Countdown To Christmas Week One

Countdown to Christmas

Week One

 

Christmas is just around the corner. Take a deep breath. You can do this. It just takes a little planning.

Also, be thankful that Thanksgiving was early this year. You have a little extra time to prepare.

Advent calendar:

We always put up an Advent calendar that I bought when our kids were little and now, we also hang it for their children. It’s a fun way to count down the days until Jesus’ birthday. Here’s a link with a few ideas for making your own Advent calendar: http://bit.ly/1LnXXtm

Shopping and shipping:

Take stock of where you are on your food and gifts shopping lists. Do you have things to order and ship? Make sure to allow shipping time so everything is ready before Christmas. Here’s the schedule and link: https://www.usps.com/holiday/holiday-shipping-dates.htm

2018 Holiday Shipping Dates for Contiguous U.S.

Recommended send-by dates for expected delivery before December 251

Domestic Mail Class/Product       Date (excluding Alaska & Hawaii)

First-Class Mail Service® Dec. 20

Priority Mail Service®      Dec. 20

Priority Mail Express® Service2  Dec. 22

USPS Retail Ground®     Dec. 14

Buy ahead as much as possible. This results in spreading out the cost and the frustration of having so much to do later.

Decorating:

When do you decorate the house?

Make it special.

It can be with your immediate family or you can invite extended family, and friends. One year, my husband was working on a renovation project, and I had the two oldest grandchildren for the day. They were four and five at the time. I had them help me decorate the tree and house. They had a blast. I got the step stool out so they could reach a little higher with the ornaments. I did the upper part where they couldn’t reach.

My husband and I had gotten to a point where we didn’t get out all of the ornaments, but the kids had every single one out of the box. They were either on the tree or the bookshelf. They were so proud of themselves for all of their hard work. I left the tree decorated the way it was, bare spots and all.

Assign the decorating by age. Making sure the little ones feel part of all of it. Have a craft or coloring pages for them if they lose interest in the decorations. This will keep them busy while the others finish up.

Enjoy:

When you are done turn off the lamps and enjoy the Christmas lights. Read the story of the nativity to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas. Here are some links for books: The Berenstain Bears, The Very First Christmas (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) Kindle Edition https://amzn.to/2ACdwlI , The Christmas Story  http://amzn.to/2AbOdsA  , Away in a Manger Paperback http://amzn.to/2ncqmnw , This Babe, So Small http://amzn.to/2hVr1Uw

Dinner by the tree:

One night, when our girls were little and we were living in Michigan, my husband was in charge of dinner. He decided to have a winter picnic realizing it would be an easy dinner for him to prepare. We spread out a blanket and used paper plates. We cooked hot dogs on sticks in the fireplace and had all of the regular picnic food. We continued this until the girls were adults. It became a fun tradition.

If you live in the south, think of something wintery to do. Have hot comfort food and for dessert hot cocoa and cookies. If you have a fireplace, light a fire and turn off the lights except for your decorations. If it’s warm you can always open the windows.

Relax and enjoy:

Make it a special time that is out of the ordinary for where you live. It will make it even more special.

Take things a little at a time. Write out a schedule for each week with your tasks. This way it won’t be so daunting. Relax this year and enjoy the season.

What special things do you do when you are decorating?

Something New Is Coming!

Something New Is Coming

Sarah and Daniel from Bible Characters Through The Ages are talking, let’s listen in and see what’s going on?

“Did you hear what Jann’s agent wants her to do?” asked Sarah.

“No, what’s going on?” replied Daniel.

“Her agent, Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency, told her that two craft book publishers he met asked if he had a writer that could write a book on quilting and/or sewing.”

“That’s cool. What did she tell him?”

“She said that if he was asking, she was writing.”

Does she know how to quilt and sew?”

“Yes, I was talking to her the other day. She began to sew in third grade at school, then even took tailoring classes in high school.”

“Wow, that’s pretty cool. But, what about quilting?”

“She can do that too. A friend taught her how to make those tiny stitches needed for quilting. Then she taught herself how to put pieces together to make a bed quilt from a pattern in a magazine.”

Daniel asked, “So is she going to really write a book?”

