Hands-on Parenting is NOT Evil!

It comes from every direction.  My daughter is encouraged to drink by our “friends.”  She is on her way home and tells them that her parents wouldn’t be pleased by her driving and arriving under the influence.  They assure her that it’s time to be her own person.

She just proved that she is.  And that she’s not dumb as a post.

She leaves home and supposedly Christian women make fun of her for calling “your mommy” every day.  “You need to grow up,” they say when she won’t take their negative and decidedly unChristian advice.  No, they need to grow up to the point they can actually keep their mouths shut about that which is none of their business.

She is grown up, and yet still a child.  Aren’t we all?  I call my parents when I need to hear the voice of one who will always love me, one who will not belittle me for being a bit sad or needy or unsure.  Does that make me defective, immature?  No, it makes me human.

My daughters communicate with me – when they’re feeling on top of the world, when they’re under a cloud, when things are rolling right along fairly smoothly.  Why should they not?

Rather than apologizing for having a good relationship with a parent or a child, we should thank God for it, and continue to do those things that brought us to this happy outcome – be there for that person, pray with and for that person, and let them know we will be as the Lord Himself is, the one who will never leave them nor forsake them.

It’s called giving them a strong foundation on which to stand, as well as wings for flight.  It’s called love.  And because of that love, my child feels free to let me know when she wants to handle things on her own.  I have such faith in her and respect for her, that I always ask her how she wants me to proceed, what she wants me to do or not do.  

We prayed this morning about a difficult situation, and I read scripture aloud to her, and encouraged her.  But when it comes down to the tough part, she must walk this walk alone.  And yet, when a child knows that she knows that her parents and Jesus will never leave her nor forsake her, how can she be alone?

Something about such a person really gets to people who don’t have this kind of surety.  Is it jealousy, or is it simply the all-pervasive societal view that parents are inherently stupid and faulty and should be sidelined and ignored in pursuit of . . . what?  The lovely mess that these anti-parent folks have made of their own lives?

What is this unholy desire to separate children from their parents?  What is this need to control and convince and influence?  And why is this invariably from people who have little or no control or success in their own lives, and with their own children?  But I must say in our case, most of our most vitriolic critics are themselves childless.

And yet, no need to fret.  My daughter, the one accused from every direction of being “too dependent” on her parents, is so much stronger than her accusers.  She goes on about her merry way, and forgives.  And she prays for those who show her nothing but disrespect and contempt (that after a bit of exasperated venting).

Just as I communicate with my parents and with my Savior, I have raised a child who does the same.  So to all these busybodies, I say, “Just mind your own business,” or as my mom says, “Tend to your own pea-pickin’.”

 

Embracing Boredom, Especially for Kids

No doubt thanks to someone’s inane but much-touted childrearing advice, many parents think kids should be entertained 24/7.  Add this to the “new information!!!!!” that kids should also make decisions for which they have neither the training, maturity, nor understanding to make, and you have frustrated and unattractive children on the loose.  Everywhere.

When my kids were acting up and acting out I had the wisdom (because of going to and believing and trusting God’s Word) to know I  was the key.  They needed me to be a warrior not a whiner, a problem solver, not a problem lamenter.  They needed me to look in the mirror and say, “Bev, are you a mother or milquetoast?”

They needed me to be wise to their manipulative and selfish ways, not a pudding or a jello, quivering at the very thought of my precious and perfect little ones not having everything they want every minute of the day.  They needed me to be a no-nonsense responder to their childish nonsense. (Sorry to all child-worshippers, but the last thing anyone on earth needs is for their needs to be the most important thing on earth.)

The parental response of “Find something to do or I’ll find something for you to do,” (and this didn’t mean something electronic) has been replaced with a horror of boredom.

Hold it.  Whoa.  Stop right there.  Boredom can be a very good thing.  Boredom fosters creativity and thinking.  As I told my kids on the rare occasions (kids learn quick what works and what backfires bigtime) they complained of boredom, “I’ve never been bored in my life.  I’m both simple enough and wise enough to be fascinated with God’s world.”

