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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Can We Help Our Kids Do Well in School

This is good news for REAL moms!

Tutors are great but studies show that the best students are not ones with tutors but instead a strong family support makes a child a better learner.

It turns out that the family environment is crucial in forming good habits early on in a child's life. Who'da thought?!

Here are a few ways we can help our kids do well in school:

1. Give them a place to study and do homework. Try to keep the noise to a dull roar distractions to a minimum and as much as possible have it be a consistent time each day.
That being said...this REAL mom has practiced spelling words in the car on many occasions.

2. We've talked about this a few times but it bares repeating...communicate with your kids, ask them how things are going in their classes. Which classes do they struggle in, which class is their favorite and why.

3. Communicate with teachers, find out if homework is getting turned in and how they feel your child is doing in class. And as your child see you doing this, the accountability may be good incentive to work harder.

4. Help your kids learn HOW to study. This will really help them as they get older. If you've ever been super tired like me at the end of a day (like I was in this post) and then you realize that they didn't do their homework and you are tempted to just give them the answers, because I have not that I've done that... but we really shouldn't. A better (more patient and rested) parent will teach them how to find the answers. :)

5. And the most important (well not really but it seems that the last one should always be the most important) remain supportive even when they struggle.

Homework is not ever always a fun time of the day, but investing in our kids is worth it!
Real moms like you and I can make a huge difference, in fact the MOST difference in our kids education.
I'd love to hear any tips you have!

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How Can I Build My Child's Self Esteem?

If you listened you heard that...only I could forget the rest of "sticks and stones will break your bones but..." I had a complete brain block at that moment!! Well, I hope you laughed with me, but if you laughed AT me, at least we both got a laugh :)

One way you can help build your child's self-esteem: speak words that build up and not tear down.
We can help build the self-esteem of our children by focusing more on their strengths and accomplishments rather than their short comings.

A child’s self-esteem is often built on what those close to them say about them, so we can make a huge impact in our kid’s lives if we praise them and encourage the positive decisions they make. And when they fail and make mistakes, speak words like: I know you can do better! Let them know that you believe in them.

It’s so important that moms build up and not tear down our kids.
For instance; I just cringe when I hear parents call their child stupid or dumb, it’s heartbreaking and flat out cruel. Yes, they will do stupid things… so will we…but let’s separate those actions from who they are as a person.

When a parent tells a child they are stupid or even "bad," it tears down the very core of who they are. Let’s not let their mistakes become part of their identity. I sure don’t want to be defined by the many times I’ve fallen, instead I want to be encouraged to pick myself up and do better next time.

Instead we can say something like: That was not the best decision to make, but YOU are smart. I’m sure you’ll do better next time.

And, isn’t that what we want too?

So, think about the words we speak to our kids…speak words of encouragement and praise.

Real moms can build their kid’s self-esteem by building them up, not tearing them down.
Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What If Your Church Didn't Exist Anymore?

Many hairstyles ago I stood in front of the church that my husband pastored and shared a thought that burned so deep inside me I couldn’t help but breathe it out loud. With a shaking that reached from my platinum blonde hair to my painted toes I asked the congregation, “What would happen if you didn’t have a church to attend anymore?” It was not an announcement of the church closing its doors; but more a sense of the burden on my heart that we are all too comfortable sitting in the church.

What would you do if there were no church to get ready for on Sunday? What if there were no Bible studies or MOPS groups?

How would your family navigate their Christianity without the church building? Do you feel equipped to teach the truths of the Bible to your children?

Obviously we don’t have to navigate the road of Christianity alone, we have churches and groups and the freedom to assemble, and for this I am grateful. But I still wonder, what if?

I believe that God wants a relationship with us that is not dependent on church attendance.

I have driven home from church and felt a sense of satisfaction by the mere fact that I attended. I hadn’t connected with anyone or learned anything that sparked faith in my heart. But that religious side of me felt approved by God just by walking in the doors, sitting in a pew, picking up a bulletin and smiling at the greeter on the way out.

I want more than that in my relationship with the God of Creation. I believe God wants more for us.

