There are some who feel like the Elf of the Shelf is not an appropriate holiday tradition for various reasons. Some feel that children should be disciplined enough to behave well everyday without the incentive that Santa and his elves are watching them. Others feel it takes away from the true meaning of Christmas. In our house, we have two elves, Peppermint Snow for my granddaughter, and Jingle for the boys. They arrive on the youngest boys birthday the week of Thanksgiving in November bearing a birthday gift with a cupcake and candle. When the kids are especially good, they may bring a special treat. They stay throughout December, including celebrating the oldest boys birthday with a gift and cupcake for him, and leave on Christmas eve when Santa arrives with gifts and takes them back to the North Pole. It’s fun for the whole family and it is a little bit of incentive for the children, but not so much that they are only good when then elves are visiting. I believe it gives them something tangible to associate with making good choices. It’s a jumping off point to remind them the rest of the year that Jesus is always with us and that we should be kind and good to each other, just as Jesus is to us. So, for us, we will continue to tradition of the elves visiting until the youngest out grows it, and even then, I’m sure they’ll still be hanging around to decorate the tree or something.
Posts tagged ‘Parenting’
Today and every day I am thankful for my grandchildren, Rylann Avery and Eythan Taylor. I am additionally thankful for my sister’s grandchildren, Daniel and Gabriel, in whose lives I have the privilege of playing a special part. Each of these children have created a new place in my heart that did not exist before: the grandmother place. All they have to do is smile or cry and I melt. I want to do everything I can to make their lives even better than the lives of their parents. I plan outings, go to games, visit museums, host parties, play at the park, and many other things only because of these children. There are times that these events are tiresome or stressful, but those temporary feelings pale in comparison to the love I feel each time I think of them or see their faces. I cannot imagine my life without a single one of them.
When I had children 20+ years ago I never imagined how being a mother was going to change so many things, but more importantly, becoming a grandmother almost three years ago has been even more life changing. It’s funny how you see yourself in your children; the mistakes that you made as well as the aha moments. Seeing my children grow into the parents they have become tells me that I did something right. I raised them to love others, respect their elders, and most importantly trust God. They are in turn teaching their children the same simple principles even at their young ages. I cannot tell you how proud that makes me!
Grandchildren are amazing additions to our lives and if you don’t have any yet, you don’t know what you are missing. They complete you. More than getting married, more than having children of your own. Having grandchildren completes the circle and shows you another realm of happiness you never thought possible. Today I am very thankful for them!
- Thankful Heart Day 13 – Our Boys and Their Momma (ourcrowdedheart.wordpress.com)
As a parent I have spent 20+ years teaching my children to make the right choices, often having to make hard choices for them. I will never forget when one of them began to run with the wrong crowd after having been rejected by a group they thought were their friends. It was heart breaking for her and I both. As a Senior in High School, she was still at an age where I needed to step in before things went too far awry. So, I took her car away for three months and began to pray like I had never prayed before. I am so thankful for the work God has done in her life since that day.
Today, my girls are all adults in their twenties. They still have hard choices to face on a daily basis; some more difficult than others. As a parent, I still find myself wanting to take those choices off their hands and make then myself. However, I have seen the consequences of parents continuing to do for their children into adulthood and it’s not a good result.
Our children will always be our children, but they will not always be kids. They rely on us to teach them how to become productive adults who make a positive contribution to society. That is our job; not making them comfortable, making them productive!
Part of making them productive is teaching them to obey the voice of the Lord. Teach them how to hear it for themselves, not to rely on you to interpret God’s word for them. God wants our children to inherit His kingdom on their own. We cannot hand it to them, and by trying to we might actually cause them to miss it all together.
Teach your children to make their own choices, suffer their own consequences, and hear the voice of the Lord so clearly that they can discern His will for themselves. When they leave High school as adults, realize that phase of your parenting is over. From that point forward you are a sounding board in their lives, not a decision maker. Trust God to be their decision maker.
http://bible.us/114/DEU30.20.NKJV that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
When I had children of my own 20+ years ago, I was determined to do things right. My children would know that I loved them without question, and they would follow the rules I set forth because that is what I expected of them.
This actually worked as I planned until the dreaded teen years hit. Each went through their own form of rebellion at a different age. My middle daughter waited until 17, but it hit my oldest at 15, and my youngest at 12. The biggest challenge was that my oldest and youngest were 15 and 12 at the same time.
They were even helping each other to conspire against my rules. My oldest would sneak out to spend the night at the neighbors they were forbidden to speak even speak to, and her sister would lie for her. My youngest would make phone calls or get into things while her sister ran interference with me. Most of the time I figured it out fairly quickly and set them straight before they ended up hurting themselves or doing something irreversible. It was a very trying time for me as a single parent.
The last straw came the day my two older daughters and I went to a football game with friends and left the youngest at home. Grounded. She was not to leave the house or even answer the door. We returned home two hours later to find that my youngest was not there. We checked with neighbors and friends, but no one had seen her. I wasn’t worried. I was just frustrated. I had a feeling she had gone somewhere with the neighbor children I mentioned earlier.
