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

Give them Grace.

“One can be addicted to either lawlessness or lawfulness. Theologically there is no difference since both break relationship with God, the giver.” – Gerhard O Forde

I have been reading a lot lately. Currently, I am reading a book entitled Give them Grace, by Elyse Fitzpatrick, and her daughter, Jessica Thompson. So far it has been remarkable. I have so much highlighted and so much that my heart has been convicted of as a parent.

There are some things in this book that I have felt in my heart for awhile. I want to share one of those today. I encourage you to read this book as well. Read the following passage:

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13

I have to say that something that bothers me about this passage is people tend to take it as a REAL doctor. How we deal with treating our children (or not treating them) if they are or are not sick. That is NOT what this passage means. It is not about whether you vaccinate or not, take your kid to the doctor or not, give them antibiotics or not… is it about the state of our hearts. Our hearts are SICK and no amount of “good deeds” can fix it.

If you read the story of the prodigal son, many focus on the son who ran off, walked away from God (who is portrayed by the patient father) and who eventually comes home. However, there is a lot more to the story than that. The stories main focus should be that of the Father. You see, BOTH sons were wicked and missing the point of the gospel message. The son who ran away was all about lawlessness and doing what HE wanted to do, no rules whatsoever. The other son was missing the point just as much, because he, was addicted TO the law. He was so focused on DOING the right thing, not doing this or that, doing this or that, following this rule and that rule, that he too, missed the point. He was angry when his father welcomed, with open arms, the son who had been lost but had returned.

You see, God loves both the prodigal son AND the pharisee. Each one of those were represented in this passage. BOTH are equally damning. The lawless may never come to Christ and therefore be lost in the sin and given over to their wickedness. However those who think they follow all the rules, are “good people” and are morally right, will not recognize their need for a Savior. That is almost MORE dangerous. The self righteous have also missed the point, for NO one is good, not one (Romans 3:10)

What the Lord was getting at in my first passage was: Being “GOOD” is not what God requires. Yes, if we TRULY love him, we will follow His commandments (John 14:15-16), but not because we think we HAVE to, because those who truly love him has a heart aligned with His heart and truly DESIRE to do his commands. We will never ever follow them perfectly. That was what Jesus did FOR us. We need to remember that. Following the law, and commands, and rules, etc, will NOT save us. Only the grace and mercy and blood of Christ can do that. The pharisees were arrogant, prideful and self righteous. They thought they were better than others because they followed the rules, but you see, they were JUST as lost as those Jesus was sitting and dining with.

From the book, on the pharisees from the matthew passage: “This ignorance only calcified their hearts, denuding love for God and blinding them to the needs of their neighbor. They did not see their need of rescue… Only sinners who know they are sinners will hear the word “mercy” spoken over them”

How often though, do we push this “being good” thing on our children?

-We get embarrassed when they act out in public. Why? Because we are worried how it will make US look as parents, how it makes our child look, and we put good behavior with good parenting. If our child acts well behaved, it MUST mean they are “good kids” and we are “good parents” (again NO one is good. We are both sinners and we all need Jesus to heal us) The book points out that this is a form of idolatry! We are focused on ourselves and how WE look or how our children act. We are putting appearance and behavior above God. We are making HOW they look a god.

-When they do something wrong we FORCE them to say sorry, or quote scripture, or tell them they have to keep trying until they can do it with a “happy heart.” When we do things like this we are unintentionally putting the idea that being good is what makes God love you into their hearts and minds, because truthfully, deep down, I think we believe it. We get in their minds that something is wrong with them that may not be wrong with a sibling who seems more compliant and obeys “better.” As Fitzpatrick says in her book… “it obliterates the gospel message”

-We get angry when our child does not listen. We get angry when they throw a tantrum (which is normal for young children). We get angry, yell, and throw a fit ourselves when they don’t go to bed, don’t eat what we serve them, etc etc etc… why? Because I think we, as parents, forget we are equally as sinful as our children. We screw up just as much. We have a disobedient heart, and we often times disobey Christ, just as our children disobey us.

