Calmness, Contentment, & Parenthood

Isn’t it easy to want to yell when our kids misbehave and don’t listen – when that last straw is broken and we’re at the end of our rope?

103870776_1191416281197985_7591546141507610951_oBut hostility just makes things worse, strains our relationships with our kids, & leaves us with oozing guilt.

Consequences with calmness work far more powerfully.

When we played basketball yesterday, my daughter said something in a rude tone to me.

I’m not okay with disrespect and I had already corrected her earlier, so I calmly sent her to her room for 10 minutes. Sometimes I snap back instead, but I strive to speak with grace and react calmly. When I don’t, I apologize.

She tried to get out of it and explained why she spoke that way, and I told her it was not okay, and repeated what she needed to do.

It diffused the situation, I relaxed, and she came back with a kinder tone.

Just before the basketball game began, my son let his other sister provoke him and continued overreacting and responding with anger toward her.

Sure, these emotions are normal and there’s no way to raise perfect kids who don’t fight, but if I can direct them toward better responses that reflect Jesus, I’m going to.

Instead of creating more chaos with a heightened reaction from me, I calmly sent him to his room.

After that, we read through Ecclesiastes 7:9 together, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit for anger resides in the lap of fools.”

We talked about how every human struggles with this, including me.

But that when we ask the Lord to help us with it, he will.

Finally, my kids and I were all outside together to play that b-ball game I wasn’t sure would ever happen.

While the game was delayed by “interruption” and “inconvenience”, that’s what parenting is – stopping in those moments to raise our kids and directing them in ordinary circumstances.

When we let repeated misbehavior slide, it becomes more of the norm and ends up being more difficult on all of us.

Calmly giving consequences reminds our kids who is leading, that we won’t wither to bumps in the road (making them feel secure), and that we are committed to showing them the better way because we love them.

We all need grace and sometimes reminders are just what our kids need or they might need to work it out on their own without our involvement, but if rude tones or strife are becoming the norm, consequences with calmness can make a big difference.

Lord, when we’re at our wits end with our kids and want to react with yelling and fits of anger, please lead us with calmness and grace instead. Give us your wisdom to know how to parent our kids, connect with their hearts, and lead them to you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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After Our Children Misbehave, A Prayer, & a Conference

I’m excited to share with you that I’ve been selected as a speaker for the Beyond Women Conference, fall of 2021 in Nashville!

The vision of Beyond Women is to see women move beyond Sunday into living a life for Christ in the everyday. I’ll be doing a session on “Encouraging kids to Love the Lord”.

I’ll share more details with you as it approaches. Thanks to each of you for your support & encouragement. I”m grateful for you! ❤️ Here’s the website for the conference: https://www.beyondtheconference.org/

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Memorial Day, Things we Should do that Kids do, How to show the Love of Jesus

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How can we reach those who lost loved ones serving our country on Memorial Day? How can we help their loved ones’ legacies live on?

1. Write letters to their families.
2. Pray for their families together.
3. Talk about them with our kids.

My friend, Tyler, died while serving our country. When I think of his family, my heart aches for them. I want his family to know I have talked to my kids about Tyler, who he was, and his kindness and bravery.

That my kids know we have freedom because of him and all the people who served and serve our country. I want his family to know that his legacy lives on.

If you are one of the families who lost a loved one serving our country – thank you. We are so very grateful for the heroic sacrifice of your loved one. Lord, please bless each of these people today with your great hope, joy, peace, and Presence. In Jesus’ name, amen. ❤️


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While I love doing devotions with our kids, weaving the Lord into ordinary times together is a great way to show them practically what it looks like to follow Jesus.
 
I’m not saying to relate every single thing to the Lord because that could make our kids annoyed and want to run the other way.
 
But, when we follow Deuteronomy 6 by pointing our kids to the Lord as we walk through life together, our children will begin to have eyes to see the Lord in the ordinary.
 
For example,
 
“Gracie, that is so kind that you washed your sister’s dish. Way to love her well.”
 
“Brooklyn, I love how you told your brother you were wrong and asked for forgiveness. That is showing humility and just what the Lord tells us to do.”
 
“I’m sorry that kid has been rude at school. Maybe there’s something going on in his life. Let’s pray for him together.”
 
“Thank you for coming right away and listening like I asked. You sure loved me well.”
 
