Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Compliments Aren't Meant To Be Hidden

I was ten years old when Helen, a middle-aged woman, came up to me after church one Sunday and said, “If you want to know what you are going to look like some day, just look at your grandmother because you’re the spitting image of her.”

Now I really loved my Granny. I still do even though she’s no longer living. And Helen was right—I do look like her and am very much like her in several other ways, as well, and I’m proud and thankful for it. But when she said that, I looked over to where Granny was standing and thought, “Yikes! I don’t ever want to look like that!” (‘That’ being graying hair, a few age spots, and skin that had more lines and wrinkles than I ever thought I would care to have)

I’m also sure the look on my face told Helen I didn’t think her comment was the least bit complimentary. But then again, I doubt it, because she didn’t think she’d said anything wrong. And she hadn’t…not really. It wasn’t what she had said, but rather how she had said it.

As parents we need to be careful that we don’t ‘pull a Helen’ by making observations and comments that are meant to be beneficial or complimentary…but aren’t. For example:

When your son comes out all dressed up to attend your niece’s wedding, don’t say, “Wow, you look great! It’s too bad you don’t look that nice every day.”

Or if you are fortunate enough to have a teenage daughter who isn’t obsessed with wearing tons of makeup and trying to dress like whoever girls are imitating at the time, don’t ‘compliment’ her by saying, “I’m so glad you aren’t worried about how you look.”

Another example of this would be saying something like, “I didn’t expect you to be able to do it, but at least you tried.”

Do you see how easily it would be for a child or teenager hearing those words to interpret these comments negatively…even though that’s not your intention? I sure hope so. That’s why it is so very important for you to choose your words carefully and make sure they convey the message you want to send.

If Helen were to say those words to me today I would hug her and thank her for paying me such a great compliment. But that’s because I’m no longer ten and I now have the wisdom and capability to ‘read between the lines’ in order to understand the real meaning of what is being said. Someday your kids will be able to do the same, but between now and then it is up to you to speak to them in such a way that they will even want to listen to you when they finally get there.


Momma D

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Putting All Your Eggs In The Right Basket

Lately I’ve been noticing that too many parents are concerned about the wrong things when it comes to influencing and managing their children’s lives. For example…

I was recently welcoming a seven year-old to an overnight summer camp and was told by his parents that he wasn’t allowed to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next morning like the rest of the kids because he had to drink a GALLON of protein drink in order to be able to make weigh-ins for a wrestling match a few hours after that.

Now it’s all well and good for your kids to be involved in activities like this, but the message that winning at all costs is more important than having fun with your friends and being a normal kid who scarfs down an ooey-gooey cinnamon roll once in a while, isn’t the message we should be sending.

As parents we need to care more about who our kids are than what our kids are. Instead of micro-managing and obsessing over whether or not they win first place in the science fair or are one of the popular kids, we need to take a more active approach to helping shape their character. Instead of doing whatever it takes to make sure they make the cheerleading squad or first chair in band, we need to make sure they know being THE best isn't always important or possible and that they have the integrity to not bully their peers.

Parents, your job isn’t to raise great kids. Your job is to raise your kids to be great adults. And in case you are wondering, great adults aren’t defined by science fair projects and high school football scores. Great adults are those that are honest, compassionate, hard-working, wise with their finances, respectful of authority and the feelings of others, and confident of their abilities and self-worth.

Influencing and managing your children’s character is going to require you to be intentional and relational with your children. Most of all, it requires you to model these behaviors because even when your children don’t appear to be listening, or really aren’t listening, you can bet they are watching every move you make.

So…when deciding what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to where you focus your parenting energy, remember this: If the ‘thing’ you are stressing over isn’t going to directly affect their twenty-one year-old self or who they are from the inside out, you’re probably putting your eggs in the wrong basket.


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


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No Catchy Title This Week--Just Plain and Simple Truth

            While attending the funeral of an old friend a few weeks before Christmas last year, I heard the following conversation…

            “My daughter loves “Miss C” so much. She can’t wait to go to Sunday school every week knowing “Miss C” was going to be her teacher. I really didn’t know what to tell her. How do you explain death to a four year-old?”

            When asked what she did tell her little girl, the mother then replied, “I told her “Miss C” went to live at the North Pole to be one of Santa’s helpers because she loves kids so much she wanted to make sure they always have a nice Christmas.”

