My Daily Roadtrip

Archive for the tag “motherhood”

Slower and simpler mothering

Being a mother is one of the hardest things … actually, make that the hardest thing I’ve ever done over a longer-term basis. Despite it being so, it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of. I think most moms can probably appreciate the complexity of such a statement.

Moving overseas made things a bit harder in the area of being a mom, as I explained a bit about in this post. While my philosophy behind parenting did not change when moving to Thailand, my personal stress level and amount of struggle did, as did the tools and resources with which I usually mothered. During my now almost 6 months of overseas living, I have thought much about being a mother and about the kind of mother I have been since moving here. There have been days and weeks when I have been a “worse” mom here than I was in America. (No need to comment and reassure me that I’m doing just fine as a mom – it’s not a bad thing to do some self-evaluation and see if changes need to be be made, while keeping in mind my true identity in Christ, right?) I have struggled with the same things, but to an even larger degree, that I struggled with back in the States. Things like anger, impatience, and selfishness have resulted in countless times where I have not been the mom God calls me to be.

However, at other times, I find that I’m a “better” mom than I was back in America. Now living outside my home culture, I see how easy it is for American mothers to become distracted. There are classes, co-ops, playgroups, and activity after activity to sign your child up for, no matter how young. There are numerous friends to have numerous play dates with. There are “mommy wars” and the pressure to make sure your child doesn’t miss any kind of opportunity for “growth.” (I happen to live in a city where there is a large western presence, so I face some of the same things here, but to a lesser degree.) Please hear me say that I don’t believe most of these opportunities are bad in and of themselves. However, I think it is far too easy to let them distract us from living slower and more intentional lives with our kids and family.

Since arriving here we have made some friends, whom I’m grateful for. We continue to meet more families, and we’re grateful for that as well. However, Abigail and Elijah have one consistent playmate – each other. For over 3 of the 5.5 months we’ve been here, I did not have a vehicle in which to take us places, so we have spent much more time at home, taking walks around our neighborhood, or going on outings to nearby places we could easily get to via “public transportation.” I have spent a ton of concentrated time with my kids around the home – we’ve read a lot of books, cooked together, created things out the materials we have lying around the home, and read more books.  I realized that I was living a slower, simpler life with my kids one day while I was reading the book (full-length version), Dumbo, for the 2nd time in one day. This book takes 20 minutes to read from front to back with interruptions (yes, I timed it once out of curiosity). It then occurred to me that, while I did read to the kids in America, things were often done in short increments because we needed to run out the door to this or that.

This concentrated time has been great. It has also made me a little crazy at times, lest you think I’m the mom who now wants to stay home everyday and all day with my kids. Also, there have been times where I haven’t handled the concentrated time well by putting the kids in front of one too many movies, escaping to social media, or coping in other unhelpful ways.

my kiddos after going on a nature walk

my kiddos after going on a nature walk

But, this simpler life has led to good things that I cannot deny. I am learning that it’s ok to not have to be on the go all the time, that staying at home with your small children all day for multiple days each week will not kill you. Seriously, it won’t. It might be uncomfortable and you may feel that you’re losing your mind at moments, but it won’t kill you. I’ve learned to be creative with the resources I have at home. I’ve learned things about each of my kids that I may have missed if we were too busy running from this to that or always spending time with other people. I’ve been reminded over and over that it’s good for children to have alone playtime and be allowed to just be, rather than having everything scheduled or being guided toward what to do every moment of their day. I’m learning that child-paced exploration is an invaluable teacher. I am figuring out how to better love, encourage, and correct each of my children and, on the flip side, the things that I do that can easily discourage them or tear them down.

It’s good. It’s hard. I’m learning. As we get to know more people and I learn about more kid-focused opportunities here in Chiang Mai, I know I will be tempted to return to a life that is too busy, too fast-paced, and less intentional.

But, although sometimes harder, I’m finding that simpler and slower is better.

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I am not against having your kids (or mine) involved in organized activities, nor do I think that particular seasons of life won’t ever be busier than others. I think it’s great if our kids have more than one friend and/or if we own vehicles (which we now do). What “slower” and “simpler” looks like for one family may be different than what it looks like for another family. I am proud to be American. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings or feelings of judgement experienced from reading this post. 😉 End of disclaimer.

