Sunday, October 23, 2016

I Made A New Friend!!!!!

I wasn’t able to attend Mackenzie’s first soccer game of the season a few weeks ago, so I called her that evening to see how it went. When she came to the phone I asked, “How did your soccer games go today?” Without missing a beat she replied, “I made a new friend!” She then proceeded to tell me her new friend’s name and a few other pertinent details including that they were both born in the month of July.

I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of Mackenzie for her answer to my question because her answer revealed her true heart—a heart that is more concerned about friendship and the socialization aspects of being 8 and playing soccer than it is winning. To Mackenzie, being on a soccer team is about making friends AND learning to play with her peers instead always being the winner and of getting a head start on being in line for a college scholarship.

Parents, if reading this starts your head to nodding and has you saying things like “That’s the way it should be” or “Good job, Mackenzie”, keep up the great work!

If, on the other hand, reading this causes you to shake your head, cringe, and say things like, “If she’s not going to play to win, she shouldn’t even be playing”, or “I’m glad she’s not on my kid’s team”, then shame on you.

First of all, having great social skills and caring more about people than winning is something every parent should want for their kids. Secondly, eight year-old sports teams shouldn’t really be about anything but learning how to be a team-player and how to be a gracious winner and looser. And lastly, college should be the last thing on your mind regarding your eight year-old. Enjoy your kids for who they are now. Don’t miss their childhood by focusing on the future. Trust me when I say that the time passes way to fast without trying to rush it.

The bottom line here is this: Friends are way more important that winning a game of soccer…no matter how old you are. And as a parent, it’s your job to let your kids know it’s perfectly okay for them to feel this way. It’s also job for you to feel this way, too.


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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Something Worth Holding On To

If I had a dime for every time I’ve said one of the following to my kids or grandkids, I’d be a very wealthy woman and I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone because you’d be counting your dimes right along with me.
·         Hold my hand—parking lots are dangerous
·         You have to hold my hand so you don’t get lost
·         If you let go of your balloon we won’t be able to get it back
·         Don’t drop that
·         Make sure you hang on to your book bag so you don’t lose it
·         Hold on tight
As parents we’re all about making sure our kids have a good grip on the tangible things they need to stay safe, have a good time, and learn to be responsible. But what about giving them the emotional/mental/spiritual security they need? Are we as concerned about giving them something to hold on to in that regard as we should be?
For the last few weeks I’ve been sharing with you some of the life-lessons my children said they learned from me. This week’s lesson is the last one I’ll be sharing, but it’s an important one, to be sure. The lesson: The importance of giving your children faith and values.
One of my daughters put it like this, “I loved the way we all took turns praying at the table. It was a way for us to know we all need Jesus.”
Another one of my daughters said, “You taught me how to teach my daughter to know and love Jesus. You didn’t just tell us—you showed us what it really means.”
Giving your children a set of values and a faith to hold on to is important—even scientists and child psychologists agree on this one. Numerous studies show that children whose parents raise them in a home where religion/faith and strong moral character is both practiced and taught are decidedly more confident, possess better social skills, and are overall, more likely to grow up to be law-abiding, compassionate, responsible members of society.
We don’t hesitate to make sure we give our children the hand they need to hold on to when they are too small to navigate parking lots, shopping malls, grocery stores, and crosswalks by themselves, so why not finish the job and make sure we give them what they need to safely navigate life in general?

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

Monday, October 10, 2016

Everyone Deserves Kindness

When asked what they had learned from me, all of the kids had something to say in regards to learning to treat others the way you want to be treated. As I thought about some of the ways I had tried to teach them this lesson, many things came to mind, but one incident especially stands out in my mind of how I exampled this attitude to Zach when he was a six year-old little boy who was fiercely protective of his (then) two baby sisters…

Zach was six, Elizabeth was three and Olivia was just over a year-old the day we walked into the grocery store and were ‘confronted’ by an elderly woman who was well-known in our small town. Her name was “Virgie”, and in addition to suffering from dementia, she was living in poverty, completely alone, wandered around town all day long talking to whoever would give her a minute or two of their day. On this particular day "Virgie" was living in the part of her past that included small children. When she saw Olivia in the cart, she took her out quicker than I could bat an eye, and began to pat her back and rock her gently back and forth saying, “You’re my sweet baby. Isn’t my baby sweet?” while I was tying Elizabeth’s shoe.
It took only a second for me to realize Olivia wasn’t scared and that Virgie wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, Olivia was completely unaffected, but nevertheless, I quickly and gently proceeded to take Olivia back while agreeing with “Virgie” that yes, she was a sweet and beautiful baby. Zach, on the other hand, was not nearly as calm or forgiving of the intrusion.
“She’s not your baby, she’s our baby,” he repeated two or three times. “Tell her, Mom, Olivia is our baby. She needs to give her back.”
The whole incident lasted no more than a couple of minutes, but it was time enough to provide a HUGE ‘teachable moment’ and I didn’t want to mess it up. So once Olivia was back in my arms, I moved the kids away from "Virgie" and reassured them  that I wouldn’t have ever allowed her to hurt Olivia. I told them I knew she wasn’t going to because she really did think Olivia was her baby. Elizabeth accepted my words without much comment, but when I asked Zach if he understood, he said something to the effect of “You didn’t want to hurt that lady’s feelings because that's not nice and because you didn’t want her to hurt Olivia.”
Yes, that was pretty much it. In not lashing out at "Virgie" I taught my young son that no one is undeserving of being treated the way we want to be treated. Or in this case, the way I wanted my loved one to be treated.
I knew “Virgie” was harmless and that she posed no risk to my daughter, so by not ‘going off’ on her that day I was able to give her a brief moment of the joy of memories past AND teach the kids what kindness to strangers looks like. I know this isn’t always the case—that we most definitely need to teach our children the whole stranger-danger ‘thing’. But I also know that equally important is our job to be consciously and deliberately teaching our children that everyone deserves to be respected and treated the way we want to be treated…even people who are different from us, because we never know when extending that kind of kindness might be the brightest spot in their day.

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