Train your kids… don’t attack their “teachers”

The following bit of wisdom is brought to you by the lovely and talented Mrs. Peterson whose words are in bold.

Recently I heard one of my children make a statement about boyfriends & girlfriends that made my ears hot and my gut twisted. I disagreed with the statement, but she adamantly defended it.

I asked, “Where did you hear that?” She gave the name of someone from whom I do not want my children to learn when it comes to those matters.

I was mad. In my mind I was already putting together my diatribe.

When the dinner table was cleared I asked the lovely and talented Mrs. Peterson how she would deal with this. She said, “Honey, you’ve got to train your kids. You can’t always attack others when they say silly things. You’ve got to teach your kids to discern foolish from wise counsel.”

As is normally the case, Mrs. Peterson is right.

I suppose I could follow my six daughters around for the rest of their lives pounding on people who say stupid things to them… or I could save some time and teach them to be wise.

So two good things have happened as a result of this conversation:

  1. I avoided saying something mean for which I’d have to undoubtedly apologize.
  2. I was reminded of my responsibility as a teacher in our home.

Thanks Mrs. Peterson.

A new definition of parenting

Recently I’ve been toying around with a new definition of parenting: “One long string of inefficiencies.”

Ever feel like that? No kidding, the other night in a 30 minute span I did the following:

  • Started making supper
  • Changed a poopy diaper
  • Went back to making supper
  • Unclogged a toilet (completed unrelated to the diaper matter)
  • Finished supper
  • *** this does not include all of the other things I no longer consider distractions (e.g. 5 conversations at the same time, filling drinks, rescuing falling children, yelling at the dog, etc.)

riley bathtubOK, so here’s the good news… it’ll end. The bad news is that when it ends your kids will be gone… grown. So, enjoy the inefficiencies. Breathe a little. Laugh. Write them down in your journal (or your kids journal). Remember that for this season of life parenting will consist of one long string of inefficiencies… and that’s okay.

Journaling for your kids

Have you ever had a moment, as a parent, when you thought, “I hope I remember this forever”? Or how about this, “I hope I can remember this when my child gets older”?

Have you ever wondered what your childhood was like… not the BIG stuff, but the normal, every day stuff of life?

Well I have, and I guess that my kids probably will too… so since this summer I have been keeping a journal for each of them (and one for Sherri too).

If you are a parent I’d encourage you to do this for your kids too! Here are two reasons why:

  • It makes you think about each child and you’ll be surprised at what you identify about them as you write about and to them.
  • It makes you aware of how you are interacting with your kids!

Some ideas for keeping your kid’s journal (I have shared actual journal entries with you to illustrate):

  • You don’t have to journal every day. Just keep it regular.
  • Sometimes I take pictures with my phone… e-mail them to myself… print them… cut them out… and glue them in the journal. I know it sounds old school but my handwriting with those pictures will be a treasure to them someday.
  • Of course you’ll want to talk about the BIG events (e.g. vacations, graduations, etc.) but also make note of the normal stuff (e.g. “you spent the night with Madelyn last night. I missed you!” or “Today you did all your chores before lunch! Great work!”)
  • Tell them about historical events (e.g. “Today mom and I took you with us when we voted for the President of the United States. Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney”).
  • Tell them about key people in their lives (e.g. “Tonight we went over to Granny Barb’s house for supper! She made your favorite soup!”)
  • Tell them about the life phase they are going through (e.g. “You’ve been mean lately. We’re working on it. We still love you a ton!”)
  • Tell them about discoveries they made (e.g. “Tonight you discovered that the tooth fairy is me!”)
  • Tell them what you think about them (e.g. “You are an ‘out of the box’ thinker […] You aren’t afraid to be different, to speak your mind, to create waves. This trait will take you to the top or push you to the bottom. My prayer and plan as a dad is to help you figure out how to use this gift to navigate your way to the top!”)
  • Tell them things other people are saying about them (e.g. your friend’s mom sent us a text about you, “You should be very proud. You’ve got a well mannered little girl.” Way to go!)
  • Tell them what you’re teaching them (e.g. how to handle money)

I’m not sure yet when I’m going to give them their journals. I’ve thought about giving it to them each Christmas… or as a package when they head off to college. I’m not sure yet but I’ll figure it out soon enough. In the meantime I keep journaling their/our history!

OK, there’s more but I’ll wrap it up for today by sharing a picture of what Riley’s journal looks like…


People will make fun… who cares?

This morning, while I was packing lunch for “The Ladies”, I had a conversation with one of my girls. It went something like this…

Her: “A boy at school is picking on me about the food I eat.” (Our family is on a gluten free diet and we eat minimal junk food, so the content of “The Ladies” lunchboxes looks different than many of their peers).

Me: “Is he fat?”

Her: “Yes.”

Me: “Then ignore him and keep eating!”

From that point on we had a conversation about how people will pick on things they don’t understand, experiences they’ve never had, or ideas they are too lazy to pursue.

Last night I had a similiar conversation with someone who’s family insists on making negative comments about this individual’s diet (BTW, this person is in great shape and diet is a big part of that shape). I responded with an e-mail:

 Albert Einstein said, “Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds.” This principle is seen when:

    • Broke people mock people who manage their finances well (e.g. paying off debt, etc.)
    • Fat, unhealthy people who mock in shape people
    • High school dropouts who mock kids going to college
    • etc.

Here’s the point of all this…

No matter what you do there will be people who don’t understand the “why behind the what” and they are going to mock you.

Who cares?

You now have a choice…

  • Be broke and in debt… just like them… or let your broke friends mock while you move towards and achieve financial health! Ignore them!
  • Be out of shape and unhealthy… just like them… or let your fat friends mock while you change your diet and begin/continue exercise routines that bring you to maximum health! Ignore them!
  • Have a marriage that is falling apart… just like them… or have a marriage that is fun and lasts for a lifetime! Ignore them!
  • Quit chasing your dreams and know everything about WWE… just like them… or achieve the dream you’ve sacrificed so much to achieve! Ignore them!

It’s up to you. Who will you listen to? Your out of shape, broke, mocking family and “friends” or the dream that is calling your name right now?

Ignore them!

Oh… and if ignoring them fails, there’s always this option…