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Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Well, being the highly spiritual family that we are, the Christmas Eve tradition that I am about to share will surely amaze all who read about it.

This family tradition goes back to my hubby’s family, and specifically, with his dad.

Hubby fondly remembers that on Christmas Eve he and his big brother would go to the grocery store with their dad. They would buy whatever staples the family would need for the Christmas feast to be enjoyed the following day.

But, that was not all! Hubby’s father would also treat his boys to some treats that were not regular purchases for their cash strapped family. Things like potato chips, pop and ice cream.

When hubby and I started a family he was confident that this tradition must go on. And it still does. Around mid afternoon, on December 24th, hubby and the kids load into the family vehicle. They head to our local grocery store … with sugar plums dancing in their heads!

When at the store they pick up whatever list of items that I need to prepare the roast beast the next day. And then they pick up their treats. The only way to define their purchases, is to say that they purchase all of the items that I would almost never buy. Things like sugary cereals, ice cream (but not vanilla … a flavor resembling a favorite chocolate bar), pops (sodas, for the American reader), and candy.

Then they come home, hyped up on the anticipation of eating all of the treats that they have purchased.

There are also huge amounts of eagerness to show their treasures to me, since those are treasures that I would never purchase (a bit of gloating is what is happening).

I love that our kids have this special tradition with their dad. I love that it is something that they only share with him. To me that is worth the nutritional emptiness of what they have  bought. Spiritual? No. But definitely memory-creating! And the oral stories that get passed down from year to year will continue on into the future lives of our kids, as they grow and form their own families.

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Oh ya, you decided to read my post today based totally on the title, didn’t you?

Well, all you moms and dads of cute little children, who write the cute little things their kids say, all over social media … look out! Their questions and comments may just go where my kid’s have!

While driving in the van with my daughter, the radio was playing and, as often is the case, my daughter zeroed in on the useless information that they were sharing between songs.

The information was about an article written by psychologist Seth Myers, who wrote that make-up sex ignites similar brain neuron firing to that of cocaine to an addict (I know you are dying to read the whole thing, so here is the article that Mr. Myers wrote).

Before the next song could start the question was flowing from the lips of my daughter:

“Mom, did (notice the past tense) you and Dad have make-up sex?”

Immediately I thought to myself, “why, in heavens name did I think that having an open relationship (complete with ‘ask me anything’) with our kids was a good idea?”

Then I replied, I thought rather brilliantly (yet not too direct), “honey, I think everyone has had make-up sex.”

And I sighed a breath of thankfulness that our Q&A time of testing was over 🙂

… NOT!

She was just warming up!

The next question just about floored me (for so many reasons … none of which I will share here).

“Mom” she then said, face screwed up like she had just taken a bite of a lemon, “do you and Dad s t i l l (draw that one out) have sex?”

The palms started sweating!

My only response to my daughter was (with indignation), “You know that there are couples who are in their eighties who are still having sex?”

Her facial response was a mix of shock and disgust, which (finally) silenced her!

Watch this clip of the Happy Huffmans, aka Bruce and Esther, (they have become famous for their video of them utilizing technology, and their love story as well … worth checking out too) . And if you cannot watch the entire thing, start the video at 1:40 … although shocking to my daughter, I may have been right 😉

Love it!

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Kids today deserve more credit than we give them.24418022950876082_SHVOlNqK_b

We complain that they are lazy, selfish, and directionless. We feel intimidated when we see a group of teens. We look at their appearance, their fashion, their music and critique that they have no taste. We say they do not know how to speak to adults, that they give one word responses, that they do not make eye contact. We complain about them … their attitudes, their behaviors. We look down on them.

Is that the whole story? Is the future in peril because of our teens? Are they really any different than the teens that we were not all that long ago?

Back when I was a kid, a teen, I remember vividly the experience of returning a watch that my grandmother had given me as a high school graduation present because it was not working. Receipt in hand, I took it back to the store where my grandmother had purchased it. I presented myself, and my story, to the lady working at the store. She looked at me suspiciously, spoke very rudely to me, and made it clear to me that she did not believe my story. I was finally able to get my watch exchanged, but I left the store with a feeling of inferiority and of not being believed … heard.

Do we ‘hear’ kids and teens today? Do we look down on them simply because they are young?

In 1 Timothy 4:12, the young are told,

“don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,
but set an example for the believers in speech,
in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

But how do the young learn how to set a good example “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” if it is not modeled to and for them by those of us who have raised them?

