Monthly Archives: November 2011

Christmas with No Money

My heart really aches when I interact with society these days.  Sometimes I feel like the world isn’t really talking to me – it is talking to people who have money.  When I watch advertisements, news stories, or consumer reports, I tend to tune out.  The news seems to be all about when the best time is to Christmas shop, whether this item should be purchased now or closer to Christmas, or about strategies to getting your Christmas shopping done early – to me, it sounds like a foreign language.

We’ve never really had a lot of money.  It has always felt lean in our home, and we’ve always been on a budget.  But I must admit, we’ve gone overboard for our kids’ Christmas in years past, and we’ve made gift-receiving a big part of the celebration of the season.  Our stated limits have been one big present per kid (something that would truly thrill their hearts), and then other little presents as we see things that would make them smile.

But this year, we really don’t have money.  We are behind in our mortgage and are struggling to balance keeping bills paid and keeping food on the table.  My husband’s business is amazing and fruitful and satisfying, but as of now, isn’t profitable enough to generate a salary for us.  For months.  And months.  We are so buried that it takes a lot of mental energy not to fret all of the time.

It is under those circumstances that we approach the Christmas holidays.

I’ve been forced to stretch myself to think outside the realm of normal when it comes to honoring the traditions and joy of Christmas without money.  To me, the key is finding tangible ways to share the love that I feel…not by my money, not by the limited effort exerted from buying a present, nor by filling a gift card.

As I have racked my brain to come up with virtually free ways to make Christmas special for your family, I thought I’d share a few.  I’ve implemented most of these ideas over the years, and have found them to be really fun and festive.

Making Presents:  Almond bark covered pretzels, coupon books for services/time together, potato chips dipped in chocolate, taking your child’s art and cutting it to fit on blank notecards, etc., are all ways to be creative and frugal at the same time.

Making Service a Present:  Serving food at a shelter, sponsoring a Compassion International child as a family, choosing a neighbor and being their “secret Santa” for the month (or even the year).

Check out the free section of Craigslist or take advantage of Freecycle: There are a lot of great items that have served their purpose at one family but are ready to begin a new life in another family.

Redecorate your kids’ rooms with simple changes:  A new coat of paint, reorganizing a closet to make it a reading space, adding a new pillow or two can all really make a big difference and help the kids feel special and loved.

Buy a family gift instead of individual gifts:  One suggestion is a subscription to Netflix/Blockbuster.  For around $8/month you have access to a myriad of movies that you can instant stream into your home.  Other family gifts could be a board game that everyone could play, a family membership to a health club, movie tickets, or a read aloud book.

Make gift giving an event/activity:  Give everyone in your family a dollar and make a trip to a Dollar Store near you.  Tell your family members that the goal is to buy the biggest or smallest, or most outrageous or most thoughtful gift that can be purchased for a dollar.  When we did this, we made a night of it by making the goal to find a gift that represented the other person (either silly or serious), and then during the gift exchange time told the stories and explanations of why that gift was purchased.

Do a family activity together:  Sing Christmas carols or go caroling, drive around the city to look at lights, snuggle in for an evening of Christmas movies, or have a board game night.

Talk with your kids:  Letting everyone understand the “why” behind the minimalism gives them the tools to understand the choices being made.   Preparing them way ahead of time can reduce the amount of disappointment or complaining, and allows them to join in the creativity of present giving.

I don’t want to be in this position, at Christmas or at any time.  It isn’t comfortable or secure; however, I also know that being here is working great things in me:  Creativity, compassion, understanding, humility, etc.  Because of those benefits, I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.  If you find yourselves in the same place, I pray that your needs are met and that you are provided for.  If you aren’t in that position, I encourage you to find someone who is, and shower them with Christmas blessings.  We all need each other.

5 Comments

Filed under Family and faith, General thoughts

Serene Saturdays #31

My Thanksgiving in pictures…

A post-meal game of football in our local park…

This week of family, celebrating, thankfulness, food, football and playfulness has been so refreshing!  I hope it has been the same for you.

As we get ready to drive our eldest back to college and begin the new work week, I take with me a treasure chest full of amazing memories and a heart full of encouragement.

This week I am thankful for:

* The ability to create a great Thanksgiving dinner.

* Family traditions.

* Lots of laughter.

* A family that really enjoys each other.

* The smell of a pine tree in our home.