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Restocking my tool belt

A few weeks after moving to Thailand, I had a few days of feeling sad and a bit down. I’m guessing neither emotion is particularly uncommon to have in the midst of our current life circumstances. However, being the introspect I am cursed blessed to be, I wondered where those feelings were coming from. Was I down because I was feeling a bit like a bird who had had its wings clipped due to my loss of independence? Was it because I missed my friends back home? Maybe it was because my husband had returned to work and I missed seeing him as regularly as we did the first few weeks here? Actually, it was probably a bit of all of those things plus others I was unaware of.

I was eventually able to put my finger on it. I was struggling because I had lost many of my tools.

We’re not talking about power saws, hammers, and screwdrivers here, but the tools each of us uses in order to navigate the roles we hold. I have a specific set of tools that helps me to be a somewhat “competent” (whatever that means) mother, manager of our home, and wife, to name my three biggest roles. If I don’t yet have some necessary tools, I (hopefully) am working on developing them. Let’s take my role of motherhood as the example for the remainder of this post. A few of my  non-tangible “mothering tools” are the attitudes and philosophy I approach parenting with. Other tools are tangible – for example: the list (often mental) of activities I often do with my kids, the skills I want to be working on with each of them, the snacks and meals I feed them, and the groups of friends I often initiate playdates with, just to list a few. These tools help me to mother my kids individually in the ways Shun-Luoi and I feel are best for them as well as our whole family.

But what if I can’t easily get to the grocery store? What if the foods or snacks I am accustomed to feeding my kids are somewhat expensive here or I can’t even read the labels on the food in the stores? What if I don’t have a car in which to take my kids to try out different kid-friendly places I would normally have been to by now? And if I did have a car, what would I do when I don’t know how to drive in the right side of the car and on the left side of the street? What if my kids have no friends with whom to even initiate playdates?

Moving to Thailand has caused me to lose most of the tools I had acquired in America that helped me be the competent (again, used loosely) mother I knew how to be. Now what?

Some days, I feel as if these are the "tools" I am working with ...

Some days, I feel as though this is the extent of the “tools” I am working with …

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the answer to that question. However, I spent a day or two of “chafing” under my new reality bemoaning the fact of not being able to do this or not having the resources to do that. After those few days, I realized that chafing was not going to be helpful for anyone. Is any kind of chafing ever a good thing? Not that I know of, although I’m sure I could find some instance where it is if I researched long enough. But, in relation to this discussion, chafing is a bad thing. I needed to move past the chafing stage and instead accept my new set of life circumstances along with the reality that I was going to need to develop some new tools. See? No rocket science needed to make that deduction. 😉

Along the way, I’m learning some important principles about the new tools I will develop for my tool belt.

  1. Attempting to re-create similar tools that “worked” well for me in America while here will probably lead to frustration. I live in a very different culture with different resources available. I can’t try to transplant all that I did in America to here, and that’s ok.
  2. Ask expatriate mothers who have lived here longer to share specific ways they have learned to carry out their role as mothers while living here. Other women here are already doing it – I need to be humble enough to learn from them and be open to new things, even if I would never have previously considered using the tools they suggest.
  3. Watch how the Thai mothers mother their kids (and/or ask them if possible). For pete’s sake, if I won’t be open to learning from the Thai in their own country, then how arrogant am I? At the same time, I need to accept that not every tool will transfer across cultures and not try to force myself into mothering like a Thai woman when I am not Thai.
  4. Get comfortable with the fact that re-stocking my tool belt will take some time. Just as I gained some new tools when I first became a mother of one, then some different tools when I had my 2nd child, my new tools will also take time to acquire.

Enough time has been spent chafing. Now it’s time to learn, grow, and add some new tools to the old belt. It will surely be interesting to see what that belt holds 6 months from now!

Have you ever had a season in life that demanded you acquire some new tools for a role you hold? What did that process look like? Expat moms, do you have any advice to pass along?

Scheduling our days (giveaway!)