I think it does us all good to stop and think about how our lives would look if the freedom to assemble in our churches disappeared. I’m not saying this because I think that is what’s happening; I’m not storing up guns in my basement or buying rice in bulk. But I think we need to look at our relationship with the Father and consider if it’s authentic enough that it would pass down to the next generation without overhead projectors or flannel boards teaching them about Noah’s Ark.

THE Church (the body of Christ) will exist, but if your building weren’t available, how would you do?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When Moms Should Say Yes

Hello Moms! 
 I’ve talked before about encouraging moms to say NO to the things that keep us too busy and away from the family but today I want to encourage moms to say yes. Turns out that our kids respond better in what is considered a positive atmosphere. Who knew?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about giving in to every whim at the grocery store or all the treats their little heart’s desire because our kids can ask us what seems like a million questions in a day. I’m referring to those times when a “yes” is possible, just not always convenient for us.

It can be so easy to fall into a groove of continually saying NO. We’re busy we’re running around and it’s hard to say yes when we’re on a mission, it’s inconvenient, but…we could probably say yes a little more than we do.

I have the habit of saying no to messy things…play dough, Legos, painting or friends over after school…..sleepovers…you know, the things that get in the way of MY day. It’s also a challenge for me to say yes to stopping what I’m doing to play a board game or the Wii.

And then I read things like this from Mr. Fred Rogers:

In the book The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember, Fred Rogers wrote that, "I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said yes, when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly only helpful to someone else."

Ok, so REAL moms…every time we consider saying “no,” let’s stop and ask ourselves a simple question: Can I give my child a “yes” instead?

Matt 10:16

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Monday, February 13, 2012

Got the Winter Blues?

Need a boost of encouragement today?

Check out the latest magazine online:

Click here: Winter 2012

For articles including:
Starting Over
New Beginnings
Low Self Esteem
Escaping the Sex Industry
and more!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another "Confessions of a Bad Mom" Post

Hey ladies!
I'm over at the Internet Cafe today sharing some stuff about homework, motherhood and my refusal to add 3 plus 4. I'd love it if you dropped by and gave some input!

Confessions of a Mom With Too Much Dander

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Can Moms Do About Bullying

Maranda had an excellent program this weekend on “Where You Live” about bullying.

I encourage all moms to check out her blog, she has some great insights from parents, kids and professionals.

One of the girls on that show said something so eye opening about the core of the pain these kids feel. Her name was Karleigh and she said: “when you feel worthless, all you want to do is die”

And I thought, THAT is the heart of what these kids are feeling when they are bullied, they feel worthless and de-valued. And I’m not a professional but as a MOM, I can help my child feel worth. I can show them that they have value.
I can validate them by encouraging them, praising them for accomplishments, telling our little girls that they are beautiful.

Our youngest daughter was adopted from China and she was born with a cleft lip and palate and her scar is very obvious and her little nose is flatter and kids say things to her that break her heart. I talked about it in this post: No One Else Looks Like Me

So we continually tell her she’s beautiful and how precious she is to us and to God, and I see that lift her countenance. It really makes a difference.

Our kids need us to fill their tanks.They need to know that they are an important part not only of our family but of the world. That they have a place, and they have a purpose. They are not here by accident.

And on the other side of this, we can talk to our kids about how we are all different and just like we encourage our kids- that the other kids in their school have a purpose too- and teach our kids to be sensitive to the differences in all of us.

It's as simple as:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Real moms can make a difference when we show our children their value and worth.

If you are not in the West Michigan area, you can listen online at iHeart Radio: STAR 105.7

And visit Tommy and Brook at:
STAR 105.7
STAR 105.7 on Facebook
@TommyAndBrook on Twitter

Sunday, February 5, 2012

GREAT! The Lid Came Off the Mayo Jar

I just got back from a glorious run on this beautiful Michigan day!

Not really...wouldn't you hate me if that was the truth??
The truth is, the weather IS beautiful for Michigan today, 40's and sunny. But the run was tedious and tiring and I wanted nothing more than to stop and drive to McDonalds for a McFlurry.
The glorious part is that it's done. Amen.

I don't usually write on the weekends but Lauren did something today that I wanted to tell you about.