“Yes, she already started on the first book. She’s calling it:

Jann’s Basic’s:

Quilting

Beginners 7 Step Guide

 “She hopes to make this a series.”

“What else can she do, beside regular sewing and quilting?”

“Jann told me she knows many hand sewing crafts. Knitting, cross stitch, counted cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, and candle wicking.”

“Wow, she knows how to do a lot of things.”

“Yes, and it will be great that they will be easy to read and understand. Mom said, that a lot of these crafts aren’t being done anymore.”

“That’s too bad. If she doesn’t teach people how to do them those crafts will die off. It would be a shame to lose the crafts our ancestors used to do.”

“I know. I can’t wait to get her books and see what I can do too.”

“Is she still going to write our books about the Bible Characters?” asked Daniel.

“She said she loves doing them, and will write them too. I’m so glad. I love the adventures she takes us on.”

“Me too. I wonder where she will take us next?”

The 10 Signs of Bullying 3. Frequent Sick Days

A way our children may be trying to avoid being bullied is to tell us that they are sick.

Have you noticed your child telling you that they are not feeling well, more often than normal? Do their symptoms seem real? Make sure to check them all over for any signs of something that could cause them to be ill.

Talk:

If you don’t find anything that would cause them to be sick, it’s probably time to sit down and have a talk about what’s really going on. Let him/her know that you love them and want them to be open with you about what’s really going on. Assure your child that you want to support them. Make sure she knows that faking being sick isn’t going to solve the problem.

It needs to be faced and work things out with the bully and/or school officials. Keep the lines of communication open by asking questions every day. Things like:

  • How was school today?
  • Do you have homework?
  • How are your friends doing?
  • Is anyone having any trouble at school?
  • Has anyone said bad things to or about you?

Hopefully if you have these kids of conversations it will help when there is a time you really need them to open up.

If you had an experience of being bullied share this with him. Seeing that you were vulnerable too, can help the conversation be more open. Sometimes it’s easier if your child can talk with someone else.  Our girls sometimes talked with my sister. It’s not always easy speaking with a parent. The girls and my sister had a close relationship when they were young, and still do to this day.

Example:

A friend shared about a situation her son had with a bully. The big kid pushed her son down and causing him to hit his head on the ground. The next day the mom went to the school office to find out what was to be done about this situation. It wasn’t the first time this child had hurt someone. The principle said that the boy was going to be suspended for two days. Also, that the boy had problems at home.

When bully’s father came to take him home, the principle and father talked about what could be done with his son’s behavior. The two came up with a plan of action.

With a two-day suspension, which had never happened before, the boy began to think more about what he was doing. My friend’s son tried to be nice, and talk with the bully. Slowly things began to be better. They aren’t best friends, but they are nice to each other.

Find resources:

There are resources available at the school and with doctors. Use the resources at school as a starting place. Usually they have staff at the school or people that can come to the school to visit with the children. If they don’t feel like they are able to help your child they will make a recommendation as to what the next step should be.

Make sure you don’t just answer your child with “You’re just fine,” or “You’re not sick, just go to school.” This isn’t going to help their situation.

Talk with your friends and see if they are going through any similar situations. You can also see if there is a support group for you to learn how to share your feelings and how to answer your child’s questions.

Do you have some advice you can share with us? Your voice can make a big difference in a child’s life.

We Can be Held Firmly in Our Faith in God

Teaching from Bible stories

Job 1:1, 8-12

1 There once was a man named Job who lived
in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a
man of complete integrity. He feared God
and stayed away from evil. 8 Then the Lord
asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?
He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a 
man of complete integrity. He fears God
and stays away from evil.” 9 Satan replied to the Lord,
“Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You
have always put a wall of protection around him
and his home and his property. You have made him
prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is!
11 But reach out and take away everything he has,
and he will surely curse you to your face!”
12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan.
“Do whatever you want with everything he possesses,
but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the
Lord’s presence.1

 

God let Satan try to persuade Job to stop trusting in God, break him, and cause him to lose his faith in God. Satan is always trying to cause us to stumble and turn away from God. Sometimes we listen to Satan and do things we shouldn’t do. There are many times that I catch myself doing something wrong and tell him to go back to hell and leave me alone.