It’s ironic that I write a blog post on scheduling today of all days. I had taken 5-10 minutes last evening to write out a rough “schedule” of sorts for our morning, but by 8 am today, I had basically thrown it out! My kids and I were already struggling in such a manner by 8 am that I wanted to scream … I knew we had to do something different in an attempt to save the day so I gathered the kids around, we prayed together, and then … we headed to Starbucks, because hey – sometimes some unexpected coffee for mom and a treat for the kiddos is a good thing. So, you see – even though I have recently realized, as shared in this post,  that I need to be more intentional with our days, sometimes the only thing schedules are good for are to be thrown out. I’m hoping that you non-schedulers have now decided that you will in fact continue reading this post … 😉

By nature, I am a scheduler – I like to write things in my paper planner (don’t try to persuade me to use an online planner – my husband has already tried … and failed) and try to “have my ducks in a row,” in a sense, by planning things out. However, if I’m honest, although I wouldn’t call myself the most rigid of schedulers, planning can become an unhealthy thing for me when I do it in order to control my life rather than trust God. In actuality, marrying “Mr. Can-always-go-with-the-flow” and having children has loosened me up from my over-scheduling ways, although at the same time, I have learned that, when done in a healthy manner, scheduling is an intentional and freeing (for me) way to approach life. Curiously, though, my tendency to plan did not make its way into my job as being a stay-at-home-mom. I won’t unpack all the reasons why, although I will mention that  laziness, feeling like I didn’t have the time to plan, and the fear of becoming a slave to a rigid schedule were all involved.

In her book, Steady Days, Jamie Martin writes, “A Steady Routine (her wording for a daily schedule) is a blueprint for your day and your children’s days. A successful teacher wouldn’t show up to her classroom without a plan. We wouldn’t arrive for a busy day in the office without an idea of what we wanted to accomplish. Our lives at home are no different.” (parentheticals mine). This made so much sense to me! And so, a few weeks ago, I began to take either a few minutes at night or in the morning to think through our days and make a “flexible plan” for each day.

It has been incredibly helpful for me, and I believe, for my kids. I no longer start the day by wondering what on earth we will do until naptime or counting the minutes until that time of the day comes, as I sometimes did. Making a schedule helps me to not set a stressful “tone” in our home (which can happen due to my stress), something that is a huge benefit to my kids during our days. I am finding more joy in being a mom because I am operating within something that allows me to be myself; because as much as I’d like to be, I’m just not a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of woman. The thing I love most is that I am being intentional with our days – I am taking my job seriously and thinking well about the things that are best for each day versus haphazardly filling our days with whatever comes our way. Although these benefits seem to be only about me, they are not – because of each of above benefit, I am much more often able to be a more patient, loving, gentle, and fun(!) mom … and that is highly beneficial for my kids.

If you’re practical like me, you are probably wondering what on earth this “flexible schedule” looks like. Although I’ll keep this brief, I’ll share a bit of how I go about my planning of our days. First off, although this is still a work in progress, I have a more of an ‘big picture” schedule of our week in my planner that includes play-dates, scheduled appointments, etc. However, when it comes to day-to-day scheduling, I tend to look at our days in 2 sections: morning (8-12) and afternoon (1-6 pm). There are givens that happen each day such as meals and naps, which I then schedule around. I include activities I do with the kids, household chores that need to be done, emails and phone calls that need to be sent/made, etc. For example, this morning’s schedule, had I abided by it, looked like this:

  • text A.D. about having their family over for dinner
  • time spent in the Bible, prayer, etc. (me)
  • mop kitchen floor, wipe down playmat in kids’ play area
  • throw supper in the crockpot
  • kids (Elijah – work on locating things on a map, read together, capital and lower cases of the letters “a” and “b,” dance :), numbers #11-20, and memorizing Ephesians 4:32a)  * note – Abigail does many of these with us, especially if she does not take a morning nap.

While some like to plan out their days hour by hour, I tend to keep our schedule to something similar to the above list with a rough idea in my head as to when I will do each thing. This works for me, although you may need to do something differently.  And while I did not do everything on this list this morning, I started the day feeling much more prepared and intentional because the planning had been done.

I am learning that (flexibly) scheduling our days has great potential for a happier mom, happier kids, and a calmer home, among so many other benefits. And what’s not to love about those things?

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image taken from amazon.com

Steady Days by Jamie Martin has been a valuable resource for me as I journey toward embracing and thriving in my job as a stay-at-home-mom. The book is broken down into 2-3 page easily digestible sections and includes many tips and tools toward becoming a “intentional, professional mother” (her words). If nothing else, it will encourage your thinking toward new things you may want to implement into being a mom. Because of this, I’d like to give away one copy of the book! To enter the drawing, please leave a comment below that includes something on your fall “bucket list” (ie. something you intend to do this fall season). 🙂 You must enter by 10 pm MST on Sunday, Sept. 31st – the winner will be chosen randomly and announced Monday, October 1st.

p.s. You don’t have to be a mom to enter the drawing – maybe you’ll find the book useful at a later time or maybe you know a mom you could give it to … whatever the case, please feel free to enter.

