Monday, June 15, 2009

Words Without Deeds: The Vice of RAISING CHILDREN

Although I wrote on this subject for the Bible Study and Marriage blogs, I feel it is pertinent to raising children too...

So many times over the years, I have seen my kids' friends crushed by the fact that their parents say one thing and do another. This totally undermines the validity of their advice.

If you are a parent, know that what you DO speaks MUCH LOUDER than what you say. You can try to instruct your child to handle problems peacefully, but if you are blowing up and over-reacting and treating them harshly, your deeds will undermine your words, and create a HUGE LOSS OF RESPECT from your children.

They are watching your every move. In her book, "Children are like wet cement," Anne Ortlund speaks about the fact that EVERY LITTLE THING makes an impression in our childrens' lives. They are watching how you treat your spouse, how you handle problems, how you act when you are pushed to the limits. They are watching if you are spending time in the Word, how you spend your money, what is important to you and how you spend your TIME, and how you relate to people that think and act differently than you.

Yes, EVERY LITTLE DEED you do becomes observed by those little eyes...

Challenge: MAKE SURE that you follow the advice in the challenge from the Bible Study blog: and that your ACTIONS prove the words you say are words you BELIEVE.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Time for Everything...

I have really been missing my grandparents lately. I LOVED when my children were babies. There was nothing more fun than taking them to cheer up my grandparents. No one made over them like my grandparents.

As the children got older, I took them to run errands with and for my grandparents. Every week I'd meet Ma (my Mom's Ma) for lunch, and take her grocery shopping (YES, with ALL 5 little children in tow!). When my Grandpa moved here, he began to join us. It was so great!

We visited Gary's grandma in Hamtramck, taking her shopping and to the doctor's. Often, she would have the kids "help" with yard work: it was hilarious seeing Jesse at about age 8 trying to cut the lawn with an ELECTRIC lawn mower and his grandmother flipping the electric cord over his head after every row! To see the girls "edging" with SCISSORS was hilarious! All the while we were exchanging "looks" and making the most precious memories ever!

Grandparents are to SPOIL. I believe every grandparent should be "fed with a silver spoon". They should be catered to, spoiled, and appreciated for all the love and support they've given. They should be "interviewed"... often my kids took notes and asked them questions we had rehearsed at home. They should be "made over" and crafts should be given to them. They should be taken out for coffee, a glass of iced tea, or ice cream.

I "adopted" a senior residents' home to visit when my children were younger. Every month, we would go there. They called us "Karen and the kids". Each of my children brought their instruments, and there was a piano there. We would pick an appropriate theme for each month, practice songs appropriate to the month and sing them together as a group, and play ("practice") the childrens' instruments for them. We would often make a little craft to hand out, talk about something patriotic, and hand out sugar-free cookies to them. We always had a "conversation starter" for the children to go around and start up conversations with them. We rehearsed possible answers and how to handle different situations beforehand. We learned their names, their funny stories, and how to deal with some of their attitudes! It was an AMAZING time for my children to learn to GIVE to the elderly.

So often our children learn to TAKE TAKE TAKE. Don't miss out on the opportunity to GIVE at very young ages! Talk about how GOOD it feels to make grandparents (or others) happy. VERY OFTEN we would get up and I'd ask, "WHO can we MAKE HAPPY today??" and we would decide who we could "cheer up" with a visit and how to structure the visit so it would actually cheer them up and help them.

If you don't have any grandparents for your children to spoil, FIND some... look in your Church, in your neighborhood or amongst friends. Bring them cookies, little suprises, and brighten their days. It is EASY to brighten grandparents' days -- they often expect so little. Bring your lively children around them to keep them young! Make sure you are there JUST TO BE A BLESSING. If they offer to make lunch or dinner, refuse and insist on bringing a picnic lunch or homemade dinner yourself instead.

Challenge: SPOIL your grandparents. IT IS TIME for them to reap the results of all the seeds they've sown and sacrificed to raise their families. Make them feel important, and ENJOY having them in your life to SPOIL. Watch old movies with them, ask them to show you their pictures, give them a captive audience! And soak up every minute, because grandparents don't stay with us forever!