The King of Me

Self-control is so sorely lacking in our society! Troubles caused by lack of self-discipline range from littering to illegitimate babies to college shootings. We must start very young in teaching our little children to master themselves. They can never call God “Master” until they can call themselves the “King of Me”.

“The Bible teaches us to discipline our children and to love them. These are not opposites. They blend together. Loving discipline will grow in the child into self-discipline. And that is a prerequisite for the life of learning we hope he will lead.” (Ruth Beechick)

It starts by learning to obey Mommy when a child is not yet even able to talk. Teach your children that they must learn to be masters of their bodies and their minds. Coming first time when mother calls, sticking with a chore, not eating candy until after mealtime, saying “please” and “thank you”, or sitting quietly in church and during family devotional are all good practice. They really can learn to do it, little by little!

I like my little ones to memorize this clever poem to remind them who is really in charge! Making a paper crown with the words “King of Me” on it is a good reminder too.

      King of Me

I said to my feet, “Keep still!”
I said to my hands, “Just stay!”
I said to my all-over-everywhere self,
“I’m in charge of you today!”
I’m ruler of my mouth,
And I’m the “King of Me”

So when I tell me it’s quiet time,
I’m quiet as can be!

                                                                                   —unknown

 

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Gratitude Journal

 

Isaac_bouncingGrumpy attitudes?

Kids complaining?

You getting weary?  

Here’s a quick fix! I read my Gratitude Journal whenever I need a lift!

A Gratitude Journal can just be a document on your desktop of your computer, that you write on every Sunday, for example. Or a list on your fridge or bulletin board that you try to jot on daily. As a title I have written at the top, “What am I grateful for today?”

The point is that being thankful is “good medicine”—it helps you put your problems into perspective and moves you in the right direction of trying to focus on what is going well in your life or on simple comforts. We are used to making “to do” lists that require our energy and work to accomplish. But making a list of what we appreciate, what is pleasant for us, requires no effort on our part other than recognizing happiness. It is a very positive experience.

crocus-582980_1280To make an entry, I write the date and then number 1 to 4 on the lines below. Then I consider what I am truly grateful for and jot it down, just by keyword or phrase. I don’t read any of the other entries first, but try to use my own original thoughts at the moment and make my entries unique. I try to choose something besides the obvious (my family, my house, my car, my health, my freedom, etc.)  Children may find it more fun to draw their 4 choices, rather than write them. Moms may find that more fun too!  See my watercolor journal here!

This little exercise doesn’t take much time, but it makes a huge difference in my outlook. Reading back over a few entries—after I’ve written —I am always amazed that my gratitude is prompted by such simple things. Here are a few random examples, looking back in my Gratitude Journal:

April 4
1. A wispy cloud next to the mountain.
2. I am not ill.
3. The daffodils are blooming
4. My new grandbaby!

August 11
1. The morning is cool and the rooster is crowing.
2. There is an abundance of inspiring religious art and music in this day,
compared to the time I grew up in.
3. Louisa cleaned my bedroom for a surprise!
4. Carpeting that is so soft and such a pretty color of green

January 27
1. Time to sit and rest.
2. My laptop computer that makes life so easy
3. My wonderfully naturally curly hair
4. Fire and how it comforts me (candles)

orange-188082_1280Of course, there are days when I feel hard-pressed to come up with even just one thing to be grateful for! I know that sounds absurd to even say, living in America with so many freedoms and privileges and luxuries. This is an especially good exercise for me on those days. I have listed such simple things as “oranges” in my Gratitude Journal. When problems weigh you down, perhaps that is the only thing you can identify to appreciate!

And there are the days that you find it difficult to stop at #4. That helps too. It helps in reading back to see that life is up and down, and when you are feeling low, seeing that pattern helps you have hope and know that you’ll have “overflowing blessings” days in the future.

There’s another reason for keeping this journal. Think how well your children or grandchildren—and generations unborn—will we be able to see right down into your heart and life in a positive light through your Gratitude Journal!

Once you get in the habit, you’ll find everyone’s attitude improves when looking for things to appreciate!

 

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Gray Hair

abi_granddad

Abigail planted a lipstick kiss on Grandaddy’s cheek!