Starting the day well

If we are facebook friends or if you have talked with me recently, you already know that I am trying to develop the habit of getting up earlier (before my kids, at the very least) each day. I’ve had some people ask me why I am trying to implement the new habit, so I thought I’d blog about it, both to explain the decision as well as to remind myself of why I am doing it.

Oh, and I’m also doing it because getting it out there to the blog world brings a certain kind of accountability. I mean, who wants to blog about a new habit only to, 3 days later, have to publicly admit that they were incredibly undisciplined and had given up already? (gulp) Not me.

I have heard countless women, many whom I highly respect, talk about how much they love getting up before their families each day. I liked their reasons for doing it, I really did. But, as I’m coming to find out, I’m very undisciplined (read – lazy) in many areas. As a result, I was apparently never convinced enough to follow through with such a feat more than one or two days, max, in a row. Until recently. As you may have read in this post, I have realized that in many ways, I have not been approaching motherhood as a ‘regular’ job and because of it (among other factors), I have been stressed, discouraged, and have lacked joy in the everyday life of being a mom and home-manager.

Well, I was recently part of a discussion where an older, wiser, woman was talking about habits that would help mothers be better moms. This woman talked about getting up early and then said to the group, “I know that most of you have small children, but …” I felt that she may have also wanted to say, “but, do it anyway!” although she did not. (Note: she did acknowledge that there are specific seasons in a mom’s life where getting up earlier than the family would not be as feasible.) She, in a sense,  was ‘getting in my face’ about it, although this was unbeknownst to her. This was so good for me – I needed someone to challenge me; telling me that I needed to do it anyway, even though I did not want to, because it would be worth it.

In addition, in this post from Joshua Becker at Becoming Minimalist , he briefly discusses getting up early as one of the “10 simple steps to make the most of every day.” He links to a particular article called, How to Become an Early Riser; one that has been more helpful than anything any other article I have read on the topic. I highly recommend reading it, along with reading Part 2 of the article and a related article, How to Get Up Right Away when Your Alarm Goes Off. It approaches the topic from a different angle than most discussions I’ve read before.

Ok, ok, I thought. I probably should try this. So, last week, I started – I did it 3 out of the 5 days from Monday to Friday, and each day I did it (including the weekends), I wished I had done it those days as well. Seriously  – the days I had gotten up earlier were so much better for various reasons. The following are some of them:

  • I am able to be proactive rather than reactive to my day from the beginning. This is one of the hugest benefits that I am seeing to this habit. I am up and have had some quiet time to think/pray/read my Bible/schedule my day/or just be before my kids are up and needed things from me.
  • I am not stressed or irritated when my kids wake up because I am already up and basically ready for the day. (Hey, we all know that days don’t begin well when you view your kids as an imposition the moment they wake up. Am I right or am I right?)
  • I am able to love and respond to my kids and husband better throughout the day due to not feeling like such a harried mom/wife who is always 2 steps behind (this also had to do with some additional structure that I am implementing to our days, but I’ll discuss that in a later post).
  • I have time to ask God to give me the right perspective of my day, of my kids, etc. before any of it is immediately in my face – that is invaluable.
  • I can submit my day to God – even though I have a rough plan of what the day will entail, I ask Him if there are different things I need to be doing.
  • I am able to run that random (or not so random) errand that needs to be done during the time when everyone else is still sleeping. This morning, I was at the grocery store by 6:30 am and back by 7:15 – as a result, I did not have to take the kids to the grocery store with me and we had decent food to eat for breakfast, and those are good things.

I wish I looked/felt this happy and fun-loving in the mornings, but … I don’t.

And those are just a few of the benefits I have seen so far as a result of this new habit I am trying to develop – it is totally worth it when I do it. And as I said before, I now totally regret it when I don’t get up early.

However, don’t get me wrong. It is a battle – every … single … morning. It’s not fun, nor is it automatic for me, although I hope one day it will be. I sometimes hit a wall by 4 pm, which is never a good time, although, I’m hoping this too will pass as I do it longer. But, I know it will be so worth it to continue – plus, it’s a good opportunity to become more disciplined in a specific area of my life.

