I’m one of “those moms”. You know, the ones who cringe when their child colors outside the lines. The one who immediately washes sticky hands. Who has to build a Lego town myself so it is done properly and is up to code. Who also says if you build that stack of blocks too high it will fall.
I have a hard time letting my kids fail.
But no one learned to ride a bike without tears. No one learned to color without first coloring outside the lines.
And no one learned to pour milk without spilling it all over.
So sometimes you have to let them pour their own milk.
I have come to the conclusion that if I lack sleep I am a better mom. I know that you are thinking that I’m nutzo or off my rocker or too sleep deprived to have sound judgement.
This realization came to me last week. I didn’t sleep well one night, then the very next night I had to get up at 5 am to take my mom for a procedure. One of those once-you-turn-50-scope-where-the-sun-doesn’t-shine-procedures. So two nights in a row, I had less than 6 hours of sleep. I returned home that same day to take the kiddos from my hubby who had to get to work. I was exhausted. I tried the “stick a movie in and see if that would keep them entertained so I could nap” thing.
That lasted 10 minutes then my kids decided to play Thunder.
The game involves jumping from the couch and landing on the ground to make a loud noise, hence, thunder. So my attempt at a nap was a fail. I was completely spent. Normally, I could try and make it to their nap-time, and then, well, nap. But not this day. Nope, I had a meeting for Vacation Bible school, so a nap was out.
All during this time of extreme fatigue I noticed something strange. I was super duper calm. I was mellow. I was too tired to really care about anything probably, but my mood was better than when I had 7 hours of sleep. When kids were freakin’ out, I was hippie-like and would say “Dudes, chill, no worries.” Okay, I didn’t say that, but I had absolutely no temper and never raised my tone. I was calm and loving towards my kids no matter how they acted.
The secret to my awesome parenting day wasn’t the lack of sleep, however. It was….drum roll….lots and lots and lots of PRAYER. I prayed that day more than I have in a long time. I said stuff like “God, I literally can’t keep my eyes open, I need you to help me”, or just a simple “God I need you.”
The truth I learned that day was that my best parenting days aren’t after a well-rested 8 hours of sleep, well-balanced breakfast, and a jog by the ocean (I don’t even live near an ocean). I’m at the top, when I’m at my lowest. I’m a better mom when I give my parenting to God to live through me. So lack of sleep does equal better mom, but only if prayer is added.
Prayer + my realized weakness + dependency on Jesus = Best mom
2 Corinthians 12:10 “…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” And verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Connected Families Blog is one of my most favorite-st websites! They give Christian, Bible-based parenting advice. It’s not a get-your-kids-to-mind-without-losing-yours sort of help. Because while your child might mind you, their heart might be far from you. Our church hosted one of the Connected Families speakers for a workshop and it was one of the best things I’ve heard in a long time. But be forewarned, the main person that needs work is not your child– it is you. I learned how a lot of my anger at my kids while in public was because I didn’t want to appear like a mess. I wanted the perfect, well-behaved, little angels. Well, they don’t exist because our children are not raised by perfect, well-behaved, angel parents. They are raised by imperfect, sinners. But there is hope. And I love that this blog gives me hope. Not that I’m going to do everything right and then my child will do everything right, but that I’m going to mess up, and I need to be willing to change and apologize for it.
Here are my favorite Connected Families blog articles:
3) Consequences That Actually Work:
The image above
is off their website and it is what the parenting workshop went through. Building a Foundation first with your kids, then connecting with them, etc.
Great blog post. My son’s complaint about church is that “daddy talks too long”. His daddy is the pastor. 🙂
My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. “Ewww, gross! Sauteed zucchini? Seriously? Mom, you know we hate this stuff!” So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done.
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My husband and I were researching children’s curriculum for Sunday school and came across these DVD’s. We were disappointed with the current moralistic-legalistic-be-good-do-good-you’re awesome kid’s curriculum. These DVD’s have some big theological words, but they are presented in an easy to understand way. There is solid Biblical teaching through this series and it shares the gospel. I love them.
Here is a link to the parent’s guides on the Theo website:
Christianbook.com is having a sale and 3 out of 4 DVD’s are only $5.
