April 26, 2015

You can’t Hide

by Belinda Letchford
The kids see you - you can't hide

Five Minute Friday: Hide

Five Minute Friday is a weekly writing challenge and linkup, where you write for 5 minutes on a designated word.   Every so often,  when I find myself with some writing time between Friday and Sunday,  I plan to take this challenge.  When I have done this I find that my 5 mintues of writing tends to reflect something that is going on in my life or my general reflections.  So I share these short posts with this in mind – this is simply my immediate thoughts when I read this word today.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: Hide

 

I look at my child and am horrified at what she just did – and then it hit me – she was just copying me!  You can’t hide from your kids – they see you, they know you, and – they will copy you.

 

They see the choices you make

The way you react

The habits you form

And the things you let slide

 

They see the things that are important to you

They see the things that make you laugh and cry

They see the things that you prioritise, regardless of what you say

They see your strengths and your weaknesses

 

And they copy you!!

 

This can be cute – when the little one stands with hands supporting their back, just like their pregnant mum.

 

It can be embarrassing – when the six year old slams the door and mutters when things don’t go their way.

 

It can be confronting – when the teen spends time on the phone.

 

It is a wake up call when you suddenly realise they are copying you – you can’t hide – they know you, they’ve watched you – they’ve learnt from you.  And suddenly you don’t like what you see.

 

A song that always gets me – catches me in my heart – is Cat’s in the Cradle – its catch cry – “I’m gonna be like you,  Dad” – oh the tears when you see that yes, they did grow up just like Dad.

 

We can’t hide from our kids – they are our family, they live with us – they see it all.  We can try and hide, and to be honest, the kids just see that as hypocrisy, or we can be motivated to change and grow ourselves and be worthy of the trust they put in us by making us their role model.

 

I’ve often been challenged about teaching my kids a particular life skill that I myself lack – maybe orderliness or thriftiness or self-control.  I can ignore the need to teach them these things or I can grab the learning opportunity with both hands, and grow myself, and encourage my kids to join me as we practice these good choices together.  By being honest about my weaknesses I teach my kids that learning and growing is a life time thing – and there is no weakness in not being perfect; rather there is weakness in trying to hide it!

 

Read more thoughts on Hide over at 5 Minute Friday

hide-600x600

 

 

April 21, 2015

Mummy Kiss it Better {empathy}

by Belinda Letchford
Showing empathy to our kids is one way of saying I love you.

Show empathy to our kids because we love them not just to be a role model.

 

One day this week when we had Little Miss here (respite foster care) she was playing outside and something happened and she hurt her finger.  Only minor – so minor I couldn’t see what she had done – but she came running to me, asking me to kiss it better.  I on a whim gobbled it up (as in, pretended to eat it) instead.  She was a little outraged – “don’t eat it! kiss it!”  So I kissed it, and she went back to play outside a happy little chickiddy.

 

This made me think.  Of course the scenario is repeated many many times with each of my own kids over the years.  This is what little kids do – they come running to mum to kiss away any pain – big or small.  It was her outrage – don’t eat it! – that made me think though.

 

What is it that they are asking for when they come running to mum asking to kiss it better?   They aren’t just asking for attention (if they were the gobble would have done it for her) – they are asking for empathy.

 

Empathy:  the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

 

Usually people talk about the benefits of being an empathetic parent in terms of being a role model to our kids, so that they can show empathy to others.  But sometimes we have to step back from the role of being a parent – and just be a person – picking up the responsibilities and right responses towards all we meet – including our children.

 

We need to show empathy to our children – not just to teach them – but because trying to be aware of and understand our children’s emotions is the loving thing to do.

 

We get tied up so much in being the parent, that we forget to be human.

 

To show empathy to anyone we need to stop what we are doing and focus on the other person – we need to listen and hear what they are saying, what they are really saying – we need to show compassion towards their need, not solutions towards their problem.

 

We need to pause and kiss the boo-boo.  Not because it makes anything better, not physically – but emotionally the hurt is recognised and cared for.  This is important in any relationship – including the relationship I have with my children, young and older.

 

The reason I gobbled that little finger was because I wanted to inject some humour into the situation and divert a meltdown.  Besides, the finger wasn’t really that hurt!  Reflecting on my response – it was so selfish, focused on what I wanted to move on with, not focusing on the other person.  Sure the other person’s response was unreasonable and out of proportion, but she needs to know I’m here for her – big and small.  Empathy today will reassure her of empathy tomorrow.

 

Empathy isn’t just for the times they feel pain – but whenever they have an emotion; highs and lows.  Can I be excited for my children, can I be anxious with them, can I enjoy the surprise beside them?