And so tomorrow, when that alarm goes off and I desperately want to stay in my warm bed, I won’t. And, because of it, I will be one step closer to what I believe will be a life-changing habit for me.

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What about you – do you practice this habit? If so, what are some of the factors that helped you succeed in it becoming part of your daily routine? I would love to hear them!

My job review

Note: The following is not a commentary on whether or not one should be a stay-at-home mom or work outside the home. It is simply me sharing the journey I am on in the job I am currently called to as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. 

I’m pretty sure if I was to have a job review of my current job, I would receive a decent amount of constructive criticism in areas that “need improvement.”

I’m talking about my job as a mom and homemaker. The thing is that I, in some respects, have never considered that as my “job.” I have considered them my “calling” or my “ministry,”which I believe they are, but … my job? Well, I probably considered being a mom a job, but not really the whole homemaking aspect of things. And really, isn’t it hard to think of those 2 things as jobs when they really don’t fit within the paradigm of any other job you’ve ever had?

And yet, I’ve come to realize, both motherhood and homemaking are currently my primary jobs. And while there are many ways in which I simply can’t view my current responsibilities through the same lens I would view other jobs, not viewing them as a job has been to my and my family’s detriment.

You see, lately I have been struggling with lack of joy in being a mom and keeping our home. I feel discouraged and harried often. I feel as though I’m always two steps behind and that I can never catch up. I have been praying about this, asking God to reveal what on earth is going on … is it because I have 2 young, very active kiddos? Are there some heart issues or mindsets that need to change? Do I need to structure my days differently than I have been (or haven’t been)? It’s very likely that I can answer ‘yes’ to all 3 of these questions, but the one God is choosing to address first is that of my mindset toward being a mom and homemaker.

Because I haven’t seriously viewed these roles as my job, I haven’t approached my responsibilities like they are job responsibilities. Recently however, I realized that if I acted the way I sometimes do within my current job in a job outside of the home, I would definitely get some poor marks on my review. The comments would probably include word such as, unorganized, unstructured, and undisciplined, to name a few. In my former jobs as a registered nurse, would I dare fly by the seat of my pants in my day-to-day responsibilities as I often do as a mom and homemaker? Would I decide not to do certain responsibilities because I just didn’t feel like it? Would I at times do the bare minimum just to “get by?” No (at least not most of the time)! I wouldn’t because, if I did, I would affect others, both my coworkers and patients, in harmful (and even fatal) ways. I would create a stressful atmosphere for all around me. I would, quite honestly, possibly get fired if I continued to work in such a manner.

So, why is it ok for me to approach my current job in a way I would never approach a job outside the home? (gulp)

It’s not. There’s just as much, if not more, at stake.

2 beautiful ‘parts’ of my daily job

And so I embark on some really big changes in my job; in mindset and heart attitudes, in organization, and in discipline. And it’s going to take awhile, because there are a lot of areas to work on, something that is not all that easy for a, “Oh, something needs to be changed? Let’s change it completely right now,” kind of girl like myself. But, by God’s grace, I will make small changes. And then more small changes. Oh, and I know I’ll fail and fall off the bandwagon at times.

However, I know it will be incredibly worth it … especially as I seek to raise my kids in a Godly manner and to create a home in which all who live here (including me), as well as others who come in, can rest and thrive. So, let the journey begin!

– Dawn, Mom and Home-manager

Loving because we are loved

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As you can probably guess by many of my recent blog posts, I am increasingly seeing how self-focused I am and how that can so easily cause me to not love those around me the way I am called to. This does not mean that I need to beat myself up (although I can easily succumb to the temptation to) and/or determine to simply ‘try harder.’ Instead, I need to ask God to better understand His love and forgiveness for me so that I can in turn love others with that same kind of love. Oh, how I wish I could do this consistently!

Anyway, with that being said, and with Valentine’s Day upon us, I thought I would share a passage from a great book that I am currently reading about motherhood, A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming.

“As I’ve thought about the role of love in my mothering, I’ve been stimulated by 1 Corinthians 13*, which I have paraphrased:

If I keep my house immaculately clean, and am envied by all for my interior decorating, but do not show love in my family – I’m just another housewife.

If I’m always producing lovely things – sewing, art; if I always look attractive, and speak intelligently, but am not loving to my family – I am nothing.