One of my kids says, “I don’t want to forgive her.” I say, “I know it’s hard sometimes, but the Lord forgives us when we mess up and he tells us we need to forgive each other too.”
 
“Kids, I’m sorry I spoke to you in that tone. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”
 
“Our neighbor is going through a hard time right now – what is a way we can show her the love of Jesus?”
 
“Bates, I love how you showed your sister compassion. Way to love like Jesus.”
 
“Look at the bird in the tree, kids. Isn’t God’s creation beautiful? The Lord tells us that just as he takes care of the birds, he will take care of us and not to worry. Isn’t God awesome?”
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In no way am I saying these are the “right” words to say as there is no perfect equation.
 
But directing our kids to the Lord through ordinary moments has helped us in seeking after Jesus and setting our hearts and minds on the Lord.
 
Lord, thank you for our kids, for who you are, and for your awesome love for us. Please give us the wisdom, love, and strength, to point our kids to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

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It Happened so Quickly / Activities to do With Your Kids

fullsizeoutput_929cIt happened so quickly.

My son, Bates, was seven years old when he started coughing up blood uncontrollably – over and over – it wouldn’t stop.

Earlier that morning, my son was happy as can be. He had his tonsils out several weeks before, but was ready to go to school.

I got a call to sub last minute in the classroom across the hall, and boy am I glad I took that job.

While I was teaching, my two daughters rushed across the hall to me (they’re triplets and were all in the same class). Out of breath, they said, “Mommy, Bates is spitting up blood. You need to come.”

The situation was far worse than I imagined.

One of his arteries had opened in his throat. I remember the horrific scene of him leaning over the sink in the classroom, the teacher rushing the other kids outside.

I rubbed his back in panic mode, wondering, When will the bleeding stop? What if it doesn’t stop?

The school jumped into emergency mode and the ambulance was on its way.

We had a moment in the foyer of the school – my son was in the wheelchair, the amazing school nurse held the cup for him to cough into, and I prayed for him.

I didn’t know who else was near me – I didn’t care. I asked Jesus to heal Bates, then and there. I prayed the Lord would stop the bleeding and that the power of Jesus would heal him, quickly.

As we waited for the ambulance, we saw bits of smiles rise from my son’s lips. Even though it was still actively bleeding, he had stopped coughing.

I could breathe. He was turning a corner.

Bates spent the night in the hospital and his artery closed, so he didn’t need surgery. We are so grateful to the Lord for healing Bates, how quickly he recovered, and the strength he had throughout it.

Fast forward to last night (a year and a half later), my son ran downstairs, fell into my arms, tears streaming down his cheeks. He had his first nightmare about it – he said he was coughing up blood at the hospital and was so scared.

I cuddled him into my arms, giving thanks to the Lord that I could cuddle him into my arms – that he was here.

Earlier that day, I was frustrated with him for not remembering to put something away. And, in this moment, I could have cared less about that – how trivial it seemed.

I was just so grateful that he’s alive, well, thriving.

Mamas, I know it’s so easy to take our children for granted. I catch myself doing it at times. But, let’s remember that they are gifts – gifts we could lose in an instant.

I’ve heard about two families who lost their little angels just today. My heart aches for them. It’s another reminder to treasure what is right in front of us.

Today, our kids are here, with us. Today, we get the luxurious gift to hold them, be with them, walk alongside them.

It doesn’t mean we can’t have time to ourselves. I think that is healthy and makes us better moms.

But, in the midst of the daily burdens and beauties, let’s enjoy them and not forget to let them know we are for them and on their side. Deep down, they long for our acceptance.

Today, we get the chance to be for our kids, with our kids. What a gift.

“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3


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When my natural reaction is to ignore my kids’ bad behavior and pretend it’s not happening, these words in Proverbs make me want to follow through.

One thing I have learned is that consequences work far better than constant reminders. Children remember consequences. They empower kids to change their behavior.

I don’t think that means we should constantly be throwing out consequences. I think some reminders are great and offer grace. Lord knows I need reminders.

But, if we get to the point where we want to pull our hair out from the continuous reminders or our kids get to the point where they don’t do something unless we ask several times, something needs to change.

