Two Powerful Forces That Drive Your Teen’s Activities

Two Powerful Forces That Drive Your Teen's Activities

I have a ridiculous love of apocalyptic movies, so I watched Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano.

Because of course a volcano is going to erupt in the middle of a city. In great heroism, though, Tommy Lee creates a new path for the lava, so it goes to the ocean instead of destroying the metropolis.

It could happen.

I think teen souls are like hot lava that is going to flow. You can’t put a cap on their lives and keep them contained, but you can take powerful, heroic actions to direct where they’re going.

I have an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old, and they are everything I ever hoped they would be.

They love and serve Jesus.

They’re honest, hard-working adults who are pleasant to be around.

I’ve been trying to put my finger on how this happened, so I could share some practical advice with you.

Something I think we did well was to steer our kids in the direction we wanted them to go using the tools of permission and funding.

The Power of Permission

My son was a senior this past year, and he and his friends started scheming about making a big road trip after graduation.

Can you imagine how not excited we were about that?

But then one of the moms suggested that instead the group go to Hawaii and help a small church with their Vacation Bible School.

My husband and I were thrilled with this idea, so we gave Caleb our blessing to go do this Vacation Bible School, on a small island in Hawaii that is spiritually impoverished. He and his friends had a fun time playing in the ocean, but they also made a difference in the lives of little kids.

We started when our kids were very small –giving a hearty yes! to any activity that would benefit our children’s growth in their relationship with God and with godly people.

We signed permission slips and drove them to events and volunteered where we needed to.

We encouraged them to go hang out with good people at good activities.

The Power of Funding

We’re people of modest means, living a middle class life. We drive old cars and have more month than money. But we have used what money we have to direct the activities in which our kids have participated.

We paid over $300 apiece so our kids could go to Creation Festival, which is a three-day Christian concert and speaking event.

We paid for the kids to go to camp.

We paid for them to go to retreats.

We paid for them to go skiing and ice skating and backpacking with people of good character.

We spent money investing in their talents. We paid for voice lessons and bought guitars. My daughter is 21, and I keep buying her art supplies, to encourage that amazing gift she has.

Just about any activity comes with a price tag, so we showed our kids what was important to us by writing checks to fund a good life.

One thing our kids learned was that we loved to say yes.

We would give an excited, “Yes!”, with money to back it, when they chose excellent activities that honored the Lord.

They knew we would make personal sacrifices to help them live well. They also knew it pained us when we did, for some reason, have to say no.

So parent, be encouraged that you have great power in permission and funding. Are you using that power to funnel your child down a good path?

Blessings,

~ Christy Fitzwater

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One Simple Way to Lighten the Load for Your Small Child

One Simple Way to Lighten the Load for Your Small Child

Maybe you find it strange.

That I would even think this way.

But I’m going to tell you anyway . . . with the hope that you somehow understand.

So are you ready?

I don’t like ordering for myself at a restaurant. Not if I can help it anyway.

You can ask my husband and he’ll tell you. He knows because I usually ask him to order for me.

And do you want to know why?

It’s not because I don’t have an opinion.

It’s not because I’m weak or don’t know my own mind. Or tastes. Or whatever.

It’s just because I find that I have to make decisions ALL DAY LONG. And it’s exhausting.

I have to decide what I’m going to wear. And I have to figure out what all we need to do today. I have to decide what goes on the grocery list and how many errands I can squeeze in between appointments.

Also, how I should respond to that one email, make that other phone call, and how I’m going to get everyone . . . to every place that they need to go. On time and, preferably, in one piece.

And what to make for dinner tonight (the worst!).

So you see? If I’m so lucky to have a dinner out with the Man-I-Love, then I want to be freed from making  one more decision.

To simply sit there and be served. It’s really nice.

Because you know something about making lots of decisions?

It’s a whole lot of hard work.

But I’ve noticed this recent trend in mothering where we’re encouraged to allow our young children to make all kinds of decisions. To give them choices and plenty of them.

Do you want the blue cup or the red cup?

Do you want grapes or bananas or cheese for lunch?

