Wednesday, September 28, 2016

We Need More 4x4 Kids and Fewer TV Kids

A few days ago my son, Zach, shared something with me that goes right along with ‘theme’ of sharing with you the life-lessons he and his sisters say they learned from me. This week’s lesson: Hard work never hurt anyone. Here’s what happened…

A worker was repairing the county water district’s broken waterline that runs along some of Zach’s pasture. Zach and five year-old Macy arrived to check the cows and Macy was driving the 4x4.

(For those of you who don’t know what a 4x4 is, it’s an ATV with four wheels. You might know them as gators or pioneers. Or if you can’t relate to that, think golf cart on steroids.) Anyway…

When Zach and Macy stopped to check on the status of the waterline repair, the worker commented that he thought Macy was way too young to be driving the 4x4. Zach smiled and assured the man that she was fine and that they had the situation under control. This didn’t satisfy the guy, though, and he continued to tell Zach why he thought she shouldn’t be doing that. Zach then said, “I suppose you think she’d be better off inside watching television or playing computer games.” The man replied that those things would be safer and better than what she was doing.

At this point Zach told the man he didn’t agree—that he thought the world could use a whole lot more kids on 4x4s instead of having so many kids glued to a screen. He went on to let the man know that he was capable of keeping his daughter safe, that they were making memories together and that equally important was the fact that Macy was learning how to work. And then they went back to doing the job they’d come to do.

A strong work-ethic was something we engraved on the hearts and minds of our children. Our children had chores to do and they were expected to help out on the farm. They were required to buy their own vehicles, insurance, gas, and the ‘family plan’ portion of the cell phone bill. They also worked to pay for their college educations.

Why? Because hard work never hurt anyone and when you work for what you have you have a greater appreciation and respect for those things. Learning the life-lesson of a strong work-ethic snuffs out the diseases of entitlement and laziness—something I see all too often in the current generation of young people.

Macy and her sister Mackenzie have chores to do and are expected to help out on the farm just like their daddy and their aunts did. Why? Because Zach knows hard work never hurt anyone and he wants to make sure his girls know that, too.

I hope you will teach your children to know the same.


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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Momma and Her Dust Mop

My kids were the fifth generation of my family to call our farm ‘home’. Our house was old, it had its share of creaks and squeaks, but it was that homey kind of comfortable and full of character that proudly displayed its age—including its original hardwood floors and lack of closet space. So what does this have to do with being a better parent? Keep reading and you’ll find out.

When I asked my children what life-lessons they’d learned from me, one of my daughters said she’d (finally) learned why keeping a clean house was so important. I actually laughed out-loud when I read this because I cannot even begin to count the times I got made fun of by John and the kids for dust mopping the floors a few times a day and being the mom that, at the end of the day, had a place for everything and everything in its place.

Hey, when you farm and have kids running in and out of the house all day stuff just naturally gets tracked inside and I’m still not apologizing for wanting to be able to walk around the house on clean floors. So when they made fun of me and gave me a hard time I told them they’d really have something to complain about it I didn’t keep the floors clean, and then kept right on dusting.

And with all the toys, books, and ‘stuff’ that goes along with having four kids, the house would have been in a constant state of chaos—which is something I didn’t want to deal with and something I didn’t want John and the kids to have to deal with, either.

I knew that by keeping the house neat and clean I was doing a lot more than just keeping things neat and clean. I knew I was…

·         Giving my family a place where they could rest comfortably

·         Giving my family a soft and safe place to ‘land’ after being confronted by the chaos of work, school, and the world in general

·         Teaching my kids to take pride (the good kind) in themselves and their surroundings because it is a reflection of who they are on the inside

·         Teaching my kids to respect what it took for John to provide for us and respect for my role as a homemaker

·         Teaching my kids to respect personal property

·         Teaching my kids to be responsible

·         Teaching my kids to be respectful of the rights and feelings of others

·         Teaching my kids to be cooperative and to be team-players

·         Teaching my kids that being organized makes life less stressful (they never had to dig through piles of anything to find what they needed yesterday)

I knew what I was doing back then even though at the time they didn’t. And even though I’ve had to bite my tongue a few times to keep from saying “I told you so,” I can’t tell you how nice it is to know that after all these years and all that dusting and sweeping, and picking up and putting away, they finally get it.