Maybe we can come up with a reward system if it’s a behavior that needs to be practiced (I’m all about positive reinforcement). See my post about a reward system that worked for my kids helping with their dishes, vacuuming, and washing the table after meals without being reminded: https://linseydriskill.com/…/idea-to-motivate-helping-out-…/

If it’s a sassy or disrespectful attitude that’s happening, giving reminders of what’s acceptable and doing devotionals about the topic at a later time are great tools to use.

But if it keeps happening, consequences give children motivation to change their behavior.

The consequence will be different for each child based on age and personality. But some I think are helpful are spending some time in their room to calm down, time outs for younger children, taking away a toy or other important thing from them for a time period, or cancelling an event they were looking forward to.

My preference would be for positive reinforcement, but consequences have their place. They do take more time and energy on the on-set, but they sure pay off later.

This is another positive enforcement idea that can be used with listening the first time, choosing peace over arguing, or anything else: https://linseydriskill.com/…/08/07/listening-the-first-time/

You got this. We got this.

Lord, as we parent, give us wisdom in giving consequences, reminders, and simply parenting. Help us not be entangled by details, but to look to you to lead us. Remind us as we raise our children that love matters most. In Jesus’ name, amen.


 

Complaints

1. “I’m bored.”
Response: “I have cleaning I could use your help with. If you can’t find something to do, I will definitely find something.”

2. “But my friends get to do it!”
Response: “Every family is different. I know that’s tough, but these are our family rules.”

3. “I want more food.”
Response: “Try again.” Then, wait until you hear “Please.”

4. “I don’t have any clothes!”
Response: “Let’s go through your clothes and find ones that work and give away ones that don’t.”

5. “I don’t like this food!”
Response: “That’s what’s for dinner. Let’s be thankful. If you complain, we can have it again tomorrow.”

6. “But all my friends have that toy!”
Response: “Good for them, but we have plenty. Many kids only have one toy or none. Let’s find some to give away.” (The “Rich Young Ruler” is a great Bible story that talks about this. Along with the story, I would tell my kids and still do at times, “more, more, more doesn’t make you happy, but Jesus, family, and friends do.” The Rhyme Bible reflects this story really well for younger kids.)

7. When they speak rudely to a friend or sibling.
Response: “(Insert your family’s last name) speak kindly. That’s not okay. Try again.

8. “That’s not fair!”
Response: “I know that’s hard, but you’re right, life’s not always fair.”

Everything in our house isn’t always smooth sailing, but these responses have helped a lot. When our kids do show humility and gratefulness, let’s recognize it!


A Note to my kids on Mother’s Day…

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Fun Activities to do With Your Kids

1. Create Awesome, Huge Bubbles! Your kids will be entertained for hours. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 4 cups very warm water by mixing with whisk. Mix in 1/2 cup Dawn Dish soap.

Then, create a Bubble wand. We just shaped a pipe cleaner into a circle and then twisted the two ends around a stick (leave room for your hand to hold the stick. My kids played with this for hours. It was so much fun! You can even add an extra pipe cleaner to the end of the stick to make “double bubbles”.

2. Make Oobleck. (Mix 2 cups cornstarch, and 1 cup water. If it’s too stiff, add a little water at a time. Add food coloring or liquid water color paint to color the oobleck.

They loved putting a handful of oobleck in a strainer and then watching it fall through the holes. Then, we put more food coloring drops in the oobleck without mixing it. My daughter “drew” on the food coloring with the oobleck that dropped from the strainer.

(Notice the easy clean up with the disposable pan and the towel underneath the activity so you can shake it out outside when done.)

3. As an extension of the oobleck, we talked about static electricity and how opposite charges attract. I asked them what they thought would happen when the balloon had some static electricity after being rubbed on their hair and brought close the ooblek. It was a lot of fun to watch!

First, rub a balloon on your child’s hair or yours and show them how it creates static electricity. Quickly get a spoonful of oobleck and pour it near the balloon. Watch how it draws near to the balloon and how some of it jumps to the balloon!

4. Have fun with sidewalk chalk. Our kids enjoyed “coloring” the pictures with paint brushes.

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I hope these activities over the past few months have been fun for you and your children to do together! Who’s excited su mmer’s almost here! Let’s welcome SUMMER!!!


 


Enjoy creating bubbles, oobleck, and other fun things!

