I’m now 31 years old. I’m divorced, and I’m the main provider and caretaker for my two children affectionately known as B&B. Big B will be 9 (Jesus, take me now!) in just a few weeks, and little B is 7. They are my children. Let me rephrase that…
They are MY children.
(And one more time…)
These children are MINE!
I don’t rely on anyone else to meet their basic needs. I don’t expect anyone else to pour into them or speak into their lives. I don’t allow anyone else to have more influence than me. Because again… they are MINE! (Ok, technically they’re God’s, but He put them on loan to me for their lifetime, and one thing I don’t want to have to answer to Him about on Judgement Day is raising horrible children. But I’ve digressed…)
Many of us have birthed our children out of wedlock, while a handful were married and suffered loss via divorce or passing of a partner. Some of us are married now but have husbands who are away for work, or at home every day but absent mentally. I’ve been through all of this minus the death part, and to be honest… wait… shouldn’t write that. (B&B’s dad is involved by the way, so there’s that disclaimer.)
Whatever your situation, I want you to know that you CAN do it!!! You are NOT as disadvantaged as you think. And your children might be the ones to save your soul.
I’m going to say some seemingly ugly things in just a few moments, but they are TRUTH, and we know truth ain’t always pretty. Digest them one by one. Single dads, these apply to you as well. I want you to walk in your freedom as a parent KNOWING that our Heavenly Father has your needs in mind.
If any person on this earth deserves the best of you, it is your child. In everything you do for them, love them unconditionally and be willing to serve them while teaching them to serve others. If your kids are ornery and difficult, well… I have other posts for that, but parents are well within their rights to mold their children into becoming more pleasant and loving little beings. I had to with mine… *shrugs*
To read more about parenting, just follow this link here: http://www.consideringthelily.com/tag/parenting-advice/
With love, sincerity, and hope for your happy family’s future,
I know that sounds horrible, but I really don’t believe any parent sets out to raise a self-indulged, arrogant person who rubs folks the wrong way at work, church, and home . But somewhere between childhood and adulthood, things happen– or don’t happen– and children leave the nest with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement and a nasty attitude.
This jerk epidemic, ladies & gentlemen, is universal. Jerks are not limited to one race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class. They are as common as flu virus we’ll all be avoiding in a month or two, and twice as infectious. And, I hate to admit it, but I see jerk tendencies in one of my children. While I realize that selfish behavior is common at age 8, I find that as he grows he becomes harder to handle. I won’t blame anyone for it, but I can say that this little nastiness won’t be tolerated in my home. Y’all pray for me. Pray for his rear end too.
And so this morning on my drive to work, I thought of men and women who are self-confessed jerks and connected the dots. Sometime back in the 80′s lived a child with a strong sense of self, wasn’t disciplined, didn’t learn to care for others, only sought his or her own purposes, and now walks around with 8-year old sensibilities though he or she may be 28 or 38. Ugh. If this is you, I’m sorry. But let’s grow together. Lol.
Just in case you ever DID want to raise a jerk, here’s how to do it:
I think we’d all agree we want our kids to be confident in who they are, but still compassionate towards others. I know that I have work to do with my little ones, but I’m determined to press forward until my kiddo is the kingly young man that God has destined him to be. I know you’ll do the same for yours.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
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Everyone has an opinion about how children should be raised. Outside of two resources that I can recall, a blog titled Raising Godly Tomatoes and a book about raising strong-willed children (scroll all the way down to my footer to see the book info), I can’t really think of a resource that’s given me such great advice that I’d swear by it. And there’s the Bible of course. Not all of us are nurturers by nature, but I want to share all the bad things I’ve done as a mother to my children just to prove to you that what’s bad for one may be great for another. And all the research may be chalked up to someone’s dissertation hours instead of actual parenting…
I”m sure you can find something research-driven and maybe even experiential that says my list of 21 things makes me certifiably crazy and therefore a bad mother. But my children are bright, happy, healthy, well-balanced… outside of being messy and moody sometimes, I cannot complain. Everything doesn’t work for everyone.
By the way, I feel guilty for NONE of the above!
Which unconventional methods do you practice with your children that contribute to their well-being?
Tell me about them in the comments section.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,
So as I shared last week, THIS week we’re celebrating the art of PARENTING!!!
Being a mother has to be the most challenging, yet the most rewarding experience of my life. There is something about my little people that just makes them a thousand times better than everyone else’s… Teehee! You should feel the same about yours, but if you don’t, perhaps you might instill some qualities into them to help them become more enjoyable. We know that children can be terribly unpleasant if they are fearful, disrespectful, and disobedient. So the songs I’ve selected below will guard your children’s hearts against issues that have create problems in our homes. To be perfectly clear, B&B haven’t always been as delightful as they are now, and still aren’t always beams of sunshine, but over the years, along with the help of family and the Almighty, I’ve been able to train them… and what better way to teach a child something than through a song!!