What do you want to wear today?

Do you want to play with this toy or that one? Watch this show or the other one?

Do you think you’re ready for bed yet? (Please…)

And so on and so forth.

So if I (a relatively mature grown-up) find it exhausting making so many decisions day after day? What do you think that does to our young children?

That’s a heavy weight for their small shoulders to carry.

And while I’m all for children learning to make decisions – as it’s truly an important life-skill – we need to be careful we’re not asking their little shoulders to bear the weight of so many decisions.

Rather than “empowering” our children (umm…is that what we’re really after, anyway?), I find that it leads to discontented or insecure children. And sometimes both.

So let’s lighten the load for these little ones.

Just hand them the blue cup and serve them grapes and cheese for lunch. Smile brightly and teach them to respond cheerfully in return, “Thank you, Mommy!”

Then, after you’ve read a short story or two, let them know it’s time for their nap. You don’t even need to ask if they’re tired or ready.

Why? Because you’re the mom.

And you wisely know what’s best for your young child and he or she can learn to trust you in this.

Then maybe . . . just maybe when your child wakes up well-rested, you can ask if the two of you should bake something special for dessert that night?

Because that’s an easy decision to make, don’t you think?

Now the only question is what to make…..? 😉

In His grace,

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The Benefit of Being a Tell-Me-More Mom {& Book Giveaway}

 

The Benefit of Being a Tell-Me-More Mom

My spunky 8-year-old daughter Noelle gets a lot of unsolicited advice from her older brother.  Whether Ethan is giving math advice or the definition of a word, Noelle will glare at her brother and answer smugly, “I already know that.”

It always cracks me up because before Noelle even opens her mouth, I know exactly what she will say.

“I already know that.”

You know, we can go through motherhood with an “I already know that” attitude or a “Tell me more” attitude.

In life, there are two kinds of people.  The “Tell me more” person picks up a book like my 31 Days to a Becoming Happy Mom and says, “I have an adult son and two teenagers but I’m sure there’s something else I could learn!”  The “I already know that” person picks up the same book and says, “If I don’t have it figured out by now, it’s never gonna happen.”

See the difference?

For moms, the attitude of “I already know that” is toxic.  It shores up our defenses and keeps our hearts closed off from true transformation.  As you encounter wisdom from God’s Word or from others or from books, don’t default to “I already know that.”

Instead think “Tell me more.” 

You’ll see old ideas with new eyes.  This approach makes all the difference between a changed life and a life that remains static and stale.

Here’s a little video to help you see motherhood with new eyes today.  (Check out my daughter’s porcupine hair at the end – your eyes have never see hair like this!)

Giveaway: 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom

31 Days to Becoming A Happy Mom

Great news!  We’re giving away a copy of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. 

Tell me more right?  All you have to do is enter below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Arlene PellicaneArlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman).  She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah. 

Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.

To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com

35 Healthy Habits I Hope My Daughter Takes Along When She Leaves Home

35 Healthy Habits I Hope My Daughter Takes Along When She Leaves Home

I don’t know why the article caught my eye.

But it sure did.

I don’t think it would normally have intrigued me so, except that I have a daughter who is getting ready to leave home.

She’ll soon be boarding a plane to fly across the country to attend a new college. Nearly 3,000 miles away.

2,682.7 miles to be precise.

And about 2,682 miles too far, if you ask me.

So in this article was a list of a bunch of habits every girl should have, or something to that effect.

And I had that momentary mommy-panic that we all get now and then.

Oh no. What habits will that girl of mine take with her now that she’s leaving home?

This particular post was from a secular source and, while there were some things I could agree on, there were plenty that I found either empty—or even worse.

Habits I did NOT want her to have.

So that got me thinking. Why not come up with my own list? Why not share with her the habits that I would want for her to have?

