The Day I Became THAT Mom

mother

Many of my friends are 10 years younger than me with no church background.

I worked with Young Life for five years and these kids now have kids and recently, I piled my boys into a van with a gift bag and handmade cards and we drove two hours to the city for one of the kids’ birthdays.

And it was there, surrounded by toddlers in Toms’ shoes and seven-year-olds in high-tops and low-riding jeans that I realized I’d become one of THOSE moms.

Yup.

I was the mom with the kids who wore matching knitted sweaters that said “Jesus loves (followed by their name).”

Granted, I hadn’t chosen those sweaters for them to wear that day. Goodness, I’d tried to find them the “coolest” second-hand clothes we had but they’d INSISTED on wearing their matching knitted sweaters–to my chagrin. “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” I kept whispering to myself as I begged God not to let my precious boys be beaten up.

Every time I asked Aiden if he was getting too hot and wanted me to take his sweater off, he sweetly said, “No thank you.”

I was also the mom who brought homemade-bread sandwiches and homemade cookies and who listened to Wee Sing Bible songs with the boys in our dented mini-van on the way to the party.

But it was there, in the backyard surrounded by my hip, gangster friends with their brand-name clothes and their top-end phones, that I realized–children equalize us.

Even as I ran with Kasher through the throng of parents claiming he “had to poo and now they were all laughing because they got it. Every kid has to “poo”, and NOW.

We were all cautioning our kids–in their high tops and matching sweaters–not to climb too high on the tree house and not to eat too much sugar and kissing them when they fell down and bumped their heads. We were all groaning as we talked about things like time-outs and punishments and defiance and tattling and by the end of the day, we weren’t different social classes or different religions or different ages. We were all moms and dads trying desperately not to mess up the future generation.

At one point, my friend–the one whose boys I watched for a year while she became strong again, the one whose kid was having a birthday party–she touched my back and looked into my eyes and said, “Thank you–for coming. It means so much to me.”

It’s so easy to get caught up in the appearance of things.

It’s so easy for me to get embarrassed by things like matching knitted sweaters. Yeah, I was the reverend’s daughter who begged God to make me cool. I would douse myself in Exclamation! perfume and spend all of my allowance on Thrifty’s jeans and Roots sweaters.

But then one day I found myself driving a mini-van singing Wee Sing Bible Songs with my four and three year old.

Deep down, I don’t want my kids to ever be cool. I want them to be kind.

I don’t want them to have to have the “new” things. I want them to give their things away.

I don’t want them to EVER stop wearing sweaters that say Jesus loves them… well, okay, I do, because I really don’t want them to be beat up… but I don’t EVER want them to be ashamed of the gospel, because it is the POWER of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

And I don’t ever want to stop being THAT mom–but the key is? To be THAT mom who goes to THOSE parties. The ones where people who don’t know Jesus are. Because we are lights, friends. And how BRIGHT our light when it shines in the darkness.

Blessings today,

Emily

268386_Wierenga_WB

Teaching Our Children to Be a Delight

Teaching Our Children to be a Delight

Every morning I kiss the blonde stubble on his cheek and send him off for the day, to spend seven hours out of my sight in that huge public school of his.Then I get dressed and put all my school supplies in a bag. Inhaling a quick lunch, I head for the Christian high school for the afternoon, where I welcome into my Spanish classroom the young faces that belong to a few dozen other mommas out there.

And all of us moms want to know one thing –that our kid is a delight to have in class.

So I thought I would write to you, as a fellow mom who has worked to raise an honorable man and also as a teacher, to tell you what kinds of qualities I appreciate in those students I enjoy every day.

  1. A pushed-in chair. It’s not a small act of service when a student tidies up after himself and makes things pleasant for the next student who will come to that same spot.
  2. A thank-you. Most students race for the door when the bell rings, but I have a few who say, Thank you, Mrs. Fitzwater, as they leave the room. They show gratitude for my teaching and appreciation for me as a person, even if it’s just because their momma taught them to.
  3. A cheerful work ethic. It’s so nice when students receive an assignment and get to work on it without griping and moaning. All of the students end up doing the same work, but only some of them do it cheerfully.
  4. A readiness to help. We had this food day in class, which was super fun and equally messy. I asked if someone would empty the garbage, and immediately there were a few guys out of their seats and taking care of it. I wanted to give them A’s for the quarter just for chivalry.
  5. A kindness of speech. Our culture is full of sharp phrases used jokingly, like Shut up, and I hate you, and I’m gonna kill you. Students who speak with gentleness and kindness are refreshing to everyone.

