Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Psych!!!!!!!!!!

Emma and I were in the yogurt shop one day enjoying our yogurt and going over her wedding plans. We were seated directly across from the yogurt bar, so we could not help but see and overhear what happened next…

A mom came in with her two small children; a boy and girl who looked to be between five and seven years old. They stopped in front of the bowls where she said, “See, you take a bowl and then go over here and put the flavor of yogurt you want in the bowl.” (They moved down the line to stand in front of the yogurt dispensers.)
She then guided them further down the line to stand in front of the toppings bar. The toppings bar (in case you don’t know) is filled with containers of crushed candy bars, nuts, fruit, sprinkles, gummy bears and all sorts of other goodies you can top your yogurt with.

You could see the children’s eyes getting bigger and bigger as they listened to their mom telling them that a person could choose as many of the goodies as they wanted to put with their yogurt. “And then,” she said, “you take it to the person at the counter, pay for it and then sit down to eat it.”
Emma and I expected to see the children and their mother go back to the bowls and begin their delicious yogurt experience. But that is NOT what happened. Instead, the mother of these children said, “See, doesn’t that look good? We aren’t going to get any today, but we will come back soon and when we do you will know what to do. Okay?” And with that the three of them walked back out the door—the children not saying a word.

BAM! Talk about taking the wind out of somebody’s sails! Emma and I just looked at each other not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Did she really just do that to her kids?
Okay, I admit—we laughed. It was the I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened kind of laugh. But we were not nearly as amused as we were dumfounded and even sad for those two kids. Their little faces fell when their mom announced they were leaving empty-handed.

As parents we need to be careful to not dangle the proverbial carrot in front of our children’s faces—exasperating them. You cannot dangle your attention, support, time, encouragement and even your love in front of them and then yank it away because you are too busy or because your children disappoint you or don’t live up to your expectations. To do so sets them up for low self-esteem and insecurity, resentfulness and rebellion that can lead to making poor choices that may also be life-altering choices.
Our children aren’t cups of yogurt; hoping you’ll load them up with toppings called acceptance, trust, encouragement and unconditional love. They are children—your children—and should never be made to feel as if they have to wait for some other day for you to parent from the heart.

 
Love,
Momma D
                                                             
                                                                     

Thursday, January 22, 2015

When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Teenager

“When I grow up I want to be a teenager,” Olivia said whenever anyone talked about what they wanted to do or be someday. 

I’m happy to report she made it. And I have to admit on her thirteenth birthday that we teased her a bit about the fact that she had already achieved her life’s goal. What was she going to do with the rest of her life?
I’m also happy to report that it didn’t take long to for Olivia to realize that life had more to offer her than being a teenager and that she has grown up to do much more than turn thirteen.

As I think back to Olivia’s life goal, I want to remind every parent of three lessons they need to learn from my sweet Oliva.
Lesson one: respect your child’s perception of goals and achievements—even encourage them.

To seven year-old Olivia, turning thirteen seemed far away, but not so far that it was unreachable. It was also something she viewed as exciting and almost magical. In her eyes, to be thirteen was to be a mature and independent. So when you look at it from that perspective, her goal was every parent’s dream for their child; to be mature and independent.
Lesson two: Your child’s goals for their lives need to be theirs…not yours.

If your little one says he or she is going to be the president someday or is going to have a farm for animals no one wants, who are you to say they won’t? Don’t you think your child is smart enough or compassionate enough or good enough to accomplish what they set their hearts and minds to do? Besides, didn’t you make your own choices?
Lesson three: NEVER dismiss your child’s goals and dreams by making fun of them or by telling your child they are silly or impossible.

That’s like throwing the anchor out without having the other end of the rope tied to the boat. Trust me—this is not something you want to do. Your job as a parent is to instill hope and courage and self-confidence and the belief that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Someone once said that God gives us dreams a size too big so we can grow into them. Don’t keep your children from growing. Their goals and dreams will likely change more times than you can count between now and the time they leave home. But even if they don’t, your job is to love and build them up—not deflate them. 

So while we did tease Olivia a bit, it was not to make fun of her or belittler her. Nor did we do so when she was too young to understand what we were saying and why. She and her siblings knew (and still do) that we believe they can do anything they set their hearts and minds to do.
The question is…do your children know the same?


