Friday, October 25, 2013
Recently I read a book on prayer called Drawing the Circle. In the book, the author shared how he prays to be famous in his home. This concept really impacted me, and I have started praying this over myself as well. If I am honest there are times when serving outside of the home can give me immediate thanks or approval. It's not that serving is a bad thing. It's just something I need to keep in check. Over the past few days I have thought about what it means to be famous at home. I am not talking about being their best friend and not establishing expectations and not giving consequences. Famous can be defined as "first rate or exceptional". Here are some questions I have been asking myself and maybe you can ask yourself as well.
1. Am I present with my children? I want them to know without a doubt that they are more important than an email, a text, the news, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. How can I implement this? I can set up guardrails by checking email or Pinterest once or twice a day. When we are at the park, I can be intentional about being present and involved. When they are at football or gymnastics, I can be a captive audience. Recently, I read a book by Jeff Goins and he shared, "What if we are so caught up in not missing anything that we miss the important stuff right in front of us." That really stuck with me.
2. Am I connecting with them on a regular basis? I want to connect with each one of them and spend one-on-one time with them. The best way for my husband and I to do this is to have a schedule for our dates with them. I also try to connect with them at home whether it's tossing a football, playing Uno, or simply watching them ride a skateboard. I have to remind myself to stop what I am doing and engage with them. I don't always do a great job on this. There's always room for improvement.
3. What are my priorities? Do I give and give outside of the home or do I save energy for my family? I had great teaching on this as a young mom. The priorities are suppose to be: God, family, church, and others. Sometimes we think serving at church is more important than serving our own family members. We are called to be the keeper of our home and our family. I can get pulled in many directions so I have to be on guard. Also regarding priorities, it's so important for me to make sure my husband is a priority over my children. It's an area that I really have to pay attention to in my life.
4. How am I treating my family? Am I grumpy, irritable, discontent, impatient? Sometimes I am. My desire is to be someone who is gentle, kind, and even tempered. I have been praying lately that I will be a gift to my children (Ann Voskamp). I find that when I am not guarding my schedule or if I am not taking care of myself with my eating and exercise I can get a little bit more unpleasant.
5. Do I delight in my children? Do I see my children as a duty or do I delight in them and have fun with them? I have read it's so important to ask children questions and listen rather than "talking at them" all of the time. Do I jump on the trampoline, play chase, play football, or simply sit down and watch a movie? Sometimes I do. I am always blessed by entering into their world.
By writing this article I have found a theme. It's so important to be intentional as a parent. Some days I miss the mark. I over schedule my time, I lose it with a kid, or I don't take care of myself, or I glance at technology too much. But I can't get this prayer out of my head. Will you join me in praying these two things:
1. Lord, help me to be famous in my home.
2. Lord, help me to be a Gift to my family.
Hugs to all of you precious moms.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
We have not always done a great job of connecting with our children. To be quite honest, connecting with four children can be overwhelming. It is important to us to connect with them on a personal level but for years we stumbled around and we were inconsistent. For the past two years, we have implemented a routine that works really well for us.
Connecting at home: It is easy for me to connect with two of my children at home. They enjoy playing board games, pool, or tossing the football. I have struggled to find ways to connect with the other two. I have studied them and prayed and asked God to show me ways to connect with them. I have found in recent months they just like me to watch them ride their skateboards or sit near them and watch them read or play a video game. They just want to be with me. Study your child and ask God to give you common ground with your child.
Connecting outside of the home: This is the area that was highly challenging for my hubby and I . We wanted to take them on "daddy/mommy dates" but we got overwhelmed with trying to do this on a monthly basis. Now we have found a routine. My husband takes two children a month on individual dates. This seems to be manageable for our family. Find a routine that works well for your family.
Three tips for the dates (my boys call them "trips"): I usually let them pick the outing. Sometimes they pick going to a movie, to dinner, or on a hike. I have found that "time" is the key factor. Early on I made the mistake of taking them to Target to let them pick out something to buy, but I realy didn't spend time with them. Now, if I want to buy them something, we go to the park first or for ice cream. The second tip involves playing "The Would You Rather Game". My younger two boys love me to ask them random questions in the car and it usually leads to deeper conversations. My last tip is that I try to end the dates by telling them five things I love about them. Some of them really "light up" and some of them just nod.
Connecting through a journal: The last way that I try to connect with the boys is through a journal. I got this wonderful idea off of pinterest last year. Each week I write a simple note to each boy in their journal pointing out their strengths for the week. Some of the boys love this and are very grateful while some of the boys don't show much emotion but that's okay with me!
It is truly busy trying to connect with each child but it so worth it. I also have to remind myself often to connect with my hubby and do special things for him. I have to say that connecting with the Lord each day helps me in the crazy but fun journey of parenthood. I would love to hear your ideas as well!! Hugs to all of you precious moms.