Respect for the aged. It seems to be going extinct these days in America, and yet it makes such a difference in society. It is a basic, important part of training children to teach them to honor those who are older and wiser. Gray hair is a sign of wisdom, and endurance through life’s trials. (That’s why I won’t dye mine!)

“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

With the whole culture going the other direction, how can we teach our children to give honor to the aged? One of the things I’ve reminded my children while they are growing up is that we all feel the same inside—it’s just our changing body that looks different. We’re still inside of our bodies whether we are young or old, and we’re still “us”! If you look at an older woman and imagine the young, energetic, smiling young woman that she was, perhaps you can relate to her better. And know that one day, your own lively personality will be looking in the mirror at your own aging body.

Here’s some guidelines we can teach our children:

How to Honor the Elderly

*rise up when an old person enters the room for the first time out of respect

*be careful not to race around when an elderly person is present. They are not so sure and steady on their feet and little children running around near them makes them fear falling.

*jump up quickly to offer your chair when an older person comes in the room, or gets on the bus.

*offer to get their drink or dessert and carry it to the spot where they are sitting

*listen without interrupting or correcting

*be sensitive to the fact that they tire easily and noisy situations are hard for them

*don’t forget hugs and “I love you”

*don’t call them by their first name. They are not your peers, but far more experienced and deserving of special treatment.

*remember that loneliness is often their unwelcome companion. Phone calls, cards, and visits are much appreciated.

*ask their advice. They have seen far more of life than others and their experience is very valuable.

Ah, what a world it would be if we all honored the aged! It all starts with teaching the young.


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Chivalry, It’s Up to Us!

emilymay2007My daughter Emily (17) came home from high school thoroughly disgusted. Emily is a very upbeat, happy spirit and she loves everybody and everything, so it shocked me to see her upset. She only attends 2 classes at our local charter school, and is very studious and diligent in her homeschool assignments. She tells me regularly that she loves homeschooling best, which brings me great delight!

Anyway, Emily was upset. Turns out that she had to go to a Senior Graduation meeting and when she arrived at the building, the boys didn’t think to open her door, but just walked in, in front of her, letting the door slam in her face. As she got to the classroom for the meeting, the seats were all taken—by boys! Many girls stood through the long meeting, and the big, strong football players lounged in the chairs without even a glint of recognition on their faces.

“Where are the mothers?” is always my war-cry! It takes mothers (and fathers) teaching kids to be respectful and mannerly, and if moms are occupied otherwise, the whole generation suffers from a plague of rudeness!

The next time Emily was summoned to a Senior Graduation meeting, the teacher had written on the chalkboard, “Boys: Give Up Your Seats”. She was a rather old-fashioned teacher, and apparently it had bothered her too. But, even with the posted notice, the boys did not all give up their seats. But the big surprise was that there were enough who did that there were empty seats in the classroom. There were also girls standing, who refused to sit down. (What!????)

How can boys possibly learn to be chilvarous if girls will not even allow them? How did this gentlemanly thing go so hay-wire?

Moms, Dads: it is up to us! Let’s teach our boys that someone female will bear their children someday and make a family for them to be loved by, and to come home to, and to work for, and to give their life meaning. Please, let’s teach our girls that boys honor that someday possibility by treating the whole feminine gender with respect and kind consideration, and to shun it is to do themselves (and other women and girls) a disservice.

Rudeness doesn’t have to be the order of the day. It is all in the hands of parents—what we model, what we teach, what we expect.

 

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Communal Comparison

EmilyinaspensIt has been so long since I was in junior high and high school that I guess I forgot what P.E. was like. Our family attended an evening performance of the symphony in a local public high school auditorium. Afterwards, a trip to the restroom gave me some surprising insights. Since my children have never attended public school physical education, they had never seen the girl’s locker room before, particularly the communal shower. Julianna (14 years at the time) was shocked!

“What is that?” she wondered. “It looks like they expect the girls to all take a shower together!”

“Yep, that’s it,” I told her.

“No, not really, Mom!”