The girls and I went to the store to take care of a few things while waiting for her to return. We ran into a friend who told us they had seen her there a few minutes earlier. Big surprise. She was with those neighbors! Should I mention that they were 12 and 15, unlicensed and roaming the streets in their mothers car! I could go on, but that’s another story in itself.
Needless to say, by the time she arrived home I was no longer in the mood to discuss the situation with her. When she walked in the door my first words to her were, “go pack your things.” Without even asking my parents, I decided she was going to live with them for the rest of the school year. It was November of her 7th grade year and she needed some serious intervention. Sending her to my parents in the country seemed like just the right move at that point. She looked at me in disbelief and asked “What?“. I repeated my instruction and advised her she was going to Grandma’s in the morning. She spent the rest of the night in her room.
Those six months were the most difficult moments of her life while at the same time some of the most crucial to her emotional and spiritual development, as well as mine. I believe it was the most important step I ever took as her parent. Now that she is 20 years old she can look back and see how difficult those days were for me as well as her, and know that it was God’s leading that placed her there for her own well-being.
It’s hard sometimes to let our children fail or to see them in a situation that makes us as parents feel as if we have failed them. I have written before about how difficult it can be to answer the phone when my children call for fear that they are in trouble from which I cannot help them escape. The most difficult part is to know how to respond in the midst of that trouble. My first thought is to rescue them, but the Bible tells us in Proverb 3:12 http://bible.us/114/PRO3.12.NKJV,
“For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.”
We cannot always save them from their own choices. Sometimes we have to correct them or allow them to be corrected. Once they are beyond the grasp of our parental control we have to let God take over those reigns. He is in control and knows so much better than we as parents, the right path on which to lead them. He doesn’t need our approval or even theirs, but giving it to Him can make easier on all of us.
- Parenting from the Heart: Slow to Wrath (ourcrowdedheart.wordpress.com)
A friend of mine recently responded to one of my thankful heart posts, which asked what he was thankful for, with the answer, second chances. I had not really thought much about second chances until my niece posted tonight that she is starting cosmetology school tomorrow. It is a second chance for her to start fresh and head in the right direction for herself and for her children. I am so proud of her for taking this option and accepting this second chance.
I have received second chances in my life as well. These include a second chance at being a supportive wife, a loyal employee, a creative writer, a good daughter, a loving sister, a patient parent, and a supportive aunt.
God gives us all the option to start over with a second chance every morning that we wake up. All we have to do is receive it. According to Lamentations 3, He gives us the chance every morning with His mercies being renewed through His faithfulness. He also told us in Matthew 18 to give others second chances, third chances, even 10th chances when Christ told Peter to forgive them not just seven times, but seventy times seven times.
I for one am willing to receive His mercy and take a fresh look at my life every morning with new mercy. How willing are you to give yourself a second chance? If God is willing to offer it, who are you to turn it down? Allow yourself to receive a second chance. Do not stop what God has for your life by refusing to believe it is for you. Listen carefully, IT IS FOR YOU! Accept it.
- Thankful Heart: Day 20 – Forgiveness (ourcrowdedheart.wordpress.com)
Today on Thanksgiving, the last day of my Thankful Heart for this year, I want to share one of the things I am most thankful for…Family Time!
Tonight my family spent time decorating gingerbread cookies and my one brave artistic daughter actually turned hers into a gingerbread house! Here are the pictures of our fun evening which started after Thanksgiving dinner and was followed by reading The Elf on the Shelf to prepare for our first time visitor tomorrow, decorating the tree, and watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I love family time and cannot wait for family game nights and everything else that comes with the holiday season here at my house! Enjoy the pics…
As I sort through it all, I save worksheets and strategies into various files for use in my classroom next year. I ponder the thoughts that are being conveyed. I apply God‘s word to my life sometimes in ways that are similar to those who are writing, and at times in very different ways.
I am in awe of the women who blog daily with such insight and thoughtfulness. Often they share Biblical truths that I need at that moment for myself or to aid someone else in their journey. I am intrigued by their ability to write so freely and so often.
I am envious of the teachers who not only prepare for their own classes, but help me prepare as well.
I dream of the charmed lives these women must live in their perfect homes with their perfect children. Obviously, they are able to juggle life in a way that I can only imagine or watch on television.
Today I read several posts about just how imperfect life is even for these people who I have put up on pedestal. They have the same fears and challenges that I face on a daily basis, and they are not afraid to share those truths along with all the rest.
Then I realize that these women are no better than the rest of us. They are me! I don’t see what goes on behind the scenes, or what they deal with; what trials they are battling.
We often think others are so much better off than we are or that their lives are so much easier, when we all live in this crazy world and have our own battles to fight, our own children to raise, own houses to clean. We all have friends who support us and enemies who challenge us. We all put our pants on one leg at a time.
I think my 19-year-old daughter who reads my blog said it best when she advised me, “the people who read your blog must think you are normal. They would never know you are really crazy!” We laughed and my other daughters agreed.
I must have done something right to have daughters who can speak from their hearts and tell me the truth without so much as batting an eye. I am as blessed as those other women and my daughters hearts are proof of that fact!