2 Comments

Filed under Weekends

Seasonal Wishes…

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I pray that this day of celebrating is refreshing and replenishing to your heart.  I am grateful for you!!!

2 Comments

Filed under General thoughts

10 Survival Tips for Introverted Parents

Being an introvert can make parenting a challenge.  As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I had a personality/giftings expert tell me that, based on my personality alone, I should never have kids.  I function best with plenty of solitude, being able to start and complete a task in one sitting, and to have my day structured and organized.  In short, I am an introvert.  In this expert’s opinion, child raising and introvertedness create a difficult pairing that is almost too great to overcome.

While I wholeheartedly agree that being an introvert and being a parent create unique challenges, I also believe that it is absolutely possible to do, all the while remaining sane.  There are a few strategies that I’ve found can be put in place to help the process go more smoothly.  I wanted to take a minute today to submit several ideas that I’ve found that make parenting as an introvert a bit easier.

#1  Require a no-unnecessary-noise zone.
One way for me to cope well is to keep noise to a minimum.  I recognize that having kids around intrinsically means there will be noise, and often times fun and noise go hand in hand.  I realize that I can’t have (and really don’t want) a completely noise-free zone.  However, we do have a rule that there will be no unnecessary noise.  Unnecessary noise means things like tapping, yelling, repetitive mouth sounds, loud singing, etc.  The phrase, “No unnecessary noise…” is heard often in our home.

#2 No two noisemakers going at the same time.
This relates closely to point #1; however, it zeros in specifically on things that make noise that might compete with one another, such as:   TV, computer game sounds, radio, toys that make noise, instruments, videos, singing, etc.  In our home, no two noise makers are run simultaneously.  And yes, there have been many fights discussions as to whose noise maker wins out – but in the end, it is better for me to wade through the dispute and have a relatively quiet place to reside.

#3 Mandatory nap/quiet time.
This suggestion incorporates creating emotional and physical moments of rest. When my four were little, we had mandatory nap time.  As they grew older, we shifted to enforcing a mandatory quiet time.  That time included reading books, resting in bed, or drawing.  Any activity that involved me or involved a potential fight between the siblings was nixed.

#4 Early bedtime.
Of course the time is negotiable, but having your kids go to bed early gives you space to rebuild your reserves for the coming day. My kids’ bedtime was always 7pm.  Even as they got older, we still maintained that time.  (Even until they were 10 or 11, they still went to bed at 7.) They could read in bed, listen to tapes in their rooms or play quietly, but they knew that I was “off duty” at 7pm. Since the time that my kids have barely been able to have real discussions, we have talked about how their early bedtime was much more about my need for replenishment than their need for rest.  I explained that it was motivated by my personality, and that I would be a better mommy if I had time in the evenings to recharge and refuel.

#5 Having kids stay in bed in the morning until an agreed upon time.
Even from the youngest of their ages, my kids have had a set time when they could get up.  When they were really little, they were to stay in their beds until we came to get them.  As they got older and could tell time, they knew to stay in their rooms until the designated time arrived.   That gave me a predictable beginning to my day, and allowed me to get mentally and physically prepared to handle the busyness that was to come.

#6 Have the day planned.
For me, having a structure/schedule is essential to my peace of mind.  Looking at the day as a blank slate is paralyzing; therefore, having a general agenda planned is so helpful.  Taking the few minutes that it takes to plan out events is well worth the mental energy saved throughout the day.

#7 Plan quiet activities for yourself (journaling, walking outside, etc).
Having activities that provide refilling, that fuel the introvert within you, are so key to being able to stay positive and pleasant throughout the day.  Find those things that restore your soul and regularly participate in them.  Plan your day with those elements included.

#8 Find activities to do with your kids that replenish you.
It is important that you recognize which activities throughout the day fill you or drain you.  The activities that both entertain my kids and replenish me are reading to them, playing board games, going on walks, etc.  I encourage you to think through the activities that you do with your kids and pinpoint which ones have a better chance of being replenishing to you.  When you plan your day, plan more activities that fall into that replenishing category.  Recognize which activities are draining, and if trying to creatively craft (or something like that) stresses you out, schedule it in very limited amounts.

