What’s in a name?

Choosing a name for your soon-to-be-born child can be a daunting challenge.  It could take a full nine months.   Parents must cooperate and both be satisfied with the final selection.  Each partner may have differing ideas about how the name should be chosen.  Some wish to carry a family name.  Some desire a modern name, which may equate toa name that was popular 100 years ago.   For example, I have been hearing the name Mabel recently for infants.  My grandmother, Mabel, was born in 1908.   Some creative parents make up a “new” name.   We gave our children biblical names.

hello-my-name-is-660-x-660During the 1950’s through the 1980’s siblings often received names which all began with the same letter.  Twins had rhyming names such as Don and John.  There are theme names such as flowers like Rose, Lily, Violet, and Daisy; or months/seasons such as April, June, August, Spring and Autumn; and even gemstones such as Ruby and Pearl.   I have been partial to Faith, Hope, Grace, and Charity, but have been told these are “hippie names.”    Even last names can be used as first names.  Some strive for unique names only later to discover the name they choose is quiet popular.

No one will give their child the name of a kid they knew and disliked.  One must consider how a name could be shortened and even mutilated by other children.   Please pay attention to initials.  My brother had a third grade teacher who referred to students in this manner.  Unfortunately his initials were B.M.

We do not choose our own name.  It is given by loving parents who deliberate long and hard.   Some choose a name based on the name’s origin and meaning.   A few individuals will choose their favorite version of their name.  For example my name is Diane, but I often refer to myself as Di.   Most of us don’t even choose our nick names.    Our son Daniel, was called Danny as a child, but as an adult goes by Dan.

But every mother and father has the opportunity to choose what their children will call them.  Will it be mother, mom, momma, mama, or mum?  Will it be Father, Dad, Daddy, Poppa, Poppy, or Pop?    It is whatever you teach your child it is.  This too could change with time, and attitude.13076999_263584877342925_875694023625990266_n

When I became a grandmother, I chose to embrace my German heritage and named myself Oma.  Recently my granddaughters have shorted that already short name to just Oms.   Some grandparents do receive their name from a grandchild.  That is how my husband’s grandfather was called Bopo as was his father and now him.

I think it very nice when each grandparent has a slightly different name from other grandparents.   My grandparents were all called grandma and grandpa and all their last names started with the letter H.  It was often confusing.     I was 20 when my first child was born and my parents became grandparents at age 43.   My dad really felt too young to be called grandpa.  For more than a year we referred to my folks as Grandma and the Man.  Eventually our son named him Pa, and it stuck.

As you are considering names for your child, talk with your parents about their grandparent names, if they don’t already have them.    This Oma is awaiting the birth of her 12th grandchild in mid-Dec. 2016 and her parents are still working on her name. I am confident it will be as beautiful as she will be. 14440924_1204306552981429_8930950963544655844_n

 

No Candidate Endorsed

Are you tired of the political scene?  Do you wish all the campaigning was over and Facebook could return to funny memes, adorable pics and recipes?  Are you ready for this election to be done?

I have already voted at the county building.  I voted early for two reasons.  1. I am tired of thinking about it. 2. I did not want to risk the slim possibility that I would need to be out of town on Election day, and therefore, unable to cast my vote.img_3543-1

Voting is very important to me.  My parents loudly and frequently (probably only at election times) drilled it into my siblings and I that voting was our American right, privilege, and responsibility.   Civic duty was important to them.  They are a part of the Builder Generation.  I can recall my parents hosting neighborhood coffees for local races.  In retirement, my dad has served on the board of directors at the local fire station and community golf course.

We have no choice about paying taxes, but we do have a voice about who is elected. Yes, I do believe that every vote counts.  I do think every citizen should vote (but only once, Chicago!).

Parents have a unique opportunity to be an influential voice to their children.  When my children were young, I often took one or more of them with me to the polling place.  It was an occasion to discuss the election process, the role of government, and even some of the issues that were age appropriate.

16-9-poll-boothVoting is a way of participating in our society, our nation, our culture, our heritage and our state or local community.  I think debating issues often sheds light on perspective and provides insight one had not previously considered.  Having two or more parties helps bring balance.  To borrow a slogan: We are better together.

My parents have also voted early.  Will all my children be voting on or by Election Day 2016?  They better be.

How have you involved your children in the election?   Will you be watching the voting returns together?   How about praying with them for our nation for the election and the reactions to the results?