 

The challenge is to put aside my emotions about the situation and focus on them.  If I always bring my logic, my experience, my perspective and over-ride their’s I may consider myself to be practical, but I’m not showing empathy.  There will probably be time for practicality later – initially though empathy, understanding, compassion is what is needed.  Am I prepared to slow down and show them my love – or does it always have to be about moving on with solutions.

 

Though the situation that prompted my thinking has to do with a toddler/pre-schooler the same challenge is there for my teenager/young adult children.  Can I slowdown from all that is on my to-do list and enter their world for just a moment – just because I care?  Can I show them empathy, enter their emotions, and accept their ups and downs regardless of my opinion?  I hope so.

 

The flip side is that even though it may not be my motivation if my children receive empathy from me, they are learning how to show empathy to others.  But not everything in my life needs to be about them learning a lesson – sometimes I just need to be a caring human!

 

 

Also sharing and linking with others:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),  Capture your Journey,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool Linkup,Weekly Wrap-up, Collage  Fridays, My Week in Review

 

 

April 19, 2015

5 Minute Friday: Tomorrow

by Belinda Letchford

Five Minute Friday is a weekly writing challenge and linkup, where you write for 5 minutes on a designated word.   Every so often,  when I find myself with some writing time between Friday and Sunday,  I plan to take this challenge.  When I have done this I find that my 5 mintues of writing tends to reflect something that is going on in my life or my general reflections.  So I share these short posts with this in mind – this is simply my immediate thoughts when I read this word today.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is: 

 

5 Minute Friday

5 Minute Friday

 

Tomorrow

There is a saying, which I’m sure we all know – tomorrow never comes.  And yet it tomorrow does come, in the form of consequences.  Tomorrow we will live out the flow on effect of our choices of today.  Though we can put off many things for tomorrow – we cannot put of these consequences.

  • The consequence of eating too much will finally catch up
  • The consequence of burning the candle at both ends will finally show
  • The consequence of not exercising will eventually be apparent.

But it goes both ways – there are consequences for the good choices we make as well.  The consequence of eating, sleeping and exercising will have its rewards – tomorrow.

The same goes with our parenting.  What we do today affects our tomorrow.  We will reap the rewards of our parenting choices – tomorrow.

And tomorrow does come.  You will see the fruit – good and bad – from the choices you make today – you’ll see them tomorrow.  Not the tomorrow that never turns up but the tomorrow that may be the next day of the week, it may be next year, or it may be when your child turns 18.  Either way – tomorrow will come, and you will have the repercussions of today’s choices.

This sounds all a bit dismal – but it needn’t.  We just need to remember to make wise choices today for tomorrow we will see results.  Tomorrow does come, and yet we don’t need to fear it, if we walk wisely today, we can rejoice in tomorrow.

 

Linking up with: 5 Minute Friday

 

April 18, 2015

Teach from Your Heart

by Belinda Letchford
Teach from your heart

Teach from your heart

One morning when our kids were young we settled down to our family devotions and the topic was “being a peacemaker”.  Josh asked if he could share a verse that he had read earlier in the morning. Immediately I knew that it was the verse for us to study and ponder for that morning instead of going ahead with the book we were working through. It was such an encouraging time – not only was the Word of God quickened to our hearts but our son was hearing from God and applying the Word to his life and being brave enough to share it with others.

It does take courage to speak from your heart. I know this because for many years God has gently encouraged me to teach my children from my heart.

So often when we sit down to teach our kids we have our nose in a book – we are delivering the lesson written in a book and we deliver the lesson, day after day because that is what we planned.

When we teach what is on our heart, we teach out of relationship.  We teach out of our relationship with God and we teach out of our relationship with our children.  Both these aspects will affect the words, tone, application, of what we have to say – and to be honest – it will be received differently too. There is no joy in just delivering information – I wanted the times we came to read the Bible together to be life changing.

I’m reminded of the scripture Deut 6:4-7… it starts by saying “these words that I command you this day shall be upon your heart, and you shall teach them diligently to your children.”

There are two challenges in this verse alone:

  1. Are God’s words on my heart
  2. Am I teaching them diligently to my kids

Teach what is on your heart.  Of course, when God said this, he was talking about ‘his words’.  What has God been teaching you?  What has he been saying to you?  Pass this onto your kids.  Other times, I felt that my children needed to understand a particular topic, so we dug into that subject together. I was learning with them.

When I look back on our homeschooling, the most fruitful, most alive, most significant devotions or Bible studies came when I set aside the list of ‘doctrines’ kids should know by certain ages, or I put aside the year curriculum of  Bible studies and instead asked God – “What do my kids need to learn?  Where do they need to grow?”

