It isn’t about smarts.

Why are so many in such a hurry for their children to grow up?

Push and push. And push some more. We act like intelligence is the most important thing. Kids must be the smartest in the class, and the younger the better, because that just shows how much “smarter” they are.

We could have started Katie last year in K. She is smart. But we waited. I’m glad we did. Being the smartest isn’t the most important. Being kind, loving, compassionate, and many other things are. I am so proud of how Katie has been such a friend to everyone, she loves on others, and desires to help those in trouble or in need.

If someone is the smartest person in the class or college or their job, but has no love for others, or can relate to them, well, that intelligence is meaningless. If someone is super smart, ends up with an amazing job, makes a lot of money… even gives to charity (but for wrong reasons) but doesn’t know how to love others they think are unworthy or less important than themselves… all that means nothing.

Check out what the Bible says:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Let-kids-flyI am all for encouraging kids. I am for helping them achieve goals. I am all for embracing what they love to learn. I am all for encouraging them in what they love to do (we do that for my oldest who loves all things science. And sharks. HAHA) I am for helping them be successful in school AND in life. BUT… that doesn’t mean my child has to be the youngest and smartest in their class. It doesn’t mean that unless my child can read by age 2 they are never going to amount to anything. It doesn’t mean that I have to force them to read, write, count, and all this other stuff because I *think* they have to. I see a lot of parents do this. I have even been guilty at times. If we are honest, I think it makes US, as the parents, feel good. We like bragging. We like the fact our kids look smarter than others. We think it makes US look smart and awesome and amazing. Our kids could probably care less if they read at 2 or when they start school. We squeal with delight when our 3 year old can read a 5 syllable word, count to 100, or do multiplication. We video it. We post it on Facebook. Do you think our kids really care that much!?

What is our motivation for pushing them? What is the true reason behind us wanting them to do everything the earliest, the youngest, and the best? Why do we think that in order for our children to be important and successful they have to be the smartest? Why do we push so hard? Why not allow them to develop into their own unique beings?

When you are a child of God, YOU matter. When you chose to believe in Christ and what He did for you upon that cross, you realize that there is so much more to life than success, because it isn’t about THIS life, or achieving things in THIS life. We can’t take anything with us when we leave this Earth. Things of eternal value are what are most important. Love. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. A relationship with Christ. Loving others into that same amazing relationship.

Intelligence is not all that matters. Being the best and the smartest isn’t what matters.

They are only children for a short short time. It is gone in the blink of an eye. Savor it. Soak it up like pancakes soaking up fresh maple syrup, because that sweetness will be gone in an instant.

I truly believe that kids just want to BE. KIDS. 

So let them.

❤ XOXO
~Emily

I ignore my kids

5853611cb3f0f1b9ea59762cef36b10edcNow, before anyone goes off on me, I don’t ignore REAL needs. I feed them, clothe them, bathe them (though I will admit, probably not as often as I should), I kiss and hug them when they get boo boo’s, if they are sorda kinda bleeding I will put a band-aid on it (though currently we don’t have any. Oops), and if they are REALLY REALLY bleeding, I will take them to the doctor, I give them meds and care for them when they are sick, I sing to them, cuddle them, love on them, rock them, etc etc etc, you know all the things good moms do. I even play with them:

Sometimes. 

But not ALL the time.

and I don’t think it makes me a bad mom. I think it makes me a pretty darn good one. A child needs to learn how to play independently and mama needs to get things done… like write this blog 😉 Which I am doing while 2 of three children are playing nicely alone. The oldest is at school. And yes, the oldest could play alone even when she was the only child.

I have three children. I definitely don’t have ALL the answers, but I do have three completely different children, with three completely different personalities, yet all three of them can play calmly and independently at times. Now, of course there are high needs days where the kiddies just need their mama more. I am totally cool with that. We all have days like that, where we just need more love, more support, more encouragement, more affirmation, etc.