As parents, we need to start seeing US in our children. What I mean is, when they disobey, act out, hit their sibling, etc, we need to look at them and remember we are JUST. THE. SAME. We disobey and sin daily. We do not listen to what the Lord God tells us. We are just as sinful. However, the Lord gave us grace. We should give them grace. This is not saying we do not discipline. We absolutely do. However, we need to be careful that our focus IN talking to them about what they did wrong and in our discipline is not “God won’t love you unless you are good,” because you see, that is not true. (Romans 5:8) Jesus Christ took our place on that cross BECAUSE he loves us and he knows that on our own we will always fail. We can never be “good enough” without him. He died for us WHILE we were still sinners. It was BECAUSE of his love he died for us, not because we follow all the rules, say things the right way, do the right things, etc etc.

Here is a quote from the book: “The only power strong enough to transform the selfishly rebellious and the selfishly self-righteous heart is grace.”  The author goes on to explain that what actually happens those who think law is what gets them favor with God, is it hardens them in pride and despair.

I want to encourage you parents to remember this. We want to train our children up in the way they should go. This is biblical. We need to teach them God’s truth and we need to teach them obedience. We are required as parents to discipline. However, we need to remember to teach them that DOING is not what saves them nor is it what makes God loves them. God will not love us less when we mess up. God will not loves those more and like those better who “do good.” We are all the same. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. That Savior is Jesus. He took our place on that cross. Only HIS blood can save us. Only HIS grace is sufficient for us. We cannot be good on our own, but when we become children of God, we have Him guiding us, and through Him, we can.

I want to end with a section from the book.

“It’s obvious to us how easy it is for parents to be both lazy prodigals and demanding Pharisees – on the same day! We are lazy and apathetic when we’d rather sit by the pool and just give the kids a time-out when they fight, or better yet, just ignore them and hope that they work it out on their own. Who wants to take time to talk about anything? They never listen anyway. When it is OUR day to rest? On the other hand, we are demanding rule keepers when we take God’s law and incessantly whack them over the head with it. “God says you MUST be honest and never cheat. I can’t believe you would sin like that! Don’t you know that cheating is like lying, and liars go to hell?” Or, “You are always so unkind. I think you need to memorize that passage from Ephesians 4 about kindness again. Go do it and them come back and tell me when you’re truly sorry. Now, go apologize to your brother (sister).’ “

” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works,so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Limiting our Freedom (from my daily reading)

This is from my daily Bible reading. I have an iPhone app 🙂 I have chosen the parenting daily reading plan. While this is about parenting your children, I think today’s reading has some great points to apply to ANY non Christian, new Christian, or Christian just struggling with certain things in their life (like me with worry, Andrew, and my friends and family, treat this topic differantly around me than they normally would, so that their actions dont MAKE me worry more)The verse for the day is 1 Cortinthians 8:9

“But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak…”

Many people believe a “good” Christian lives by many rules. In fact, the opposite is true. A strong believer doesn’t need a lot of rules. He needs only a few guiding Biblical principles he can apply to any situation. It is actually the weaker Christian who needs more rules because he doesnt’ have the wisdom and discernment necessary to apply God’s principles to difficult situations.

But, a strong Christian may give up some freedom and allow more restrictive rules so a weaker Christian will not misinterpret his actions. In parenting, we might consider staying away from activities that could become stumbling blocks when seen through our kids’ immature eyes. This passage should influence our choices about alcohol, movies we watch, the jokes we tell. Although we might be able to maintain a healthy balance, we don’t know where our kids may be especially vulvernable to temptation. We should sacrifice some of our privileges until our kids have the maturity to know when, where and why to asbtain.