Here is a youtube video to get a look at Theo:
This was very convicting. Do you want to raise compliant goody two-shoe kids or ruined sinners saved by grace ones? Follow the link to the True Woman blog and watch a couple videos by Elyse Fitzpatrick, author of Give Them Grace.
I received an awesome email from a science homeschool curriculum gal and I checked out the website. They have a sale going on and one of the items on sale is Family Fun with Music Curriculum by Marcia Washburn. It is so on sale that it is free. It is free for another 6 hours only. Normally $29.99. You register on the website and click the item and then click the “I Want It” button. It is a PDF download and you will get emailed the voucher code to enter and download the file. I’m not very computer savy so I kept trying to open it as a Word file, but it is PDF so Adobe opens it. Maybe someday I will be smarter than the computer. From what I’ve read already it is very good and it links to youtube videos that play the different styles of music you learn about.
BOYS AND BOOKS
After checking out the library book “Melvin Might” by Jon Scieszka I read the back of the book. It said that author Jon Scieszka founded a web-based literacy program for boys. It is called guysread.com . Having two sons it intrigued me. The information below is off of their website and gives statistics and information about boys and reading:
A lot of boys are having trouble reading.
- The U.S. Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year.
- Eighth grade boys are 50 percent more likely to be held back than girls.
- Two-thirds of Special Education Students in high school are boys.
- Overall college enrollment is higher for girls than boys.
Why might boys be having trouble
- Biologically, boys are slower to develop than girls and often struggle with reading and writing skills early on.
- The action-oriented, competitive learning style of many boys works against them learning to read and write
- Many books boys are asked to read don’t appeal to them. They aren’t motivated to want to read.
- As a society, we teach boys to suppress feelings. Boys aren’t practiced and often don’t feel comfortable exploring the emotions and feelings found in fiction.
- Boys don’t have enough positive male role models for literacy. Because the majority of adults involved in kids’ reading are women, boys might not see reading as a masculine activity.
I found all this information troubling because I know personally having a brother and going to a public school with boys that this is very true. I remember my brother was into reading the Goosebumps series when he was in 5-6th grade, but then his reading dropped off. I think that it is true that boys need books that relate to them. I don’t know any boys that would care to read Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, etc. No offense if they do, but books related to female relationships and dating don’t interest them as much. Boys love adventures. They love mystery. They love non-fiction books as well. I really appreciate what author Jon Scieckza is trying to do by promoting books to encourage boys to read. Boys are rambunctious, loud, physical, dirty, and imaginitive creatures, and somewhere along the way at a certain age they think reading is for girls or for little kids.
So what if they don’t learn to read:
WHAT HAPPENS IF KIDS DON’T LEARN TO READ AND READ WELL:
- Students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma when compared to proficient readers. The number rises when those kids also come from poverty. ( The Annie E. Casey Foundation )
- The Coalition for Juvenile Justice (2001) reports that 82 percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts, and a very high proportion of them cannot read. (Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis)
- More than one third of all juvenile offenders read below the fourth-grade level. (Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis)
- Every school day in America, 3,000 students drop out — the majority of them are poor readers. Students with below grade level reading skills are twice as likely to drop out of school as those who can read on or above grade level. (Adolescent Literacy: A National Reading Crisis)
- About one-third of all first-year college students took a remedial course in reading or math in 2007-2008. Students taking remedial reading classes in college had only a 17 percent chance of graduating, according to 2004 DOE data. (Alliance for Excellent Education)
- Forecasts that by 2018, 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some postsecondary education. Employers will need 22 million new workers with postsecondary degrees — and the report shows that we will fall short by three million workers without a dramatic change in course. This translates into a deficit of 300,000 college graduates every year between now and 2018. (Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce)
- Forecasters have predicted that if static literacy levels continue, then by 2030 the entire Literacy Level distribution of the U.S. population will have decreased, creating an American workforce that is unequipped and unskilled to work in the demanding global market. (Educational Testing Service)
- In 2008, the California State University System, the largest university system in the country, recorded that more than 60% of its incoming freshmen student’s required remedial coursework in English. (The Center for Future of Teaching and Learning.)