Few songs are more powerful than this simple tune. Every child raised in a Christian home knows this song, and it’s so deeply embedded in us that as adults it pops into our spirits when we need it most. I remember a friend (I use the term loosely for blogging’s sake) telling me about a nightmare he had. And just when it seemed he was going to die, he began to sing this song and his attackers fled. Just a few weeks ago, I could not feel God’s presence as I usually do. So I sat down and began to search for Him and this song bubbled up from my spirit. Immediately I felt His presence wash over me to the point where I could barely sit up. All that to say, there is NO weapon more powerful against the enemy that knowing of Christ’s GREAT love for you. People who feel unloved soon begin to do anything to seek validation and inevitably hurt others. Arm your children with this song. Remind them daily that there’s nothing they can do to make Jesus stop loving them.
As a toddler Brandon used to croon this tune as he rocked side to side in his giant Pull-Up. He’d sing it for anybody that came around. His worship would stop an adult in their tracks and provoke them to jealousy. Children love deeeeeeply. And who better to love than God? And why love God? Well the song says it… BECAUUUUUSE HE FIRST LOVED MEEE!! And children get that. They totally understand that mommy and daddy love them and take care of them, so the appropriate response would be to love mommy and daddy in return. For children, loving is simply not an option. And loving falls right in line with obeying…
Ok, so this isn’t a song, but who says you can’t make it into one? From the time B&B began speaking I had them repeating this little phrase as we marched and clapped our hands. Did I provide them with a Biblical definition of what obey means in the Greek and Hebrew contexts? Of course not! But they learned quickly, that if they obeyed, good things would happen, and if they didn’t, other consequences would be in store. Obey simply means “Do what mommy says right away.” Another scripture we learned involving this concept was “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Two reasons your kids should know this— one, because it’s so darn cute to hear them try to say sacrifice, and two, because at some point children will start to weigh their options. I don’t want my kids to think about whether they’re going to obey or not. I want them to immediately choose obedience. All this crap about counting to three… nah. That’s called a power struggle. They don’t get to choose whether they’re hit by a car if they run into the street. So, yes, OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE! Little ones can learn this easily if parents are faithful to reinforce it.
To pick up your weapons and fleeee! For the Lord has given me authority to STOMP all overrrr THEEE! Who says our babies can’t fight for themselves? Children are exceptionally sharp when it comes to spiritual matters which is why so many have bad dreams. So how do we handle this? Well arm your little soliders for the Lord by teaching them to rebuke the enemy IN JESUS’ NAME! I remember my mother teaching my siblings at 2 and 3 when they became afraid of the dark or storm to say “Go in Jesus’ name!” And they did it. And their little butts learned not to be afraid. Children must be trained to fight against the enemy, and often because of their unadulterated faith, their prayers and commands accomplish more than our own. You wanna see some prayers answered? Tell your baby to pray about it!
I was absolutely mortified when four-year old Briana put her pink Bible on the floor, stood on top of it, and sang this song to the top of her lungs. Her father stopped me from tapping her legs and suggested that she might be learning this sort of thing at school. Duhhhh… I STAND ALONE ON THE WORD OF GOD! Lol. I gave myself a facepalm. Yes, we STAND on the Word, so we want our children learn to love the Word so that they are able to stand in the day of testing. This brings me to my next song…
This song isn’t one of my personal favorites, alas kinesthetic learners in Sabbath/Sunday schools everywhere are enthralled with the corresponding movements. So what’s the point of the song outside of the flailing of arms and legs everywhere? BIBLICAL HISTORY!!! Kids loooove Bible stories, and I must admit this is my weakest point as a Christ-following mommy. I’d rather teach my children about prayer and hearing God’s voice, but knowing the Word is even more important particularly at an age when their minds are so open. So yeah, we’ll do a Father Abraham or two, but more importantly, we’ll talk about who Abraham was. And Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jonah… the list goes on. These stories serve as a point of reference for their lives later down the road.
So I know there’s a song floating out there that kids sing to bless their food. I don’t know the song though. I do know the sing-songy “God is great. God is good. And we thank Him for our food…” You know the rest. I’m not a fan of anything particularly sing-songy, but the message is clear. WE THANK HIM!!! Thankfulness is one of the most beautiful qualities a child can have. Should you teach your child what true thankfulness is, he or she will learn to eat up all the yummy food you’ve taken the time to prepare for them.
