For every mother who has carried and lost the precious gift of life…
Every mother who has suffered loss locked in silence…
Every mother who has not been comforted because society tells her that what she lost was not a child…
Though the world may not listen, we know…
birth; the pressure and anguish of countless women and girls who are driven to abortion; and a cheapening of our respect for the human person and the sanctity of human life.
Here’s my very last ~A September to Remember~ guest post! I’ll be sharing a wrap-up soon of all the wonderful ‘vintage finds’ shared by these awesome writers. So enjoy this last, but so very not least, post from a very raw and honest Zoie @ TouchstoneZ. (Loss mentioned)
~~~~Unraveling What I’ve Knit Together~~~
I have early memories of feeling wrong within myself. I may have been four years old the first time I can recall believing I was bad. I know I didn’t have the words to identify the feelings, but I had them. I have never felt that I had the right to be alive. My entire life, I have had this little doubt that crept into every experience and tainted it just enough to keep me from holding it fully to my heart-the belief that I was broken somewhere inside.
I found this poem I wrote fifteen years ago:
Since Puck is Taken
If I show you my poetry
You will see inside of me
Core of polluting coal
50 pack lung-seeming soul
Rotten bulb flowering
So I will never show
And you will never know
And it dawned on me why the circular thinking of PPD was so appealing to me. It felt like a comfy wool sweater that was well-worn and familiar. I could slip it on like a protection from the elements of my life that felt raw and chafing. I had worn this sweater before. The only time I can recall taking it off was after the birth of my first child. I felt so empowered that nothing could make me un-love myself.
Then I got pregnant for the second time. And that pregnancy ended in a stillbirth. And I pulled my old sweater on without even noticing. I didn’t take it off for the birth of my second son. I zipped it up and added a hood when I got PPD for the first time. Then, the PPD was a bit better and I took off the hood. I mourned the lost time from the PPD haze but wasn’t ready to take it off yet. It wasn’t until after the birth of my third son and PPD returned that I had had enough. I didn’t want to lose more time to this.
I decided that this time, instead of periodically trying to rip off the sweater and throw it away (because that always ended up with me digging frantically in my mental garbage bins to put it back on) I would caress the sweater. Enjoy its fine knit and excellent fit. I made this sweater. I placed each stitch of wool in myself. It is lovingly crafted to protect me and I honor it for what I have made. I honor myself that at least some small part of me has always been able to see the true me and wrap it up in warmth and protection.
For the first time, perhaps in my life, I feel ready to address a lifetime of depression. I can notice it because of the skills I have been working on: sitting with uncomfortable feelings and holding them. Just holding them.
Grief over the loss of my daughter. Grief over the loss of all the parts of myself I never allowed. Grief over the childhood, teenhood, and adulthood that was black with this belief.
Grief over how things are not the way I want them to be. Grief over the loss of time and closeness with my children and my husband. Grief over not living my life the way I wanted and for not being as loving with myself and others as I want to be.
I’ve been allowing grief to arise. I’ve been putting my arms around my heart to hold me together because I’m afraid I’ll fly apart if I even look at these feelings. I’ve been noticing them, crying over them, and watching them come and go as I need them to.
And Anger. There’s a lot of anger underneath the grief, and I’m terrified of anger. I don’t know what to do with it. So, I don’t do anything with it. I sit with it. I can always put my sweater back on if it gets too scary. It’s folded up in my lap for whenever I need to hide.
Don’t forget to head over to check out Zoie @ TouchstoneZ!
As I wrap up ~A September to Remember~ with such a grateful heart to all my friends who shared their ‘vintage treasures’ with me, I’ve chosen a final few posts to share as a lead in to October’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Here is a touching post from Theresa at NurturingtheNaturalMama. Be aware that loss is discussed. Be blessed, mamas.