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Project About Long Walks for Water

This is a practical project to help our kids have compassion for those who have to walk long ways for water and to be grateful for the simple gift of water. {Subscribe in the sidebar to receive once-a-week emails about faith & parenting.}

  1. Reading: I read the book, The Water Princess, to my kids. I looked up “read aloud for Water Princess.” Then I muted it and read it to them.
  2. Social Studies – Part 1: I shared a short video clip of a child in Zambia named Violet who has to walk one mile to get water, carry the bucket on her head, and walk the mile back. It was a great video because it doesn’t try to produce guilt from the viewers – instead it makes you aware, and shows the hope the organization is offering by offering wells and water purification systems.
  3. Social Studies – Part 2: Then, we walked almost 2 miles carrying our water bottles. While this didn’t compare to carrying a bucket on our heads, I wanted them to get a sense of walking with something for a long way. This was not meant to create guilt, but through gently sharing the reality around the world, I want them to be aware of what a lot of families deal with – to have compassion and be moved to help as Jesus tells us to. My kids were excited to participate. IMG_9147
  4. Geography: On our interactive globe, we looked up information about Zambia. If
    you don’t have an interactive globe, you can look up information on the Internet. They also had to figure out the coordinates of where Zambia is located.
  5. Art: They created a model of Zambia’s walk to water on a cardboard box I took apart using paint, cotton balls for clouds, play dough for hills, cut up straws for birds, pipe cleaners for the hut roof, cut up pieces of coffee filters for the path, puffy paint for the river, perler beads to create Violet and the bucket, and a pasta box they painted for the water filter. IMG_9212
  6. IMG_9153Math: a) They created a scale on the map so her walk to the river could be measured and calculated as one mile. b) Violet walks one mile to the river each day and one mile back home, three times a day. They figured out how many miles that is each day, each week, and each month. c) In the video they saw, the organization said that every 30 seconds they reach someone with clean water. So, the kids figured out how many people they reach in one minute, 1 hour, and 3 hours.
  7. Science: We talked about the parasites and other harmful things that can be in dirty water and how that can make the people very sick. We talked about how to filter water and what the process looks like. We watched a short clip on an organization filtering water. We also talked about why wells are very helpful to a village, save lives, and how they w

We spent one school day doing most of this project and spent a week I spurts creating the model of Violet’s walk to water.

My prayer is that when our kids and us turn the tap water on, we are in deep appreciation to the Lord for the gift of water, that we are moved to compassion as we think about what some people deal with around the world, that we pray for these people, and that we are moved to take action and help them however we can.

Lord, draw our hearts to care about the things You care about. We are deeply grateful for the gifts you’ve given us. Please provide for those who go without and show us specific ways we can help them. Please be with each of these people and bless them greatly. In Jesus’ name, amen.


A Church Service for Kids

If you’re looking for a “church service” for your kiddos, I just came across this one that’s about 15 minutes. There’s one for preschool, elementary, and older kids. We watched the elementary one and they loved it. It had a song, an entertaining talk about humility, and one more song. If your kids think the song/dance part is cheesy, just skip over it. My kiddos loved the part with Jake. 😊https://mailchi.mp/51fafe73f05a/gateway-kids-sunday-morning-worship-12447294


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It Just Takes One

fullsizeoutput_91c5It takes one person to change someone’s world. One.

For my dad, it was Sister Mary Aloysius at his military school.

With his mother being married seven times and dying young, there wasn’t always someone right there to guide him.

He spent Saturdays in detention crossing and uncrossing his arms and failing classes.

Then, one person at the military school, a little old lady, noticed him.

Sister Mary Aloysius.

She asked my dad what subject he hated. That was easy – English.

She said, “It’s because you don’t understand it. We’re going to write a book together and you will grow to love it.”

I don’t know that it was the book that made the great difference, but that she noticed, cared, and invested.

He showed up in detention less and less – he saw there was another way.

His grades soared, he made wise choices, joined the Naval Airforce, and became a successful man.

Successful in the greatest way – loving Jesus, having integrity, loving others, and making a difference in their lives.

All because Sister Mary Aloysius noticed, cared, and invested.

Who can you notice?
Who can you care for?
Who can you invest in?

Who needs to know that even if they are in the darkest valley, there is always hope in Jesus?

Always.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 


A Prayer from Psalms

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Enjoy connecting with your kiddos this week with this project of awareness!

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