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Running to Share

I watched him run. He was ready. He had joy on his face. Every lap counted. He was running for charity and he is only a pre-schooler. Other, older and bigger kids ran further and longer, but he was giving it his best. He had a great attitude. He was making a difference greater than he probably understood.  Crosby was helping.  Twice as I was watching, he stopped briefly and talked to me. I felt honored. Though we see each other regularly at church, this was the most conversation we ever had.kids-running

Crosby taught me an important lesson.  Even young children can give to others. Sometimes as parents we get in the way.  We may think they can’t do much or they are too young. True he could not address the letters that were mailed requesting support, but he did the running.

Helping our children develop giving hearts can be challenging. Like many other worthwhile endeavors it takes time, energy, and a little creativity.  Children often have plenty of all of these.  They may have some wild and crazy ideas and some of those may be perfect.

Why not challenge yourself and your children to discover ways to give to others.  Perhaps start with one project per season of the year.  It could be as simple as raking the neighbor’s leaves or taking them some homemade pumpkin muffins.  Try sharing some of those surplus tomatoes from your garden.pumpkin-muffins

Giving to others makes us better people.  It helps us to focus on others’ needs and less on ourselves. As we share our stuff with others, our stuff becomes a little less important to us and the people become more important.

Recently one of our local high school sewing classes made colorful pillowcases for a hospital pediatric ward.  I applaud these students and their teacher for using their abilities to serve others. I am continually amazed at the generosity of my city.img_3518

What has your family done to serve someone else?  How have you managed to involve your children? Please share your ideas.

Soccer from the Sidelines

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I don’t play soccer. Do you?  Some of our sons played.  I always enjoyed watching them.  I even wore a sweatshirt on which I had cross stitched a pennant, a ball, and the words SOCCER MOM.  Even though I have seen many games, I still do not completely understand “off sides”.

 

Our oldest son played on park district teams for several years.  He loved the game so much thermos-of-hot-chocolate-istock-photos-401x349that after he “aged” out of the program he took a job working for the district as a soccer referee.  He said refereeing the game was the easy part. Dealing with “passionate” parents was the hard part.   On one windy and drizzly fall day at this job, he was miserable.  He recalls specifically praying that someone would offer him some hot chocolate.  God answered that prayer, when mom arrived with a thermos of the comforting drink.

Now he is coaching his eldest son’s team and watching the younger son’s team play.  I recently had the honor of watching them all.  It is fun to observe my son as dad and coach. He is doing a great job at both.

Soccer has some parallels to parenting.

  1. In the game with young players the coach has every player point in the direction of the goal at the start of each half. Everyone must know where the goal is located and which direction they must take the ball to score.   In parenting, spouses must be in agreement on goals.  They have to work together.  And they must have a united front.  If they are not united,those sweet darlings will put a wedge between them to their selfish advantage and no one wins.
  2. From the sidelines, the ball may appear to be in the net, but it has fallen short. Sometimes the ball rolls beside the net or behind the net.   What is obvious to the players may not be clear to the spectators on the sidelines.   Parents sometimes need to consider situations from their child’s perspective.  We may be missing some details or information which would cause us to form different conclusions.  Give ample opportunity to your children to share their side of all conflicts.
  3. Soccer players need fans. They are energized by the cheers from the sidelines.  Parents need cheerleaders too.  Parental cheerleaders are hard to find.  Spouses can be that for each other.  Speak up when you see others doing well at parenting.  Find a source to emotionally build you up as a parent.
  4. The player we used to call the goalie is now called a keeper. Keepers have additional practice and training.  Sometimes parents need additional training.  I did.  I was always seeking input from magazines, books, radio talk shows, and other parents on how to handle parenting issues.  Occasionally I received uninvited advice that I didn’t want to hear but needed.
  5. In soccer there are defensive positons and offensive positions. Each has a specific job to do. Parents have to do both and know when to do which one.  Parents must support and defend their child, but also challenge and equip them for life.  It is a huge job and it last 18 plus years, not four fifteen minute quarters.
  6. Soccer teams have coaches to train the players and lead throughout the game. Sometimes with shouting.   Parents have a heavenly Father, who loves them, and desires to give guidance and direction.  Usually with a still, quiet voice.    Both want victory.

Parents, God is on your side.  Family is his plan.