The Doctor said I had been “struck by lightening twice”- I have now conceived twice while on the pill. And I get it, with so many women who struggle with infertility out there, how is it that someone like me conceives TWICE on the pill? I have no idea. First time I can chalk it up to perhaps imperfect compliance, this time- I have no explanation. Nonetheless, it happened.
So just as anyone who thought they were being “safe” that finds out they’re pregnant would do, I freaked. I had a complete and utter panic attack. I have a nine month old, I’m still on medication for PPD (the label for which says it can cause birth defects), I’ve been taking the pill, and drinking alcohol! EEK! So I go to the Doctor, who draws some blood… assures me I’m probably early enough where it won’t matter… and talks me down of my stress-cliff. I go home more self assured and semi- ready to try and explain this to my husband.
Needless to say, by the next day the thoughts have sunk in and we’re ready to dig in our heels and make our growing family fit into our tiny apartment, and even spent well into the night before chatting about names and the other idle chit chat that goes along with the beginning stages of pregnancy.
That’s when we got the call.
I would need my bloodwork rechecked the following day at my OBGYN’s office. When my OB called, the conversation started with “I am so sorry…”
What?! You’re sorry about what???….
My HCG levels had dropped, and I was told if I hadn’t already, I was having a miscarriage.
“This is not a viable pregnancy.” What does that even mean? Simple translation: Your baby is dead. Now I get it, to some this seems dramatic- especially for someone who was probably only 6- 8 weeks pregnant. But my baby’s heart was beating. My baby was alive, and is now dead.
The few family members we had told have attempted to console us with the ever popular “something just wasn’t right”, or “your body just wasn’t ready”, or “everything happens for a reason”- and while I can appreciate all of that, it still means my baby is gone. And what makes me feel the worst, is that s/he was so tiny at such an early gestation…. I get a lump in my throat even just THINKING about typing this… that s/he probably got…. gulp….. flushed down the toilet.
I, for all intents and purposes, could have flushed my baby down the toilet.
This devastates me most of all.
But the biggest lesson I have learned from all of this, is that miscarriage is such a silent and lonely struggle. You don’t tell anyone because you don’t want people to think you’re just seeking pity, but then everyone around you is going on with their daily lives, talking about the night out with friend A, or their trip to the bar with friend B, and you were just told your baby is dead. And no one ever knew your baby even existed.
How do you get support? Who do you talk to? You’re certainly not going to go around asking ‘hey, have you had a miscarriage? I just did and I’m not sure what to do next’.
I have at least found the following links which have either brought some peace/support to me, or I feel could help others:
And I have found much needed solace in my husband, and in our Church. And tonight, as I rocked my baby A to sleep, I held her a little tighter, kissed her forehead a bit longer, drew in a deeper breath of her warm baby smell, waited for her own breathing to even, and then laid her down and watched…. and then did what I haven’t done in … well, I think my whole life… I prayed. I prayed to whoever this God is, that my other babies stay safe. And that I wanted to thank Him SO much for the blessings I DO have in my life. My two existing, healthy, happy babies… my wonderful husband.. my beautiful step daughter… my family…. my friends…
and then I asked Him, pretty please, if He could just take tonight, to rock my baby to sleep…
Thanks for Theresa for sharing, and don’t forget to check out her site at NurturingtheNaturalMama!
“Spare the Rod…”
[Reprinted from Gentle Parenting: A Christian Perspective due to be released in 2014; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost now available on Amazon]
One of the hot-button issues when it comes to discipline and children is spanking, and the more Christian and conservative the audience, the more hot the debate becomes. And yet there are no verses in the New Testament that support spanking, smacking, whipping, or otherwise hitting children.
In the Old Testament there are a total of five verses that have been interpreted to encourage, or even command, the use of physical punishment on children. All five of those verses are in the book of Proverbs.
