Psalm 69:30

This is what happens when you leave your one-year-old alone with your artsy sister and a camera around Christmas time.
This is what happens when you leave your one-year-old alone with your artsy sister and a camera around Christmas time.

I start playing Christmas music on November 1st. This is partly to humor my husband. If I had my way, I would play Christmas music all year round. But I am lucky, he can handle about four months of Christmas tunes (yes four, November through February) before he loses his cool. (And yes, I recognize, I have a thing for Christmas music)

This year’s Christmas will be a little different. We will be moving. Right now we are in the process of packing and let’s just say- stuff is everywhere. And since I’ve been packing the toys, and being (frankly) amazed at the amount of stuff we’ve accumulated, this post came about naturally.

As I look around at all the boxes, I’m reminded of a recurring conversation I have with a good friend. Each year we talk a lot about Christmas gifts. Well… we talk a lot period, but this particular conversation is about gift giving and gift receiving. What kind of gifts do we want our children to give? What kind of gifts do we want them to receive? And while we are not hipsters, we are trying to brainstorm gift ideas that aren’t… exactly… toys.

Why do we think so much about this topic? Partially because of monetary needs. Some family and friends cannot afford to purchase big ticket items. Partially the desire for our children to build stronger relationships with their relatives through rich experiences, not big presents. But mostly to focus Christmas on a baby in a manger, not a box under a tree. And then of course… if I’m completely honest, because of all the stuff. There is just so much of it!

So, if you are looking for gift ideas that aren’t for sale at the nearest store, you’ve come to the right place! I don’t have a complete list, but I hope to spark an idea or just give you something to ponder. But my list is too long for right here and right now… so you’ll just have to wait*.

Until next week!

May God bless you and keep you. May He show you that His love for you is so great that He sent the Ultimate Gift to you in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. In Jesus name, Amen

~Lindsay

*I’m not trying to be difficult, but I want to keep the posts short and simple (my middle names). Also, I may not have finished the list quite yet…