 

Road Trip or Insanity by Car

Road Trip. Do those words fill you with excitement or dread? The answer may depend on the ages of your children.  It may be dependent on the length of the trip or the destination.

For many years we lived in Chicagoland and my husband’s family lived mostly in  central Nebraska.  That is a 10-12 hour trip depending on weather, road conditions, number and length of stops, and speed limits.  Thankfully the speed limits have increased.  Since the oil embargo in the 1970’s forced everyone to economize fuel usage, the federal government reduced all interstates to 55 mph.  Little by little states have boosted those limits.  Higher speed limits make a big difference on a long road trip.

1979-plymouth-horizon-08I clearly recall one particular trip to Nebraska in our sea-green four-door Plymouth Horizon (I think this model has been discontinued).  We had two sons, ages four and one. I must have been wearier than theywere because I was convinced the car was shrinking as we drove.  That particular trip was so difficult for me that when we bought our next car I literally used a tape to measure its interior.  I was convinced it had to be bigger than the Horizon for my survival.

Some families choose to travel long distances at night.  They hope the children will peacefully sleep.  We did try this a few times.  Once was in the unescapable Horizon.  It really did not work for us, primarily because my husband is a morning person and not at his best when driving late.

We recently took this same long trip for a family funeral.  My husband and I were good travelers, but we did not have any children with us.  On the other hand, one of our sons made the same trip with his pregnant wife and their five children, of whom the oldest is 10.   They arrived safely and in good spirits.  This latest road trip reminded me of some of the tips we gathered for friendlier travel with children.

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  1. Children’s movies on DVD players. (we did not have this one for our children, but it would have been wonderful)
  2. Audio books
  3. Favorite music
  4. Picnics at rest areas are better and cheaper than eating at restaurants because of the freedom to move and run. Some areas also have playgrounds.   Yes, this takes some planning.   Seasonal weather can be a challenge or make picnics impractical.
  5. Snacks and drinks that are not too messy, but also not the typical ones at home.
  6. Change up the typical seating order/arrangement. Might even change seats at the half-way mark unless moving car-seats is too cumbersome.
  7. New coloring/activity books and markers, crayons or colored pencils.
  8. New toy without too many small parts to be lost.
  9. Travel Games. i.e. I spy something (name a color), Guess what animal I am thinking, Counting (flags, barns . . .  .) on your side of the road,   and Travel Bingo.
  10. Individual  back packs in which the child has chosen the contents.  Back packs provide a place for belongings and an opportunity to practice being responsible for one’s stuff.
  11. Whatever activities you plan, be willing to be flexible and be observant of how well each one is coping with the confinement. Making an unscheduled stop may make the rest of the trip more pleasant for everyone.
  12. Also carry a first aid kit, facial tissues, wet wipes, and a plastic bag for trash.

One more tip: Do your best to obtain a full night’s sleep the night before the trip.  This will help everyone have a better attitude and sunnier dispositions.   The driver/s will also be more alert.

Travel Prayer:  Lord, watch over us as we travel.  Help us to have good attitudes.  May we not get lost or sick.  Keep our vehicle in running order.  Please keep all crazy drivers away from us.  Amen.

 

 

Overflowing

I recently discovered a huge mess in my bedroom which happened while no one was at home. The top shelf and pole in our closet had broken away from the wall and crashed onto the floor inside and outside of the closet.  My husband blamed the two heavy boxes of journals, which I kept on that shelf.  It was quite a mess.  We emptied 2/3 of the closet so that he could work in it.  I realized that my closet was over stuffed.  Since most of it was already all over the bedroom, I sorted through it all. I made a garbage pile, a donate pile and a store in the attic pile.  He also went through his hanging clothes and when we were finished we had over 50 empty hangers.   Plus I parted with 8 purses and 10 pairs of shoes. That is almost embarrassing to admit.

Too much stuff is a burden.  How much is too much?  Are your dresser drawers barely closeable?  Do you struggle to find your stuff?  Do you keep a car, or stuff, in your garage? Are you paying a monthly fee for extra storage?   If so,iIt may be time to declutter.

