Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Number One Task for a Parent of a Child Under 12

After parenting four children, all of whom are now college age or above, and after teaching in the classroom and talking with other parents and teachers I've concluded that the number one task for a parent with a child under twelve is....

to teach them to obey!

From infancy children are loved and cared for by their parents, learning to respect and trust their caregiver. In toddlerhood, children learn that mom and dad mean what they say and are consistently reminded of the boundaries. In early to middle childhood children are trained to be respectful to others and to become responsible for their work.

Unfortunately parents are too often leaving the training of their children to the schools, or to the "village" or even to the church. But the Scriptures are clear: Train up a child in the way he should go.
Solomon, in his book of Proverbs, was not talking to school teachers but parents. When teachers have to spend time teaching manners and etiquette, or to discipline children because they are not listening they are hindering the learning process for all the other children as well. A child should do exactly what the adult says WHEN the adult says it. I used to tell my children they were not obeying if they didn't respond immediately.

There was an unfortunate occasion when I dropped my daughter off for a piano lesson. As she got out of the car and went around the back of the car towards the building I saw another car pull in - headed straight for my daughter. I quickly yelled, "STOP!!" She immediately froze in place... just in time. I hate to think what would have happened if she did not respond to me so fast.

So how do you teach your child to obey? You make rules and you keep them. It's that simple. This requires that you stay tuned in to what your child is doing and where he is at all times. And it also requires a disciplinary action when children choose to not obey...and I always made it clear that obeying is their choice. That sounds weird, doesn't it? They're being forced to obey... so how is it a choice? Because a good choice is right and a bad one is wrong. It's still a choice.

When it came time for my toddler son to move into a "big boy bed" my husband and I had to camp outside of his bedroom door for a couple of nights to plop him back in bed each time he tried to climb out. He probably tried to get out twenty times. But his mom and dad put him right back in bed those twenty times. And you know what? He didn't try it ever again.

Our ultimate goal in parenting is to teach our children submit to Jesus, as their Savior. But how will they learn to submit to Christ when they haven't learned to submit to us, their parents?

So please....and now I'm speaking as a classroom teacher...teach your children to OBEY! We'd like to be able to teach content not spend so much time training behavior.

And now for a refashion...

Here is a dress that my mom made for me... about 25 years ago (yes I still have it... mom died 20 years ago and I never could part with it. But the pilgrim collar, padded shoulders, and puffy sleeves from the 80s just have to go!

So I cut off the collar, the sleeves, and believe it or not, I took off about 6 inches from the bottom. I just added eyelet lace to replace the collar and walah!

So fun! ---Blessings!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Parental Team

When we think of parenting we usually are talking about the relationship between  a mom or dad and his/ her kids. But becoming a strong parental team means the relationship between mom AND dad is the most important one, and KEY to parenting!

Marriage must come first. That means mom and dad must communicate with each other and decide together what disciplinary actions will be taken when. And when a situation comes up you don't say, "Just wait until your father (or mother) comes home!" You will have already agreed how to deal with stuff and so you manage it right then and there. Never make one parent the bad guy. Kids should know that if one parent says, "No", that they can't go to the other one to ask for what they want. And if you're not sure how to deal with something you tell the child, "When your dad (or mom) comes home we will discuss it and decide how to answer you."

Children feel most secure when they know mom and dad are.a strong team. So take some time out for each other! That means to continue to date. With four kids and a pastor's budget (one income stream) we didn't have extraneous money for many dates, especially when you have to pay for a babysitter - so going out to a movie and dinner, for example, was rare (maybe 3 times a year?) But we often did special cheap dates. After the kids went to bed, Steve would go out and buy desserts and bring them home. Oh what happy memories sitting on the couch eating chocolate mousse cake and talking about whatever was on our minds!

Another thing we would do regularly is that we would have "mommy and daddy time" after dinner. We would send the kids into the living room to play and Steve and I would linger at the table for another 30 minutes or so, usually with a hot drink, discussing our day. Some couples go for walks in the evening. Anyway, you get the idea that you have to make the time to communicate and enjoy one another. The kids NEED to see you as a team.

And now to "regail" you with a refashion....

Here is a man's cotton shirt that I bought at "Sally Ann's" (aka Salvation Army) for $2.

I made a skirt out of it. I lined the skirt out of another man's shirt, changed the buttons, and added daisy-lace around the waist. This skirt happened to match a top that was way too big for me (a hand-me-down from some generous soul) that I cropped to fit me better. Now I have a new outfit! I wore this on my first day of school this year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Being Right With God

Let's get back to the basics. At the very foundation of proactive parenting should be an active devotional life. For me this meant getting up early to have a quiet time when I read my Bible and prayed, committing the day to the Lord. I usually (and still do, by the way!) grabbed a cup of tea and sat in my favorite spot with my Bible, my journal, a pen, and my calendar/plan book. Before I read my Bible I looked at my calendar to see what was going on that day. Then I turned to the To-Do page to list my chores I needed to tackle. This helped get stuff off my mind before I came to the Lord. My journal helped to keep me focused as I recorded what I was reading in the Scripture and what I felt it was saying to me about God's character and what my response should be.
This special half hour each morning was transformative for me. It got me ahead of the kids. I was ready to face the day!

And now for a refashion...

A purse out of an old pair of jeans! I simply cut off the legs, added fabric to create a bottom, used my embroidery setting to decorate the edge, and then added buttons! Buttons are "a few of my favorite things!"

And another purse... this time I used just one leg of a jean and created a flap. I sewed on a pocket from the jeans. The handle is made of braided strips of denim and fabric. And of course I had to add lots of amazing buttons!