Teach your children to recognize the difference between what is of God and what is of Satan.

  • If you find your child being mean to another child, ask them if they would like to be treated like that
  • With an older child if you find they have broken something, talk to them about the reason they did it
    • Was the object not working the way they wanted it to
    • Did the object remind them of something that made them sad
    • Are they upset about something and taking out their aggression

Once you have the child settled down talk with them about how they feel. If it is a bad feeling then Satan is trying to make them misbehave. Tell them to think first before acting. Would God or you, the parent, be happy with what they are about to do? Explain that God is always there and wants to help them to be good.

 

 

Psalm 26:1-5

1 Judge me

, O LORD;

for I have walked in
mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD
therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD,
and prove me; try my reins and my heart. 3 For thy
lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked
in thy truth. 4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will
I go in with dissemblers. 5 I have hated the congregation
of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.2

 

In this reading from Psalms David is putting his life before God. He says that he has tried to do as well as he can in the sight of God. The psalm goes on to ask God to help him keep his eyes on God and to not sin.

When your child is facing a tough decision ask them to think about the consequences:

  • Is what they are about to do going to hurt anyone including themselves
  • Would God be happy with their choice
  • Is what they are about to do going to help someone else

 

We too face times we need to ask these same questions of ourselves and our choices. Share this with your child so they can see how you have found your answer.

 

Hebrews 1:1-5

Jesus Christ Is God’s Son
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many
ways to our ancestors through the prophets.2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to
the Son as an inheritance, and through the
Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates
God’s own glory and expresses the very character
of God, and he sustains everything by the
mighty power of his command. When he had
cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the
place of honor at the right hand of the majestic
God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far
greater than the angels, just as the name
God gave him is greater than their names.3

 

In the Old Testament the prophets talked about the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Son of God. Then in the New Testament God’s Son is born. He tells us that Jesus will walk with us and tell us what His Fathers words are for us. He sits at the right hand of God and is above all including the angels.

We need to share this good news with our children. That God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to be on earth to walk and talk with people. Also that He can relate to what we go through in daily life. That He has experienced everything that we do.

  • He fasted: so He felt hunger
  • He went to a wedding: He had a good time at a party
  • His friend Lazarus died: so He felt loss
  • He was beaten: He felt the pain of bullies
  • He died on the cross for us: He made it possible for us to come blameless and talk with God.
    • Without His death and taking away all of our sins, we couldn’t be in the presence of God
    • The Holy Spirit speaks for us when we don’t have the words to say
    • Because of His love we can feel His loving arms around us, supporting us

 

Use these lessons to strengthen your faith and to teach your child of the love of God.

 

1 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Job 1:8–12). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
2 The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ps 26:1–5). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
3 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Heb 1:1–4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Who Needs You More, Mom?

I would like to thank Carole Sparks for this wonderful guest post today. As I read it I kept saying yes, I’ve done that. Please add your thoughts after you’ve read this great post. 

 

Who Needs You More, Mom?

 

I’ve been a mother for over fifteen years. (Yes, we’re in that scary, almost-a-driver phase in our home. Prayers please!) I’ve been a Christ-follower for more than twice as long. God placed certain callings on my life, some specific to me (writing) and some of the more general sort (sharing Him with others). He also very clearly and distinctly called me to be a mother. Sometimes, those various callings collide and I’m left feeling hesitant, uncertain, guilty. Times such as these…

 

We’re moving again. The kids will have new schools again. We’ll get to know new neighbors and new local shops again. How can this be good for my children? Kids need stability and routine, and we’re about to toss them in the air. Again.

 

My ministry responsibilities pull me away when they’re at home. What about my responsibilities as a parent, my calling to be a mom? What if they need me while I’m out counseling someone else?

 

Does any of this sound familiar? I’ve thought…okay, said…all these things over the years. I’ve wondered who needs me more.

 

As a member of a family, our calling(s) aren’t individual propositions but rather part of a bigger picture that includes our spouse’s gifting and calling as well as responsibilities to extended family members. Immediate, unfiltered obedience to God can seem to take a toll on our family life…on our children. In fact, sometimes our ministry decisions appear detrimental to our children’s development. At the very least, they go against conventional parenting wisdom.