However, I have seen mothers who are CONSTANTLY playing with their children. They are constantly asking their babies (even under 2) questions, teaching them how to read, shapes, colors, quantum physics (OK, so maybe that is a slight exaggeration with that last one). They are constantly telling their kids what everything they pick up is. Oh that little speck? That is a piece of dust, and did you know that in that one speck of dust lives 50 bajillion dust mites that look like tiny life sucking beings? Speaking of dust, we should probably wash your hands now, because that dust isn’t sanitary. They are constantly telling their young toddlers/babies/kids what to do, what to say: say please, say thank you, say supercalafragilisticexpialadocious (OK, again, that last one may be a slight exaggeration).

***disclaimer: It is TOTALLY not bad to label things. We should do that! That is how our little ones learn to talk and what things are. I am referring to those who never let their child explore on their own, and seem to have to always be telling them what to do, say, whatever. They hoover and don’t allow a child the freedom to explore. I love when my children explore, bring something to me, and THEN I label it 🙂 BUT, I don’t think a parent needs to constantly be picking up things, shoving it in the kids face forcing them to look at it, so they can label it… THAT Is more what I mean***

It’s exhausting to watch! I cannot even begin to fathom how friggin’ exhausting it is for the parent. Yikes.

Plus because these children have parents who are CONSTANTLY playing with them, doing everything with them, talking to them constantly, etc, they are Let-them-be-little-programmed to ALWAYS need that stimulation. They are a lot of times unable to play alone, have times to be creative, use their imaginations, figure things out for themselves. They become demanding because they cannot function without constant attention. They need constant attention, constant noise, constant talking or singing, or whatever. Helicopter parenting at its finest, right?

I am sorry. I just DON’T. HAVE. THE. ENERGY.

Maybe I am mean, but I don’t constantly play with my kids. Nope, not even the 1 year old. They need to learn how to play alone sometimes. I still have laundry, and cleaning, you know and all that other stuff that comes with having a house and kids? Yup. Still has to be done. Everyone, even children, need calm and quiet sometimes. They don’t need us always trying to teach or do or sing or talk or read or whatever. Plus, I will be honest, I don’t have the energy to constantly be shoving colors, letters, science, math, whatever else down their pint size throats, or playing with them ALL the time. Plus, I don’t think I need to. I need to let them BE KIDS sometimes. Let them be little. 

There is plenty of time for quantum physics later.

It’s Tuesday, Tuesday, get to go to Pre-K on Tuesday… and Thursday.

My oldest daughter’s first day of preschool was Tuesday. I CANNOT believe how fast she has grown up, and that she is ready for preschool. Some of you may be thinking. HMM wait a second, isn’t she 4? She didn’t go last year? The answer to that was, well we wanted to, but couldn’t afford it and another, her bday was the DAY before the cutoff. My sister’s bday WAS the day, and my mom held her back. I have known MANY parents in this situation who have done the same thing and haver NEVER EVER regretting it. So, we have decided to do the same. I really do believe she knows enough to start. She has letters, sounds, starting to read simple words… BUT she gets SO anxious (like me, kinda like test anxiety) if she is put on the spot, or cannot get something perfect the first time. I struggle with this too, my father was the same way. She is also VERY short. Like REALLY short. Maybe 3 feet tall at 4 years old, lol. My cute petite girl! Then again, mommy is only 5 feet. SO! anyway, that’s the answer. We wanted to do 3 year old class last year, then 2 years of 4 year old if we could afford it, but oh well!

Well, she LOVED it. I was afraid she would be hesitant, but I had been hyping it up, and my mom, her nana, got her some cute books about the first day or preschool 🙂 She read them EVERY. DAY. HAHA. One was called Twas the night before Preschool…so cute! Katie LOVES it.

The week before she kept asking how many night nights till preschool. She was bouncing all over the place like fleas in a flea circus, or one trying to get off a really gross tasting dog, haha… she was SO excited. Those of you who know my darling Katie bug, know she does NOT like to run haha. She likes to dilly dally and take things slow. She likes to read, play with her castle, her princesses, her dolls… she is a slow poke sometimes 😛 So, the fact she was bouncing off the walls like a mexican jumping bean was quite impressive, and let me know she was going to do JUST fine. She picked out the outfit in the picture. She was so excited.

We got there and she immediately went in and was in awe of all the colorful decorations, play centers, learning centers, books, etc. She LOVED her teacher and took the cutest picture with her! She met a new friend as soon as she went in, her name was Kaylee, lol yay for K names, and they played house she told me.

