Strong and Kind

I decided that instead of a brief synopsis at the end of the year of all of the books that I remember reading, I would do a review (or at least share some thoughts) of the books as I read them one at a time.

15.nov.2015_1024x1024

I just finished Strong and Kind: and Other Important Character Traits Your Child Needs to Succeed by Korie Robertson.

I feel guilty because I kind of gave the book a bad wrap when I shared on Facebook last week. I said I was anxious to move on to another book and admitted to falling asleep reading it. It’s not my all time favorite parenting book and I’ll admit, not being a Duck Dynasty fan probably takes away a lot of the appeal. However, I did glean some valuable wisdom from Strong and Kind and I am really glad I read it.

The title Strong and Kind are the two main character traits that the Korie and Willie Robertson wanted to instill in their kids as they were raising them. Toward the beginning of the book there is a list of character traits to pull from.

The idea is to choose your top two from the list and be intentional about teaching these habits to your children as well as exhibiting them yourself. Of course it’s hard to choose just two. We want all of them. Korie even mentions that in the book. You should want all of them and strive for all of them. But by choosing two above the rest you can really focus and have a better chance of actually following through because you are making it a priority.

Here is the list and I don’t remember if you are “supposed to” add your own, but I don’t see why not.

Fullscreen capture 10212015 113021 PM.bmp

I sent this list to J and it took him days to decide. I was more inclined to choose the first two that popped out to me. I’m not too surprised. That really is typical of our personalities. He chose words of power and determination, while mine were more about the heart and emotions. Again, I am not surprised. We’re opposites (remember my Ricky and Lucy comparison?).  I like to think that we balance each other out. So we settled on one of his words and one of mine. That is how we came up with Self-Control and Compassion. I bet you can guess who chose what.

I’ve been thinking and studying what these words really mean and what the Bible has to say about them. It’s been a very positive experience and I plan to share more soon.

What two words do you think you would choose for you family? I know it’s hard, but even thinking about it is a good exercise every parent should consider. So despite my skepticism in the end I did like Strong and Kind and if you like the Duck Dynasty clan then I would definitely recommend it.

By | January 21st, 2016|Parenting Tips|2 Comments

When to Introduce Video Games

whyiwishwewaitedonvideogames

 

When my son Z was four we were given a Wii. It was a hand-me-down. No exchange of money was involved. The consoles have since been discontinued anyway, so it really shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

It was a very thoughtful gift and we still enjoy using it so I don’t want to come across as ungrateful in anyway. I just want to share my story for any moms on the fence about when and if they should introduce video games into their children’s lives. It seems like there is a big divide between the electronic game lovers and haters. I have met parents (and read many reports online) that exhibit both extremes.

I personally have never had reason to be anti video games. We got a Nintendo when I was 5 years old. I played it, but I certainly never had any addiction issues or negative impact so that was probably what has shaped my opinion. However, Z loved the Wii on a level beyond my expectations! He also loved games on the phone or the computer. From ages 4 to 6 I would say he was obsessed with Mario and Sonic.

He is a smart kid, which I honestly think contributed to his obsession. He would eventually conquer the games he played. Although it wasn’t without cost. There were many times he lashed out in anger when he lost. He would be grounded for treating family members aggressively while playing. He would have break downs and cry huge tears over games. It was painful for me to watch. He had a video game addiction and it was scary.

One day I asked a mom friend who has kids several years ahead of mine how she handles it. I knew she would be knowledgable because not only is she a homeschooling mother of 4 boys, but even her husband who is a successful business man has nights dedicated to playing video games with his friends (I know this because sometimes my husband joined in). My question to this wise woman is how she balances the gaming. I expressed my concern and explained that I didn’t want to pull the plug completely, but I didn’t know what else to do. She paused and thought out loud saying that I could consider setting some strict boundaries and rules with a timer and then she said something that kind of made me mad. She said

I don’t know. I can’t really give you advice because we don’t deal with that. The boys are so busy with school work, swim team, and church. They are outside a lot and yeah they play video games, but we just don’t have much time for it. We have a lot going on. 

Ohhhhhh, well. Us too I thought sarcastically. Except I was really burnt up by her non-answer answer. I guess if my family were just as studious, athletic and dedicated to more important things then I wouldn’t be having this problem.

I can see why 4 years ago I would feel that way, but now I get it. I mean I really get it. Z is in school all day. We get an hour of screen time a day, if that. He has a lot of other commitments and things that he puts his energy into. So even though Minecraft and all that is fun, it’s not the obsession that it was. He’s matured more emotionally since then too. Don’t get me wrong, he still gets overly competitive in his gaming at times and I’ve caught him being rude and ignoring people while playing, which of course is unacceptable. Also, I have had to be really careful of any games online because I have learned that some of them include interacting with other players and I am completely 100% against that! He knows he is NOT allowed to communicate online under any circumstances whatsoever and I keep a close eye on it, but that’s another topic.

