Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Life-Lessons from a Funnel Cake

I was talking to my daughter Olivia on the phone the other day and in the course of our conversation she said that Reuben had tasted his first funnel cake over the weekend. She laughed as she told me about handing him a bite of what we all know is a rather plain-looking treat. This was especially true since it wasn’t completely smothered in powdered sugar.

Reuben looked at it and when Olivia prompted him to do so, he took a bite. She could tell by the look on his face that his expectations were low, but it took only a second or two for his expression to change and for him to begin saying, “Yum, Mommy, yuuuummmm.”

Reuben’s initiation into the world of funnel cakes came with a very important lesson—one every child needs to learn: everything is not as it seems. Reuben’s initial expression told Olivia he was expecting the funnel cake to taste like bread or a pretzel because that’s what it looked like. It didn’t look like anything sweet he’d ever had before.

As parents we need to be teaching our children the same lesson—that everything is not as it seems.

Being told ‘no’ may seem like a bad thing at the time even though it really is for their own good.

Peers who aren’t dressed in the latest and greatest may not seem like the people they want to be friends with, but they are usually kinder, nicer, and more loyal than kids who are dressed in the latest and greatest.

Just because it seems okay to go to a party when no parents are going to be home doesn’t mean it is.

It may not seem to your child like you love them when you discipline them and don’t give them everything they want, but later on they’ll realize just what an expression of love these things are.

Kids are kids—which means they have a kid’s perception of things. They can’t help it and they shouldn’t have to. That’s what you’re there for—to help them see things for what they really are by being a wise and loving parent who provides safe boundaries in which they can discover the world through hands-on experience; coming out of it with powdered sugar on their face.


Momma D

                            Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission of the author. 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is Your Family Too Nice To Be On TV

One afternoon almost ten years ago I answered the phone to hear, “Hello, this is Debbie _______ from Lifetime TV. May I please speak to Darla Noble?”

“This is Darla Noble,” I said.

Debbie then asked me if I was familiar with the television show, “Wife Swap”.  We didn’t even have cable TV so I had to tell her, I’d never seen it, but had heard others mention it before. After she gave me a brief premise of the show she proceeded to tell me that their staff had come across our farm’s website and thought we would be perfect for the show. She asked if she could send an application that consisted of several questions about our family’s routine, opinions, values, etc..

“Sure,” I said, “but I’m not committing to anything until my husband and I discuss this.”
She assured me that was fine—that she would call back next week to set a time to visit with us on our farm, go over the application, and then take her recommendation back to the producers.

John and I weren’t quite sure how we felt, but decided it wouldn’t hurt to talk to her. Olivia and Emma were the only two still living at home and thought it would be pretty fun to be on TV, so on the appointed day, Debbie arrived at Generation 5 Farm.
She was very pleasant and easy to talk to but it was obvious she was trying to find something that would push our buttons. She wanted to find the exact polar opposite to us in order to create drama for the viewers. So when Debbie asked controversial questions, we answered honestly, but made it clear that we wouldn’t be adding any fuel to that kind of fire. That isn’t who we are and it wasn’t what we wanted our girls to be a part of. Girls have enough temptation and access to drama as it is—we weren’t about to add to it.

In the end Debbie said she’d enjoyed her day with us, but that we were, in her words, “too nice to be on the show.”
I didn’t share this with you to give my family a pat on the back or to brag. I shared this story in hopes that it will remind you that as parents you have the responsibility to raise your children to have values, integrity, a faith, and a moral compass.  I also want this story to encourage you to be those things to everyone at all times so that your children won’t be confused by mixed signals and that they’ll be able to look at your family and think, “We’re too nice to be on TV, too.”

Momma D
                               Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.       
                                                     Noble's Generation 5 Farm 2004

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Saint Snickers

Over the last few days I’ve been reminded of two valuable lessons—persistence and tolerance or ‘keeping your cool’. The lesson of persistence came from seventeen month-old Essie. The lesson of composure came from my ten year old mini doxie, Snickers—which equals seventy in dog years.

Essie , who heard “Esther Kathleen, leave that poor dog alone” more times than even I can count over the last few days, was fascinated with Snickers’ nose and whiskers. She’d rub them every chance she got. That, and kiss her over and over and over again. Esther’s persistence in her pursuit of making Snickers her friend was unwavering…and successful.

Snickers, whose fondness for children used to be described as ‘tolerant at best’ usually put herself out of reach of little hands, buried her face in a pillow, and adopted the attitude of if-I-ignore-them-they’ll-go-away. Not this time. Essie would pet Snickers’ nose and whiskers, Snickers would turn the opposite direction—putting her face out of reach. No problem for Essie—she’d just move to the other side.

I know some of you are thinking so what? My dog does that, too. But here’s the thing—there was a day not so long ago when Essie’s actions would have resulted in bared teeth, growling, and yes, even snapping at her. But thanks to Essie’s perseverance, as well as that of Mackenzie, Macy, Reuben, and Laney, Snickers has learned to be more tolerant and receptive of little hands and clumsy kisses on the top of her head. She even greets them with a wagging tail and a kiss of her own now days….well, most of the time.