 

I was walking the narrow, cobbled streets of the ancient city where we lived and worked, and I was concerned…okay, worried…about my young children, whom I’d left at home with a local woman. God stopped me there in the middle of that pedestrian street. Literally. I stopped walking and just stood there for a minute while God pressed this fact into my heart—a fact you need to know, too. Don’t just know it with your brain but allow God to press it into your very soul:

 

God loves your children more than you love them.

 

God not only wants the best for your children, but He is actively pursuing it. He knows their future occupations and experiences. He knows what they need right now to move toward their own callings. He smiles on children, loves them, protects them. Even on the days when you should have stayed home but instead put the ministry ahead of your family, He filled in your gaps.

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6-7

 

I don’t know how God has gifted or called you to serve Him. If you’re a mother, that’s a big, beautiful part of your calling—one to step up to, embrace, and fulfill to the best of your ability. But it’s probably not your only calling. When you wonder who needs you more, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His will for that moment. Let go of everything else and obey. (I know, easier said than done, but like most things, it gets easier with practice.) Next time, He may lead you the other way. Regardless, God loves your children and He loves the other people whom you serve. When He points you in one direction, He will take care of the others while you fulfill His will for today.

 

Moms, when it’s time to go to work or to other ministry, do you wonder if maybe your children need you more? Here’s some truth to help you through that dilemma. Via @JannWMartin and @Carole_Sparks. #IntentionalParenting (click to tweet)

 

Do you feel the pull of differing responsibilities? How has God led you to manage that tension? Jann and I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Need more? Check out Carole’s post: When Guilt Grounds Me.

 

 

 

 

 

Carole’s bio.

Carole and her husband twice found themselves “walking Jesus” in coastal African cities—the second time with two small children.  Now, they are watching God work in a southern US city (no coast, sadly) and helping others passionately follow Him.  Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her parenting blog, http://notaboutme1151parenting.wordpress.com.

 

The Church

You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Re 3:17

 

In this verse Jesus is talking about the church. Many churches claim to be rich and to have everything that they need. They reach out to the community and do good things. Unfortunately they don’t always see what is happening within their own church community.

 

I have experienced being afraid with an upcoming back surgery a few years ago. I spoke to one of the pastors. He was to follow up and call my husband to see how I was after the surgery. Neither of us ever heard from him at all.

 

I wonder how many people have fallen through the cracks, especially in big churches. In the very large churches you literally can attend worship, leave, and no one will know you were there. If you don’t want to be noticed I guess this is okay. If you are looking for a place of worship, support, and a place to spiritually connect you need to find a church where you feel at home. It can be a mega church if you connect with some smaller groups. Some smaller churches are friendlier and more in tune with their parishioners.

 

No matter the size of the church it needs to focus on Jesus. They need to focus on the people, their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jesus is trying to tell those He is talking to not be blinded by things, but to focus on the true meaning of being a church. The church is the people and their needs, not a building, the decorations, and the appearance of being holy. I pray that you can find a church that you feel is like family for you.

 

 

The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Re 3:17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Your Child’s Primary Love Language 

Your Child’s Primary Love Language 

 

It’s important to teach our children all of the Five Love Languages. This will help them to become more rounded adults and care for others around them. It may be difficult for them at first to learn how to reach out to others, but it’s very important that as they grow they learn more about how others feel and act. This will teach them as they grow not to be selfish and self-centered, but to care for and about others.

It will take time to figure out what your child’s love language is. When they are infants we use all of the languages with them. They are very self-centered and can’t tell us what the best way is to reach out to them. As they grow we will learn what responses work the best. Try to be aware of what words and actions work best in different situations.

Be honest with your children as you talk with them and reprimand them. Don’t, however tell them what, how and why you are saying and doing different things. This can lead to the child manipulating you to get what they want.

 

The 5 Love Languages are:

  • Physical touch – Touch in each stage of life is different. For infants and toddlers, it’s easy to give a lot of touch and loving cuddles. Both boys and girls need all of the love and comforting touches they can get.