This list of mine is an encouragement for us moms, to keep plodding along in all the tedious micro-teaching we do every day, like asking a kid to push in his chair at the table, and the next meal asking him to push in his chair at the table, and the next meal asking him to push in his chair at the table. Insisting on a thank you for every glass of milk and juice and water poured. Saying, How could you say that kindly? to every sibling squabble. Requiring a child’s help around the house and refusing to allow work to be done with a sour attitude.

It is wearying work to teach a child to be a pleasant adult.

But imagine attending your child’s teacher’s conference one day and hearing the teacher say, I enjoy your child.

Let’s not grow weary in the daily work of shaping our child’s character.

Blessings,

Christy

Taking “Scary” Out of Goal Setting

I think when most people hear someone say “goal” they have one of two thoughts — either SCORE, as in the kind that flies into a net during the World Cup, or SCARED, as in “don’t make me think of the future.”

Taking Scary Out of Goal Setting

Of course, there’s the rare blend of personality types, like a choleric/melancholy temperament, who actually get excited about setting goals. In their God-given wiring, these natural goal setters are long-term thinkers with a knack for vision-casting and list-making. They delight in coming up with life goals that can be measured, marked off, and purposefully achieved. God has a place for these goal-setters, especially when they are yielded to His kingdom purposes and provide opportunities for others to join God in His work.  And God also has a purpose for those who’d rather leave the goal setting to someone else.

Those who live “in the moment” offer a grounding for those bent on casting vision for tomorrow.

Consistent with how God made His body, each person in it has a role to play. {click to tweet}

So when it comes to goal setting, are you a goal setter or an in-the-here-and-now type of gal? Even more importantly, how does the way you’re wired in terms of goal setting impact how your parenting? Are a you vision-planner, sometimes worrier, trying to script your children’s lives? Or are you an easy-going, spontaneous soul bringing joy daily to your off-spring, but over the long haul they may feel directionless?

No matter where you fall on the goal-setting continuum, what if you approached goal setting in light of God’s sovereignty, and embarked on it purposefully and prayerfully?

Really, most of us are busy goal setting even when we think we’re not! When you allow the Spirit of God to whisper a direction or conviction into your soul and then you choose walk in faith in that direction — well, that’s goal setting. When you recognize a place of sin in your life and pursue repentance before God, that’s goal setting. When you look at your resources and decide how to spend what you have and save for what you don’t, well that’s goal setting, too.

So what if we took time, maybe an hour every few months to evaluate how where living and what needs to change? What if we considered the attributes of God and what it would look like to develop those in ourselves? What if we consider the priorities of God and built a lifestyle around those principles? What if instead of begging God to change us or our circumstances, we took the time to pursue in-the-flesh, led-by-the-spirit change over defined period of time?

Do you know what happens when you set goals and cast vision, humbly and prayerfully before God? Well, you’ll end up seeing God move in your life!  And when you see God move, you’ll see your faith grow too!

As followers of Christ, choosing to set goals should really be about embracing God’s everyday purposes while yielding to His eternally perfect plan.

So will you choose to set some reasonable, measurable, and purposefully prayed over goals for you and your children?

 

 

You can download the “Choose Your Goals” resource available for
FREE at elisapulliam.com to help you set some goals for yourself and your family.

choose your goals

Blessings,

Elisa

6 Summer Projects for Your Tweens & Teens

Are you a mom who dreads the summer months with your teens, fearing the unscheduled time and worrying about them being on their screens too much? Do you feel anxious about the rhythm of packing and unpacking for camp drop-offs and pick-ups in between family vacations?

Imagine being the type of mom who looks at the calendar and sees a blank canvas ready for doing life together, especially with your tweens and teens.

