Thursday, August 7, 2014

School at Five or Later?

As many parents are getting ready for school to start, we wanted to remind you that you don't HAVE to send your child to preschool. You don't HAVE to send your child to school at age five. If you choose not to, and you choose to involve them in your everyday life, activities, and conversations, they will learn plenty and enough to be academically successful throughout their school career. 

Who decided FIVE was the magic age, anyway? (We love our school's preschool and Kindergarten teachers, it's not that we're against them at all!! The important thing is that you'll never ever get this precious time with your children again. Don't waste it! Don't rush it!

Lori's mom taught Kindergarten many years. She saw many students be started too early that should not have been, but never saw any that waited or stayed back that were hurt in any way because of it.

It has nothing to do with intelligence or learning ability, either. It can help your child for the rest of their lives to be on the older end of their class and not the early end. It has with our summer birthday boys.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The "Top 10" for Parents After God's Own Heart

Last week on our Facebook parenting page, we listed this "Top 10".  Maybe you can think of other things to add to this list.

We can't all be perfect parents, but there are lots and lots of things we can do to be great parents.  The biggest thing we can do is make the most of every opportunity we have with our children, because they aren't with us long in the scope of life. We have relatively few years with them to teach and train.

"Top 10 Things" Parents After God's Own Heart will do:

1. Use the Bible as the source of what is good and right and as the guide for holy living.
2. Teach and train children in things that honor God.
3. Model a servant's heart. Serve one another in the home. Serve others outside of the home.
4. Love each other and show Jesus' love to others.
5. Never allow other things to be first and center in the family. Only God deserves that place. All other things placed front and center are idols.
6. Worship together as a family and with the family of believers...the church...because Jesus died for the church...the family of believers. It's the very least we can do for Him.
7. Be thankful for everything. Say it out loud.
8. Pray all the time. Pray in good times and in bad times. Pray when you're happy. Pray when you're sad.
9. Show a strong faith in daily living. Don't fall apart in times of trial, but fall on your knees! Doing so will be teaching your children to do the same.
10. Show forgiveness. Ask for forgiveness. Nobody's perfect. We all make mistakes. We all need forgiveness. Then accept apologies without strings attached.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why Evil is More Prevalent Around Us

Do you ever wonder why things are changing in our world - why there is more evil and bad deeds? This post was written by a friend of ours and hits the nail on the head! When we don't live our our lives according to God's Will, we are living against it, and living against it is living as Satan would want us to live. Here are her thoughts:

"As all of the shootings and other horrible incidence have happened in our community lately many people have asked, "what is going on? Why are these things happening here?" I have an idea and I am going to share it. God has taken a backseat in our lives. The language being used by adults and teens can sometimes make a sailor blush. We are supporting things the Bible clearly says is wrong. Spouses are running around on one another. People are taking things that don't belong to them. Alcohol and drugs are rampant. Precious children and animals are being mistreated and abandoned. People are lying, cheating and threatening people for their own gain. If you are a Christian you are ridiculed. The church pews are empty and the children are on the streets. People, open your Bibles share scripture with your children, pray with them and each other, get yourselves to worship. Not just on Sunday morning but every time the doors are opened, if that isn't enough have a bible study in your home. Love your spouse and let your children see you care for one another and for them. Look for the needs of others and help them. It doesn't take much to extend a hand to a person in need. If you see a child that doesn't have a caring parent step up to the plate and let them see love in you. Don't judge others, only God can do that. Love the person but hate the sin and let the Light of Christ shine through you. We might all be amazed at what happens in our families and our community if this is done. If you don't like what I have said feel free to de-friend me but my prayer is that you will understand what I have said and you will find your way. I'm here if you need help!!! Let us love one another as Christ loves us." by Debbie Davis

Friday, June 20, 2014

Don't Walk Away

If you have children who play golf or any other sport, take the time to watch "Seven Days in Eutopia". In a scene close to the beginning of the movie, a son "loses it" and loses a golf tournament. His dad is upset at him for losing, and as the championship ends, the dad is shown walking away. That theme is carried through the movie - the dad's disappointment in the son's performance.

We saw this same thing happen a few weeks ago at a real golfing competition. A young boy swung the club and the golf ball went out of bounds. In disgust, both visibly and audibly, the dad turned around and left the competition. He missed his son's next shot, which was great. When the boy walked back after his session was done, he didn't see his dad. No, the dad was still walking away. The boys mom was there, as well as one set of grandparents. But all he probably noticed was his dad walking away.

We've seen this same thing often - usually in the sports world or even the stock show arena. Maybe you've seen it, too. Maybe you've done it.

We can't help but think of that little boy who watched his dad walking away. What was he thinking? 