When the children become school-age it’s important to send them off to school with hugs. This can give them a positive start to their day. There is so much new for them at school that they need that little extra reassurance before they head out for the day. The hug at the end of the day can be just as important, especially if they have had a challenging day.

Next, we come to the pre-teen and teen kids. This can be challenging. They want to break away, yet they still want their full support system to be there for them. Girls especially need reassurance and hugs from their dads to give them a healthy look at men as they grow older.

  • Words of affirmation – Encouraging our children with words of affirmation gives them the courage they need to grow up to be strong adults. What they learn with these types of lessons gives them the basis for treating others as they would like to be treated as well.
  • Quality time – We can turn any time with our children into quality time. Take advantage of a long ride. Ask a few questions or share something from your past. Your children will love to hear stories about how you met your husband.

Plan quality time with each of your children. It could be a day alone with them. Go shopping, or to a movie, then their favorite restaurant for a meal. Another example could be reading together. If they can read have them read their favorite book or a few chapters to you.

  • Gifts – For some children receiving gifts is very important. They look forward to their parents returning from vacations and business trips. They can’t wait to see what new thing they will receive. However, parents need to be mindful of making sure the other love languages their child needs are met.

We need to be careful not to use gifts as payments for chores or a bribe to stay busy so you can accomplish a task. These types of gifts make a child feel unloved and that receiving the gift is only if they do what is asked of them.

They also may want to make and give gifts to those around them. This can be family, friends, or teachers.

  • Acts of service – We want our children to grow up wanting to help others. If this is their love language it’s easy for them to reach out to loved ones. They can do a chore, make a meal, or take them to a place where they can help others. We want to teach them to reach out to those in need around them, without expecting something in return. Jesus showed this gift of love over and over throughout his ministry.

As your child grows keep a mental record of how they express their love to you, do they tell you that they love you. Are they asking for attention, or how they did on a project? Then their love language would be Words of affirmation.

When they are relating to others and want to take something to friends, family or teachers, they are showing the language of Gifts. It gives them pleasure to see others happy to receive something from them.

Is your child complaining that you are too busy? Is your time being split with another child, you have work to do around the house because you work away from home and are trying to get everything done. What and how often they are asking for or complaining about will help you see their love language may be Quality Time.

Is Physical touch something that is very important in your relationship with your child? They may need lots of hugs, sit close, or even being tickled. Any form of touch can be felt as an expression of love for them.

For some the Act of Service is very important. They are always looking for a way to help or do something for someone. They don’t want to be paid or recognized, the act of doing is reward enough for them.

Love Language #5 Acts of Service

Is the Act of Service a way of parenting that you have thought of? I hadn’t thought of it quite that way. I parented out of love, care, and the desire for our children to grow up as loving productive adults.

We are serving our children when we support them by taking them to sports, dance or music lessons and their games or recitals. I looked forward to watching our girls in dance practice and was excited to attend their recitals.

Supporting our children by questioning them about and helping them with their homework is another important area we can be of service to our children. I helped the girls as much as I could. When it came to math, however, I had to leave the help to my husband.

When our children are grown they will see how we blessed them with acts of service in all of the support given them while growing up.

Before we can do acts of service for our children we must take care of ourselves. By getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercise we are more physically capable to handle the time we need to give to our children.

We also need to have a strong emotional outlook, self-esteem, and a balanced marriage relationship. The children need to see their parent or parents have separate relationships with others. It’s important that they see that everything doesn’t always center around them.

In a previous blog, I shared how our daughters made dinner for us and left us alone for the evening. It was so sweet of them to give us our special time. It was also a good lesson for them to learn how to do an Act of Service for others.

With our physical and emotional lives in balance, we are better equipped to raise strong well-rounded children.

Jesus taught us to serve others when He washed His disciple’s feet:

 

After that, He poured water into a basin

and began t

o wash the disciples’ feet,

and to wipe them with the towel with which

He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter.

And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing

you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said t

o Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you,

you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him,

“Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only

to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you

are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who

would betray Him; therefore, He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments,

and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know

what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher

and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,

you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I

have given you a

n example, that you should do as

I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you,

a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who

is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know

these things, blessed are you if you do them.[1]

If the Son of God can serve us, then we should happily do Acts of Service for our children.