            Are you kidding me! If the irony of this conversation weren’t so sad, it would be hilarious. I mean think about it: This mother didn’t think telling her daughter that her Sunday school teacher was with Jesus was as comforting as saying she was with Santa Claus!

And that’s not even considering the facts that a) in the not-so-distant-future her daughter is going to find out that her momma told a big fat whopper lie because she’ll discover that Santa isn’t r-e-a-l and b) learning the truth is only going to lead to more questions that should have and could have been answered truthfully in the first place.

Listen up, parents! Your children deserve simple, honest, and age-appropriate answers to their questions—especially since these days there are lots of things to ask questions about.

For example:

When your child asks, “Is Sparky in heaven now?” when a beloved pet dies, you should simply say, “I don’t know for sure, but the Bible does talk about lions and sheep getting along in heaven, so if God thinks lions are nice enough to go to heaven, I bet he thinks Sparky is, too.”

When your child asks, “Is everyone who lives there bad?” when catching a glimpse of or hearing about the war raging in the Middle East, your reply should be, “No, not everyone who lives there is bad. That’s why our soldiers are there—to help the nice people and try to keep them safe.”

When your child questions why someone is mean to them, it’s time to inform them that not everyone will realize what a great kid they are and the best thing to do when that happens is to turn around and go play with someone who is nice. You can also tell them that sometimes people say and do things that aren’t very nice when they are sad, mad, or don’t feel well, so they need to give that person another chance.

When your child asks you if you will still be a family after the divorce, you need to be honest in telling them that your family is not going to be the same as it was, but that the love you and your soon-to-be-ex have for them (your child) is never going to change.

When your child asks if he/she will ever see their friends again after you move three states away, don’t say, “Oh, sure, we’ll come back and visit whenever we can.” You and I both know the chances of that are next to nothing, so simply tell them that they probably won’t see them very much but that they can stay in touch online or through cards and letters and reassure them that they will make new friends to play with/hang out with your new home.

Honesty, parents. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. If you aren’t honest with them, you really don’t have a right to expect them to be honest with you.


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


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sorry, Kool-Aid Cup...You Had Your Chance

A few days ago I was helping two year-old Esther, aka “Essie”, drink her bright red cherry Kool-Aid from a big girl cup. She was doing a great job of it, too. But you know how the ice in the cup falls forward when you get close to running out of whatever is in the cup? Well that’s what happened to Essie. And you know what happens when the ice falls forward, don’t you?

Yep, whatever is in the cup comes splashing out on you.

How dare that Kool-Aid! Or in Essie’s mind, how dare that cup!

When that happens to you or me we wipe our face and go on. No big deal. But to two year-old Essie, I can assure you it was a big deal…a really big deal. But not in the way you might think. Essie was a mixture of scared and mad. Not at the ice or the Kool-Aid, though…at the cup. In fact, when I went to give her another drink a minute or so later, she refused to drink out of that cup.

“No!” she said, and then pointed at my cup and said, “Drink.”

I tried again, but she was insisted the drink come from my cup. My cup was empty, so I dumped what was in her cup into mine (minus the ice) and sure enough, she drank to her heart’s content.

“You had your chance, Kool-Aid cup,” was Essie’s thought process. “You may have gotten me once, but you won’t ever do it again.”

Essie didn’t understand that the cup wasn’t the culprit and nothing I was going to say or do would be able to change her mind. Since it wasn’t a big deal I didn’t really even try, but that’s not always going to be the case in raising your children and as parents you need to be ready, willing, and able to guide them toward understanding and accepting that getting mad and getting even isn’t the way to handle situations that don’t go their way.
            As parents you need to be teaching by example and instruction that when things don’t turn out the way we want them to, getting mad isn’t the solution, or when their friends hurt their feelings, shunning them won’t solve the problem. They need to know that losing a game or not getting the grade the grade they think they deserve isn’t someone else’s fault, but the result of their not playing as well as the other team or studying hard enough to get an A.

Your children are watching your every move and hanging on your every word. Even when you think they aren’t, they are. Trust me on this one. So ask yourself: Are you giving the Kool-Aid cups in your life a fair shake or are you blaming them for something they didn’t even do? Because your kids are taking their cue from you.


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