There have been many books, papers, articles, etc. written debating the interpretation of those verses, so I won’t take the time to go into the linguistics other than to mention that the word translated ‘child’ and ‘children’ in those Old Testament verses, when literally translated, means ‘young man.’ (Note: This is not a translation error, simply a language barrier in that, while the original languages of the Bible~Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek~have many words for the same thing, each with a different specific meaning, in English we just have one word for child, so that one word must suffice for my ’small child,’ my ’adolescent child,’ my ’young adult child,’ etc.) So a very literal interpretation of the Bible in those verses means that when a young man stubbornly refuses all other corrective measures, then the punishment of the culture at that time was a lashing. So, applying these scriptures tochildren is not in line with a literal interpretation. It would actually make more sense to apply them to the disciples!
The main issue, though, that seems to get lost in the debate is that Jesus brought grace and mercy as His methods and message for a reason. The purpose of the law in the Old Testament was to highlight the need for a Savior because man simply cannot live perfectly.
Jesus came to fulfill the outward requirements of the law that highlighted man’s sinful nature and replace them with an inner heart change. He demonstrated in many ways that the law (outer governance and control through fear of punishment) was no longer to be a rigid yoke with its heavy burden of cleansing and rituals and sacrifices and punishments, but instead was to be a kingdom of the heart, of mercy not sacrifice, because the sacrifice was Himself!
Jesus stopped the people from stoning the prostitute (which was a command in the Old Testament).
He healed people and traveled on the Sabbath (punishable by death in the Old Testament).
He consorted with ‘sinners’ and ate with them (despite the commands in Proverbs, the same book in the Bible with the ‘rod’ scriptures).
He showed again and again that if we accept Him as our Savior, we are called to be “ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
We accept that Jesus brought a new and better way, a way of the heart (“Not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3b), but don’t seem to want to acknowledge that better way with our children.
We accept God’s grace and forgiveness for ourselves, but often don’t share those gifts with, and model them for, our children.
But we are our children’s first taste of God. Is it any wonder people have such a hard time understanding grace and mercy and unconditional love when they may not have been taught those things by their earthly parents and don’t exercise them with their own children?
Through Jesus’ sacrifice, He tore open the veil dividing man from God and brought a new kingdom, a kingdom of inner governance through the Holy Spirit who’s fruits are “peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Nowhere does Jesus say to follow Him except when it comes to our children. He doesn’t say to offer grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone except our children. The Bible doesn’t tell us to show the Fruit of the Spirit to everyone except our children.
If we truly believe that, based on five verses in the Old Testament that may not even be interpreted correctly, we are being disobedient to God’s commands if we don’t spank our children, then we must take that belief and walk it out fully.
In other words, if we must obey that supposed command, then we must obey all the other commands such as an “eye for an eye” and stoning adulterers (but don’t we teach forgiveness?), and we shouldn’t feed the homeless because “if a man doesn’t work, neither shall he eat” (but aren’t we supposed to be the heart and hands of Jesus?), and we shouldn’t give Christmas shoeboxes of goodies to prisoners’ children because “the sins of the father are visited on the children” (but isn’t the “kingdom of heaven made up of such as these”?)
My point is summed up in this verse: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10) In other words, if you feel bound by those five verses, then you must be bound by all.
If you truly believe that those five verses have been interpreted correctly and that “spare the rod, spoil the child” (Note: There is no verse in the Bible that says ”spare the rod, spoil the child.” That phrase is actually from a satirical poem called Hudibras by Samuel Butler first published in 1662.) refers to an actual physical rod (instead of a symbol of guidance and loving correction…i.e. discipleship) and that the word used for ‘child’ refers to a person under the age of eighteen (instead of the actual linguistic translation meaning ‘young man’), then so be it.
But do you really believe that Jesus’ New Covenant is for everyone except children? That grace, mercy, unconditional love, and forgiveness are for adults only?
The disciples made that mistake, and Jesus said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Today’s guest for ~A September to Remember~ is Audra Rundle from Little One Books!
~~Books Spanning Generations~~
My baby is growing – rapidly. I know this because my belly is growing rapidly. My excitement to meet my little cherub is growing exponentially, and books are a huge part of the stimulus.