Most Americans could learn a few lessons from the minimalist movement and living in tiny houses trend.  Both of these lifestyles require radical simplifying.   One does not have to live in only 200 square feet of space to benefit from decluttering.   I did not ask myself if any specific piece of clothing brought me joy before parting with it either.  I just knew it would be easier to find what I wanted in a less full closet and there were many items I did not need or use at all.14263971_1368114123222506_5363390220919011006_n

I once mentioned to my daughter-in-law that in earlier times big families lived in tiny houses.  My mom was from a family of seven and lived in a three bedroom house and so did my dad, who was from a family of nine.  There are two very big differences between now and then.  Then there was much less focus on personal space (actually there was none) and today every individual has lots and lots of stuff overflowing our homes and bulging out of drawers and closets.

I want to share with you one thing I did well with my children in this area and one I wish I had handled better.

I did expect my children to be responsible for their rooms.  When they were little I did most of the routine cleaning, but as they aged they were expected to do more and me to do less.  Sometimes I would ask them to focus on a certain area.  I might announce that tomorrow after lunch I would be doing a drawer inspection.  Each child had time to organize their few drawers keeping only what was designated in each drawer and attempting to make it neat.  The children actually enjoyed this challenge because it came with rewards.  My inspections were really just a cursory glance.  I would leave a note such as, “Impressive!” or “Great Job” in some drawers or might give a stick of gum in another.  Obviously these rewards are more exciting for a 6 or 8 year old than a 12 or older child.  Use them when possible.

There were several times when we did major house-wide decluttering.  Then we held garage sales to part with our unwanted/ no longer loved items.  The problem was, when they sold their old stuff, they then had money to buy new stuff.   This created the “stuff cycle”.  I think it would have been better if we had collectively agreed upon pooling our garage sale proceeds to make a donation to a community service or a ministry or even an individual in need.   Or we could have skipped the entire garage sale and just donated our stuff to a resale store that was the fund for a non-profit.  I think I missed a great character building opportunity.

How do you manage stuff in your home?

Out of the mouths of babes

Do your kids crack you up? How many times have you chuckled at the amusing things they have said?

When my children were little, especially ages 3- 8 they said funny things every day.  They were often comical because they arrived at conclusions based on their observations and their very limited knowledge.  They were trying to make sense of their world.   The world is very complicated with words which have multiple meanings.   Sometimes this results in uproarious declarations.IMG_3410

Parents of young children have very busy lives.  Even as a twenty-something I knew if I did not write it down, no matter how amazing or endearing it was, I would forget it.   I frequently wrote notes or information on slips of paper and threw them in the drawer containing their baby books.  Later, sometimes much later, that bit of information would actually be entered into the baby book, but without the notes, their books would have been rather empty.

I had the same problem with “funny things”.  I knew I wanted a record of them.  I kept a small journal easily reachable in the drawer in the kitchen.  My bedroom nightstand would have been a safer location, but it would have gotten lost under a stack of old greeting cards and random stuff.   The one and only unstuffed kitchen drawer worked well.

I would write in the journal as soon as possible.  Repeating the saying to spouse or grandparents also helped me retain the information and they enjoyed hearing about it, but I would still forget unless I wrote it down.   As my children aged they enjoyed and laughed at the things they said when they were younger.

The following are a few of my favorite entries:

4 kidsJan. 14, 88 – Momma told Tommy (age 4 1/2) he was good looking and someday the girls would be after him.  He said, “I’ll go out with them and then dump them with a dump truck.”    (Tom married his first girlfriend after dating for 5 years and they are presently expecting their 6th child)

July 21, 88 – David, age 5, said to momma at bedtime, “Men know more than women.”  “What do you mean?  I asked.  “Men know more about women than women know about men.”  (David married at age 21 and has two daughters)

1/8/89 – Debra, age 4, looking out the window at the big pine trees said, “Look, Ma, hotdogs in the trees.  We can climb up there and eat them. “    (Debra is still willing to climb a tree or eat hotdogs.)

1/4/87 – Danny, age 8, said, “Tonight was the best church service  I was ever in.” “Why?” asked Mom.  “Because I could read all the words in the hymnal.”      (Dan is a pastor in a church without hymnals.)

Mar. 2001 – Seth, age 5, said, “I know when I want to get married – June 1st when I am in college.” Why, asked mom.  “It’s close to Christmas.”  ( Seth is 21, in college and single.)

I wish I had written down more of the great things my children said.  Perhaps you would like to record more than just the witty announcements.  Outlandish statements, anecdotal examples of their character, or maybe declarations of future careers could be included.  You probably are already taking lots of photos with your phone, write some notes too.