#9 Use your introverted strengths.
As a whole, introverts are good with attention to detail and researching. Schedule your day so that most of your energy is spent moving in your strengths.  In one of my previous posts, I talked about how one of my daughters wanted Valentine’s Day cards handmade.  Not considering myself very creative, I realized that I could use my strengths of research to look up what handmade crafts might be available on the internet.  Instead of stressing over completing a task that took me out of my natural abilities (which is always draining), I found a way to use my strengths to see her project completed.

#10 Be intentional about face time with your kids.
If you spend quality time with kids – make eye contact and listen actively – they will feel really heard and connected to.  Parenting children who truly feel heard makes the parenting interaction so much easier.  Throughout the day when they get annoying, try to stop and intentionally listen to them (instead of brushing them off or making it clear how busy you are).  You might just see that the escalation of distress will cease.

Your unique personality, whether it be a demonstrative extrovert or a reserved introvert, is a gift from God.  As a parent, you have unique gifts that you pass on to your kids, and understanding your personality and working with the gifts that you have make you more effective in your role as a parent.

Let me know what other techniques you use to thrive as a parent!

 

34 Comments

Filed under Family and faith, Parenting

Serene Saturdays #30

Last night my husband pulled in from a very long day on the road (thanks to traffic in New York City), traveling to pick up my college daughter bringing her home for Thanksgiving.  I can’t tell you what a feeling of completion it is to have her in our home again.  The cheer that runs through my mind is that we are 6 again!

Today most of my family is going to attend the Yale-Harvard game – a big deal where we are.  Football on a cool Fall day is a great way to start off the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving in our home this year will be really quiet.  Over the past years, we have hosted 20+ people with several tables spread throughout our home.  That has come with piles and piles of food, great conversation and lots of energy.  That energy has become as much a part of the holiday as the decorations and place settings.  But with a huge chunk of our friends moving away, we find ourselves starting over.  This year, we will celebrate with two great friends.

We asked a lot of people to join us (we probably made 40 invites to various friends), but everyone is understandably committed to their friends and family. So maybe we’ll just open our front door and see who stumbles in!

As we look at a new landscape of seasonal celebrating, we find that we’re thankful for so much.

* My daughter is back home from college!!!!!!

* Our home is warm and lovely.

* All of us are healthy.

* We have a full refrigerator and the capacity to make amazing food.

* We have great friends spread throughout the country with whom we will be celebrating – even if long distance.

I pray that your Thanksgiving is energetic and peaceful at the same time, filled with family and friends, and a creator of amazing life-long memories.  As you prepare for the festivities, keep you focus on gratitude and love.  You are blessed!

1 Comment

Filed under Weekends

The Art of the Great Mentor

We all need guidance.  Our lives are complicated and challenging, and we are all asked to perform roles in which we have limited or no training. Whether that role be in our work, in marriage, as a parent, with our finances, culturally, with our cooking, etc., we all are in over our heads in some area.

When I got married, I knew that I needed guidance on how to create a great marriage.  To this day, we still are in contact with the pastor who performed our wedding ceremony, and he is a great source for accountability and counsel.

When I had kids, I definitely knew I was in over my head.  I knew what kind of kids I wanted to produce, but I wasn’t sure of how to accomplish that feat.  One of the first things that I did as a new mom was to set up a lunch date with an experienced mom who’s kids I greatly respected.  With my infant in hand, I asked this lady if we could create a relationship between us where I asked her my parenting questions.  She agreed, and I did.  Over and over and over.

For those of us who aren’t physically close to family (or for those who don’t have family that they want to emulate), we need to establish relationships that serve as family for us.  We need to have people from whom we draw for the various roles we fill in our lives.  We need to have people in our lives to guide us.  And because we play so many roles, we need to be open to having many mentors, or many people to whom we turn for advice and counsel.

The mentoring relationship won’t happen on its own.  It is important for you to have specific, measurable objectives and to find a mentor you will respect and trust to help you reach their goals. Once the partnership is under way and working, it is up to the partners to make the relationship thrive.  It takes time to find people who are both willing and able to help give advice.  It takes time to establish relationships based on trust and respect to whom you can go.  But believe me, it is worth it.

So how do you find a mentor?

* Take some time to think through the areas in your life in which you are struggling, or not performing the way you’d like to.

* Think of people who are doing that task well and who you respect in that area.

* If you already have a good relationship with that person, then make the ask. Be clear with them what you’re asking, and let them know why you’re asking specifically them.