Translation:  Go play in the creek or chase lizards, or build a new fort, or make a train out of the fold-up chairs in the garage.  Go dig in the dirt or have a tea party with your dolls.  Just go and do and don’t tell me you’re bored.

I didn’t care if they simply sat on the back porch and dreamed of fighting pirates in a storm at sea, sighing at the “boredom” of their lives.  I didn’t care if they climbed a tree and listened to the birds all day long, or did nothing at all.  What I cared about was the attitude that their lack of ability to amuse themselves was not only my problem, it was my fault.

Sometimes we as moms have to sit on our urge to make everything perfect and beautiful for our little darlings.  We have to disabuse ourselves of the FALSE notion that the world will end and they will graduate at the bottom of the class if they even for one minute do nothing.

Doing nothing at all, but without a “poor little bored me” attitude, is a good thing.  Because in such times some very important things are happening in a child’s brain:  they are becoming thinkers, even philosphers.  They are being programmed as God intended, becoming the programmers of their own lives, the masters of their own thinking, discerners of the lies that masquerade under the guise of “new information!!!”

So here’s some new information:  Put the lens of common sense and the Word of God and the tried and true on your new information and see if it passes the test of workable parenting (that is parenting resulting in kids who are joys and joyous, rather than frustrated terrors).

If you and the world at large do not enjoy your children, your “new information!!!!” is faulty, to put it mildly.  In John Parker-speak, it is “the sheet of the boool”.

Parents, we’re IT!  We must be the adults (do the hard thing without whining) so that our children can be children (we make the decisions so they can grow in peace to the place where they can make decisions which are age and maturity appropriate).

Again, we are to be the adults, folks.  It’s wrong to rob a child of their childhood because we don’t want to grow up.  Your kids never asked for you as a parent.  They are the victims or the victors, depending on your choices.

So here’s something to try:  do nothing for awhile, every single day.  Think it through, pray it through.  Develop your parenting philosophy based on the knowledge of who your child is and what God intends parenting to be (see how He parents us – there’s a bit of sacrifice involved).  Exchange knee-jerk, angst and anger filled parenting with a spiritual, mental, and physical grace dance.

Enjoy!

Elaboration of this and so much more in just a couple of hours on The Homefront Show.  Tune in and tell a friend:

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Today, Friday, May 18 at 2:00 Mountain Time

 

 

 

OPEN THE DOOR TO PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE AND MOVIE STAR HOMESCHOOLERS COMING RIGHT UP ON THE HOME FRONT SHOW – 2:00 MTN

It’s so great when a plan comes together.  When I awoke this morning/last night? at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t know what today’s show was about.  But just a bit of prayer (and because I went to bed after John prayed with me about it) I knew!  Perseverance and patience.

And everything I listened to, read, and experienced told me I was right on track – Dave Ramsey in Entreleaders, Sheila Walsh’s joy infusions (Rebekah will be sharing from that on the show today), The Home School Mom’s Devotional Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe, two sermons I caught in the middle of the night, and just the beautiful, wonderful Word of God – patience, perseverance, power.  They go together, so let’s get together on the show today and celebrate!

Also, I have a special giveaway today – a book by a famous movie star/homeschooling couple, who are also the stars of “Let There Be Light”!

Go to:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 Mountain Time, and Thanks!

 

When I Write a Book . . .

I picked up Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel because it was recommended in Fearless Writing.

I have a like/dislike relationship with this book, but I’m keeping on with it because it keeps redeeming itself, keeps pulling me along with unexpected delights.

I am not delighted with a woman who is marrying a man she knows to be selfish and flawed, but I am carried away with the answer to her own question:  How do you love such a person?  You just do it.

I am delighted when a book reminds me of the truths in my own life, how love is an act, a sacrifice, a looking like God.  Love is God and I am becoming more transformed into His image when I “just do it.”

Like the character in The Third Angel, I find myself unmoved by the flaws in those I love, even blind to them, when I get on that love train and we both start going places.  Life becomes an adventure of raw discovery, flaws become idiosyncrasies, differences become intriguing – even delightful, and life is good.