I am lucky enough to work with children’s books, and while I am reviewing them for work, I find myself daydreaming about reading them aloud to my little one in just a few months. My favorite children’s author at the moment is Mo Willems – particularly Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Pigeon Wants a Puppy – as they are the first children’s books to have me full on belly laughing every time I read them. I can’t wait to do my funny pigeon voice for my little one and make him or her laugh along with me. I’ve tried it out on my husband a few times, and although he does laugh, it may be more at my antics than the pigeon’s.
I recently registered for books and CDs through the Little One Books baby shower registry and had so much fun choosing a mixture of favorites from when I was little (like Dr. Seuss’ Go! Dog! Go!) and new classics, such as If You Give a Pig a Pancake.
I’ve already received my first book for the baby, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. It came from my best friend of 25 years, and I remember her mom reading it to us at her house when we were toddlers. Admittedly, it makes me a bit misty eyed to think of us reading the same classic story to my child now. How neat is it that my son or daughter and I will share nostalgic feelings about the same books?!
I would love to hear from you what some of your favorite classic books are from your own childhood that you also read to your little one!
Little One Books specializes in quality books, music, and video, for children birth through age five, and have personally reviewed and selected each and every item in their store. You’ll find detailed information on why they prefer a particular product in their “Why We Chose” section of each product page.
by Lee Binz
Learning to Compensate
Dealing with learning challenges is difficult, but in high school, it can become seriously concerning. You don’t have to be afraid! With the great student to teacher ratio of homeschooling, and the love for your child, you have what it takes!
Debbie was at her lowest point when she realized her 12 year old son, Dan, could not read or write in his Sunday school classes. She had to carefully shield him from the judgment of others. Her homeschool friends were very understanding, but she worked hard to keep him away from situations where he would have to read aloud. She was distraught. Again and again they changed curriculum, hoping each time that a new curriculum would change everything. It seemed like nothing would ever work. He struggled with learning all the way through high school. She never had him officially tested, because she didn’t want him to be labeled as an adult. Dan has achieved wonderful things since graduating homeschool!
When Dan turned 18, he started working at Starbucks. An excellent worker, he received nothing but positive feedback which motivated him to continue his education. He decided to attend college. He didn’t score well on the SAT, so they did not report his scores to colleges. He entered college “through the back door” his mother said, by attending community college first. His excellent work ethic and love of learning helped him thrive where others felt adrift. Dan transferred from community college to the university with a 3.89 grade point average. There were 300 applicants to the business school this year, and Dan was one of only 100 admitted. Debbie says “He finally realizes he can do it!”
Debbie has some great advice for parents. Don’t push them before they are ready. She was glad she kept him home, so that he could avoid the negative feedback from a public school setting. She read aloud to Dan constantly – even his high school textbooks, when necessary. She used verbal assessments in all his classes, and didn’t introduce essay writing until much later.
She recommends books by Dr. Raymond Moore, including Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education and Grace Llewellyn, The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education and Cynthia Tobias, The Way They Learn. She says, “You feel like you’re failing – like you didn’t do something right.” Don’t be deterred, though. It takes a lot of one-on-one time, but that’s the benefit of homeschooling. Read to them their textbooks, and the classics. Even in college they can be allowed help with reading.
In her lowest moments, Debbie would remember her grandfather. He also could not read. His wife would read blueprints to him each night so he would be prepared for work the next day. Still, he grandfather was a successful businessman. He was able to compensate. Her son Dan is able to compensate now.
Her biggest surprise was realizing that Dan wanted a college degree. She had never thought he would go to college, and only vaguely considered a technical school. But when he worked at Starbucks, he identified his gift in business. So her additional advice is the same as mine. She says, “Even if you think they won’t go to college, they may – so always be prepared!”