First let me warn you, there is nothing spiritual or redeeming about this. It's kind of ugly and nothing like the beautiful things that Ann Voskamp writes on the weekend.

Lauren (7yo) opened the fridge, started rifling through it and grumbled in disgust, "Don't we have any cupcakes?! Where are the chips?! GREAT! the lid came off the mayonaise jar!"

Now, it should be noted that I don't think we've had cupcakes in this house in a month and I never keep them in the fridge. Apparently she wanted the chips because she spotted french onion dip and I have no idea why she feels the need to take on responsibility for the mayonaise container.

If she was 10 years older I would assume we were dealing with PMS but evidently we're just dealing with an ornery seven year old who needed some time on her quad, thankfully she got that.

Now you should probable head over to Ann's website because she does sweet things on the weekends that make you feel happy about life, not me, I've had my nose buried in the book "Bossy Pants" by Tina Fey all weekend and I'm feeling a bit snarky.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Creative Way to Apologize

Hello! Happy Friday!

After yesterday's post, I thought something a little more light hearted would be good. But let me just say, wow. Not only was that the most traffic my little blog has ever seen, but I was overwhelmed with email and messages after that post, many of which brought me to tears. I said a prayer for each of you, and I plan to write more about abuse in the future.

Late yesterday afternoon I jumped in the shower to get ready for these sweet ladies who were coming over.

They are planning to start their own Praise and Coffee Nights here in West Michigan. We had so much fun!

But as I stepped out of the shower, this letter was slid under the bathroom door, along with a marker that clearly took some time to jam under the door.

It said:
Dear Mom and Dad I em sry I was men to you do you frg m yess or no srk wun

Dear Mom and Dad, I am sorry I was mean to you, do you forgive me? yes or no, circle one

She waited impatiently outside the door with constant requests that I "circle one."

I opened the door and asked what she was talking about. When was she mean to us?
Evidently she felt that she was mean to us the night before when she had a bad attitude. I had forgotten all about it, hello-just another day with a 7 yr old.

It's so funny sometime what their little hearts hold on to.

Of course I wrapped my arms around her and gave her lots of love but that wasn't enough, I had to "circle one." And she wanted me to go back in the bathroom and slide it back under to the door to her.

I obliged.

So, next time you blow it and need to apologize to someone I suggest you write a little note, feel free to use Lauren's words, and slide it under the door when they are showering. It is hard to stay mad at someone who spends 10 minutes jamming a marker under the door.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Effects of Abuse

If you have been abused, I’m so sorry. I wish I could wrap my arms around you. I would whisper in your ear …“the abuse does NOT define you…you have worth…you are precious to God…He loves you.”

I’ve been there.

I was molested as a child.

No, I don’t talk about it much. Only when I feel a prodding sense that someone might need to hear it.

A “friend” of the family took a child whose self-esteem was already dangling by a thread and violently tore it away.

Abusers don’t consider the pain they cause. They are selfish.

They don’t care that they leave a crumpled little girl struggling to understand. Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Where are my protectors?

Can you relate? Maybe your abuse came in a different form. Maybe it was actual bruises that peppered your fragile frame, or maybe the bruises hid quietly behind a shy smile that you painted on when someone started to see the angst in your eyes.

My scars were not visible but I saw them every day. Like a scab that I unconsciously picked at until it bled and I could no longer deny its reality.

Chosen last for the kick ball game at recess. The boys teased me about my crooked teeth. The teacher overlooked me despite furiously waving my hand when I knew the answer.

They all seem like innocent actions, but I knew. I knew it was because I was not important. I belong in the background. I was used. I was only beneficial to appease a demented man’s needs.

It wasn’t until many years later that I learned how distorted my thinking had become.

My heart is heavy for those who through abuse or neglect now turn to horrible self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, substance abuse, bulimia etc. Please if that is you, seek Christian counsel. Sit down with someone who will pray with you and help bring healing, comfort and hope to you.

God knows you and loves you and I am praying for any victims who read this. You were made for a purpose, to KNOW your creator as Father, friend and Savior. You were not made for the abuse you’ve suffered. It does not define you. You are beautiful, you have worth, and you are loved.

I’d love to hear from you.

  ©Blog Design by Amy Bayliss.

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