The first day was only an hour, to get them used to it. When we went to pick her up, they were finishing story time and I heard Katie answer what she thought was going to happen at the end, and she got it right! She was proud of herself. I could see her beaming smile all the way from Kansas I think! She was THAT radiant. I needed spf 1000 😉 When we got home she was running ALL OVER like I have never SEEN her. She acted like she had eaten a whole container of cupcakes and washed it down with a 12 pack of sodas. LOL. She was singing and giggling and shouting and dancing. She was BEAMING, even out of her teeny tiny petite pinkie toe nail! LOL. She would run and jump onto her bean bag, she would run into the sofa and bounce off, fall on her booty and crack up laughing. I have NEVER seen her so exciting haha. I LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I am thankful we didnt’ have the money last year… I don’t think she was quite ready. She is now, and I am so proud of her.

She was sad to go and asked when she gets to come back as soon as we picked her up! Her teacher is fantastic, and so is the assistant. We stayed and chatted with them awhile afterward. When we got in the car she was kicking her feet all around like she had this urge to dance and couldn’t control it. She kept shouting “WOW I cannot believe I get to go to preschool already!” Andrew told her mommy and daddy couldn’t believe it either. They REALLY do grow so fast, so parents, cherish it. Pick your battles, cuddle your child at night when they can’t sleep, kiss their boo boo’s, rub their backs to sleep sometimes, rock them, CHERISH them, play tea party (or other activity) with them even when you don’t feel like it, make a fort and go camping in your living room, have PJ days (like we are doing today hehe), eat spaghettio’s with them, be silly, dance to the same song 80 times a day if it means you get to see them smile so wide you could drive a truck through it (thats how my girls are with Laurie Berkners “We are the Dinosaurs” LOL)…. Let them be little. It goes WAY. TO. FAST.

I am am so glad she loved it. I also love the one on one time I have with sweet Holly Wolly Doodle…pretty soon I will be taking her to prek as well! AHHH!!!

I cannot believe I am officially the parents of a preschooler. Pretty soon I will be writing about her going to REAL school, LOL! And then HOLLY will start! NOOOO NOT MY BABY! Haha. I may need to buy stock in Kleenex brand… HAHA

do we really treat children as a blessing?

This is something that has been on my heart awhile. I know that this blog may get me in trouble with certain people, certain may disagree, some may agree. I don’t care. This is so much on my heart that I am about to explode. I have to get it out. I have to share this. I hope you will take the time to think through what I am writing. Many people say Children are a blessing. They say how they want many children, because of the blessing they are. I LOVE my girls, they truly ARE a blessing. I know some AMAZING moms, who you can truly tell treat their children like the blessings they are. However, I think we get caught up in expecting our children to be “little adults” that we lose site of the fact they are CHILDREN, therefore, how we treat them, what we say to them, etc, doesnt’ show they are a blessing to others. In fact, I believe, it can show the opposite. I want people to KNOW I see my children as the amazing blessings they are. now, before you go off on me,I am NOT saying you let your children run around like a chicken with their head cut off terrorizing everything… I am simply challenging you to LET THEM BE CHILDREN. Please dont expect them to do things they are simply incabpable of that goes against the very nature of children and how God wired them. Here is a few things on my heart about this issue. I hope you will think on and pray through them.

1) I think this “children should be seen and not heard” is (sadly) still VERY much in effect today whether we want to admit it or not. Children are expected, punished even, to sit still, and silent for hours, sit still and quiet while mommy is shopping. I have even heard of couch training, where you make a child sit without moving, without talking, for a certain amount of time, and you spank them if they as much move or speak. I am sorry, but I have a big problem with this. Children are young. Again, I am not saying to let your child run on a wild rampage, but its OK if they have an ourburst occasionally. They are children. They are wired that way, it happens. A young child, in my opinion 5 and under (5 year olds MAY be ableto, depends on the kid) should NOT be expected to sit silently through the adult church service. IT PAINS me to read of parents taking their child out and spanking them for speaking/moving or “misbehaving” in church. It makes me physically ill to be quite honest. Sitting quietly and respectfully, yes, but its ok if they make an occasional noise. Churches needent be so against children. They may say they aren’t, but this type of attitude shows otherwise. If churches want to include children in church, then learn to accpet they are CHILDREN. This leads me to my next thought.