Dan is so thankful he was homeschooled. He has said he would never put his own children in public school. He knows that if he had been in public school, he wouldn’t be where he is today. Nurturing is critical, and homeschooling can provide that best. Debbie says, “I remember the hopelessness. They CAN succeed and excel – just give them the tools.”
Learning to Teach
JoAnn homeschooled her two daughters, feeling extremely unsure of her abilities – until her girls were officially diagnosed with learning disabilities. Once she had the diagnosis, she realized that homeschooling was the best option. She didn’t want her girls ostracized and placed in a “special” group that would have a negative effect on their socialization skills. Even her mother became increasingly supportive of homeschooling after the diagnosis was made.
Her two girls could not read until half-way through 5th grade. They struggled in reading, writing, and spelling. Joann took her children to The Slingerland Institute. She recommends two pamphlets that really helped her cope. One is Why Wait for a Criterion of Failure. The other is An Adaptation of the Orton-Gillingham Approach for Classroom Teaching of Reading, both by Beth Slingerland.
JoAnn’s advice is “Never despair! The timing of brain growth is on your CHILD’S timetable, not yours. Accept it, because you certainly can’t change it!” She wishes she would have dropped more academic subjects when they were in elementary school. Still, she is so glad she homeschooled. “Homeschooling is better for dyslexic kids for the positive encouragement and socialization.”
She taught with multi-sensory input and multi-sensory output. In every subject she worked to provide lessons with audio, visual, AND tactile input. She would supplement courses with drama, hands on projects, and verbal assessments all the way through school. Her daughters were especially helped by the use of color. Her daughter still color codes her college lecture notes to improve her retention.
JoAnn’s older daughter went directly into the University and majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. She has recently graduated with an advanced degree as a Veterinarian Technician. Her younger daughter also went directly into the University. She will graduate with a degree in interior design, and has already done some design work for Bill Gates as a college intern. Both girls were very successful in college.
Learning to Cope
Jill is hesitant about labeling her daughter in any way, but knew she faced some unique challenges even though she wasn’t formally diagnosed. Her daughter recently became a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist. Here is what Jill says about her daughter’s struggles: “She worked hard and I’m very proud of her. She is the daughter that would fit into the statement ‘I could never homeschool my child because….’ She is very active, intense, dramatic and a joy to be around. I am convinced that if she were in the public school we would have been ‘encouraged’ to put her on medications (the standard line around here, when she is getting jumpy is to ‘run up to the mailbox and get the mail’ which is a mile round trip). She has forced me to think outside of the box and, well, it is an adventure I’m sorry to see come to a close.”
Like the other mothers, Jill was able to find a way to harness strengths and weaknesses, and teach her child to compensate for difficulties. With a parent’s close attention, unique coping mechanisms can develop. A homeschooling parent can see small successes, and learn to shape and mold new ways of coping with each challenge.
Joelle is right in the thick of things, with her young child. I asked her for some advice for others, and she emphasizes that coping comes from faith. This is Joelle’s experienced advice.
“A learning ‘disability’ (a word I hesitate to use for anyone who doesn’t have a severe condition) isn’t something you can just make go away if you have a clinic and a handful of web links. A learning challenge is best addressed with being sensitive to learning style and interests, which, as you know, vary from child to child. A learning challenge is also a mindset, a lifestyle, and sore knees from prayer. A learning challenge means you’ll come face to face with your pessimism and lack of faith through tears of mourning for the child you don’t have. But lest anyone abandon hope, a learning challenge also means seeing God answer those tears by turning them to tears of what is, hands down, absolutely the most incredible joy when you see the triumphs. You will see those victories sooner or later on Earth or in Heaven.
A learning challenge leads to personal growth in the siblings of the challenged child. A learning challenge is a worldview, a lens, a perspective. It’s the fierce mother-bear love you have when you whisper to your child, ‘Don’t listen to the naysayers. I love you no matter what, and I’m still your teacher.’ I can’t put this in a box. I can offer a short list, but there’s only one resource on here that I can guarantee hands down will help everyone. The rest can be labeled ‘of interest.’