There are numerous online sources through which one could inexpensively and simply print quotes and add adorable pics in a bound book format.   It could be a sentimental keepsake, golden or teen birthday or high school graduation gift

The format is inconsequential, just write it down somewhere.  You will always be glad you did.

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Free Entertainment

Are you constantly trying to figure out what to do with your children?  Are you searching for good ideas of things to do with them?  Do they have too much time on their hands?  Is summer dragging on?  Are they begging you to take them somewhere or do something with them?

You do not need or have to be a cruise director or a free entertainment committee for your children.   One of your parenting hats is not concierge.  Your job is not to keep them constantly engaged in activities.

Yes, please plan some fun activities to do with your children.  But do not do so all day or every day.  Playing is important work for children. They need some down time too.  Down time does not need to equal screen time. They need to use their creativity to make their own entertainment.  Their imaginations may surprise them.13528782_1068874339865950_646158366432066594_n

“I’m bored.  I have nothing to do.  What can I do?”  My children rarely said these words to me because I always had many ideas for them.  Most of my ideas for conquering boredom involved doing household chores.  Instead, I told them to use their imaginations and find someone (a sibling, a neighbor, or a friend) with whom they could play.  I also encouraged lots of outdoor play except in extreme or dangerous weather conditions.  Yes, my children got quite dirty most days and often had minor injuries from play.  We all survived.

in a treeToday’s child generally has a plethora of toys with which to play.  Help them have a balance of indoor and outdoor toys.  Legos seem to be an inside only toy because of the easily lost tiny pieces, but many other toys are suitable for outside play.  I suggest a  supply of bikes, roller blades, skate boards, all kinds of balls, golf clubs, cones, bats, a swing set, a tree rope, and even, guns (see My battle Against Guns:   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/my-battle-against-guns/) with which to play.

 

There was one area in which I failed to follow my own advice.  I often (perhaps too often) found myself driving one of more of my children to the home of a friend or a cousin or picking up a playmate for playtime.  I may not have planned their specific activities but I was involved in helping them reach their destinations.   When they were old enough and the distance could be reached safely, I encouraged bicycling.

Disclaimer: When my grandchildren come to visit me, I do plan many activities just for them. We stay extremely busy for the few days we have together without their parents.  I recently had four grandsons with me for four days.  We went to a beach, visited a waterfall in which we played, went canoeing, roasted marshmallows, went swimming, played games, watched some movies and played mini-golf.  We had a blast without spending much money.  But even with them, there was some time that they just entertained themselves.  One evening they played a game which they created; beanie baby freeze tag.  I really don’t know what the rules were even though I watched them playing.

How does your child keep occupied?  Do they play alone or with siblings or neighbors?

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My Favorite Child

Were you the favorite child of your parents?  Did you think they liked you best because of who you were or what you did?   I hope you have had a playful argument with your siblings in whom each one claimed they are the favorite and can even provide anecdotal evidence to prove it.

I also hope you have never had the feeling that you were not the favorite.  Yet, sadly, I know that this happens every day.  It doesn’t make sense.  It is not right.  It is not fair. I think it may not even be a conscious effort.  But it happens and I cannot explain it. I am sorry if this has been your experience and I hope that it will change.

4 kids I do know there were days and times when I was not pleased with a particular child and even had times when I did not “like” one of my own children.  But I still deeply loved them and that is what I clung to when I was unhappy with their (pick any one of the following: behavior, attitude, choices, character, anger, outbursts, tantrums, language, etc ).   I think every parent goes through this struggle at some point because they do not have perfect children and they are not perfect parents.

 

I do know that true favoritism in a family is not good.  It can cause great harm to the not chosen.  It can instigate jealousy and resentment between siblings.  It can permanently divide families.

Last weekend my youngest son, age 21, and I were discussing a Bible lesson he was preparing for some teenagers.  His text was from Genesis 37, which is the introduction to the story of Joseph and his 11 brothers.  Joseph was Dad’s favorite and this nearly cost him his life.  Our discussion reminded me of a poem I read years ago and was able to find.  Thank you, google.

MY FAVORITE CHILD – BY ERMA BOMBECK

Every mother has a favorite child.  She cannot help it.  She is only human.  I have mine – the child for whom I feel a special closeness, with whom I share a love that no one else could possibly understand.  My favorite child is the one who was too sick to eat ice cream at his birthday party – who had measles at Christmas – who wore leg braces to bed because he toed in – who had a fever in the middle of the night, the asthma attack, the child in my arms at the emergency ward.

