Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kids Wanted: Experiences Necessary for Optimal Happiness

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about my Granny. If I’m cooking a roast, in my mind I’m in her kitchen smelling those mouth-watering smells and tasting the deliciousness of her cooking. When I’m making the bed I hear her remind me that a neatly made bed belongs to someone who keeps a tidy house. When I’m at church I see her intently listening to the sermon and taking it to heart. When I’m in the garden I remember all the time she spent teaching me to can beans, make jelly and wilted lettuce, transplant flowers, and all sorts of other things we enjoyed doing together.
In all of these things (and more) it’s not so much what was taught, but rather how it was taught—through experiences.

A few days ago, I had the joy of seeing Granny’s talent for experience-giving being passed down to her great-great-granddaughter—my three year-old granddaughter, Laney. I knew many of Granny’s lessons had been passed from me to my children because they had been blessed to have lots of “Granny experiences”, too. But when my daughter Elizabeth called to ask John and I to come ‘meet’ their new baby chicks and share Laney’s excitement about her new experience, I felt it was kind of like passing down a legacy of sorts—the legacy that is providing my grandchildren the experiences they need in order to fully enjoy being a kid.

Granny knew that the best way to teach me where things come from was to allow me to be there for the whole process. She knew the best way for me to learn from my mistakes was to let me make them—even if it meant eating flat rolls or killing a plant. She knew the best way to teach me to cook was to let me cook. She knew the best way to teach me I wasn’t big enough to carry the watermelon by myself was to let me try—even though that meant we all had to suffer the consequences of it being dropped and busted open on the gravel. She knew experiences make a much deeper and lasting impression than watching someone else do it for you.

She knew that in giving me and my kids the experiences of childhood we would be better for it. And now we’re taking up where Granny left off by doing the same for the new generation of children in our family.

How about it? Will you give your kids the experiences they need to get the most out of their childhood?


Momma D
                                Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Big Green Bumps of Spring

I love this time of year. I love moving the plants that have been inside all winter back outside into the sunshine. I love putting seeds in the dirt and watching tiny green leaves and stems pop through the soil and slowly transform themselves into flowers to enjoy and vegetables for our table.

I especially love finding the big green ‘bumps’ on my iris that tell me it won’t be long before I’ll get to enjoy their frilly, colorful blooms. The reason I am especially fond of the iris is because they bring back so many wonderful memories of time spent with Granny in her beautiful yard filled with flowers of all kinds—including a huge iris bed filled with every color imaginable.
Granny took great pride in her flowers and the fact that she had ten very green fingers vs. two green thumbs gave her plenty of reason to. She also took the time to talk to me about the flowers; telling me their names, how to care for them, why she liked them, and all sorts of other things.
You’re probably thinking I was a grownup when all of this took place, but think again. My flower lessons started when I was about seven. I remember listening to Granny go on and on about the flowers and I actually remember some of what she said back then, although I’m sure most of my ‘flower knowledge’ is the result of her telling me the same things years later.
But there are plenty of things about those lessons that are forever ingrained in my heart and in my mind—the most important being the way she talked about her flowers. Everything she said was said from the heart and was said with gratitude to God for making so many beautiful things for us to enjoy. Even a kid like me couldn’t miss the excitement and passion in her voice, and the fact that Granny cared so much made me want to care, too.
So what’s the point? The point is you need to take the time to create opportunities to share yourself with your kids and grandkids. Share your passions, your interests, your knowledge about the things that excite you; letting them know what makes you, you.
In doing so you:
*Open the doors of opportunity to pass on your love for (fill in the blank) to your kids and grandkids and for adding to the dynamics and depth of your relationship by finding a way to spend quality time together doing something meaningful together.
*Allow your kids and grandkids to see you as a person with thoughts, feelings, and talents—not just someone to tell them to make their bed, take out the trash, or someone to go to when they need new shoes or a ride to basketball practice.
*Make memories your kids and grandkids will share with their kids and grandkids someday (and possibly with readers of their blog, too).
Happy spring!