My daughter Vienna

35 Habits I Hope You Take Along, My Dear Daughter

  1. Make your bed. Every morning. First thing. An easy way to get off on the right foot.
  2. Drink lots of water. Because it’s good for you.
  3. Smile. It will make your day go better, and that of those around you too.
  4. Dress for success. Take a little trouble to wear something clean and nice.
  5. Start each day in the Word. No better way to begin your day.
  6. Pray. About all things.
  7. Count your blessings. This habit alone could change your life. Or at least your perspective.
  8. Stand up straight. It will improve your appearance and add to your confidence.
  9. Get some fresh air. You’ll feel better if you do.
  10. Exercise. A few minutes each day, if at all possible. Even a good, brisk walk counts.
  11. Eat something green. Preferably dark green and organic.
  12. Limit the carbs. They are not your friend.
  13. Dip into your stash of dark chocolate. It’s full of antioxidants and can be a real mood-changer.
  14. Don’t even think about fast-food. Junk, junk, junk.
  15. Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. Even if you’re in a hurry, try to grab a piece of fruit and a boiled egg.
  16. Brush and floss your teeth every day. Twice a day. But you already knew that.
  17. Invest in at least one item that makes you feel pretty. A scarf, a bracelet, or a fun hat?
  18. Always arrive on time. If at all possible. Maybe even show up a little early.
  19. Regularly attend a good, solid church. Find a strong Christian community for love and support.
  20. Don’t ever use your credit card. Save it only for emergencies. A real emergency.
  21. Don’t spend more money than you make. A simple rule that will save you a lot of trouble.
  22. Put away a small amount in savings every month. Because you just never know.
  23. Wash your face before going to bed. Improves your complexion.
  24. Get enough sleep. Your body and mind will thank you.
  25. Keep a journal. Cheaper than therapy and interesting to look back on.
  26. Keep in touch with a few good friends. Take the time, no matter how far away they live.
  27. Laugh a little each day. It really is the best medicine.
  28. Make sure your nails look nice. Clean, neat, and maybe a light polish.
  29. Don’t forget your vitamins. Preferably a good women’s multi-vitamin and Vitamin D3.
  30. Take Echinacea.  Pop a couple of capsules whenever you feel like you’re coming down with something.
  31. Keep the Sabbath. Not out of law, but because a day of rest goes a long way.
  32. Read a good book. Something rich that doesn’t have to do with work or school.
  33. Early to bed, early to rise. The early bird gets the worm and all that. :)
  34. Always remember you’re a princess. A child of the King.
  35. CALL YOUR MOM. Every day. Okay, at least often.

Now if you practice these habits – that you’ve hopefully learned at home – then you will be well on your way to a happy and healthy new season of life.

And the wonderful thing about good habits? They really do add up more than you might think over time. You’ll be glad you took these with you and you’ll see what a difference they can make.

So I wish you God’s richest blessing as you follow Him in this next adventure across the country.

And I’ll be praying for you.

Every day. 

Because that, my dear daughter, is your mom’s habit. 

With much love,

Mom

*Your turn! Anything to add to this list or advice for our daughter who is leaving home? 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
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7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being A New Mom

7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being A New Mom

She asked if I’d share what she should know about being a New Mom.

Because she had never been a mommy before.

And she had so many questions.

Didn’t feel confident about what she was doing and what she should expect.

And boy! did I get what she meant by that.

No one had told me what it would be like and what motherhood was really all about. They made it seem like it was going to be so “natural” and that everything would somehow “click” when the baby was born.

And there was some truth to that.

But there were so many other moments when I felt incredibly clueless and wondered if I was even doing it right.

7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being a New Mom

So while there are plenty of things about motherhood that you just have to experience for yourself, here are a few things that I wish somebody would have told me . . .

1.   You’re bound to make a few mistakes.

Maybe even more than a few.

And that’s okay.

Perfectionism is highly over-rated. Especially in motherhood.

So, yes, I did place our first-born son in the baby swing and plopped him in the thing all wrong.

And he fell out.

Onto the FLOOR.

The little guy recovered after a only a couple of minutes . . . but I woke up sobbing with the memory (my poor husband) in the middle of the night. On more than one night.

Wondering what God was thinking to have entrusted me with a real, live baby.

But you’ll be glad to hear that our son is now 21 years old, seems to be doing well, and I’ve nearly recovered from the experience.