I have seen how there are good things that can come from video games. Z and his dad have really bonded over electronics.

IMG_0917

Z got to join a programing course for his birthday this year and this was his showcase.

He has learned a lot of problem solving skills. He’s pretty much already a techie mastermind in my opinion. I wouldn’t be the surprised at all if programing or computer engineering is in his future (like his dad).

IMG_1544

The day Z got to get out of school to go see the robot his dad programed.

So I am still not anti-video games. However, as I look back I can see how maybe we would have been better off waiting until last year when he was 7 to introduce gaming.

Keep in mind this just a personal testimony, all children are different. It’s not like I am one of those parenting experts or something.


Next up I have to worry about when he is going to care about having the latest and greatest (i.e. super expensive) game device. Or when the violent games become an issue. Yikes.

Sometimes I feel like I am in my own live action parenting video game having to get through unforeseen obstacles. I guess I’ll worry about conquering the next level when I get to it.

By | October 23rd, 2015|Family, Parenting Tips|13 Comments

Freedom From Parenting Guilt

freedomfromparentingguilt
Like most parents I fear that I fall short with my children. I worry that I don’t have what it takes as a mom and that I could possibly ruin my one shot at this child rearing thing. It’s not a constant thought, but it’s this lingering insecurity. I used to love to listen to a pastor named Miles Welch, who had a podcast for college students. I was way too married and grown up for the topics be applicable to me, but I tuned in anyway and I am glad I did. One day I was sweeping the kitchen while casually listening to the Q&A session on the podcast* when there was a question from a young man asking how he could forgive his dad who was responsible for breaking up the family with a divorce. What Miles had to say in response pretty much jumped out of iTunes and punched me in the gut (in a good way).
He said
“You know, that is a hard question. At some point I was really disgruntled by my parents. I had to learn to accept them for who they were – limited and faulted. You can’t put too much
hope in humanity, we are flawed, fallen people. Now there’s hope in Christ, but we shouldn’t have an idealistic view of humanity. We place too much hope in what a person can be. I used to be really angry that my parents left a mark on my soul. Now that I am a parent I know that every parent leaves a mark on a soul. I am going to for my daughter and I don’t know how to stop it. I feel like I can protect my child from Hollywood. I can protect my child from crazy teachers, and soccer coaches. I can protect my child from anybody but me, because I will leave a mark, and I am a broken person, and as hard as I try I will fail her and she will have to learn to forgive me. She was wired to have a perfect father, and she has me instead.”
I almost dropped my broom in the kitchen when I heard that and it’s stuck with me for all these years. My children are wired for a perfect father and I can’t meet that need and I am not supposed to be expected to. It was in that moment that the weight of the world fell off of my shoulders and Christ set me free from that guilt and insecurity. I was
wanting to be God to my children. Now don’t get me wrong I want to show Christ to them every moment that I breathe 24/7, but the fact of the matter is I mess up time and time again. The further along I go on this parenting journey I can see how it is actually helpful for my kids to see my weakness, to see me grappling with reality.  That way some day they can see that even though I often struggled as a mother and wife, God’s grace was/is sufficient for me. Maybe they will learn that God is who they need to ultimately fulfill them not a parent, friend, or spouse. I pray that it teaches them about forgiveness and that they will truly embrace the grace of God that is there for them as well.
This is post was originally published October 6th, 2014 as part of a 31 Day Series. 
The quote was taken from * Miles Welch, 12 Stone podcast- Marriage and Divorce episode #76 June 28, 2011
By | September 14th, 2015|Family, Motherhood, Parenting Tips|10 Comments

31 Days of Teachable Parenting

 

Day 1: Introduction (scroll down to read)
Day 14: CHOICES
 Day 28: Power of Words
Day 31: Be There
Welcome to 31 Days of Teachable
Parenting.
The purpose of this series is
to share with others, and review for myself, what I am LEARNING about letting go
of the controlling mother role and embracing a new mindset as a parent. I put
LEARNING in all caps because I am no expert, but I will be quoting some. The
three books that I will be highlighting throughout the next 30 days are:
Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Charles Fay Ph.D
and Wild Things by Stephen James and David S. Thomas
These 3 parenting
books have absolutely revolutionized the way I interact with my children. Over
the next 30 days I plan to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and notes
with you, as well as my husband who hasn’t had a chance to read all the way through
the books. I hope you’ll join along and by all means leave a comment and let
me know that you’ve stopped by. I will definitely come and say hello on your
blog if you have one.
Tomorrow I will
have my index page and outline all mapped out so that you can see exactly what
is in store for the messymom.com this month. I will also answer any questions
to the best of my ability. As hard as it may be, I look forward to stretching myself in the areas of patience and grace over the next 30 days. It’s sure to be a rewarding season.
By | October 2nd, 2014|Parenting Tips|5 Comments