We give much to our children, but it is at a cost. Most parents provide many tools and toys for their children, working long hours to pay all that is needed. I read a report last week that said that 38% of children in grade 5 have a cell phone. The number jumps to over 83% just three grades later.

We provide many extracurricular activities for our children, yet from my own parental experience that too can be disappointing. I have observed parents who seem to expect their children to perform as Olympic athletes, yelling and demeaning them, or their coaches, in competitions. Or, parents do not even attend the performances of their children.

As adults we cannot expect mature behavior, passion-filled lives, or desire to help others if we do not love, mentor, lead and (most importantly) spend time with children and teens (ours, or others whose lives cross with our own).

They and the raw material that they are when they are born, are created in the image of their Creator. They and how they grow to develop and mature is in the image of us, the parents who created them.
children-turn-out-well-quote

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

James Baldwin

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When I got married to my hubby, there were two people who wondered aloud about the life (as a pastor’s wife) that I was entering. But I was young, in love, and there was nothing that we could not survive, as long as we were together!

It did not take long to realize that this life had it challenges, but it also had amazing blessings. Our life is designed around the challenge of making the life of Christ one that others want to follow, in a deeper, more sincere way. Along with that, much of our mutual desire is to help those who have been hurt, deceived, or ignored by other Christ followers see that we are not all like that, and that the One we follow is not in the business of hurting, deceiving or ignoring.

Through the years we have added three kids to our family, and as our kids they were born into the title of Pastors Kids PKs). There were negatives like having a busy dad (who has made a commitment to not miss the important events of their lives) and a life where everyone in the church knows you (but often that has meant the blessing of many dear people who pray for them), but I really did not see PK as a negative stereotype for our kids.

Our kids, like their peers (and their parents), have moments when they blow it royally, but they do so not because they are PKs, but because they are fully human.

The reality of our life in the church means that they know things others in the church do not. Things that we sometimes do not want anyone exposed to, especially them. Things like times when their dad has been spoken of derogatorily, or when their mother has been hurt. They have experienced the social ‘shunning’ by peers whose parents do not support the work of their dad. Then there are the times when they have been the center of the negative conversation, and a ‘friend’ has relayed the conversation to them (without any mention of defending them at the time). They know the discouragement and disappointment that ‘serving’ God in ministry can mean.

God has given us such a beautiful life, and we have laid down our lives for the sake of this ministry. But God has given us the beautiful responsibility of introducing His love to two daughters and one son, and that is a responsibility I will never sacrifice.

So, I do what other mothers may shudder to consider. When our children reach high school, I sit them down and explain that I want them to know the freedom of Christ without the confines of the title they were born with. I tell them that we, their parents, have no expectation that they will choose our church as their church. And then, I encourage them to …

GO!
-to a church where they choose
-to a church where they are ‘just’ another believer
-to a church where they can serve simply because they feel compelled
-to a church where the style of worship encourages them to worship
-to a church where the delivery of the message feeds them

“go into the world, and tell everyone the Good News” (Mark 16:15).

That is the most important message I can give them … that, and wings so that they can choose to fly.

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Hubby and I have been married for almost an eternity and we share three children … ages almost twenty, fifteen and a half and almost thirteen (funny … almost and halves are never added to the ages of parents … I, for instance, am thirty-nine … with three four years experience).

Just a few weeks ago we said farewell to our eldest for a semester at an East Coast University. Our youngest daughter entered grade ten, and our youngest is in his last year of Middle School.

For the past couple of summers I have had moments when I can see into the future.

Our home would frequently be vacated by our kids. Dinners in the summer are often just three of us, or, if we are lucky, two. Those times when it is just us two, we feel are treats, and we enjoy the peace and quiet that our kid’s busy social lives allow.

But, peace and quiet, as delightful as it is once in a while, reminds me that it is coming in a more regular fashion, and very soon. These moments of alone time for hubby and I remind me that soon it will be hubby and I more often than not. That the laundry will not take all Saturday. That dinner out will not be Subway. That grocery shopping will be a short stop rather than an evening affair. That my vehicle will not be a minivan, and it will not go through fuel like that of a taxi.

Recently, when the house was empty, except for hubby and I, I just sat and imagined all that extra time to do as I pleased. Hubby was tapping away at his laptop, watching something on television. The beast was having her after-dinner nap. And, I was still and imagined.

I did not like what I was imagining, because it seemed so very … quiet.