* If you don’t have a strong relationship yet, then start making strides in that direction.

“I’ve learned… that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.”  – the late Andy Rooney

1 Comment

Filed under Family and faith

Maneuvering Net-less Flight – The Beginning of our Homeschool Journey

It seems that in so many areas of my life, I am flying without a net.  What I mean by that is being in situations where you make a choice to go against the traditional route of society, often times resulting in no one to blame your failure on but yourself.  Some of those flying-without-a-net areas were chosen for me, and some of them I chose myself.

Educating my children at home is one of those areas.  While homeschooling is much more accepted these days, it is still an arena in which the success or failure of the children rests heavily on the shoulders of the parents.  And then there is the conversation about what success or failure really is…but that is a topic for another day.

When my oldest was 4/5 and getting ready to enter her educational journey, I could tell that she would have a little difficulty with learning if we chose a traditional education path.   She is an artist who gathers her information more from her senses than from linear, academic thought.  She is a really smart girl, but I had a hunch that she might struggle in a traditional setting where the main way to source information is visually.  I knew that I wanted to give her as much a head start as I could.  I didn’t intend to homeschool past the earliest of grades, but just long enough to make sure that she knew the basic math skills and knew how to read.

The first couple of years I spent as much time researching homeschooling as I did actually educating my daughter.  I interviewed everyone I knew that home schooled, and spent much time researching on the internet.  I answered some of the big questions of homeschooling (like socialization and salt/light), realized that I really loved teaching, and developed my philosophy around home education.  By the end of those first years, I was committed to home education, not only for the entirety of my daughter’s educational journey, but also for each of the kids that I would continue to have.

Along the way, I have collected scores of curriculum opinions, have tried many varieties of schedules, worked on various methods of chores, started and ended many subjects, had many character discussions with my kids, learned a ton about learning styles and methods, had many stellar moments, and had many collosal failures.

I have gone through the journey of helping my eldest graduate from high school, take SAT tests, and get accepted into colleges.  And presently I am continuing to educate my three remaining kids, as well as lend as much support as needed to my college daughter.

Flying without a net isn’t the most comfortable position to take.  There is risk, there is the fear of failure, and there is loneliness.  However, if it works, there is also great satisfaction and growth.

“Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

“Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” — David Lloyd George (Prime Minister of England 1916 – 1922)

1 Comment

Filed under Education at Home

Serene Saturdays #29


(Picture taken at the Yale Golf course.)

What a lovely week it was!   For the majority of the days, the weather was above average and perfect.  The kids and I skipped part of school on Tuesday to play a quick game of tennis.  It was a great time to be a resident of the northeast.

Having started with saying that we skipped school, though, we actually got a lot done in school this week.  That is a good feeling – to be able to look back on the week and know that you accomplished a lot.

This coming Friday we’ll drive to Pennsylvania to pick up our eldest from college.  I can’t wait, and figure that I might just have trouble concentrating on anything but getting to have her join us again.  It is good that this last week was productive, because this week just might not be…

This week I am thankful for:

* A string of beautiful days to drink in

* The way the leaves, as they collect on the streets and sidewalks, bounce around.  That makes me happy.

* A spontaneous lunch with my husband.

* Candles that smell amazing.

* A warm scarf around my neck.

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekends

Raising the Opinionated (Strong Willed) Child – Part II

My two opinionated kids are the spice of our family.  Their ideas are never-ending, their spunk is enlightening.  They have motivation and drive to accomplish anything to which they put their minds.

However, they also need to be parented differently than my two that are more compliant and introverted.  Every strength in our character/personality has an opposite side to it, and the opinionated kids among us are no different.

If you have an opinionated child, you know that:

 – While they have the potential to be great leaders, they have a tendency towards bossiness.
The most opinionated of my children has the capacity to be the strongest leader among us.  She can walk into a situation, assess what needs to be done, and then with ease assign tasks to people.  What a gift!

And yet, as the youngest of four, she has no one to lead.  When she walks into a situation and starts assigning tasks to her older siblings, they look at her like, “Umm…who do you think that you are?  Do you realize that you are YOUNGER than me?!? ”  They are quick to remind her that she has no authority to be bossing them around.

Without the maturity of tact and relational skills, leadership becomes bossiness.  With no one around to train a young leader how to be tactful and strategic with people, they will grow up to be the condescending, bossy, tactless boss that we all know.