As our children grow we need to teach them how to do different things around the house, such as cleaning, laundry, ironing, and cooking. They need these skills to be able to eventually live on their own.

How do you show your children Acts of Service? How do they show you Acts of Service?

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Jn 13:5–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Love Language #4 Gifts

 

Gifts for some children are very important. They look forward to their parents returning from vacations and business trips. They can’t wait to see what new thing they will receive. However, parents need to be mindful of making sure the other love languages their child needs are met.

If their love needs are not met in any other areas and they don’t feel the love from parents except with gifts, they will have problems. A child can feel like the only thing the parents care about is to give them things, not their time and love.

A gift along with knowing the person really loves you makes the gift special. Your child will know that you love them and that they purchased the gift with you in mind. We went on a trip one time and I brought our girls the same thing. I heard one say something about them being the same. I felt really bad after that. I should have thought more about each of their likes.

For I say, through the grace given to me,

to everyone who is among you,

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,

but to think soberly, as God has dealt to

each one a measure of faith

For as we have many members in one body,

but all the members do not have the same function,

so we, being many, are one body in Christ,

and individually members of one another.

Having then gifts differing according to

the grace that is given to us, let us use them[1]

 

We need to be careful not to use gifts as payments for chores or a bribe to stay busy so you can accomplish a task. These types of gifts make a child feel unloved and that receiving the gift is only if they do what is asked of them.

Jacob sent gifts to Esau to make sure that he would be received well after cheating Esau out of the birthright.

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau

his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

And he commanded them, saying,

“Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says:

“I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now.

I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female

servants; and I have sent to tell my lord,

that I may find favor in your sight.” ’ ”[2]

 

What types of gifts are special to your kids?

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ro 12:3–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ge 32:3–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Encouragement and Affirmation

Encouragement and affirmation are another part of the 5 Love Languages.

Encouraging our children with words of affirmation gives them the courage they need to grow up to be strong adults. What they learn with these types of lessons gives them the basis for treating others as they would like to be treated as well.

As young children grow we teach them the social skills they will need as well. This is done by confirming their good actions and positive remarks they make. When they are nice to someone we need to praise them. Encourage your children to also catch others doing something nice and to compliment or thank them for their nice act.

Listening to our children and teaching them to listen to others is an important skill. I know I’ve been guilty of only half listening as one of the kids comes in from school all excited about their day. I should have stopped what I was doing and listened intently to them. Instead I kept fixing dinner. We’re all guilty of things like that. Try to ask your child to wait just a minute so you can finish what you’re working on. Then sit down and give them your full attention. Your little action will do wonders to give them encouragement and the affirmation that they mean so much to you.

When your child does something good complement them on it. Watch for those opportunities. You can use a notebook to jot down ideas of things to watch for, such as picking up their clothes, putting their dishes in the sink, or helping a sibling with a task. What other ideas do you have of catching your child in the act of doing good.

There are many influences on our children’s lives. Social media, friends, other adults in the family and community. We need to make sure they are getting the right feedback from all of them as well. Listen to their conversations with others and if something doesn’t sound right talk with them and give them examples of how they should say something.

God gives us mostly positive guidance. We need to give our children as much positive affirmation as we can. With Adam and Eve, His only  negative reaction was to make them leave the Garden of Eden. Then He helped them in their new lives. He also gave us the Ten Commandments to live by, they are mostly positive as well. He loves us and wants what is best for us.

We do need to correct our children, but only when necessary. Try to look for the positive as much as possible in their lives. Even as our children are teens, we need to be careful and explain why we don’t want them to be involved with certain people and situations. Give them examples such as a teen dying from drugs or an accident, and how much their parents are hurting. That you don’t want to have to go through that pain if they make a wrong choice and die.

Be careful when giving an affirmation that you don’t negate it with something negative. I love you, but.… By saying I love you, and I need you to do this, or I love you but, I can’t believe you just did that. All the child hears is but…. They don’t hear your love.

How can you see different ways that you can give your child encouragement and affirmation?