That’s what I’ve asked the Lord to do in me this summer, recognizing that I only have a few years left with my tween and teen at home. I’m so keenly aware that now is the time to make life-time memories, while also seizing the moment to train them up with the skills I’d like to see them take into their future.

Summer Projects for Tweens & TeensSo rather than letting a summer pass without purpose, I’ve come up with six summer projects that I can do with my tween and teen that will enable us to connect while expanding their skill set.

1.  Paint a Room {or Something}

Learning how to paint a room or a piece a furniture is a skill worth having, so look around your home — or maybe a grandparent’s place — for a small space that can be painted in a day with a gallon of paint. This is a low budget project that offers a great reward!  Work with your teen, teaching them how to pick out the paint and supplies as well as prep the space:  clearing out the room, getting the walls ready (Spackle, sand, etc), taping edges, cleaning the floor before painting, etc. And then do the job with them, showing them how to roll, cut in, etc. If painting isn’t a skill you have, watch some tutorials on YouTube and do the research together before you start.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.22.20 AM

2.  Prepare the Food

How about having your tween or teen plan the family’s menu for a week, or for an upcoming trip, and prepare all the food? Offer them a budget as well as assistance in the shopping and food prep time. Use the process to teach about how to select produce and meat, what unit price really means, shelf life for food, how to determine quantity, measurements, etc. Depending on your son or daughter’s maturity, let them handle as many of the responsibilities as possible. You could even toss in an incentive for an older teen, such as “Here’s the amount we spend on food per week.  If you can fix our meals for less than that amount, without us eating bread and water all week, you can keep what you save.”

3.  Purge Something

I’m guessing that you have a closet, storage room, garage, or cabinets that need some purging and reorganizing. Maybe even your tween or teen has a personal area that needs some TLC — like their dressers, bedroom, or old toy room. Let them pick one space to totally purge and reorganize. Be involved in the process in the beginning, but also give them space to figure it out on their own. You can keep it simple and have them focus on “keep, give, toss” for the space. If there is enough to give away, considering letting them organize a Yard Sale and keep the proceeds for themselves.  Or, if your budget allows, you can let them redesign the area, including painting and creating organizational systems.

4.  Put on a Party or a Small Gathering

Since everyone doesn’t have the gift of hospitality, learning how to put on a party or small gathering is another skill worth developing. Consider hosting a party for a birthday, anniversary, or a milestone celebration, or put on a small “themed” gathering for your tween or teen’s friends or your own friends. Have your son or daugther organize the details, including the invitations, menu, decor, party schedule, and setting up the house as well as clean up. Offer a budget as well as working with them through each step. If you do not have the gift of hospitality, don’t fret. Here’s some help just for you, and ideas for a simple tween party here and here.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.23.13 AM

5.  Pick a Project

Is there a project your teen would like to work on, but needs your approval, input, and budget help? Maybe it’s learning a new instrument or developing a new skill, like how to paint with watercolors or write an app for a smart phone. Take your tween or teen out for ice cream and ask them, “What is one thing you’d like to learn how to do this summer?” Help them brainstorm and offer your support in the process, making a timeline and setting attainable goals.

6.  Plan for the Future

This one is definitely the most serious of projects, but worth the investment of time. Have your tween or teen begin the process of preparing for their future — specifically their college years — by creating for themselves a College Bound Checklist & Portfolio (CBC&P).  They can do this either in a binder or notebook, or online using Google Docs, which they can share with you. Their CBC&P can be divided into sections based by grade-level, with a “to do” list for each year. We’re using the Countdown to College: 21 To Do List for High School as our guide. Your teen can also include in their CBC&P a list of college scholarship opportunities (something that can be researched throughout the summer), college picks, and a record of their volunteering, work experiences, and awards throughout high school.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.22.02 AM

What summer projects are you doing with your tween or teen?

How are you using side-by-side experiences to connect with your teens while they are still at home and train up skills they’ll need in their future?

Shine Bright,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

 

For more ideas on how to connect with your tween or teen, especially a daughter, visit moretobe.com.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...