It’s that time of year when we receive end of the year test results or portfolio reviews stating, in print, how our children are doing. This means excitement for a job well done for some and anxiety for those whose kids did not do so well.
One phase I hear often is, “My child is performing ahead of grade level!” How many times have your heard that phrase uttered in conversations by well-meaning moms? My guess is more often than you can count. As a matter of fact, I too have spoken them publicly a time or two.
Understandably, Moms feel a sense of pride when their child excels and they want to share this good news. Sometimes we share because validation is needed for a job well done. Goodness knows a homeschool mom doesn’t usually get many pats on the back. It’s not likely that the kids will say good job.
I remember times when some of my children did really well and others didn’t. I learned early on how my words, innocent as they were, could cause others to doubt their own ability to teach or their child’s ability to learn. That was troubling to me as that wasn’t my intent.
What happens to the mom who has a child that is not performing at grade level? Their child is well, average or worse below average. The pressure she feels can create anxiety. This internal stress can begin a downward spiral for both the parent and child if not properly thought through.
Here are couple principles to think about regardless of what your child’s results are:
Why can’t we all just get along? That’s a question I’m sure we’ve all wrestled with time and time again. Well, truth is, we can! God provided the greatest model for us through is His Son, and when we take a look at how Christ lived and worked among the people you will see common characteristics.
So exactly how do we go about obtaining unity? By practicing these 3 principles.
- Remember the common goal. Understanding there is a common goal allows us to focus on what we are really trying to accomplish, not on who came up the solution. By outlining what the real goal is helps everyone involved in the decision making process. It is also important to create the mindset of one team trying to get something done. Not two teams competing against each other. Once the later takes hold hard feelings and togetherness are lost.
- Listen to others. When we purpose to put others first we tend to listen more to their ideas. This shows respect and value to them. In dealing with situations we tend to think our approach is the best. Why? That’s easy, because it make sense to us. That in turn, causes us to forget others might come up with a different solution or even have a better plan.
- Be slow to speak. This one is crucial. It is really the key to unity. In scripture we are reminded a wise man holds his tongue but a fool blurts out. By simply holding your tongue provides time to process the information being shared. When passion, knowledge and insight are bubbling inside we naturally want to speak out, but if not properly filtered that wisdom can fall on deaf ears. Making the distinction between exchanging ideas and deflating or attacking others can also play a role in how information is shared and received.
Do you have a mentor? Do you have someone that you are currently mentoring?
People often ask me how important are mentors? My answer, very important.
The concept of mentorship is nothing new. Even though the titles have changed over time, the practice has been around for as long as we know, and for good reason!
A mentor’s goal is to help you take the next step with confidence. The best form of mentoring exists without the expectation of what the mentor might get in return.
Over the years I have had several mentors; they have been women I have both observed, listened to, and witnessed the results of their work. Whether it was for professional development, gaining business savvy, learning to be a wife and mother, or maintaining overall balance in life, they were there for me freely sharing their insight, knowledge and wisdom.
Each of my mentors have this common motive: to listen, encourage, and share their knowledge with me (without expectation or hidden agenda). They impacted my life forever, and consequently the lives of my children.
Are you building your family on a solid foundation? Do you and your children know and agree on the core values your family holds? These are some of the basic building blocks of a family that can be achieved wherever you are, whether you are starting your parenting journey or if you are in the home stretch raising teenagers.
Setting core values is a full family event – you cannot set them and let your family know what they are – you all have to develop and cultivate them. Think first about the values and character your family wants to reflect. What’s important to you? How would you like others to view your family?
Some of the core values we’ve established in my family are:
- Love one another
- Treat each other with courtesy and consideration
- Take care of each other
- Treat others with respect, patience, kindness, and goodness
There are a number of ways your family can model your values once they are established, and you can help keep them consistent. For instance, if you had the values above and your kids are bickering over a toy or a particular TV channel, you can remind them that one of your family’s core values is to love one another, and help them find their way back to that. If someone is under the weather, you can tuck that family member into bed with a blanket and a cup of tea because one of your family’s core values is to take care of each other.
In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and a new year, it is easy to get caught up in the stress and anxiety of creating those perfect memories for your family. Kids are overtired, everyone is home together more often, extended family sometimes comes to stay, schedules are different, and the stress of it all sometimes has mom exhausted!
If there’s one key idea I’ve learned during my parenting journey, it’s that we should not react in anger to situations that come up with our children. Too often we do react in anger, and we hurt our children with our words. The best advice I can give is to s-l-o-w- down and take some time to really listen to your children. God’s word clearly says to be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19). So make sure you take the time to truly hear what your children are saying. This must be done intentionally. That’s right – you must put the iPhone down, disconnect from that tablet, look up from your stack of post-holiday bills and really focus on your child, face-to-face.