1) The Bible. Children are people – in fact, they are the most human of people. There are lots of passages on how we are to deal with our fellow humans. This is the only resource on this list that I can guarantee *will* help.
2) Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv – read this concurrently with #3
3) Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All in Your Head by Carla Hannaford – which will probably lead to curiosity about #4
4) Brain Gym or similar therapies offered by #5 and #6
5) The National Association for Child Development ( )
6) The Developmental Movement Center, Seattle (206) 525-8038″
Learning to Grow
Jay Smith of Linfield College says this, “The advice that I’d give to your students, is to simply be proactive in their college search process. The students shouldn’t be afraid to ask colleges if they offer support for students with learning disabilities, and what that support entails. We have high expectations of our students, but we also understand that we all learn in different ways.”
Some colleges have an extremely supportive environment for children with learning disabilities. Redeemer Pacific College is a small Catholic college in Langley, BC, affiliated with Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university, Trinity Western University. Admissions Coordinator Jennifer Friesen says, “All RPC students are able to use the services for students with disabilities offered through TWU, including access to the Learning Resource Centre and starting off their university career at TWU’s Freshman Academy.” The Learning Resource Centre offers services such as note taking, accommodated examinations and providing material in alternate formats.
Freshman Academy is a program for students who have not met the requirements for admission into university due to a low grade point average or missing academic courses. Friesen says, “Freshman Academy allows students to go through their classes in a small cohort with the support of their professors, a faculty Learning Coach, and their classmates. Once students have completed Freshman Academy they are able to directly enter their second year of university at Redeemer Pacific and Trinity Western.”
When I go to college fairs, I notice how many colleges truly specialize in students with learning struggles. They WANT your students, and they are ready, willing, and able to teach them.
Learning to Succeed
You can request accommodation for the SAT and ACT if necessary, which does require a doctor’s diagnosis. If you don’t want accommodation for the college admission tests, a diagnosis may not be necessary. You may feel comfortable with your homeschooling methods, and don’t need additional help or direction. Perhaps a specialist will not impact what you’re doing, and a diagnosis may not change anything or be worth your while. On the other hand, if you are completely baffled about how to teach your student in a way that makes sense, and the input of a specialist will help you and change what you are doing, then evaluation may be useful.
If you think a diagnosis will help YOU, then I think it will help your child. In that situation, testing would be worthwhile, even if it’s inconvenient. If testing will not help you, then it may not be necessary.
Keep in mind your long-terms goals. You want your child to grow up and have their own home. You want them to succeed and thrive in anything they choose. There are colleges that specialize in learning disabilities. There IS a great college out there for him, and they will understand and accept any learning issues without hesitation. Search and you will find just the right college.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee’s 5-part mini-course, “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School.” You can find her at http://www.TheHomeScholar.com. Sign up for our newsletter, The HomeScholar Record: http://www.thehomescholar.com/homeschool-newsletter.php
Up next in ~A September to Remember~ is The Peaceful Housewife with a ‘vintage post’ about modeling grace in our parenting. Lovely!
~~~To the Time Out Corner!~~~
As I’ve blogged about previously, we are on a new journey into grace based discipline in our house. I am learning so much about Christ from my children and about parenting my children from Christ. I am seeking to model my parenting from how my heavenly Father parents me. He is, after all, the ultimate parental figure.
In grace based parenting, your connection with your child is foremost. As a result of that connection and the relationship you build with your child, true loving obedience is born. This seemed strange to me at first, as one of the suggestions you often see is time-in’s, or loving your child during the undesirable behavior rather than sending them away to sit by themselves as punishment for their behavior. Sending them to time out can send the message that you will not love them or be connected to them if their behavior doesn’t please you.