Her surprise and dismay at the arrangement started me thinking. There is no other time in a person’s life that one is expected to disregard normal modesty and walk around undressed in front of strangers (or even friends). Physical familiarity is reserved for those with whom we have eternal relationships (parent/child, husband/ wife). Unfortunately, having this experience during the very self-conscious teen years makes it even more detrimental.

I have often wondered why teenagers seem so caught up with their physical inadequacies. “My nose is too big, my bustline is too small, my face has too many pimples. . . .”—this sort of comment is all too common. I think it is less common among homeschooled children. Maybe it is natural at an age of intense physical change, but I can’t help but think it is aggravated tremendously by the communal comparison of the daily naked shower parade.

My mind went back to my school days. I can’t remember details, but I do remember looking at other girls’ bodies and making comparisons. I always felt like I was on the losing end (whether that was reality or not). I looked at the girls who were well-developed and physically more mature than I was and I felt childish. I looked at the girls who were thin, and I felt fat. I looked at the pretty girls and I felt ugly. I looked at the girls who were not well shaped, or had birthmarks and felt sorry for them. I think every girl in the locker room was really on the losing end, comparing herself to others strictly by the fickle and ever-changing standards of physical beauty, of which no one can take any direct responsibility anyway.

I recall dashing into the shower after P.E. with a undersized towel for protection, whirling around once, and rushing to get dressed before I could “be seen.” Nobody took showers, not really. No one stood there and washed their body with soap, and enjoyed a shower, although the “towel check” required a wet towel to prove you did. (There are other ways to get a towel wet.) There were confident girls that didn’t seem in a rush to get dressed, but no one washed up. So what is the shower famdec2006-12requirement for? Growing up with it, I didn’t question it, but now I do.

After seeing the locker room facilities, Julianna was certain she’d never want to take the dance class or the other P.E. classes that had looked fun on the school electives listing. She was appalled to even imagine that undressing daily in front of others would be required of her. I found her innocent perspective refreshing. She has never been self-conscious in the least, in spite of the fact that she is very tall for her age (5’9” and wears a large shoe size). She is self-assured and graceful. I pondered if her freedom from self-consciousness would have remained had she been thrust into a daily comparison from age 12 through 18 years.

Something to think about.

 

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Desert Thoughts

desertimageWow, there is a lot of sagebrush in the southwestern United States!

I am in the back seat of a minivan with a computer on my lap as my 16-year-old drives. It’s pretty bouncy and weavy! He is trying to get his driving hours completed so he can get his driver’s license, and what better time than on a family road trip?. . . if mom’s nerves can stand it! Dad’s been sworn to zip his lips, since he can get verbally excited when teenagers are learning to drive!

It’s pretty fun to be all together, the family in such very close quarters—squished all together in a mini-van. It is impossible to “keep your hands to yourself”, or your legs for that matter. The inside of a van isn’t that big! It is times like this that birth so many inside jokes—jokes others don’t understand, and that are funny only because they represent shared memories, often shared difficulties. These inside jokes last a lifetime and reduce us to giggles instantly! Isn’t it the best?!

Emily, 18

Emily, 18

Earlier in our trip, Emily was taking her turn driving along while I fed her raw cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing, trying to get it in her mouth while we bumped along on the desert highway. Ammon struggled up from his seat and wedged himself back between the arms and legs of complaining family members as he tried to reach into the suitcases and food stashed in the back of the van. It seemed like he was rummaging around for 20 minutes as we sailed down the road. As the complaining got louder, Ammon finally emerged with a book and a little bit of cheese. “All that for a little cheese?”, quipped one of the kids, which sent us into uncontrollable laughing. Nice stress relief. It kept us all from being upset with him. And now, all it takes to get us laughing again it for someone to say of any situation that inconveniences someone: “All that for a little cheese?”

There’s always problems, of course. We’ve got a temperature-sensitive child that is either freezing to death” or “burning up” even when everyone else in comfortable. Someone threw up (more than once). One child is tease-able. Another child likes to boss everyone. As do I.

Even still, moms have the power to make it silly and fun, rather than tense and scolding.

Happy times. Light-hearted times. So much of how family life goes has to do with how much you laugh, how much you find things to be funny. Smile, Mom. You may as well. Make it fun for the kids! YOUR attitude is everything . . .

. . . on a trip.

. . . in life.