If I’m busy in community affairs, teach Sunday school, and drive in the carpool – but fail to give adequate love to my family – I gain nothing.

Love changes diaper, cleans up messes, and ties shoes – over and over again.

Love is kind, though tired and frazzled.

Love doesn’t envy another wife – one whose children are ‘spaced’ better, or in school so she has time to pursue her own interests.

Love doesn’t try to impress others with my abilities or knowledge as a mother.

Love doesn’t scream at the kids.

Loves doesn’t feel cheated because I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do today – sew, read, soak in a hot tub.

Love doesn’t lose my temper easily.

Loves doesn’t assume that my children are being naughty just because their noise level is irritating.

Love doesn’t rejoice when other people’s children misbehave and make mine look good. Love is genuinely happy when others are honored by their children.”

It doesn’t really matter if you’re a stay-at-home mom or a mom who works outside of the home – the above words apply to all of us. And beyond that, they even apply if we’re not a mom (or dad) at all … think of the relationships in your life and what the above statements might be changed to say in regards to each specific relationship.

May we do as 1 John 4:19 in the Bible says – love others as a result of being loved by the One (God) who created us.

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*Click here to read 1 Corinthians 13.

Mommy lessons – letting/encouraging them to try

“Mommy, please help!”

I hear this phrase quite often throughout my days. Elijah is usually asking for help because he can’t take his arms out of his shirt sleeves, can’t put his slippers on, has climbed up on something and wants to get down, and so on and so forth … you get the picture.

“Elijah, I want you to try first and then if you can’t get it, ask for help again.”

That is the phrase my son hears often throughout the day after he asks for help. Most of the time, the ‘easiest,’ or most time-efficient thing anyway, thing for me to do would be to take his arms out of his sleeves, put his slippers on his feet, and lift him off the latest high place he has climbed up to … and to do it immediately. However, most of the time, I decide not to do the aforementioned. I let him struggle a bit with his sleeves and with his slippers, and I encourage him to figure out a way down from the object he is perched upon.

I want my son to learn multiple things from these situations:

1. I want him to learn to not give up so easily, but to try to solve ‘problems’ in different ways if the first way does not work. It can be the easiest, but sometimes laziest thing, for us to try something half-heartedly one time, then ask for help. I want to encourage him to fight against always doing the easiest thing and to work hard at trying to figure things out himself.

2. I want him to learn problem-solving skills. I am hoping that encouraging him to try multiple times will translate into him believing that he has the ability to figure many things out by himself, whether small or big, as he grows older and transitions into different stages of life.

3. I want him to learn about the consequences of his actions. Elijah has loved to climb for several years now and even from the beginning, he will often climb, then call out for help (see below picture from about 1.5 years ago … he is crying because he can’t get down from the diaper box). Shun-Luoi and I often communicate to him and show him that we will be there for him in life, but I don’t want him to think he can do whatever he wants because Mom or Dad will always rescue him (although, of course we would if it was necessary – and sometimes it is). So, if he climbs up onto something, I will often say, “You climbed up there – now you need to figure out a way to get down.” And you know what? He often does find a way down by himself – and then we cheer like crazy! I know the actions-consequences lesson will only continue as he gets older (and for us as adults as well!), so I figure that we may as well begin talking about it, even at this early age.

Now, before you go thinking I allow my boy to flounder with his arms stuck in his shirt sleeves or let him stay stuck on some high object for hours, let me step in and say, no – I absolutely do no such thing! After he may struggle for a bit or try one more time, I will sometimes get him out of his predicament, or more often than not, I will instead talk him through and show him  how to do it himself, in hopes that next time, he will remember what we talked about.

I think we do our children a disservice if we keep them from trying, trying a 2nd time, never letting them fail, or rescue them from every predicament they may find themselves in. Let’s instead encourage, instruct, empower, and cheer them on to trying, trying again, and succeeding at things they did not think they could do.*

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* Disclaimers – this post does not mean I subscribe to the “you can do anything you put your mind to” idea. I don’t, but that would be a whole separate blog post. And do I want my child to be completely self-reliant? No, because I believe that’s what can get us into trouble; not believing we need anyone beyond ourselves … we do need others, but more importantly, we need God. But again, that’s another blog post. Don’t read more deeply into this blog post than was meant to be read. I’m done now. 😉

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