- It was estimated that a single state’s employers will have to pay almost $40 million a year to provide remedial training in reading, writing, and mathematics to its employees if the current trends in secondary school preparation continue. (Achieve, Inc. 2004)
- The United States placed 16th out of 21 OECD (Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development) countries surveyed for high school graduation rates. (Educational Testing Service 2007
So based on this information if you want to prevent your son from going to jail make sure and read to him! Okay, that was a joke. Obviously, there are far more factors that go into the connection of poor reading to crime. But they are interesting statistics.
Bottom line: Check out the guysread.com website for some books ideas for boys.
Here are some YA Christian options:
1. Raising Dragons by Brian Davis
2. Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
3. The Lost Books series by Ted Dekker
4. Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
5. Veritas Project books by Frank Perretti
6. Shadowmancer and others by G.P. Taylor
List of Classics for boys:
1. Peter Pan
2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
3. Black Beauty
4. Adventures of Tom Sawyer
5. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
6. The Call of the Wild
7. Treasure Island
8. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
9. Robinson Crusoe
10. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
and many more…
Book recommendation from my husband (who was a boy) 🙂
The Dangerous Book for Boys
Next post: Book recommendations for Christian parents of boys by my hubby and pastor (same person) 🙂
Please let me know any other great books for boys that you love too. What are your sons favorite books?
Checklist on How to Raise a Perfect Child
1. From the moment of conception: Never raise your voice in anger, think bad thoughts, talk behind people’s back, etc. because the baby will know.
2. From the moment they are born: Immediately start character training. They are being selfish and crying too much, give them a time-out. A 2-day old should know that it is not appropriate to cry to get everything they want. Say “use your words” to them.
3. From the moment they get home from the hospital: Make sure their bedroom is climate controlled to the optimum temperature, hang at least 3 pictures of Jesus with children on their walls, every book on their shelf needs to “Christian” (Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman, Shel Silverstein, etc will make your child too dreamy, too creative, and too worldly so don’t fill their minds with them).
4. From the moment they begin to talk: Teach them to say “Please, thank you, excuse me, etc.” These need to be taught before mama and dada.
I hope you’ve made it down this far in the post to know that I am being extremely sarcastic. Obviously, I am joking and by the title of this post you should guess that the statement is a complete ruse. The sad truth is that most of us as parents still try to attain this “perfect child” from among our broad of miscreants. We look over our children and can definitely rule-out certain ones from ever holding that title. My oldest, the one that hit his brother in the face with the bat last week, ummm no. The youngest, the one that thinks time-outs are funny and smiles the whole time, ummm not him either. But maybe if discipline them, structure them, mold them, shape them, feed them the proper diet, give them adequate sleep, read them enough stories, then they will be good children. The problem isn’t following steps A through Z to make your kids turn out right. They are not a lamp to be assembled in the proper order otherwise the light doesn’t turn on. The problem is that they are sinners. As discouraging as it can be when you tell a child something 10 times and they still choose the wrong path, they are genetically, spiritually, down-to-their core–sinners. Not to discourage you further, but look at the parents of the Bible.
Hebrews 11 (I read somewhere it could be referred to as the Hall of Faith)
1. Samuel (Heb 11:32)- a faithful follower of God.
Sam’s kids: 1 Samuel 8: 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.
2. David (Acts 13:22) “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said,‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’”
David’s son: 1 Kings 11:9 “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord…”
3. Noah (Heb. 11:7) “heir of righteousness…”
Noah’s son: Ham (Genesis 9: 24) “When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant shall he be to his brothers.'”
So the Hall of Faith fathers had children that went astray. Not just went astray, but “turned away”. Man, I am in deep water without a life- jacket. I haven’t been a faithful prophet of God, a faithful king, or built a crazy huge boat. My name wasn’t written in Hebrews 11. These fathers of faith had some pretty imperfect kin.
My hope rests in kids like Timothy. (Acts 16: 1-2) “Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well-spoken of by the brothers…” Timothy was the son of a Christian mom and Greek (unbeliever) father. One thing to note about Timothy was (2 Tim 3:15) “…from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus…” Timothy wasn’t perfect though. Over and over Paul tells Timothy “Do not be ashamed” of the gospel. Was Paul just reciting a mantra so he wouldn’t be ashamed of Jesus? No. (Romans 1: 16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation…” So if Paul wasn’t ashamed, who was? Perhaps, it was Timothy. My model example of a good kid maybe wasn’t so perfect.