There is language in The Third Angel.  If not, the editors would probably say to the author, “This is London, you must have language, no one will believe it otherwise.”  But if I write a book, the strongest language will begin with “sh” and end with “it” even if the plane is crashing.

Wait.  No planes crashing in my book.  I will, as they say, write what I know.  Spaghetti sauce in a favorite antique bowl slipping out of my hand as I swipe it out of the fridge, breaking and splattering spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen.  Living and moving and breathing spaghetti sauce.  Everywhere.  Little faces astounded at the crash and even more at Mommy saying that word.

But then I would forget about a broken bowl and a messy kitchen because there is a much larger issue:  tender and bare feet.  I would shoo them away and clean every last speck – not perhaps every last speck of spaghetti sauce, which I will be finding this time next year, but every single last speck of glass.

Because I know these feet are going to be with me forever.  I know what is real and good, and that is the life of my children.  Life.

I don’t know if Alice Hoffman knows life is good, if her book will end as a good book must, with a satisfactory and victorious ending (a love ending).  I do know if I write a book, it will be filled top to bottom, end to end, and side to side with “Just do it” love.

Amen.

P.S.  Don’t miss The Homefront Show Fridays at 2:00 MTN.  Go to 1360am.co and join the fun!

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to Me, Maybe Not So Much to Others

I wrote a poem for my own therapy this morning after thinking over a women’s meeting I attended earlier this week.  The group leader suggested that Mother’s Day is not a happy day for most women.  She said something to this effect:  they either have a terrible mother, a mother who recently passed away, aren’t a mother and want to be, are estranged from their children, have children far away they miss terribly, were a mother and blew it, etc.

I felt, sitting there among women who appeared to agree with this, that I wouldn’t answer the question of the night entirely truthfully.  The question was this:  What annual holiday, event or occasion is your favorite?

There was some bah-humbugging, and answers such as, “Memorial Day because I don’t have to do a thing” (because someone else’s sacrifice made such a society and therefore such a day possible?); and “I don’t like Christmas, it’s too much work” (rejoicing and celebrating and giving and showing love and looking at lights and listening to beautiful music and thanking God for Jesus is work????); and of course there were positive answers as well, but no one mentioned Mother’s Day as their favorite..

And so, to the question of the evening I answered, “Christmas.”  I wanted to say “Mother’s Day and Christmas and my birthday and my anniversary and violent thunderstorms rolling down the canyons and deep fog settling over the peaks.  I wanted to say my favorite time is early morning when the sun shines on the rocks on the cliff behind my house, and Fall, and really October through December when we have birthdays and our anniversary, and Thanksgiving (Yay!!!) and then gift shopping and gift making, decorating, caroling, wearing red sweaters, getting the tree out of the woods and making a popcorn garland (last year was the first time we did this – so cool!), Christmas music and movies, driving through town to look at the lights, reading Christmas stories like The Night Before Christmas and looking at the art in The Legend of Holly Claus and anything by Jan Brett, packages in the mail, and on and on.  Then comes the after-Christmas party, and my birthday and New Year’s and then the glorious quiet of January.

And the winter rest.

Then Spring hints and pushes at winter’s slackening hold with the first crocuses peeping through the snow.  And robins venture out.  Thank you, God, for Robin Redbreast.

And there’s this morning, when I said to John, “It’s truly springtime!  The ground is absolutely saturated, and the redworms are crawling all over the drive, and the aspen leaves are growing by the minute and the dandelions are here!”

And my thoughts go to my children, hoping for springtime in their hearts, and I pray for one’s salvation, for one’s answering God’s call to preach, for one’s owning his own business and excelling therein.  And for the one at Fort Benning, Georgia –  as I write he’s nearing the end of a 12-hour ruck march – I pray for strength and protection for his spine, for a second (or third) wind, and most of all, that he will give God all the glory for His unmerited grace and favor.