 

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Company’s Coming!

Summer and company go together like bread and butter. Consider what a visit from this special guest would be like! It makes me want to re-evaluate everything I say and do in light of His company, and be far better than I am.

christcompanyscoming

IF JESUS CAME TO YOUR HOUSE

If Jesus came to your house to spend a day or two,
If He came unexpectedly, I wonder what you’d do?

Oh, I know you’d give your nicest room to such an honored guest,
And all the food you’d serve to Him would be the very best.

And you would keep assuring Him you’re glad to have him there,
That serving Him in your home is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming, would you meet Him at the door,
With arms outstretched to welcome in your heavenly visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes before you let Him in,
Or hide some magazines and put the Bible where they’d been?

Would you turn off the radio and hope He hadn’t heard,
And wished you hadn’t uttered that last, loud, nasty word.

Would you hide your worldly music and put some hymn books out?
Could you let Jesus come right in, or would you rush about?

Oh, I wonder if the Savior came to spend a day with you,
Would you just go on doing all the things you always do?

Would you go right on saying the things you always say?
Would life for you continue as it does now day to day?

Would our family conversation keep up it’s usual pace,
Or would you find it hard each meal to say a table grace?

Would you sing the songs you always sing and read the books you read,
And let Him know on which the things your mind and spirit feeds?

Would you take Jesus with you everywhere you planned to go,
Or would you maybe change your plans, for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet with all your closest friends,
Or would you hope they’d stay away until His visit ends?

Would you be glad to have Him stay forever on and on,
Or would you sigh with great relief when He at last was gone?

It might be interesting to know the things that you would do,
If Jesus came in person to spend the day with you!

                              ~ Lois Blanchard Eades

 

 

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Be That Person

bethatperson

Louisa (at age 8) teaches her own scripture lesson to the family, just like she has seen her Mommy do countless times!

Today I thought to myself, “If I didn’t have kids to teach, I’d go back to bed.” Ever feel that way? Teaching children really helps us to do our best—doesn’t it?

The plan for raising good kids and educating them is simple: just be who you want your child to be. Model what you want them to repeat! That is easy to say and very hard to do! But no teaching method, visual aids, demonstration, hands-on fun, lessons, curriculum or anything else teaches as well as your modeling.

My daughter Emily is sitting nearby reading the syllabus from a Cooking 101 course at the university she attends. We’ve been using it as I teach my kids “Cooking Class” at home. She is reading the chapter entitled “Selection of Fresh Produce”. “Duh!”, she says disgustedly, “who wouldn’t know this? You learn this just by picking out fruit at the grocery store with your mom all your childhood!”

How very right she is. And how very many growing-up college students do not know it. They never were with their mom selecting the fruits and vegetables together. They were sitting at a desk in the public school, far away from the hands-on modeling that would make them a wise consumer. How important is learning to select fresh produce? Well, in the full-life scheme of things, you have to eat 3 times a day and being able to select and prepare healthy foods seems right up there on my scale of valuable life skills.

We are studying Rome in our history right now. My children have all selected a topic to write their papers on. Louisa chose “Pompeii”, Ammon is writing on “Greek Influences on Roman Culture”, and Emily wants to write on “Influences of Rome in our Modern Society”. I have decided to write on how devaluing human life accompanies the decay of a civilization, as demonstrated by the Roman practice of slavery, gladiator fights, persecution of the Christians before the fall of Rome. Why am I writing a paper? Don’t I have enough to do? Well, yes I do. But how can they learn unless they see modeled for them that it is important to keep learning—reading, thinking, writing, formulating one’s thoughts.

Have you ever drawn with your child? What do they do instead of drawing? Yep, they watch you draw. The younger they are, the more they watch. And good thing it is, too, because you are modeling how to draw, and it is valuable training.

Your kids will watch you—whether it be washing dishes, pursuing your studies, disciplining children, being a homemaker, interacting with others, having a bad attitude about the weather, focusing on work outside the home, or whatever it may be. You are their model, their mentor. Watch our how you live, because you’ll soon have a family of grown-up kids doing just what you taught them, intentionally or not!

So, the challenge I feel—today and every day—is to be that person—that person that I want them to be.

 

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