So you might as well reconcile yourself now that you will make mistakes.

As do all the other moms.

And you’re going to be fine.

There’s a beautiful place for grace in motherhood.

2.   You will never know everything you think you should know.

You can study and you can learn.

You can read articles and books. Ask questions and observe.

But there will be many times when you will simply scratch your head and wonder what in the world you should do.

You will find yourself on your knees and crying out to God – asking for more wisdom or more strength or more patience. And likely all three.

This is not because you are not a good mom or that you are doing something “wrong.” This is because being a mom is a really big deal and no one has ever raised your child before.

It’s just you. For the first time.

So how could you possibly know all there is to know?

Grace for you.

3.   Being a mom will reveal stuff about yourself like nothing else.

I didn’t know I had a temper . . . until I had children.

I thought I was one of the more patient people you’d ever meet.

But then I had kids.

Blew that myth clear out of the water.

It turned out that I could get mad. Rather mad.

Frustrated to the point of yelling.

And realized that I had an area I needed to work on.

It was humbling.

But good for me too, if you know what I mean?

So motherhood will grow you – if you let it.

Grace and growth. Now isn’t that exciting? 

4.   Motherhood will be harder than you might have imagined.

Motherhood goes on all day. Every day.

And throughout the night too.

Day after day and year after year.

It takes all you’ve got – and sometimes more than you think you’ve got.

So if you feel stretched to your limit?

Then you’re probably doing it right.

His grace is sufficient for you. (2 Cor. 12:9)

5.   But more wonderful than you ever thought possible.

Each day is fresh and different.

Always something new to explore and something interesting to learn.

This phase and that season.

It will keep you on your toes. Give you something to think about and talk about and wonder over.

Some people complain about this reality, but not you.

You are going to love it. And drink it in. And thank God for all the possibilities.

Tiny feet and cooing sounds.

Giggles and stories and mud-puddles.

They’re all going to be beautiful to you.

Late night talks and heart-felt prayers. A few tears.

It will add up to so much wonderful that you’ll hardly be able to stand it.

Loving grace poured out over you.

6.   Motherhood doesn’t get any easier.

Nobody wants to admit this.

They want to make you feel better by telling you it will get better soon.

But only a true friend will give it to you straight: it doesn’t get easier. It only gets different.

Now I don’t say this for you to despair.

Because hopefully . . . hopefully you will – at some point – get more sleep.

(Until they get to be teens, of course, and then all bets are off.)

But really? Is it easy that we’re looking for? Surely not.

It’s love and relationship – not ease and comfort – that fill our hearts.

Grace upon grace. 

7.   You will never be the same again.

Because now you’re a mom.

And this little person that you hold? Will want to look to you and be near you.

Will be eager for you to understand them and believe that you’ll always be there.

To laugh with, cry on, and pray over.

Not only now as a baby, but for the rest of your lives together.

But don’t even try to take that all in.

Just do today.

Because today is a gift.

Much like that sweet child you’re holding.

Blessings on you and your new baby, my friend. You’re going to love being a mom!

Grace and peace to you,

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*So does anyone have any other words of wisdom or encouragement to add here? I’d love to hear them! 

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Why Your Kids Need Never Be Bored ~ Ever Again

Why Your Kids Will Never Be Bored Again

Have you heard this lately?

“I’m bored; there’s nothing to do.”

It is so frustrating to hear this when you’ve just returned from a family vacation full of all sorts of activities for your kids.  Or you’ve had them in special camps at home. (And most likely they haven’t thanked you.)

Instead, now they have a few free minutes and they expect you to entertain them. It’s enough to make a tired, unappreciated mother scream!

We are raising our kids in an “entertain me” culture.

However, making sure our kids are always entertained is not our primary job.

In fact, always having a planned, structured day or an ever-ready TV show or “device” can rob our children of the ability to develop creativity.

Kids don’t need more toys; they need more encouragement to make up their own games, to create things out of nature, to devise plays, write poetry, create art, hunt for treasures (like worms!) in the backyard.

Some time ago we created a list with our grandkids.

