Yesterday, we helped the twins paint with toothbrushes. It was fun, but Pete and I are exhausted. Fun was worth the cost.
Last Friday, two of the four adults caring for the twins, along with the babies themselves, came down with a cold. (Remember Pete and I are in Florida helping out.) The twins started things off with fitful naps and runny noses, then the adults were quick to follow with terrible sore throats and nasal congestion. By evening, no one felt like eating, and I was left with a dilemma–what to make for dinner? I settled on old-fashioned chicken and rice soup. The sickies were able to slurp down a bit of the soup and the two adults who hadn’t succumbed to the bug really didn’t care by the time dinner was ready. So we made it through day one, but by the following evening, again, no one was in the mood to eat.
So, here’s my question: What do you make when your family is feeling out of sorts and they don’t want to eat? I need ideas.
All Mama Kay knows to do is to prepare something soothing for the throat and pray (and those two things are none too small).
If you had told me when I was young that I would enjoy gardening when I got older, I would have said: “You’re crazy.” Furthermore if I had been drawn to gardening as a young mom, I’m not sure I would have had the time. It would not have been the “right season.”
But now I savor my time in the garden amongst the flowers. I look forward to Spring just to get my hands in the dirt. I even enjoy weeding, that is unless I have not been consistent and diligent in weeding all along. Weeds let loose more easily the less established they are. Once the weeds get a foothold, it can be a “bear” to get rid of them. When I weed, I know I’m doing something important and absolutely essential to growing beautiful flowers. Furthermore I can see results from my effort. Anything worth growing needs to be weeded.
I am confident that I need some “weeding” in my life from time to time. What about you? Let’s do it before the weeds take hold. We will be glad we did. Bet our husbands and children will be too. The best news: God is the Master Gardener. He is more than willing to help us. We only need to ask.
I have discovered that the older I get, the more challenging it is to memorize scripture. But I am determined to memorize Psalm, chapter 1. Would you commit to memorize this passage also?
OK, today is true confession time. Pete and I are in Florida with the twins. And here’s what I’m learning from two toddlers–that’s right, what I’M learning:
1. That there is delight in just waking up each morning.
2. That life is full of challenges, such as how to get behind a table pushed up tight to the wall.
3. That some days we want to eat, and other days we don’t. (This must be the way God views our desire for spiritual food as well.)
4. That bedtime is welcome.
5. That cuddling is good.
6. That a simple box is more desirable than an expensive toy.
7. That naps are important.
8. That books are to be read over and over again.
9. That milk is a comfort.
10. That Mommy and Daddy are the most important people of all.
11. That life is to be lived all out.
12. And that living all out is exhausting.
What are YOU learning from your children?
The most recent Mother’s Day was yesterday. A long-past tradition was wearing a flower in honor of your mother–a red flower if she was living, a white one if she was deceased. My flower would be white.
On this special day when we honor our moms, I was prompted to “revisit” my growing-up years with my mother. During this time of reflection, I recalled some of the lessons I learned from her.
Here are some of them:
- Love God.
- Be kind.
- Value yourself.
- Do your best.
- Get an education.
- Don’t say bad words
- Shop the bargain racks.
- Choose a Christian mate.
- Pray about everything.
- Believe for yourself because growing up in a Christian family does not make you a Christian.
I am grateful for my mom. Truly she was a good mother. But there is one thing I wish she would have included more often: “And, have fun.”
What life lessons did your mother “teach” you? Is there one you wish she would have taught you? If so, what? Will you teach “it” to your children?
From Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
“….He will quiet you by His love…”
We moms are a busy breed. We scurry, hurry, run, run, run. No matter what our age or stage of life, we are a tribe of hurriers.
My question for today is this: What do our children visualize when they think of us?
I had a friend once tell me that her young son dreamed that she had a head that spun all the way around because when he thought of her, he remembered her in constant motion.
Do we want our children (young or grown) to remember us primarily on the move?
And how can we be purposeful and fruitful and yet balance motion and rest?
I look to Scripture for answers. There’s a lot said about work, but a lot said about rest as well. In the very beginning of the Bible, after God worked for six days creating the earth, Scripture says that He rested. And He tells us humans that a sabbath rest is good. In Hebrews, the writer tells us that God also offers a form of inner rest, no matter what our circumstances. So, it seems that rest interspersed with work is God’s idea, not ours. And it is good.
God has created each of us differently. He created a love of flowers within me. So, in the midst of a busy day, I will sometimes stop and admire a field of lavender, or a pot of geraniums–a moment of rest.
And that moment will often stretch into long periods of rest underneath frenzied activity.
So, what creates a moment of rest in your busy world?
After pondering last week’s posts, I asked myself: “How is it that children are allowed to develop attitudes of entitlement?” My conclusion, they are indulged. While indulgence is derived from various motives, ultimately it is not good for children.
Gratitude and love can be motives for indulgence. Perhaps you have a child you feared loosing because of pregnancy issues, prematurity, or illness. It is understandable that in your gratitude you are tempted to give him or her too much. Then there’s love. Giving too much out of love is still too much.
There are those indulgences derived from unwholesome motives like guilt, deprivation, appearance, and emptiness. Moms who work outside the home sometimes feel guilt. Induging is not an antidote for guilt. Your children know where your heart is. Or, a marriage ends in divorce. You feel badly for your children and find yourself trying to out give the other parent as a way of saying: “I still love you.” Things don’t reassure them. Your time and love do.
Maybe you were deprived growing up, rarely getting anything new. Are you tempted to indulge your children with things because you can now afford them?
Appearance is reflected in that saying, “keeping up with the Jones.” Of course your kids want all the things other kids have. Learn to say “no” in a kind way, but say it.
Most importantly, remember our hearts have an empty place. No toy, no trip, no electronic device will fill it. Until we let Jesus fill that space, we will not be content and neither will our children.
Indulgence, regardless of its origin, is not good for children. It leads to entitlement. Instead give them time, attention, and love while pointing them to the One who satisfies, Jesus.
Question: Are you satisfied?
The way we raise our children may be fostering an attitude of entitlement. Let’s ask ourselves: “Would we rather have children who are content or who exhibit an attitude of entitlement?”
Here are a few things we can do to help ourselves and our kids lean toward unselfishness and contentment.
- Expose our kids to people who have less. Involve them in service projects.Teach them that our corporate call as believers is to help others.
- Let your children see you participating in short-term missions nationally or internationally. When they are older, take them with you. Build missions into the fabric of their DNA.
- Once they understand the difference between basic needs and wants, help them determine the difference between basic needs, wants, and luxuries. For example, your child thinks she needs a cellphone.
Need = pay-per-use cell phone plan
Want = phone with messaging/photos
Luxury = smart phone
Just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should.
- Utilize contracts and rules when kids need/crave new things. Make the coveted item conditional on adhering to boundaries. Help them learn how to earn the things they desire. They’ll value the thing more when they value the work it takes to get it and keep it.
If you live in America or any westernized culture, entitlement is a battle. By the power of God and the instruction in His word, we can win the battle. So let’s go the contentment route and watch entitlement take a back seat in our lives and the lives of our children.
*Nic is the Family and Children’s Pastor at Rolling Hills Community Church, Franklin, TN. He and wife Susan have three young children.