Being a good example may require you to give up some of your freedom until your children are wise enough to exercise the same discretion.

from: Parenting by Daily Design Devotional
www.parentingbydesign.com

 

Kids and Wall Street

Ok, I know I already wrote a blog today, but I just CANNOT resist sharing this with you! It is from my “Parenting” magazine from February. It is in the Parenting Top 10, and it’s called “How Having Kids is Like Being a Wall Street Tycoon” – HAHA, you may not think this is funny, but I sure do! LOL!

1) Your gross domestic product rises dramatically – as evidenced by the daily pailful of dirty diapers
2) You have weekly board meetings – what’s family night without Scabble or Monopoly?
3) You’re the subject of a hostile takeover – really, why should you be able to have a full night’s sleep without a toddler showing up to hog your pillow and steal the blankets?
4) You’re sentenced to several years in a maximum security facility – and it’s funny how your preschooler is better at opening the safety gates and drawer latches than you are
5) You keep a sharp eye on interest rates – in green veggies, educational television and chores
6) You dole our sweet bonuses – hey, a handful of fruit loops can work wonders on a kid who won’t get into her booster seat (I hate to admit, I have done this one! LOL!)
7) You’re on constant market watch – because with what your tween son eats these days, a sale on hamburger is a very big deal.
8. You glady accept a bailout – thanks for babysitting grandma!
9) Your bonds are extremely rewarding – and every group snuggle on the couch reminds you
10) You’re all about the perks – since you can’t get through a day without five cups of coffee

ok, so these made me laugh, I hope they made you at least giggle some as well 🙂 Thanks Parenting magazine for making me laugh!

Full Time Mom

Well, i have officially been a stay at home mom for 2 days!  WOOHOO!  The days have been going wonderfully!  Katie is such a good baby, though I feel bad for her right now.  She has some eye goop 😦 so it is so sad to see her try and open her eyes.  We called the nurse on call last night and she isn’t worried about it, it may just clear up on it’s own.  It is pretty much that grody snotty sleepy junk we adults get, just more.  Andrew did some research on it and found that when babies tears come in, around 2 weeks, that sometimes they are a little clogged and it causes the buildup.  If it’s one kind, she can use eye drops, if it is the other kind, it goes away naturally.  So, we think that is most likely what it is, because the eye itself is not red.  I really enjoy being with her during the day, but man, by the time andrew gets home, I am pretty tired and end up getting over emotional when I see him!  Even if the day went perfect, which it usually does.  She really isn’t a fussy baby at all, which is good.  She sleeps great too, so I am hoping that means sleeping through the night in a few weeks like the docs say she could do!  YAY!

Ok, so now for something more serious.  For me, it still has to do with Katie, of course.  Most things in these early days probably will, but I think this lesson could go for anyone really.  The other day I was feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed.  The night before, Katie had a fussy period for about an hour and so I was freaking out.  Yes, i know, wow 1 hour out of the day, I realize now, we should consider ourselves lucky!  So, anyway, I checked my e-mail and saw I had an e-mail from my former boss, Stan.  I had written him earlier to thank him for allowing andrew to work from home for that first week so he could get to know Katie, and help me.  When he wrote back he said at the end to make sure and treasure ALL these moment while she is young, because pretty soon, we will be sending her off to college.  I needed to see that.  He is so right.  I love Katie sooooo much already and I need to treasure all times, even the fussy ones, because, geez, its already been nearly 2 weeks!  Time does fly.  So we need to embrace and cherish the time we DO have with those around us, or in anything in life.  So, I wanted to challenge you to see what it was YOU needed to cherish more this week?  Is it your spouse?  your kids?  do you have certain freedoms in your job?  And it isn’t just the “happy” times we need to cherish and be joyful in, but frustrating times as well.  For one, we know they will pass, another is we know that “ALL things work together for the good of those who love God” (Romans 8:28), but most importantly, the Lord is there through them all!  So, think about your life this week, what you do, your chores, your job, your family, whatever it is, and think. . .what do I need to be cherishing more than I am?  Cherish it folks, because before you know it, it/they will be gone and you will be moving on to the NEXT chapter in your life.  God Bless!