It says: We never say, “I’m bored at the farm.” Here’s a list of things to do by myself or with another child.”

So far we have 54 things on our list and the kids keep adding to it. It has become a game to see how many more things they can think of.

So now when a child says, “I’m bored,” we send them to the list.

Our We-Are-Not-Bored List

OUR WE-ARE-NOT-BORED LIST

  1. READ
  2. CLIMB TREES
  3. PLAY FOOTBALL
  4. COLOR
  5. PLAY FREEZE TAG
  6. WORK A PUZZLE
  7. LOOK AT PHOTO ALBUMS
  8. PLAY TEA PARTY
  9. SLEEP
  10. PLAY SARDINES
  11. BUILD A FORT
  12. PLAY BINGO
  13. LAY ON COUCH IN PARTY BARN
  14. PLAY WITH ARMY MEN
  15. BUILD SOMETHING WITH HAMMERS AND NAILS AND WOOD (GET SCRAPES FROM HOUSES UNDER CONSTRUCTION)
  16. PLAY DRESS UP
  17. WRITE IN JOURNALS
  18. COLOR ON FLOOR IN BASEMENT WITH CHALK
  19. KICK SOCCER BALL
  20. PLAY IN THE ROCKS WITH TRUCKS
  21. COOK
  22. PLAY VOLLEYBALL
  23. GET A CUP AND COLLECT WORMS AND BUGS
  24. PLAY HOPSCOTCH
  25. DO HANDSTANDS
  26. PLAY BOCHE
  27. BUILD A TREE HOUSE
  28. PLAY PING-PONG
  29. SIT ON THE BENCH AND READ
  30. PLAY SCHOOL IN THE PLAY HOUSE
  31. ROAST MARSHMALLOWS
  32. MAKE JAM
  33. PICK BERRIES
  34. LOOK FOR STARS
  35. PLAY IN THE CREEK
  36. FISH
  37. PLAY WITH RIDDLE DOG (THROW HIS BALL)
  38. MAKE A SECRET TRAIL IN THE YARD OR WOODS
  39. CREATE A SCAVENGER HUNT FOR THE FAMILY OR FRIENDS
  40. MAKE A PLAY OUT OF A BIBLE STORY AND PREFORM IT
  41. BUILD A FORT IN THE WOODS
  42. COLLECT ROCKS AND PAINT THEM
  43. PLAY IN THE SECRET WARDROBE
  44. CREATE AN OLYMPICS COMPETITION
  45. PLAY IN THE SPRINKLER OR LITTLE POOL
  46. GET A BAGGIE AND COLLECT THINGS GO HAS MADE
  47. PLAY WITH TRAINS
  48. WRITE A SONG OR POEM
  49. PLAY WITH BLOCKS
  50. GET LARGE CARDBOARD BOXES (FROM AN APPLIANCE STORE) AND CREATE PLAYHOUSES OR TRAINS OUT OF THEM
  51. PLAY HIDE AND GO SEEK
  52. COLOR PICTURES AND SEND THEM TO GRANDPARENTS
  53. SEE HOW MANY DIFFERENT LEAVES YOU CAN COLLECT. (IRON THEM BETWEEN 2 PIECES OF WAX PAPER AND HANG THEM IN THE WINDOW. )
  54. SWING IN THE HAMMOCK WITH A BOOK
  55. …?

Why Your Kids Will Not Be Bored Again

Creating Your Own We-Are-Not-Bored List

Gather you kids and begin brainstorming together.

And make it a family fun time.

Turn it into a contest to see how many you can come up with and then post it. You can then let them add on to it over the weeks ahead.  

Rather than get frustrated, simply say,“Honey, you are so creative. Go look at the great list we developed and find something to do by yourself, or I bet you can even create something new!”

A wise parent doesn’t always entertain your child, but gives him or her an opportunity to grow and learn and create.

Blessings,

Susan 

Printable of 50 Fun Things for Kids to DoHere’s another list for further inspiration: Free Printable: 50 Fun Things for Kids to Do

*What kinds of things would you include on your We-Are-Not-Bored List? Please share your ideas!

 

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