Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Helping Your Kids Build Healthy Relationships

It really annoys me when people ask my small children, even my four and five year-olds (oops, six year-old) if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Why do they do this? Really. I know older, grandparent types think it's a cute thing to ask them and tease them about growing up, etc.. The problem, which I doubt many grandparent types realize, is that in the world in which my children are maturing and growing, many children at seven, eight and nine years old have "girlfriends" or "boyfriends".

It seems like every year, kids at younger and younger ages begin to talk about the opposite sex as more than friends. What happened to the day of "cooties" and "boys are gross!"? I have become well known, not only with my children but with their friends as well, as the authority on the fact that they are too young for that boy/girl nonsense.

As my two older kids begin to approach that age, the age of hormones and finding some interest in the opposite sex, I have found that it is now important to explain better to my children why I feel that ten year-olds don't need to worry about boyfriends and girlfriends. I was inspired the other day, while driving with my children, with (in my opinion) a good explanation as to why girlfriends and boyfriends are not something God would want them dealing with right now. Here is my explanation to my kids. Maybe it will help some of you, maybe you have better thoughts you can share with us.

I discussed with my children God's view of marriage, that it is forever. We talked about friendships. I asked if they could have a friend now that would still be their friend in 5, 8, 10 or 20 years and they agreed that they could. We talked about how they could be friends with Sally now (names changed to protect the innocent) and in 5 years could meet Sandy and become friends with her. Does that mean that Sally is no longer a friend, of course not. In another 15 years they could meet Sami and become friends. We discussed that, although perhaps things would happen causing Sally to move away or change interests and they may over time lose touch and not be friends, they still COULD be friends even if new friends came along.

Then we discussed boyfriends. If you have a boyfriend named Bob now, is it likely that in 15 years you are really going to marry Bob? No, so in order for you to get a new boyfriend, the relationship with Bob has to end. So, I explained, if you have boyfriends or girlfriends now, you are entering into a relationship planning for it to end. God doesn't want us starting relationships planning to end them. We discussed that some day they would find their future spouse and if they'd had 10 "boyfriends" in elementary school and junior high, then that is 10 relationships that they started, knowing for sure they were going to end. I told them that it was like practising for divorce.

I don't yet know what we will do when they are 16 and 17. I don't feel pressed to make that decision now, but I want my kids to understand that this "harmless" flirtation with relationships isn't harmless. It starts them down a path of looking at relationships as disposable, not lifelong. I want my kids to know that, although things change and friends move on, you should never begin a relationship with the end in mind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What won't a Mommy do for her kids!

Actually, parents in general. We will do about anything to make our kids happy. I don't mean the kind of making our kids happy that means we forget about our rules, principles and priorities. But those moments when it is in our power to do some thing that brings joy our children, we will do it. Even if it adds stress, chaos and pushes our limits.

I love my children, but I am not an artist. Not at all. Normally daddy is left to decorate all the cakes. This year, however, birthdays have come and Mommy has had to make the cake. Well, they aren't great, but I have to say, I am pleased. First I managed a castle and a spider web. Today I made an Earth cake. Next up, a robot and a dog. Then, cakes will be done for the year!

I will add pics of the robot and dog when they are ready. Hopefully, they will look as good as the Earth!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Too Much to Do!

I know all moms feel the same way. I have too much to do. How is it possible that each passing day brings more to do, not less. I am sure many other people, those not actively raising small children, feel the same way. I can't remember the last time I sat on a porch swing and thought, "I have nothing to do today."

I remember those days as a kid when I would sit on the front porch, nothing to do. I would read until I just didn't think I could read any more. I was a book a day kind of reader back then. I could pick up a chapter book, as we called them, and finish it before supper, often picking up another to finish in the wee hours of the night.

Now, I feel lucky to finish one novel in six months. Actually, I feel guilty. I can still read a whole book in a day, but then nothing else gets done. I actually feel a little guilty right now for updating my blog instead of cleaning my house. And my "book"? Ha! Right!

How have I gone from a carefree child with no real responsibilities, to an overwhelmed adult in need of 3 full time staff just to get my affairs in order? Did I sleep through the change?

I don't know how other people do it. You know who I mean, the ones with perfectly clean houses, perfectly clean kids, 2 jobs per family, 15 missions they work on, boy scouts and girl scouts, 4-H and dance, studying part time for their degrees in astrophysics. You know who I mean. Do we all have the same 24 hours in our day?

Enough ramblings for me today, house full of the most amazing people you'll ever meet coming over tonight hoping for decent food and a place to sit, right now, I couldn't offer either!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Experiment Day, Who am I kidding?

So, the experiment was a good one. The record keeping was a remarkable failure. I didn't manage to actually conduct the experiment daily as was the original hope, but it did prove to me an invaluable tool in my school planning.

I learned two remarkable, in the sense that they are completely unremarkable and make complete sense except that I got so caught up in life I forgot these two truths, pieces of information.

First I learned, or was reminded, that children love to read. Even kids who don't know how to read, love to read. Kids should be given daily time to just be with a book, without a grown up. Constant contact with the printed word is a fabulous tool for the instruction of or introduction to reading.

Second I was reminded that the brain thrives on math. Don't give me that "I hate math" junk. I don't care. Math makes the brain work. Even simple math problems that a child already knows helps keep the wheels turning and reduces brain rust. The simple act of daily doing math problems keeps their thinker thinking.

Remarkably unremarkable results. Yet I am much encouraged at the knowledge I possess, not perhaps newly learned, but sometimes, it's the old knowledge, so well hidden behind dusty cobwebs of stress, business, overwork, chaos and confusion that we must pull out, dust off and admire anew, as if just acquired for the first time.

Holiday World 2011!

Holiday World 2011!

Baby # 6

Baby # 6
Welcome to the world and welcome to our crazy family!

Fort Benning

Fort Benning
We finally made it to Georgia!!!

Just a day at the park!

Just a day at the park!

My Hero!

My Hero!
I don't do dead things. Fortunately for me, God gave me boys!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!

Much awaited 2009 PJs from Daddy!
Daddy and Grandma make Jammies every year for the kids, They love it!

Christmas in PJs

Christmas in PJs
Don't I just have the cutest kids?

2010 Jammies

2010 Jammies
Once again Daddy pulled it off. They look cute!

Round 2 birthday parties

Round 2 birthday parties
Cake number 1 of 3 done. I am so not an artist, but I think it came out pretty well!

My Girls

My Girls
Borrowed dance clothes, my girls sure look cute.

Couped up

Couped up
More images below showing the children feeling a bit "couped up" from the long winter!

Chickens: Take 2

Chickens: Take 2
Cute chicks!

The robot cake. I am glad my kids' standards aren't as high as mine!

Tree Climbers

Tree Climbers

Summer Fun!

Summer Fun!
Hi Daddy! Hope you are having fun at work!

This one is so bad, I had to label the cake so you would know it's not a cow!

Dressed for Church!

Dressed for Church!
Come as your favorite Bible character night!

Too cute for words!

If the boy wasn't so tall, I could get a picture of his face!

Establishing the pecking order!

Babies!