Ok… last story about my kids. When Brandon was two I put him in a daycare, and he wasn’t there for two weeks before he came home and confidently blessed our dinner with the following prayer:
Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank you for our food. We bless it and SANCTIFY it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
My baby boy said ALL of that. His father and I were stunned and I laugh and giggle uncontrollably through the entire dinner. Not long thereafter Briana began to pray this very prayer with him. They’d fight over who got to bless the food first. To this day, we still use that prayer, and they have noooo problem demonstrating their thankfulness by cleaning their plates.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your children’s bright and shining future,
God’s love? Greatness? Living? I don’t know how to finish the title, so I thought I’d give YOU the chance to fill in the blank.
I had a rough upbringing… not bad, just bumpy. I always thought of God as He who sat on the throne pointing his long judgmental finger in my face about the one pan I left soaking in the kitchen sink. I thought that if I didn’t do things juuuuust right, I’d be doomed to live in misery until I died and barely made it to Heaven. But when I had children, I didn’t feel that way about their shortcomings, and so it didn’t make sense that God would feel that way about me. So as I’ve loved my children, I’ve learned some things about God’s love for me. And as I’ve watched them grow, I’ve learned about faith and humility and forgiveness and loving. What I did not learn as a child, I am re-learning and re-experiencing as a mother.
So here are the top 5 things I’ve learned from my children about how I should interact with my Heavenly Father on a daily basis. It may be something different for you.
Every hour or so it feels like B&B are begging for a snack. They’re always digging in the fruit bowl or snack jar looking for something to fill their bellies until they are content. Last week when I sprained my thumb, they demanded to know who was going to cook for them if I couldn’t. How hungry are we for God’s presence? Do we inquire of Him daily? Do we spend time with Him knowing He will respond and waiting for it? The Word says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” God’s very words are sustenance for us. They are strength for our day. And like our children, we should want to feast at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and enjoy snacks in between. Being spiritually hungry is a sign of spiritual health. Keep reading, keep praying, keep seeking until you are filled and able to pour out to others!
Briana’s not much of a napper, but if Brandon’s tired, he’ll make himself a spot anywhere (usually my bed) and go right to sleep. As adults we run circles around ourselves thinking that if we don’t take care of every single item on the list, our entire world will crumble. My friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned about God in this year, it’s that He moves most when I’m at rest. I’m not saying kick your feet up every time you feel stressed. I’m saying we must work hard to find the place of rest in Him where we need not stress or feel condemned over things that won’t matter in the long run. Our God is not a hard taskmaster. Take a note from your children. Grab a pillow and blanket, and rest your head on the Father’s chest. Speak to Him about your cares, and watch things miraculously get checked off your list.
Mommy, can I…? But mommy, it only costs… Mommy… Mommy… Mommy… pleeeeeaaaassseee!
They ask for any and everything that they want, and who am I to stop them from asking? Even if they can’t have it at the time, it is my desire as a mother to know what things interest them. I want to bless them when the time is right because I love them, and not because they necessarily deserve it. Why would God be any different? Old religious folk used to tell me not to bother God with small things, but how wrong were they!!! I believe that anything that matters to us, matters to God. I pray about my weight, my skin, my hair… things some would say are superficial. But if it matters to me, be it in my control or not, I talk to God about it. There’s nothing He desires more than our companionship. Our prayers do not make Him weary.
When my kids ask to do something I’m uncertain about I say “We’ll see.” They cheer knowing there’s a chance of a positive outcome. If for some reason, we can’t bake cookies or go to Busch Gardens or wherever else they want, they say “But you promiiiiised…” Of course, I didn’t, but still there’s a lesson to be learned. God tells us to remind Him of His word. Children have no problem reminding of you what you said, did, thought, the face you made, et al. When you don’t see the outcome, remind God, in faith, of what He promised. The act of reminding Him shows that you believe His word is true and that He is able and willing to perform it. Leave the whiny bit off though… No one likes whining.
When Briana was a mere 19 months, she would squeak out simple phrases to let me know what she wanted. Well one day, I took the children to an indoor playground, and she walked her short diaper-laden self up to a toy car, climbed in next to another kid, and said “Do you watch Caillou?” I. Was. Floored. I had no idea my baby could speak in complete sentences, use vocal inflection, and communicate her personal interests. Even now, I watch B&B walk up to other kids in the grocery store and carry on complete conversations about where they attend school, etc. I’m 30. I can’t do that. But my children understand something that I’m still learning. We cannot complete this walk alone, and to make friends we must first be friendly. B&B force me to come out of my introverted self, smile, and show kindness to others. After all, God uses people to show His love for us.
With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,