In reflecting on this, I wonder if that’s part of why so many people are codependent. I also think that’s part of why I struggle with understanding how Christ can love me with my character defects. The manner in which I discipline, or disciple, my children teaches them about Christ and His love. I have a very sobering responsibility to ensure that I model Christ’s actual love and correction rather than a skewed version that is overly heavy on punishment or on grace.
So I asked myself how Christ corrects me when I am sinful. He convicts me and speaks to me gently but firmly, and then He waits for me to ask for forgiveness and make amends. He never breaks His fellowship with me or throws a tantrum. He doesn’t lash out at me in anger. He always has the end result in mind – when I am made perfect and whole in Him when my life here is done. He doesn’t demand that I apologize when I don’t yet fully understand why what I’ve done is wrong or try to make me feel guilt and shame in order to force me to behave. The connection is first. The relationship. I am not capable of being fully and constantly sinless for Christ. Praise God, my relationship with Christ isn’t dependent on my actions or character. He loves me and disciples me even when my character defects are rearing their ugly little heads. He is constantly reaching out to me, drawing near to me, guiding me, filling me with His Holy Spirit.
So how does this translate to my parenting? I need to be constantly drawing close to my children, guiding them, filling them with wisdom and grace. I need to remember that my relationship with my children is foremost and should not suffer because of their character defects. I need to disciple my children gently but firmly and help them to understand Godly character and the fruits of the Spirit. I don’t need to demand superficial apologies that aren’t sincere or try to control my children’s’ behaviors by making them feel guilt and shame. I need to ask the Holy Spirit to convict my children and be there to help them understand that conviction. I need not behave in anger and I must keep the end result in mind – I have been entrusted with the very important job of helping to raise up a servant of Christ.
I am constantly reminded of this in the 12-steps of Celebrate Recovery. In step 12, having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs. The verse that goes with this step is Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” My children are children of God. They are my brother and sister in Christ. If they are caught in a sin, I need to restore them gently, using caution to ensure that I am not sinning against God by abusing the responsibility that He has entrusted me. It is a sobering responsibility. One day, I will be called to account for how I raised my children. Will I have neglected that responsibility by being overly permissive and not enforcing boundaries? Will I have abused that responsibility by attempting to control and change my children into what I believe that they should be? Or will I have done the best that I could with Christ’s help to model the love of Christ and give them a healthy understanding of God’s love, grace and conviction?
Today’s guest poster for ~A September to Remember~ is Leslie from THE MOM: INFORMED. Be sure to head over and check out her site!
Some autistic folks develop quite the arsenal of self soothing exercises…some spin to center themselves, some flap their arms, some repeat words, numbers or phrases. People with OCD have their own unique quirks for dealing as well.
Babies and toddlers have ways to deal with stress themselves…crying, sucking, nursing, sleeping. Babies who nurse get their non-nutritive sucking needs met by suckling the breast. That’s how they seem to best get their stress dealt with. Bottle fed babies sometimes go for thumb or pacifier sucking to meet that need. Other kids hold blankets or dolls.
The point of this post is to get you to look at pacifying and thumb-sucking and non-nutritive nursing in a new light. It isn’t something for lazy mom’s to use. It isn’t something kids use as manipulation. It starts out as a reflex that is found to be quite soothing and stress relieving. Most kids stop using a pacifier between 2 and 4 all on their own. Most kids stop sucking their thumb between 4 and 6 all on their own. A couple of great medical posting on non-nutritive sucking and why it’s normal are HERE and HERE . Did you know that thumb-sucking and pacifier sucking release endorphins(the feel good hormone)? Yeah, that’s why it is an excellent tool for babies to cope with stress. Sucking starts out as a reflex that develops into a tool.
So, before you dismiss baby’s need outside of food or even your toddlers need, remember, it is a not a bad thing. It is healthy and natural. And for the most part…most kids give them up on their own when they are old enough to understand and deal with stress in a better manner.