Here are some questions to ask yourself as a parent:
Is my approval and validation of my child dependent on his/her performance?
When my child doesn't perform well, do I feel less pride? Am I striving to live out my life-long dreams through their childhood?
Are my attitudes and actions going to help me be closer to my child or drive them away?
How does my child feel about how I act/respond to their efforts on the field, court, arena? Do I care? If they are bothered by it, am I willing to set aside my desires for them?
Am I only proud when my child is successful or do I show them that I am proud of them no matter what?
Do I praise them for winning or for a job well done, even if they lose?
How would I have felt to watch my parent walk away or turn away if I had performed poorly?
Even if my parents modeled this behavior for me, do I really want to model that for my child?
Is worldly success all I really care about? Do my children know what is most important?

Your children are only going to be little once. Invest your time in making your relationship with them one that will continue to be strong in the future. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and sorrow when you keep that perspective in mind now. Don't let them watch you walk away.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What's Your Teens Story?

So, what did your teen do last night? You may not know exactly what he/she did, but if your teen is on social media, it's almost certain that everyone on their "friend" or "follow" social media site knows exactly what they did.

There's a new trend with some of these apps, in particular the SnapChat Stories, that allow your child to show and tell what they've been up to. For an example (a true example), maybe your son began with his first drink about 6:00 p.m. He sent a Snap Story out to EVERYONE on his list. Throughout the night, with every drink, the story continues. And of course, since he's so cool, he wants everyone to know. All 800 of his friends. And the way that everyone can know, is to keep sending out those SnapStories. 

By the end of the night, he's drunk. Maybe it's a game, and someone else is doing the same. Neither person wants to quit. "Who wants to be a loser?" And the "Stories" continue.

This is real, folks. Don't deny it. It happens in your town - every weekend, and perhaps, every night. It's summer, you know. No school. Late nights. Parties at the river or local hang-out spot. And not that it matters, but the teens aren't of "legal" age. So someone is assisting your child in this "story" besides you. 

Maybe it's not drinking. Maybe it's sex and nudity. Maybe it's cyber bullying. Maybe it's stealing. Story after story after story.

What you allow, you condone. As a parent, YOU have the control, and your child needs you to be the parent. Ask questions! Check up on your child! Know who exactly they are with and what they're doing. Twitter knows what they're doing. Life is totally different on Twitter. Language. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. It's all there - for the whole world to see. 

As parents of three teens ourselves, we wonder why parents ignore what is going on in the lives of their children. Do they believe it's a fad and it will pass? Do they believe that everyone is doing it, so there isn't anything they can do about it? Do they care so much about their child's popularity that they are willing to let them go down this path alone? We don't know, but we do know it is possible to raise teens that don't do this. Our children aren't perfect. They've made mistakes. But they aren't participating in this behavior. We know that for a fact.

So, what can you do? In case you don't know, it is okay to get your child a cell phone that does NOT have access to the internet. And, it's not a RIGHT to have a cell phone. It's a privilege. 

What else can you do as a parent? You can set boundaries. You can check messages and apps. But some things "disappear" - such as SnapChat. And that's why teens love it. They like the fact that they can do something and it will go away. It does....sort of. It's still out there. It can still come back to haunt them. You can say no. Teens do not have to have these apps, even on their smart phones. You make the rules. You are the authority. 

Recently a Twitter "tweet" caused a college prospect an athletic scholarship. The coach of the university was following the prospect, anticipating him being on his team in the fall. After seeing what the young man posted, the coach decided to terminate that relationship. What your teen posts and says matters. Ultimately it matters to God, but it matters here on earth, as well. 

You, as a parent, have the duty and obligation to bring your child up in a way that pleases God. You, whether you're a Christian or not, will have to give an account for your life on Judgement Day. And how you raise your children will matter in that account. PARENT INTENTIONALLY!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

To The Moms

From Lori to the MOMS of Parents After God's Own Heart:

Joe had already gone to work when the boys left for school this morning. We read Psalm 119:1-2: "Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart." We quickly talked about what those verses that when we choose to do right and follow God and His ways/laws/guidelines, life goes well, but when we choose our own path, we stumble. And Zachary, the oldest boy, rightly said why we do that - because we're human.

Before the boys headed out the door, I told them how much I loved them, we formed a hug circle, and I and prayed with them. It didn't take very many prayerful words before the tears came rolling down. The boys are always sweet when I get emotional. They just pat me or hug me and smile. They know that the tears are tears of joy - the joy I feel in the fact that God has blessed me and given me (and their dad) the task of raising them. It's an awesome responsibility and one I don't take lightly.

Moms, I pray that you don't take that task lightly, either. Pray for your children. Pray that they will walk according to the paths that God would have them walk. His ways are so much better than our own ways - and will save us much heartache and trials. Be thankful for the children that God has given you. Know that each of them are a blessing. Treat them as that blessing. Give them your time. Give them your attention. Give them your love. So many women hope and pray to be blessed with a child. Don't take yours for granted.
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