Momma D
                              Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Lion King, You're Not The Only One Who Knows About The Circle Of Life

Last weekend John and I traveled a little over a hundred miles to watch five year-old Macy and seven year-old Mackenzie play their first soccer games. And if I could only use one word to describe it, that word would be utterdelight. Okay, so that’s really two words, but since I’m writing this….

Everything about the day was delightful. It was delightful to see the girls so excited to be playing. It was delightful to see both girls play really well—especially for their first time ever to play soccer. It was delightful to be there to cheer them on and see their little faces light up when they heard “Way to go Mack!” “Way to kick that ball, Macy!” “Good job turning that ball around, Mack!” and “Way to score, Macy!”

But the thing that brought the most delight to Momma D’s heart was hearing the same words of encouragement plus “Stay with the ball, stay with the ball…” “You’ve got it!” and “Good throw, Mack!” coming from Mack and Macy's daddy, who used to be an excellent soccer player and who also just happens to be my son—one of the four greatest accomplishments of my life.

Listening to Zach and John cheering and ‘coaching’ from the sidelines while standing side by side took me back a few years to when John and I were cheering and jumping up and down with excitement for Zach. My first thought was, “Wow! Where did the years go?” My second thought was that every single minute spent driving to and from practices and games, every dime spent on soccer gear, league fees, and gas and every minute spent standing or sitting on the sidelines watching and cheering was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY UNDOUBTEDLY WORTH IT! I don’t regret it a bit—not even taking my four DAY old baby Emma Dale to the soccer park to watch her brother play.
The support and love shown to Zach, the life skills, friendships, and memories we all made are reasons enough to feel that way, but last Saturday I discovered the real reason we did it for all those years.

The real reason we did the whole soccer thing was so that Zach would know how to give his girls what they need in the way of emotional and physical support and encouragement for to do the activities they choose to do. In giving to Zach what he needed and wanted all those years ago, he knows how important it is to do the same for Mack and Macy.  He also gets to experience things from my and John’s perspective all those years ago, which is pretty special, too.

So to all you young parents out there—don’t complain about being at your kids’ events, show up begrudgingly, or even worse, not show up at all. Your ‘endorsement’ and support means the world to them—just like your parents’ ‘endorsement’ and support meant the world to you.

It’s the circle of life.


Momma D
                           Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Tiny Letter With A Giant Message

There was a time when children ‘were to be seen and not heard’ and when it was unacceptable to include children in ‘grownup’ conversations and situations of any kind. In the eyes of a child adults were unshakeable and lacking feelings and emotions.

Children rarely (if ever) saw their parents or grandparents express worry, pain, or grief. And there are still people like that today. I even know people today who won’t let their kids (pre-teens include) attend funerals of family members because death is “too scary” and something they don’t want them to have to deal with.

While I agree that there are definitely times and places children shouldn’t be included, there are plenty of times when they should. I was reminded of that in a very sweet and special way this week by seven year-old Mackenzie…

Mackenzie knows that the last few days have been both sad and stressful for me, so wanting to make me feel better, she wrote a letter and mailed it to me—a letter telling me she was sorry about the events of the last few days, that she loved, me and that she hoped I would feel better soon.

It worked. That little handwritten ‘love note’ did wonders. But Mackenzie’s awareness of what had taken place did more than make me feel better. Without realizing it, Mackenzie benefitted from the experience, too.

In knowing what was going on Mackenzie was able to ‘practice’ compassion and understanding. She was able to express her feelings of love and concern without being dismissed. She was also reminded that emotions and feelings are perfectly normal and okay…even for adults.

Children need to be able to ‘practice’ compassion and understanding in order to become compassionate and understanding adults. Children need to know their feelings and matter and that they have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Children need to know how to express their emotions and feelings appropriately—and that it’s perfectly okay to do so no matter how old you are.

Again…there are definitely situations and conversations that are for adults only, but when that’s not the case, don’t deny your children the opportunity to become stronger, wiser, kinder, more compassionate, more confident, and better equipped to handle the things life throws their way.


Momma D
                             Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.