My favorite child spent Christmas alone away from the family, was stranded after the game with a gas tank on E, lost the money for his class ring.

My favorite child is the one who messed up at the piano recital, misspelled committee in a spelling bee, ran the wrong way with the football, and had his bike stolen because he was careless.

My favorite child is the one I punished for lying, grounded for insensitivity to other people’s feelings, and informed he was a royal pain to the entire family.

My favorite child slammed the doors in frustration, cried when she didn’t think I saw her, withdrew and said she could not talk to me.

My favorite child always needed a haircut, had hair that wouldn’t curl, had no date for Saturday night, and a car that cost $600 to fix.  My favorite child was selfish, immature, bad-tempered, and self-centered.  He was vulnerable, lonely, unsure of what he was doing in the world, and quite wonderful.

All mothers have their favorite child.  It is always the same one: the one who needs you at the moment.  Who needs you for whatever reason – to cling to, to shout at, to hurt, to hug, to flatter, to reverse charges to, to unload on – but mostly just to be there.

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I suggest we follow Erma’s example for choosing a favorite.  My poem version would be something like this:

My favorite child is the one who brought head lice home.  It is the one who jumped off the roof.  It is the one who totaled their car, the one we left behind, the one that needed to held daily.

My favorite child is the one wearing a cast again or the one whose best friend is moving away.  It is the one struggling to read and the one who is afraid to drive.

My favorite child is the one who just talked with me for an hour or with whom I have had an argument.  It is the one I am with.

Best You Can

Stomach or back?  Which is the best sleeping position for the baby?  The answer will depend on the year the question is asked.  Putting baby to sleep on his back was recommended when my first child was born in 1978. However, seven years later, when my daughter was born, putting her to sleep on her stomach was the new advice.  Yet again, when my fifth child was born in 1995, doctors were recommending back sleeping again.

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Our youngest in 1995. Crib bumpers are taboo now.

It is a wonder my children survived their childhood.  They did not see a dentist or receive fluoride until they were three years old.  Now these things are recommended to be done as soon as the first tooth has erupted the gum line.

As a parent, you may be bombarded with many questions.  Should my child sit in a bumbo seat, or not?   Should I bottle or breast feed.  Cloth or disposable diapers?   The August 2016 issue of Parents magazine carries an article titled, “health “facts” you may have wrong”.    www.parents.com    It covers topics such as the BRAT diet, using walkers, drinking juice, cereal, teething, and car seats.   It also covers conventional wisdom changes.  With newer research, come new thoughts and recommendations.

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Our firstborn in 1979.

So what is a parent to do?  Do the best you can.  That is a phrase I often heard my parents say.  They did the best they could.  What does that mean?  It means at the time of the decision, whatever it was, using the best information they had, they made a decision.  No one can make a decision today based on information not yet available.  There is no benefit in beating ourselves up today for what we did not know yesterday or last month.

Whatever your parenting style may be, there is probably a book written about it.  We are inclined to discount or ignore the advice with which we think we disagree.  We gravitate towards what we already like and are doing.  However, if your style is not producing the results (behavior and/or character traits) with which you are pleased, then it may be time to consider other approaches or methods of parenting.

Parents do make mistakes.  We are learning as we go.  Every age and stage is a new uncharted territory to explore together.  It is very confusing and difficult when the rules or guidelines or recommendations are frequently changing.   Need proof?  Just ask your parents about the kinds of car seats they used for you.

When you child reaches the teenage years, they may inform you of everything you did not know or do “right” as you parented them.   Be patient.  Their opinion is likely to change when they are parents themselves.  Incredibly, perspective changes our views.

Whatever parenting challenges you may be facing, please be encouraged. Parenting is an amazing adventure.  Yes, much of it is quite difficult.  You can ask the Lord to help you and He will.  Many times He has given me insight and ideas for particular issues and problems.   When my children were 8, 5, 3, and 1 years old the three year old struggled everyday with emotional meltdowns.  I prayed about this and the idea I had, which I believe came from the Lord, was to hold him every day for at least an hour.  Did I have an extra hour?  No.  But, I tried to do this every day.  This extra physical affection made a huge difference to him and became a benefit to our household.  What family wouldn’t benefit from fewer meltdowns?

What part of parenting do you find most challenging?  What do you wish you knew sooner than you did?water lilies

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” NKJV