As parents we can learn a lot from both the toddler and the dog.

Persistence: Don’t give in to your children’s whining, fits, and tantrums. Your persistent insistence (say that three times really fast) on good behavior will pay off. Giving in (even once in a while) leaves you with a whiny, spoiled, and disrespectful child and teenager with an over-inflated sense of entitlement. Be persistent in letting your child know they have your unconditional love. Be persistent in helping your child become the best possible ‘them’. Be their advocate, but not their rescuer. In other words, stand up for them when you should, but don’t shield them from the consequences of their actions.

Tolerance: Little hands, little minds, and little hearts are overflowing with the need and desire to help and learn by working side by side with you. So…slow down, don’t insist on perfection, and take every advantage of these moments while you have the chance to enjoy them. Don’t lose your cool when your kids ‘wash’ the car or ‘clean up’ the kitchen. Their eyes don’t see what you see and their hearts truly are in the right place. Be tolerant of less-than-perfect grade cards and spelling tests. No one is perfect. Not even you or your child. Besides, their best (not the best) is all you have the right to expect. Don’t lose your cool when your teenager acts out and talks back. Instead, be cool, calm, collected, and firm when letting them know this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

So there you have it—two valuable lessons from two pint-sized teachers.

Momma D

                           Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission of the author. 


Friday, October 9, 2015

That's My Dad

Last week I had the privilege of being present while my daughter pinned her husband’s new rank on his uniform in a ceremony on the military base where they are stationed. My job was to make sure 17 month old Essie didn’t steal the show.

The ceremony took place outside, so while we were waiting for it to begin we heard and saw several groups of soldiers and marines marching and shouting cadences as they did. Essie clapped and jabbered along—watching with interest and familiarity.

Familiarity? Yes. Dwight and Emma make a conscious effort to make Essie aware of who and what her Daddy is and to have a respect and pride for her special lifestyle. Respect and pride? Can a 17 month old little girl know these things? The ease with which she took everything in and the fact that this usually busy, talkative toddler knew to be quiet during the ceremony told me she most definitely can. She’s proud to be the daughter of a Marine and to be a ‘member’ of the US military.

The point I want to make is this: Your children need to know who you are (besides Mom or Dad). Your children need to know how you spend your days in order to make their life…their meals…their clothes…their comfort possible. Your children need to know how other people see you—the accomplishments you’ve achieved, and what you like to do (besides be a parent, of course).  Your children need to know that they aren’t the reason you come home a bit distracted or grumpy sometimes. But why? Good question. They need to know…

*So that your children will have a better understanding of why you say some of the things you say and do some of the things you do. They need to know you value home as much as they do.

*So that your children will have a greater appreciation and respect of your time, your work schedule, and the sacrifices you make for your family.

*So that your children can be proud of who you are (because they really want to be).

Don’t let your child’s only perception of who you are be the parent who comes home grumbling and complaining after a rough day or the parent who brags about getting freebies that ‘they’ll never miss’ and that ‘they owe you’. And most of all don’t be the parent whose children feel second place (at best) or in the way because you eat, sleep, and breathe your job. Be the parent whose children know what you do for a living, take pride in the whole person you are, and who respect you for ALL of who you are and what you do.

Momma D

                              Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission of the author. 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Don't Tell Them You're My Mom

The first summer Olivia was old enough to go to church camp for more than an overnight stay was also one of the weeks I was to be the camp mom in the girl’s dorm. Olivia was used to me being her youth leader at church, but for some reason she wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of not being the only member of our family at camp that week. She said she didn’t even want the people to know I was her mom (although most of them already did). I told her that would be fine—that I wouldn’t talk to her unless I had to. And I really was fine with that. I understood her need for independence and I certainly didn’t want to embarrass her or make her feel like a baby. After all, she was eight years old!

By the end of the first full day of camp she was coming to me just like she normally would. She even called out “Mom!” from across the blacktop play area to get my attention. The secret was out! Apparently Olivia had decided I wouldn’t embarrass her so it was safe to let everyone who didn’t already know, know who I was.

I hadn’t thought about that week in years, but the other day I was reading through the book of Proverbs and found Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

We spend plenty of time teaching, hoping, and warning our children about how and why not to embarrass US in public, but this verse clearly states that we, as parents, are to be a source of pride to our children. In other words, we need to be just as careful to not embarrass our kids. This means no dressing like we’re sixteen, no telling embarrassing stories about our kids (especially in front of them), no wiping food off their faces with spit (or anything else, for that matter), no showing baby pictures to their prom date, and no disciplining them openly in front of their friends.

I’m not perfect so I know there’s a chance I embarrassed my kids a time or two, so Zach, Elizabeth, Olivia, and Emma, I’m sorry if I did. It was never intentional.

As for Olivia and I being able to ‘do’ camp together… we spent fifteen more years going to camp together each summer—making many of our most memorable and precious mother/daughter memories there—memories we will never forget.

So you see it is possible to enjoy spending time with your kids without embarrassing them.


Momma D

                               Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.