Even though you may think what you say and do is going in one ear and out the other or flying right over the tops of their little heads, I can tell you for sure and for certain that your children are absorbing more than you think they are. So don’t give up. Keep on teaching those life-lessons by doing what you know is best and being the kind of person you want your kids to be and someday just like me you’ll be biting your tongue to keep from saying, “I told you so!”


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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Take That, "Island of Misfit Moms"!

As I mentioned last week, I am going to spend the next few weeks sharing what my kids said are the most important life-lessons they learned from me. The reason I decided to do this is because if my kids thought they were important enough to talk about, then chances are your kids do too. So let’s get started…

LESSON #1: Be Yourself:

Depending on how old you are you probably remember when the scrapbooking craze hit. You were either part of the craze, as in you were up to your armpits in stickers, templates, acid-free paper and photographs, or you were a kid surrounded by the same.

You can do the math on this one: four kids + one camera + lots of pictures in those dreadful unsafe albums + a friend who was a scrapbooking consultant = a mom (me) destined to be a scrapbooking whiz/fanatic. Right? Wrong…

I tried. I really did. But it just wasn’t me!

It was fun at first, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that the process wasn’t worth it. Not to me, anyway. I kept trudging along, though—going to scrapping parties now and then and buying stickers and paper to help my pictures tell stories. I guess I thought if I did it enough I would learn to love it. I didn’t.

And then one day it happened—I realized that putting all my precious pictures in plain albums with a basic explanation of who/what/when/where next to it was enough. I was free! Oh, and get this: I wasn’t banished to the island of misfit moms for my rebellion. It felt amazing.

My kids noticed. They even asked why I wasn’t covering the table in paper, stickers, and cut-up pictures in my ‘spare time’ (what was that?). I told them it just wasn’t me and that I wasn’t going to do something I didn’t like to do just because everyone else was doing it.

This little lesson in being myself served my two oldest daughters well a few years later when all their friends started playing basketball. They tried it but found out it wasn’t for them and quit after one season. Being themselves meant they didn’t get invited to several events. It even cost them some friends, but they found new friends who shared the same interests they had and moved on.

My son and youngest daughter—both of whom had similar experiences—said being yourself was an important lesson they learned from me.

It warms this momma’s heart to know they really were paying attention to what I did and all those times I said things like, “God don’t make no junk”, “You were made to be you and nobody else”, and “I love you just because you’re you” really did sink in.

Your heart can be all warm and fuzzy, too, when you live and speak the life-lesson that gives your kids the confidence to be themselves.


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


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Choclate Milk and Playdough Really Do Have Something in Common...No, Really

A few days ago while Emma and Essie were here visiting, Emma asked Essie whether she wanted chocolate milk or water to drink with her breakfast. Essie’s answer was “Choca-choca” (you can guess what that is). But immediately after that she said, “Bye-bye playdough.”
What? What do chocolate milk and playdough have to do with each other? The answer: Absolutely nothing except that the bucket of playdough and shape cutters was sitting on top of the refrigerator. And as we all know the refrigerator is home to the chocolate milk. So yah, the two actually do go together in a random, 2 year-old kind of way.
But let’s face it, it makes you wonder just how much of what you say your kids actually take in. And I bet you’ve had moments when you think you’ve messed up what would have otherwise been a completely normal and wonderful person. Am I right? Of course I am! You’re a parent and unfortunately those things come with the job.
Thankfully, though, more times than not your doubts and concerns are unfounded, your kids are no worse for the wear, and they will turn out just fine. Trust me, I know because I asked my own four what they had heard (literally and figuratively) from me growing up and I was more than pleased with the answers I received. So…
For the next few weeks I’m going to share their answers with you as an encouragement to not give up…to not quit making the most valuable and important investment you will ever make. The investment of yourself into the lives of your children.
That’s all for today—nothing really profound—just a reminder to not give up. Oh, and a suggestion that you spend some time between now and next week thinking about:
·         What messages and life-lessons you want to give your children
·         Whether or not your delivery method is effective
·         How you would respond if you were on their end of things
·         What you can do to make the message clearer and more authentic

Momma D

P.S. Their answers were also very similar, so if nothing else, I at least get an A for consistency.
                             Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.