This is the glory of motherhood – being used by God to fight for our children, God’s children, all children, and to never give up until the victory is won.  And God is so marvelous as to bless the childless with spiritual children.  Many are the children needing a surrogate mother, a spiritual mother.  Whether we have natural children or not, whatever our mothering situation and status may be, we are women, and therefore uniquely qualified to nurture and to fight.  And to win.  In Him.

And so, even with great sorrow and a history of prayers for women regarding children – aborted, lost, wayward, rebellious, sick, sorrowing, never conceived – I nevertheless reserve the right to glory in this day, and in the hope of His calling.

And here’s my poem, Happy Mother’s Day to Me.

Happy Mother’s Day to me,

I say because I’m free

Free to win and free to dance

Free to seize another chance.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me,

Blessed by God to really see

Life to give, life to share

Anointed of Christ who truly cares.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me

From the God of Love to Be

All He ever hoped and planned

Life so good, life so grand.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

 

The Home Artiste and Mother’s Day

LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD.  MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC.  I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.

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WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.

SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:

I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).

THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING.  WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO!  (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)

I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.

I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.

A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).

WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.

WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.

I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.

NOTE:  I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.

YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.

HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH.  SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!

WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)

OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY:  A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.

HMMM.  MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL?  COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?

I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG.  YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME.  AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE.  AND HEAR ME SING.  AND DANCE WITH ME.

THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!

Conversation with Kids

My daughter Hannah was home yesterday, and she followed me around as I cleaned closets and drawers, chatting.  What fun.  What a joy to know she still likes to talk to me.

“How can I help, Mom?” she asked.  I had forgotten to eat, and knew sustenance would be good, so I requested a bit of a tea party.  We were soon sitting on the balcony, joined by Rebekah, and enjoying fruit, nuts and herbal tea.  Better still, we were enjoying conversation.

When I said I had to be gone for a minute and would be right back (putting another load of laundry on) they said, “You’d better be.”  How lovely to be wanted, popular, loved.  And what better way to achieve this exalted state than by loving listening.

This morning I was all set to return to the balcony alone for breakfast and research, but I couldn’t get away from Seth’s conversation.  I wanted to get on with my thing, but I remembered I don’t have anything on earth more important to do than to listen to my children.

“Follow me,” I told him, “and talk to me while I eat my breakfast.”  He joined me and discussed a book he’d read as a child, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy.  Marveling at what was expected and duly performed by kids back then, and discussing the differences in farming then and now, Seth was much more interesting, intriguing, and gratifying than anything I had on my precious agenda.

He left the balcony to be about his business and out popped Rebekah.  “I’ve been praying and searching for answers about my writing and my time management, Mom, (haven’t we all?) and let me show you this.”  She showed me passages from The Founder’s Bible about black American John Marrant, captive and then missionary to the Cherokees, and about his dealings with evangelist George Whitfield.  In listening closely I marveled at how God was reaching Rebekah and how she was receiving from Him.

Conversation with kids.  There’s very little kinder or more worthwhile that we can do with our time.  I’ll never forget the day I was, as usual, regaling my dad with every detail of my day at school.  “And then I go, and then she went, and then I went, and she goes . . . blah, blah, blah.”  Nothing like the beautiful thoughts of my children this morning.  And yet, my dad listened as though completely enthralled.

My older brother, who was waiting to go hunting with my dad, stood holding his deer rifle and tapping his foot.  Finally he could take it no longer.  “Did it ever occur to you,” he asked, “that Dad has anything better to do with his time than listen to you yak?”

I was horrified and embarrassed and suddenly acutely aware of the banality of my conversation.  But before I could answer, Dad answered for me.  “I don’t have a thing in the world more important to do than listen to Bev.”

Wow.  No wonder I pray lots.  No wonder I have every confidence God hears me.  No wonder I have done this great and good thing for my own children.  I converse with them, not at them.  I listen to them.

And they talk to me.  Glory Hallelujah!

happy-stick-girl

P.S.  The Proverbs 31 Woman “watches over the ways of her household.”  How better to watch over the ways of our households, to know what’s really happening in the precious hearts with which we’re entrusted, than to converse, to listen.