Love,
Momma D
                                                                             


Friday, January 16, 2015

WARNING: Bad Mom Moment Ahead

Our three oldest children were 6, 3 and 1 when we packed them up and took them from the tiny, but happy place they called home and moved almost 200 miles away because of John’s promotion and to breathe some life back into my family’s farm.

When all was said and done, life happened the way it was supposed to. God knew exactly what he was doing and our family has been blessed beyond measure. But that doesn’t mean the move was without its lumps and bumps and bruises. In fact, one of my biggest ‘parent fails’ took place during this move.
Zach was six and just getting ready to enter first grade. Now when I say ‘just getting ready’, I’m not exaggerating. We arrived in Rolla on Saturday evening and the school year started on Monday. And if that wasn’t enough upheaval for a six year-old, our house/farm were far from being ready to occupy, so we spent the first six weeks living out of suitcases with Granny.

Spending so much time with Granny wasn’t the problem, though. The problem was that not having our own home right away meant that in addition to leaving his home and his friends, Zach also had to leave behind our dog, Maggie and his pony, Casey.
So where does the ‘parent fail’ come in with all of this? Glad you asked. We were so focused on getting the house ready to live in and John had a lot going on in transitioning into his new position that we did not give Zach’s feelings the compassion and TLC they deserved…or that he needed.

I remember even talking to him about the fact that we had sold all our livestock knowing it wasn’t feasible to bring them—saying we would start over when fences were in place, barns were repaired, and so on. As if Maggie and Casey were not more important than cows in a field that could easily be replaced! Talk about a few BAD mom moments! Ouch!
Nothing could change the fact that it simply wasn’t possible to bring Maggie and Casey with us. But I could have handled it a whole lot better than I did.

I’d like to be able to tell you that was the only bad mom moment I had. But I can’t—not truthfully, anyway. What I can say, however, is that from this experience I learned that the feelings of little people matter—they matter a lot. What seems like a little thing to you and I can be breaking their little hearts into a million pieces. As parents we need to take their feelings seriously--making them our own and treat them with the love and care they deserve.
So please, never laugh at your child’s feelings, never tell them it’s ‘no big deal’ or that they need to ‘just get over it’. Listen to them, let them share what is on their heart, let them cry, let them be angry and then talk with them about how to make the situation better.


Love,
Momma D
                                                               
                                                      

 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chiggers and Blackberries, Crossing the Finish Line, Saying Goodbye and So Much More


“Parenting is about so much more than diapers, Band-Aids, homework and curfews. Parenting is being there; listening, talking, forgiving, asking forgiveness and most of all, loving. I know this to be true because Momma D says it is.”
These are the words directly under the title of this blog. These are my words. These are words I believe with all my heart. I also believe that in order to be this kind of parent you have to experience life with your kids-the good, the bad, the funny, the sad, the beautiful and the ugly…all of it.

Camping, putting up hay, mission’s trips, swimming, working in the greenhouse, crossing the finish line—these are some of the good experiences of life I’ve lived with my children.

Being covered in chiggers after picking blackberries, arguing and fighting over things that really don’t matter, having to let them make their own mistakes—these are some of the bad experiences of life I’ve lived with my children.
Scaling rock cuts in sandals and nice clothes to catch runaway livestock, ‘saving’ one of my kids from the beady-eyed stare of a vulture, countless games of hide-n-seek and program practices at church, farmer’s markets and spending time at the fair—these are just a few of the fun and humorous experiences I’ve lived with my children.

Saying goodbye to Granny, leaving the friends, home and pets we loved, burying beloved pets, hurting each other’s feelings—these are some of the sad experiences of life I’ve lived with my children.
Giving birth to each of my children, watching my daughter as she helped care for Granny without complaining, sharing in each of my children’s wedding day, being there to welcome each grandchild into our family’s world, helping each child grow to be the person they are, watching each child take their own steps to become who they are—these are the some of the beautiful experiences of life I’ve lived with my children.

Making mistakes, missed opportunities, unspoken words, being too busy…these are some of the ugly experiences of life I’ve lived with my children.
Remember…parenting is listening, talking, forgiving, asking forgiveness, being present, knowing when to act and when not to and most of all, LOVING. So…unless you experience the good, bad, happy, sad, beautiful and ugly of life with children, you cannot truly know who your children are and cannot be a parent who knows what it is to parent from the heart.


Love,
Momma D