I’m not talking about having no plans – I’m not saying you wake up in the morning, and go to God, looking for ‘manna’ so to speak, fresh for the day (though that is important for our own walk with God).  This isn’t how it worked for me, though I know some folk do this.  But for me, it was more like a subject, a direction, a particular purpose.  This one thing that is on my heart for my kids – this is what we’ll be learning for the next little while.

Over the years we did

  • Long studies like Old Testament or New Testament overviews (for general knowledge)
  • Short studies on topics such as prayer, fruit of the spirit, the names of God, armour of God
  • One off studies – generally triggered by a question or a particular word such as love, faith, hope.

The challenge to me was to deliver a lesson that was life, that had meaning and application, not just doing the lesson from the book one day after the next.  Our lessons needed to grip my beliefs, my passions, my emotions, my will, my choices.  I needed to have this lesson on my heart so that I could teach my kids (diligently).

It wasn’t that I didn’t use resources – but I didn’t use resources that boxed me in to a long study of the sameness.  Now, this may be my personality, and to some degree it is, but the one thing that is on my heart to encourage you with is – teach from your heart.  Know your God, know your kids, and teach what is needed.  I was very aware of there being times we just had to move on.  My children had grown through our studies and it was now no longer alive and relevant.

Teach what is on your heart.

With so many resources written, so many books, DVD’s, study courses for every age it is easy to feel intimidated or to feel like you are not qualified or equipped.  But God has equipped you with everything you need to do the job ahead of you.

Let no one despise your youth,
but be an example to the believers
(your children)
in word, in conduct, in love,
in spirit, in faith, in purity.
…Give attention to reading,
to exhortation, to doctrine.

1 Tim 4:12-13

Maybe the issue isn’t so much not to have a lesson plan in front of you – but rather for you to have learnt that lesson beforehand – not intellectually, but let the lesson from God’s word touch your heart – change you.  Because the Word of God has changed your heart – you have something to pass onto your kids.  This means I need to be learning, studying, growing myself.

This is what discipleship is – passing on values, one generation to the next.

I value God’s word – I value the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance – I value my relationship with Jesus.

This is what I want our lessons to truly teach my kids and for them to one day rise up and say the same: that they value God’s word, the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance, and their relationship with Jesus.

Also sharing and linking with others:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),  Capture your Journey,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool Linkup,Weekly Wrap-up, Collage  Fridays, My Week in Review

April 14, 2015

Picture Books for Anzac Day

by Belinda Letchford
Picture books for ANZAC day.

Picture books for ANZAC day.

We are a few weeks out from Anzac Day and I’ve pulled a few picture books and ‘strewn’ them around the house.  The idea is that as we would browse a magazine that is left lying around we could (and I hope we do) pick up a picture book – we are never too old to learn from a picture book.  When the kids were young these were the type of books that we would read for the week or two before so that they would understand the significance of what we were celebrating on Anzac Day itself.

The internet is full of activities and craft ideas to help match an activity with each book – or only read one book, and do several activities (Five in a Row style).

The issue of Anzac Day, and Remembrance Day (as we read the same collection of books leading up to that day as well), is that it deals with war – we cannot remember the ANZACS unless we remember that they went to war.  War is ugly, painful, distressing – and it should be.  We don’t want to glorify war – I believe these books do this well, but for young children this could still be distressing.  Just because it is a picture book, it doesn’t mean that you automatically give it to your young child.  We need to know the book, and know our child.

Click on a title, and scroll through my comments.

There are so many picture book titles on this subject to choose from.  When my kids were in primary school years I found it best to pick one or two, and read them together, and focus our lesson time on those, and then let them browse the other books themselves.  Otherwise our time became too intense – and too much about all the books, instead of growing in understanding about the topic.  I also tried to get age appropriate non-fiction books from the library, though you have to jump in quick as it is a popular topic at this time of year.  I am buying one more title this year, to have ready for next year – and yes, it’s a picture book:

Anzac biscuits

Also sharing and linking with others:  

Throughout the week I share with one, or more of these blogs (see more details on my Link Parties page)

Monday’s Musings,  Thoughtful Spot, Mama Monday MusingsHip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop, Titus 2 Tuesdays,   Coffee and ConversationFinishing Strong (Middle & Highschool years),  Capture your Journey,  Thriving Thursdays, Hearts for Home, Shine Blog Hop,  All things with PurposeA Little R & R,  From House to Home,  Fellowship Fridays,  Homeschooling Highschool Linkup,Weekly Wrap-up, Collage  Fridays, My Week in Review

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