- THE MOM: INFORMED
- My name is Leslie and I am PASSIONATE about educating moms through pregnancy, birth and beyond. I live by this quote: “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” I want EVERY woman to KNOW ALL OF THEIR OPTIONS. I never again want a woman to have to say, “I just didn’t know/if only I had known.”
Today’s though-provoking ‘vintage post’ is from Jessica Bowman, author of
To read more awesome insights from Jessica, you can find her over at Bohemian Bowmans!
Well, the New Year is around the corner, in case you weren’t aware. And now that the Christmas sugar buzz is wearing off, I suppose most people, like me, are starting to reflect on 2010 and peer curiously towards 2011.
There are some a lot of circumstances in our life that I have no control over. This post is about the other things.
The things I can do.
First of all, I’m not a resolution making person.
I never make New Year’s resolutions. I think the “success” rate of them is abysmal, and I don’t want to be disappointed in myself later for not meeting some silly and entirely too specific goal. Instead, I just enter every new year with the obvious plans of growing wiser that year, becoming a better parent, wife, friend, and follower of Jesus.
This year, I can feel myself funneling my regeneratory New Years powers in a certain direction.
No, it’s not a weight goal. Though it probably should be.
I’m not wanting to climb a mountain.
Or learn to make jewelry.
Or visit Disneyworld.
It’s a Family Mission Statement whittled down to one. single. word.
I’ve been thinking a lot about respect the last couple of months. In regards to parenting. In regards to learning.
I began to learn about respect in marriage a few years ago when I read a book about it. I had never thought very much about respect before then. I had never realized the importance of it. The magnitude of it.
But, for some reason, though that book did shift my respect paradigm in relation to my husband, it didn’t leave that little box that I put it in. It never occurred to me that the concept could spill over into seemingly unrelated areas of life, like education.
But in the last quarter of 2010 I began to think a lot more deeply about education. About learning. About parenting.
And the theme I kept coming back to is Respect.
I’ve realized anew this year, that in practice, I don’t respect my children very much. I hold my authority over their head and play my “because I said so” card too often.
I often times feel like I am living out Colossians 3:21.
“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.”
I’ve been crushing the spirits of my children.
With my impatience. With my harshness. With my disrespect.
So with tears and the simple, unrefined prayer of “help” repeated untold times as I lay in bed at night, I began to grasp a hold of the practice of respect in our day to day.
I’ve increasingly stopped talking to them as if they are children, but instead as if they are grown ups. Or, more accurately, as if they are people.
As if they are people created by God with talents and purpose that I have no right to squash with my annoyance.
So much of what children do that exasperate us are not “sins” at all. They are just people with very little experience at life who need to be led by example.
Examples in authority are powerful.
It is ever so hard to step outside of the parenting you were parented with.
Or the marital skills that were modeled for you.
And it is ever so illogical to think that if we are harsh and impatient with our children, they will learn to be respectful and loving of their siblings and friends and future families.
So, I’ve been learning to respect my children. To treat them as people. To listen. To explain things they don’t know yet, as if they were another grown up, instead of as if they are inconveniences and ever disdainful children.
And, lo and behold, the more I’ve treated them with respect, the more they have respected me. And each other.
The more patient I’ve been with them, the more patience they’ve shown each other. The calmer I’ve been with them, the calmer they’ve been with each other. The more attention I’ve shown them, the more attention they’ve shown each other.
I realize this isn’t a complicated concept. And is the second greatest commandment at it’s base.
Treat other people the way you want to be treated.
But sometimes that can feel truly hard to practice and own.
So, that is my purposeful word for my family this year.
And it is already changing us.
Don’t forget to check Jessica out over at Bohemian Bowmans, and take a look at her ebook!
“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”~Bob Marley
“Whisper words of wisdom, let it be”~The Beatles
Don’t hesitate to speak truth to children. Speak wisdom daily, openly, honestly, but speak it gently, briefly, and respectfully so they can receive it…and then let it be…give them time to process it, embrace it, and, one day, they will live it.