As I sat, imagining, I realized that this phase of life is the one I dreamed of most, back when it was just hubby and I, dreaming together of what our future would be. I have never been a ‘baby person,’ although I loved our kids as babies. I always dreamed of having a house full of adolescents and teens, filling our house, and my days, with noise, and laughter and the challenges of growing up. I imagined just what I have, right now.

How blessed I am to have this dream fulfilled. And how blessed I am that God whispered in my ear, to be still, so that I didn’t wish this most desired phase of life to be over without fully immersing my heart into it.

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Two weeks from today summer will really be over. There will be great mourning and gnashing of teeth in our home. It will be with great regret that our alarms will be set, lunches will be made, and the trek to school will be taken.

As I contemplate all that this day means, I also think back …  w  a  y  back  … to when I was school student. I remember the new clothes (brand new fall/winter sweaters when the temperatures are often still reflecting the summer season), the new shoes (which always came home not so white, and feet requiring bandages for the new shoe blisters), the crisp clean lined Hilroy notebooks, the line-up at the pencil sharpener (because we all had new pencils), and the revelation of who would be our classroom teacher for the school year.

Just one month ago I was driving down a highway in Oregon, listening to a radio station, and they started talking about back to school. I just about drove into a light standard! Back to school was not something that I wanted to hear about in late July. But what they were saying about returning to school stopped me from doing anything too radical. They were encouraging people, parents, to print off a teacher appreciation certificate and take it to the school on the first day, as an act of supporting and encouraging the teachers of their children.

Now that I could get into!

I have tried over the years to be supportive to the classroom teachers of my kids. Working within the school system gives me an even more intimate understanding of just how appreciated (and, for those teaching high school, rare) words, acts and gifts of encouragement are to these teachers who spend more time with our kids each day than we do.

I think all of us can think back to at least one teacher who inspired us to live better, think differently, and who encouraged us in who we are.

Immediately I think back to my grade four teacher, Mrs. Kavanaugh, who was so kind … to everyone in the class. The thing I remember most about her is how she treated the ‘underdogs’ of the classroom. She was more patient with them than any other teacher. She gave them extra words of encouragement. She did not favor the smartest, the prettiest, the richest. You know, I do not remember one academic thing she taught us, but I think I took away something better, because she gave me the tools to be a better person.

She was not the only teacher that I think of, but she is the one who comes to my mind first.

How about you? Do you remember a special teacher? How about taking the challenge to encourage a teacher as your children return to classrooms, gymnasiums, and libraries? How about starting the parent-teacher relationship off with an act of  encouragement, of love?

It just might set the stage for a great year for your son or daughter, for their teacher, and for you.

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It is said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The way to a mother’s heart is quite a different route.

There are so many things that one can do to win the favor of one who is a mother. You can make a meal for her family. You can tell her she looks great (even with bags under her eyes from a sleepless babe, or talkative teen keeping her up at night). You can compliment her home, her work, her husband.

There is only one way to win the heart of a mother … say or do something nice, kind, or generous, for her child.

Just the other day, I got a text from hubby, telling me that a man in our church was gone. He was ninety-one years old, had a beautiful wife (just days from their sixty-sixth anniversary), supportive children, and his body had simply given in to the effects of aging. This man was dearly loved, by all who knew him. He was an amazing support to my hubby, teaching, mentoring and supporting him in a gentle, fatherly way. I always received words of encouragement, and love from him.

The thing I appreciated most about this man was that he told us, many times, that he prayed for our kids. In this act of love, he won the heart of this mother.

In hearing of his death, I felt the loss of the dear man who really knew how to love.

I also feel the weight of the loss of his prayers for my kids.

To know that someone is praying for your kids, is to know of a magical-like experience. There is a sense of other-worldly connection with that person. There is a sense of receiving love that is out of this world amazing.

To hear someone say, “I pray for your children” is to have won the lottery. Not because there is anything ‘magical’ about praying (God is not a sugar daddy who delivers all that we want), but because it is the act of love that cannot be adequately thanked for. It is not an act of love that gets acclaim.

It is an act of love that comes from knowing that growing up is not always easy, being a pastor’s kid is not always easy. The time that goes in to spending it with the God of the universe to lift them up to Him in humble prayer is the best gift there is.

In telling us of his sacrificial act, we were encouraged, as parents. This man knew of the intimacy of prayer, the strength that comes from prayer, and the reliance on God for every thing in life. He knew it, because he lived it.

He knew the way to this mother heart, and our family feels the loss of his love.

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