When your toddlers fell into a big mud puddle or intentionally filled their overalls with mud pies, how did you respond? Was there was a smile of disbelief or a look of horror as they climbed into your freshly cleaned van? No matter how hard it was to avoid the temptation of disowning them, under all that mud, there still was your tangled-hair, smiling, freckled, little kids.
As your teens mature, they will get dirty and muddy again. This world is a mess. In reality, they are facing things you did not face in high school. Whether they go to public school or are home educated, they will still have to interact with and learn how to operate in this messy world. I can guarantee you they will fall and get mud all over them. Whether it’s because they jumped in headfirst or someone slung it at them, they now have to deal with the fact that life isn’t as clean and clear as it was when they were younger.
Young people understand that rules need to be in place and adults need to be respected, but they also want to know that their parents won’t disown them because of their mud. Even if your child has been in willful sin for a long while, don’t stop loving them. This will mean the world to them later.
It is exhausting and so incredibly hard to go that extra mile; especially after a rough day and all you want to do is collapse on your bed. You don’t want one more person calling for you to fix their problems. How can you possibly help your confused teenager know that you love them if you don’t even have time or energy to read a book about love languages?
There are different ways to show love. Some of them you probably excel in, while others are harder for you to give. Allow me to help define love for you.
School is in full swing! For some of you bad attitudes, resistance and discouragement have already derailed your well thought out schedule. It’s okay. Those days do happen. Especially when you begin the new school year. By focusing on the five secrets that helped me cross the finish line with all five of my children you can get back on track more quickly.
Homeschooling for 21 years has given me a unique perspective. I have experienced the first-time fears and doubts associated with starting something new, worked my way through the high school years, managed five children on different levels, navigated the college admissions process and sent all five off to college.
I want to encourage you as you begin your new year to keep your eye on the end goal. Don’t be short-sighted. Be mindful of the values, character qualities, and academic pursuits you have in mind.
These are five points I intentionally focused on as I began each year:
In an instant a perfectly beautiful day can turn into an “inferno” you must survive.
The day was beautiful. One of those typical bright sunny Florida days. I sat watching the wake from the boat propellers as we headed back to shore. At eight years old I didn’t have a care in the world.
We were returning from a fun day of deep sea fishing. My brother was putting away all the fishing gear, mom was down in the galley cleaning up, Jay Jay (my dog) was sleeping on the seat pad covering one of the outboard engines, and dad was on the fly bridge steering us back to the marina.
Then suddenly there was the sound of an explosion coming from behind me. I spun around to witness fire and smoke billowing from the engines.
With one phone call your life can change. Would you be ready?
The phone rang during work hours. “Hello, Connie. Your mom is in the hospital.” I sat in silence. Suddenly nothing matter but getting to her. I shut down my computer, packed an overnight bag, and made the drive to the hospital.
My mind was swirling. It is hard to explain how your thoughts can bounce all over the place… my mom, my work, my travel schedule, my book. What does this mean? God help me!
During my drive I felt the need to call the president of the company I was working for and share the news. His first response was like none other I had received – “Family first, and we will be praying for your mom.” I had heard him say this many, many times, but this time it was directed at me. They were life-giving words when I needed them most. Even knowing that my work load was very high, his concern was for my mom.
Once I arrived at the hospital, I had to assess the situation. What was wrong? How long would Mom be there? What would be our game plan going forward?
Teach your children well. This statement is something a parent hears many times. I sure did. When you are in the middle of raising children, building a family and managing a busy life it is hard to know if what you are focused on is really going to matter. Or if you are doing it well.
For years, we trained our children important life skills, to know and love God, and to rely on family. We encourage them to learn God’s Word and to be encouraged by His faithfulness. We were discouraged when we saw little or no fruit. But, we continued on and waited. (more…)