I believe it is my role, as her mother, to train and develop those tendencies within her.  It is my job and privilege to help my gifted daughter to temper her strength with character, patience and love.
* * We do that with many reminders throughout the day.  From a very young age, I have found myself so very often asking her to take another shot at whatever she had just said, saying it in a different, more loving, tactful way.
* * We practiced communicating kindly.  In non-stressful situations, I have had her practice phrases that would be more tactful options, and I have had her work through various circumstances where she could either jump into a situation and take over, or jump into the same situation and lead tactfully.
* * We found places for her to practice her leadership gifts (she became a teacher’s helper at dance class, for example).

 – While they are able to express their opinions with great passion and emotion, they have a tendency to be moody.
My two younger children walk in extremes.  I have often said that, with them, when there are tears, you don’t know whether they just stubbed their toe, or cut the whole toe off.  The emotions are the same for either situation.  If you cross their wills, even if it is just a simple command that they don’t wish to fulfill, the emotion you’ll get is as if you just asked them not to save the world from a cataclysmic catastrophe.  It can be exhausting to try to reign in an opinionated child.

Once again, training kicks in.
* * We don’t overlook/ignore the emotional roller coasters, we discuss them.  Even as little kids with limited verbal abilities, we’d talk about where the strong emotion was coming from, and how they could manage it better.
* * We’d offer them tools to manage extreme emotion, such as, as little kids, jumping up and down, or as a little older kids, taking a few minutes alone to depressurize, reflect and pray.
* * We don’t let strong emotions bully us into changing our minds.  If the idea that an emotional outburst, or a display that they feel strongly enough about something, makes them think that they actually get what they want, then they will continue to do so without ever maturing and learning better coping skills.  We don’t allow for emotional manipulation in our home.

 – While they won’t settle for less than what they believe is right and just, they have a tendency to believe that everyone else is wrong.  They have a tendency to test the limits.
Those of you with highly opinionated (strong willed) kids are out there stating a sarcastic, “No…”   This is life with an opinionated kid.

Unlike my more compliant children, my opinionated kids love a good debate. They love to take a rule and test the limits to see if it really applies to them. They love to see if you, as a parent, really mean what you say.  They are the toddlers who, when you tell them not to touch the lamp, walk right over to it, look you in the eye, and touch it.  As they get older, they are the kids that will take a boundary that you set and, without hesitation, will defiantly tell you that you are wrong or unreasonable.

While the other statements I previously made have been more about training the child, I believe this one is more about training the parent.
* * With an opinionated, strong child, you have to mean what you say.  You have to give direction and boundaries without hesitation, but don’t require something of this child that you don’t really feel strongly about.  The reason for that is that they will test you, cause you to question what you’re asking, and more times than not, will convince you you’re wrong.  If you’re  not careful, you will end up backing down on the majority of rules that you put in place.  Sometimes you’ll back down because you change your mind, but  more often than not, it will be because the requirement isn’t worth the fight you encounter.  On some days, this will be how you spend most of your day.
* * Pick your battles.  This is very similar to the suggestion above, but brings parenting outside of just the rules, and takes it to the specifics of your day.  An opinionated child can argue about anything:  whether they will wear their coat today, whether they want cereal out of the green or red bowl, whether they want their hair color to be green or red.  In each situation, decide whether or not this is a battle to be fought, or a situation to let go.
* * Offer them choices.  Choices where you can agree with either option.  Such as, “Do you want to wear the striped shirt or the orange one?”  “Do you want to want to eat cereal or oatmeal?” “Do you want to ride with your leader, or do you want to walk home?”  Giving your child options helps them have an outlet for their opinions.  They will feel a little more in control of their lives, and you should have fewer arguments.
* * Find support for yourself.  Surround yourself with others who will either back you up on the stands that you take, or will be a source of encouragement and building you up.
* * Journal/write/be well rested/have you day well planned out.  Being organized, being at your best, and taking time to review your day are all helpful strategies to staying filled.  Being with a combative, strong child can be quickly draining, so you need to make sure you are ready and organized for each day.
* * Look for the delightful aspects of your child.  Maybe it is just me, but in the heat of a confrontation, it is easy to lose sight of the gentleness within your child.  It is easy to see your child as one-sided, as the one who makes life difficult.  Stop, take a break, and remind yourself of all of the beautiful things about that child.