In all equations of parenting none equal perfect child.
1. Faithful prophet + years of obeying God = corrupt sons.
2. Faithful king + man after God’s heart = faithful son until later in his life when he turns from God.
3. Faithful Boat Builder + righteous + blameless = son that dishonored his father.
So how can we raise perfect kids? We can’t, and hopefully this has changed your minds because We Shouldn’t Want perfect kids! Our desire should be for our kids to be Purified sinners. Our hope and prayers should focus on our kids meeting Jesus and then seeing how horrible they are and want Jesus to make them clean. Then the fruit of the Spirit will start to bloom. Then in spite of our parenting example and style they will become like Jesus. Not from anything we did, but because of the work of Christ living in them.
Checklist: How to Raise a
Perfect Purified Child
1. Pray for them
2. Read them the Bible
3. Tell them about Jesus
4. Realize there was only One Parent that had the Perfect Child. God had Jesus.
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt. 5:44
Do you ever find that when you read the Bible you see verses like that and put them in your head as a mental checklist? A reminder that next time I come across an enemy or get persecuted I need to love (check) and pray for them (check). Check them off, and then feel good about your obedience.
I work one day a week as a nurse at a clinic. I’ve been a nurse for 10 years and have been through many different situations and struggles. From the drunk man withdrawing from alcohol and becoming verbal to a seemingly sweet old lady with confusion that decided to try to bite me. I’ve had my share of difficult patients, coworkers, doctors, etc. I can’t say that I’ve had any enemies or anyone that has persecuted me. I’ve lost friends when I became a Christian. I’ve been made fun of. But enemies or persecution, no. I had to look up the word enemy and the definition is many things, but one is hostile. Someone that is hostile toward you. I met an enemy this week.
I was asked to take a phone call at work and long story short, the man was very hostile toward me. I was called a word that refers to female dogs, I was told to “shut the….” I’ll leave the rest to imagination. But I was stunned. I was tearful. I have never had someone be so hostile toward me. The drunk man I referred to before was obviously verbal due to the toxin he put in his body, and the cute confused woman became cannibalistic to me due to dementia so those situations I easily rolled off my back. But this man was not drunk and was not confused. He was angry. I was so offended that I broke down and started to cry. I mean, not small tears rolling down my cheek, but one of those ugly cries. I was near sobbing. You don’t know me very well, but I don’t cry very often. I’m one of those good German-descendant folks that can stand like a statue. I’m not an emotional person. Women that cry over certain things usually make me chuckle internally. So for me to break down in front of a group of people is highly rare. Probably freaked some of my coworkers out. When my coworkers spoke with me I tried to give grace to the gentleman. I came up with possible scenarios to explain why he was so hostile. The rest of the day was horrible. I couldn’t get the words out of my head. I came home and got into a funk. A state of depression/sadness/apathy. Then the Bible verse came to my head. Time to check off my list. Love my enemy, chec… no way. Pray for him…absolutely not. I couldn’t. With every ounce of my will I tried to do that verse. I didn’t want to do it. Someone like that doesn’t deserve love or prayer.
Someone like me didn’t deserve it either when Jesus died on the cross in my place. There is was. The gospel. The Holy Spirit worked through me and I prayed. I prayed for the man to come to know Jesus and be saved. I prayed the same for his family. God showed me that when Jesus spoke those words, it wasn’t a to-do checklist. We can love our children, we can love our friends, but we cannot love enemies. The Holy Spirit can.
This is difficult to teach children. It goes against our natural instincts to treat others kindly if they’ve treated us unkindly. When someone is hostile to us it is so easy to become hostile to them. The way to teach this to kids is by using the Bible, then by your example, letting God work through you especially when they see us fail. We admit our wrong, seek forgiveness, and pray that God can take over. My oldest son saw this a couple of days ago when my face couldn’t hide my discouragement. My husband said that we should pray for mommy because someone was really mean to her and then we will pray for the man.