Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'll work on me, He can have the rest

Several years ago, my husband and I were on two different planets. Or so it seemed.  I remember during that difficult time telling the Lord all the things He needed to do to make changes in Big Daddy.  I couldn't figure out why the changes never happened and I grew more and more frustrated.

One day, the Lord finally asked me to take a me. 

Was I choosing to love Big Daddy-even when he didn't deserve it?
Was I choosing to respect him- even if he was being disrespectful?
Was I creating a home where my husband WANTED to be?
Was I being a wife he wanted to be around?


Basically, the Lord was letting me know that instead of focusing on Big Daddy's faults, I needed to work on mine first.  Ya know, that whole judging and speck in your eye, plank in my eye thing??  (Matthew 7:1-5)

I learned alot during that time.  And something amazing started happening.  As I turned my focus on the Lord and what I could do better (what the Lord expected of me as a wife), my view of Big Daddy was different even though he had not changed a thing.  Instead of being critical of him, I focused on what I could do to encourage, love, and support him.  Hear me- this WAS NOT easy!!

Over time, changes did come.  While I was busy choosing my actions and words carefully, the Lord used them to get Big Daddy's attention.  All WITHOUT my help.  Imagine that. (1 Peter 3:1-4) 

Recently, I had the same lesson come up in a different way.  Dealing with my 15 year old.  Whew.  Just the thought is enough to overwhem me!  So many times I find myself nagging, repeating, and being sucked in to arguments with my first born.  (2 Timothy 2:23)

As a normal mom, I just want to protect my kids. I want better for them. I don't want them to make aviodable mistakes.  I want to pop open their heads and fill them with information that will make life easier.
Then I remembered my teenage years and how I didn't listen (hence the reason for the above statements).

I found myself pouring my heart out to the Lord over J and pointing out all the things I thought needed to happen in this young man's life.  De ja vu, anyone??

The Lord quickly reassured me that I needed to focus on what I could do that would point my son to Him (what the Lord expected of me as a mother), and leave the rest up to Him.   

I need to be a mother whose words, attitude, and actions point my son to Jesus.  A mother who makes home a safe place full of love and encouragement......even when all my flesh wants to do is fight back.  A mother who allows her kids to fall flat on their faces and with mercy and grace helps them back up.  (Eph. 6:4, Prov. 22:6)

Do you have someone that you have been praying for?  Someone you want so badly to reach?

Maybe start by asking the Lord if there is anything in you that may need some work.  Maybe there is a plank that needs to be thrown into the mulcher. Maybe the way you react isn't of the spirit (Gal. 5:22).  Focus on self can be very harmful and dangerous.  But if your focus is through God's eyes and not your own, wonderful things can happen.

In the end though, we have to give up control (not that we have any) and trust the Lord.  At some point each person has to make up their own mind and choose to follow or change. 

Its our job to do everything we can to point them in the right direction, and leave the rest up to the ONLY One who has the power to do anything about it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

On the Flip Side..............

Okay, so I get that my last post was pretty serious.  I meant for it to be that way. 

Although, on the flip side...........

Technology can be a great tool for parenting!!  Kids these days post, well, everything.  Not long ago, my daughter had several girls spend the night.  That particular night I did not take her cell phone when I went to bed.  I let all of the girls keep them.  They are all great young ladies and all are well aware of my expectations about cell phone usage (even though some of the parents don't share my thoughts).  I told the girls they had 2 rules:
 1.  don't wake any one else in the house

 2.  stay in the house.

The next morning, as those same girls were sleeping soundly, I decided to check my daughter's Instagram.  Guess what?

They documented everything. 

I was able to see what time they had a nail painting session,  3 a.m. ice cream,  and a little dancing as well! 

See, kids these days put everything on social media.  While it can be a parents nightmare, it can also be a parents ally!  Not only can we keep up with our own kids, but their friends as well. 

I had another parent say to me the other day that she didn't really check behind her daughter very much (she's 11) because "she needs her privacy".
My thoughts are that:
 1.  Privacy is earned.  ESPECIALLY with technology.

 2.  I don't check up on my kids to control them, I do it to protect them.

I know so many adults that cannot get control over their technology usage or etiquette. I cannot assume that my kids will learn it by default.  I simply choose to walk along side of my young adults to help them make the best choices they can.  My older ones are very close to the time when I pull away and let them make all their own choices (while still at home).  They need to be prepared.

There are alot of things I find that I choose to let go.  I don't hound my kids or question them about every little thing.  If it crosses the line morally or violates the contract, we address the situation immediately.   If its something I may not like, but it isn't wrong, I will get another parent (who can also see or read the post, pic, whatever) to question the kids about it.  If they are comfortable enough to be confronted, then I let it go.

The world is very different these days.  While I would love to be a parent of my own generation,  those days are becoming distant memories.  I will say that I am glad that cell phones have GPS and phone trackers.