 – In their weakest, most tired moments, or when they’re under stress, they tend to move into control.
I state this just so that you, as a parent, can be aware of it.  Most opinionated kids will become more bossy (controlling what others do), and more disagreeable (controlling their circumstances).  That doesn’t mean that you let all training slide, but it hopefully will give you understanding, that in turn will give you more patience, and therefore allow you to parent with more love.

I want to close with that idea that in our home, we place very high the value of knowing what our personality styles are and accepting each other for who we are.  We teach them that we were placed in this family together to make each other stronger, and that we are not to put down, belittle, or judge each other based on our weaknesses.  However, we also recognize that we are not perfect, there are more areas of immaturity than maturity, and we don’t expect our kids to react lovingly every single time.  I hope that these ideas shared help you feel normal and give you some ideas on how to parent (and enjoy) your highly opinionated child.

1 Comment

Filed under Parenting

Raising the Opinionated (Strong Willed) Child – Part I

I was one of those mothers who’s firstborn child made her look really good.  My firstborn was (and still is) a really easy kid, really laid back, and geared at pleasing.  When my eldest was very little, a friend shared that she seemed to be an ornament that I carried around with me to make the world more lovely.  She made me look so good that I had almost come to believe that I was the world’s greatest parent.

As a matter of fact, my first two children were really easy.   When the second one came along and was equally obedient, polite, gentle, and brilliant, he confirmed my suspicions about the world’s greatest parent thing.

What I asked them to do, they did.  When I told them where we were going, they were excited about it.  When I told them to go to bed, they did without fussing.  They made eye contact when being introduced, were quiet when I needed them to be, and were flexible with my schedule.

And then my third came along.  He was different from day one.  He was born with opinions about everything.  He cared about when he ate, he cared about the condition of his diaper, he cared about who was holding him, he cared about the position of his head and how he was being held.  He wasn’t a cranky child, per se, but just one that came into the world with ideas about how the world should listen to him.

He made parenting an adventure.

And then my fourth came along.  From day one, she ruled the roost.  She was a healthy baby, but from months 3 – 10, she cried constantly if she wasn’t being held.  (I’m not kidding.  I played a “game” with her during that time where I could pick her up and the crying instantly stopped, or I could put her down and the crying instantly started.)  And being that she was my fourth child and I had 3 others to care for, she wasn’t held all that often.  Those months were very, very loud.

If I thought that my third born had opinions, I found that I was redefining what that meant based on my fourth child.  My youngest came born to rule, and she let everyone know it.

Very early on in the life of my youngest, we realized that we had to completely relearn how to parent.  Things that I took for granted with the other 3 were now complicated.  Ways that I enforced discipline had to be modified.  Styles and tones of communication had to change.

For example, through some unspoken but modeled form of communication, the older 3 knew not to talk to waiters when we ate out – it complicated the ordering process.  We, as parents, found out what they wanted and, in a streamlined manner, ordered for them.   And if the waiter asked if we wanted dessert, we eliminated the screaming of “I do!  I do!” by communicating on behalf of our whole family.

However, when our youngest was old enough to talk, she spoke to waiters, bypassing the system that we had honed for 7 years.  She didn’t see a difference between herself and the adult in front of her.

And boy, did she have opinions.  They were vocal, insistent, and strong.

Some people call kids like my 3rd and 4th strong willed.  I choose to say it is having strong opinions.  The difference to me is perspective.

Strong willed has been portrayed as negative.  A strong will is just asking to be broken, to be put in its place.  It is a challenge to the authority of adults and must be taught who is boss.

But I believe that the opinions, leadership, and strength of a classic strong willed child are gifts that will lead them directly into the will of God.  If we break them, sideline them, or communicate how frustrating they are, then we are running the risk of destroying the very gift that God has placed in them to accomplish things greater than we can imagine.  Their passion, emotion, stubbornness, etc are exactly the kind of traits that can be used in radical ways – and I want to be able to step back and know that I did nothing but encourage and shape those gifts.

In the next post that I publish, I’ll give some specific examples of how I believe that can be accomplished.  I hope that you hang in there with me (it is a long post) to read what techniques can be used to keep yourself positive in the face of combativeness, and how to steward the gifts of the kids in your life!

Leave a comment

Filed under Parenting