2) Sometimes things we punish our children for are simply things they dont undersatnd, can’t help, or are just being children for. Spilling, accidents, etc. Again, they are children, and children are not little adults, and shouldn’t expected to act as such. You can teach your child manners, good behavior, biblical wisdom, while still allowing them to be children. My daughters are very loving, caring and kind. They are well behaved. I discpline when necessary, but I also allow them the same mercy and grace and love that our savior extended and still extends DAILY (and sometimes HOURLY) toward us. Think about this….are you expecting you children to act as adults? are you showing grace when they make mistakes? None of us are perfect, yet the Father still loves us and shows us grace and mercy. GOD IS LOVE. I think we forget that sometimes.

3) I will not say there is NEVER a time for spanking. BUT… I disagree wtih spanking for everything,every offense, or using it as the primary discipline or FIRST option/resort. I know this may make me unpopular with certain Christians, but I dont care. Spanking isn’t going to make your child’s heart right. I know all the arguments for spanking, so please, spare me. ALSO. YES. I have spanked before. I am not totally AGAINST spanking. I do believe there are times it may need to be used, but I also think that many times other forms of discipline serve and fair much better, and actually teach your child a better lesson. I do not think spanking should ever be used as a first or only resort, but as a LAST resort. I don’t understand how if you truly view your child as a blessing you can spank them for every offense, and definietly NOT repeatedly or as to leave marks (that is abusive, in my opinion). I have heard in some Christian circles, something sord of like a tally for how many spankings your child gets if they dont “behave” when you are out. You keep track of how many spankings your child will/should get, and when you get home, you spank them that number of times, in a row. Whether, 2, or 20. That HURTS me heart SO much, and makes me shudder 😦 I don’t think that is how the Lord treats us as HIS children. Yes, we are disciplined, but he also extends grace and mercy and compassion. We dont always obey the first time the Lord calls us to do something? Why should we expect our kids to do something,we as adults, dont even do? Think about it. I admit. I am guilty of snappping or yelling to fast. I am not treating my girls as the blessing they are when I do that. I am not showing the patience the Father extends to us. Lord, forgive me, and help me to parent my girls the way you father me. If we would spank for every offense, even small offenses, what do you think that tells our kids, does that show them love, or provoke them to anger? Does it show them you love them no matter what they do, or does it discourage them, and even make them feel they can’t ever do anything right, even if you TELL thenm you still love them always. Actions (and how we TREAT them) speak louder than our words…

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Psalm 145:8

“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

4) Please stop expecting children to be perfect. We can say we don’t, but sometimes our actions, words and tone of voice say otherwise. Actions speak louder than words, especially to small, sensitive, impressionable young children

5) For those that chose not to spank… STOP judging them. Stop looking down on them like they are going to have demon spawn for children. I have seen this too many times, I have seen people leave churches over it and its sickening. It’s wrong, and it is definitely NOT what Jesus would have done. Discipline does NOT mean punishment. One can succesfully discipline without spanking. Ive seen it, in fact, some of my friends who don’t spank, have better behaved, more well adjusted, and more loving, caring, kind, WELL BEHAVED, children than those who do.

So, when dealing with our children, is what we DO around them, to them, say to them, etc… saying what WE say? Children are a blessing… but are we living it? are we treating them that way?  And again, I discipline my children. I show them what is right, what is wrong, what is good, what is bad, what is glorying and edifying and what is not. I do NOT let my children run around screaming, yelling, tearing things up… BUT, I dont condem them or punish them for being… children. I want my children to learn to be well behaved AND still allow them to be children. I want them to learn right from wrong, be obedient, etc, while still letting them be little and enjoy their childhood. Sometimes, I think we focus SO much on discipline, because we fear they will grow up “bad” we forget to actually ENJOY them.

OK… I will stop before I get really uspet,or cause others to be upset. This is just something on my heart, and I wanted to share. Thank you for taking the time to read it ❤