My mom definitely didn't have that. 

Any thoughts or great ideas you have learned about raising a technology based generation???

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Technology Parenting

Yes, its been 100 years since I have blogged.  I get that- I can't imagine that you missed me much, and that's okay.  I have been happily enjoying our active, to-the-point-of-insanity family.  Not complaining, I wouldn't change it for the world!  Although, I will get back to the family.  Right now?  I have a soap box to climb.   Back to family life later.

*Stepping onto soap box*

My heart is aching for the generation that many of us are raising today.
My heart aches for the kids. 

My heart aches for the parents.

Parenting isn't new.  Parenting isn't perfect.  Parenting has always had its share of challanges.  For centuries, people have made choices for their famililes and often wondered if those choices were for the best or if they were ultimately screwing up their kids for life. 

I do feel, however, that today we as parents have to take it to a whole new level.  Why?

Social Media and the Internet.

If you have an older elementary student or middle school student that has access to the internet and you aren't proactive in monitoring them, chances are......YOU ARE WAY BEHIND.

If your child has a smart phone that you do not monitor....YOU ARE WAY BEHIND.

If you think Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all you have to worry about.....YOU ARE WAY BEHIND. 

Here in our crazy household, 2 of our kids have smartphones.  Along with the cell phones, we have Cell Phone Contracts.  These serve as tangible evidence of expectations and reminders of the privledges of cell phone use. 

I cannot stress enough how happy I am that we set this in motion.  Because we made cell phone and internet usage "all public access" in our home, we have been able to train our kids in what is/is not appropriate.  This includes, but is not limited to: texts, emails, photos, language, and social media.  (So many social media sites are specifically set up to MEET STRANGERS.  Its not just to connect to friends anymore, folks.)  

I spend about 30 minutes per evening checking phones/computers for that day's activity (our kids have a set time to turn in devices).  I even spot read texts.  Oh yes, I do. See, this isn't for the purpose of control or spying.  Kids will be kids.  But when we were growing up, kids were mean and caddy face to face or in a note.  Today? That translates into the world wide web.....

for ALL to see (comment, repost, etc.)....


Have you read that meme that reads, "So glad I did all my stupid 'stuff' before the internet"?    You know, so that now people cannot see it or bring it back for all to see???   Well guess what- your sons and daughters will have to worry about that.  
~I wonder if that got the attention of the readers that think I am crazy or overbearing?  
Most nights I check everything and go about my night.  Sure, I see things I don't like, but unless it crosses into a certain gray area, I let it go.  Again- not about control.   But I will tell you, we have found many opportunities to talk to and train our kids.  Luckily, I have been able to use other kids' bad choices as an illustration.  But make no mistake, there have been evenings when I found my heart breaking over something that was posted/sent to one of my kids.  Even worse- when its my kids that send/post something hurtful to someone else.

Unfortunately, social media is just a small part of the Internet. 

I read a blog the other day entitled, "Google- the new sex ed".  
Did you gasp?   I actually didn't.   But since I couln't remember where the blog came from, I Googled it.  Ironic, huh?    Seems there have been many articles written on that same subject.  Turns out that, instead of asking a parent or other human being, now kids are searching the internet for all things pertaining to sex.   What do you think the result of that may be?? Yep. Porn. 

If I didn't get your attention earlier, do I have it now???? 

Its no longer young boys that find a magazine hidden somewhere between the mattresses or the garage.  Nope.  Now its 24/7, 365 days a year, at the fingertips of any young boy or girl who are looking.  Even if they are only looking to answer a very natural question about sex.  I hope I don't have to tell you the ripple effect from there and the immense dangers of addiction.

Parents need to wake up and start being proactive.  Every week lately I have had a conversation with a parent that has admitted to not being proactive and knowing what is going on with their kids and the cyberworld.  Breaks.My.Heart.

See, for every time I am thankful that I have found "teachable situations" for my kids through their devices, I also have found myself in tears with heartbreak that some of these lessons have to happen so soon or at all.  While the earth physically isn't any bigger than when we were growing up, for our kids and the internet......its wide open.  More than most of you parents understand.

Trust me- THEY ARE HEARING IT FROM THEIR PEERS whether they are asking for it or not, whether you know it or not!!  Start talking to your younger ones and open the communication lines.  Talk to other parents and learn what you may not know. 

*Stepping down from soap box*

There you have it in the smallest nutshell I could muster. 
There will be those that don't agree.  So be it.  I don't totally agree with others all the time either.  But don't waste your time to read and then criticize.  I won't argue and debate.  My blog, my views.
If there is even one parent that reads this and is able to make a positive difference for their young adult, then I have accomplished much. It really does take a village.

And a full reliance on the One who entrusted me with this duty.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it."

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life"