Finally, my book, ” You Are Wonderfully and Beautifully Made” is in print. You may now go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/1790112540 and order your copy. There is also an eBook copy for your electronic device: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KWLTD4B
I had an interesting day yesterday. (say that three times) It reminded me that my children will be my children regardless of age and where life takes them.
I was awaken by a car alarm at 2:30 am Friday morning. I got up to see what the noise was and to make sure it wasn’t our cars. When I opened the door, I found that it was one of ours; my daughter’s. I ran to her room to get her keys so I could turn off the alarm. When I got to the door, I struggled to find the right button but eventually did. I looked out the side door and then the front door, but saw no one outside. I locked the doors and went back to bed.
After getting back into bed, I realized that I couldn’t go to sleep. This was very bad. The alarm would go off at 6:00 am and that was fast approaching. I texted a friend who I thought might be up and we talked for a while, but I knew that I needed to try and get some sleep. My students would count on me to be alert, I mean, it was Friday!
I did fall back asleep but not until 5:30 am and then the alarm went off at 6:00 am. I got up and did my regular morning routine. I went outside to check our cars to make sure nothing was done to them. (at 2:30 am, I was not going outside to check on the cars by myself) Everything seemed fine until I got to my daughter’s car. I unlocked it and went to open it, that’s when I realized it wasn’t really closed. It was like someone opened it, the alarm went off, they got scared and slightly closed the door so it would catch and look closed. (her locks don’t always work)
I checked inside, in the trunk and underneath the car. I was mad! My ninja skills kicked in and I was ready to kick some butt. This was my child’s property. Nothing was taken, but it was violated! You mess with my kid, you mess with me! I prayed for her safety. I prayed for protection over her life and her property. I prayed over our home and over my family. I know God has our back and he encamped His angels around us that night.
She didn’t want to leave by herself, so we left together that morning. That afternoon, I had an outing with my parents. My daughter didn’t want to go home by herself, so she came to hang out with me. After getting home that evening, she made sure to remind me to check and make sure all the doors were locked before she went to bed.
I know that my child is a young adult. But I also know that regardless of their age, marital status, their own children, their jobs and lives, my children still need me to protect them through prayer. Prayer is the only way you can protect your children when you aren’t around them. Prayer should be the first thing you do. I know I can’t always be with them, even with my grandson, but I do know that God loves them and me and He wants what’s best for us. I know that He is always with us and He protects and provides for us and you, if you let Him.
Be encourage today to let go and let God protect you and your children; your whole lives! He wants to and He does even without you knowing. He loves you!
Home as always been the place I can go where I feel safe and secure. It is the place where love abounds. It’s where it is always a mess of toys and dirty dishes. It’s a place of wonder and questions. It’s a place of “who done it” and “nobody”.
Home is where you can be you without the judgement of others. It’s where it is warm from the cold and cool from the heat. It is where all your most prize possessions reside. It’s where you can stay and never leave. It’s where tears are shed and hearts are healed. It’s where love is found and happiness survives.
Home is where memories are made and remembered. It’s where water is wasted and experiments become creations. It’s where learning takes place and character is made. It’s where forgiveness is rendered and grace still flows.
Home is where you invite your friends and grow your relationships. It’s where you hold tight those you love and never let go. It’s where you sleep to dream and dream to live. It’s where you grow old and move on and someday be remember by the “home” you created.
In our technological society today, we pick up a child from school and give them a phone or tablet and we don’t have to engage with them, talk about their day or even speak to them. I am so guilty of this also. It’s so easy to do this, but what happens is we allow our children to learn from the internet. Do we really want our 3-16 year olds watching YouTube videos of whatever in the car or in their rooms all alone? Do we really know what they are watching? Do we want to have to re-teach simple skills to our children because we were too busy or to lazy?
I find myself in this web (literally) every Sunday afternoon. It’s my quiet time, my me time, time to myself. But when my grandson is finished playing outside with friends, he goes into his room to play video games and watch YouTube. I’m not saying YouTube is bad, I’m saying we need to monitor what our children watch and listen to. They can learn a lot from what they see on the TV, internet and video games, but not in a good way.
Then they bring this knowledge to school, church, shopping, etc. And it is not appropriate. They can’t separate from what they see because they haven’t been taught the difference. Some children believe that what is happening on TV is real or what is being said they can say. But they can’t!
Children need to see us, hear us and listen to us. We need to see our children, hear our children and listen to our children. The worst scenario is at a restaurant where mom and dad are on the phone and the children are bored because they aren’t doing anything. So they are fighting with the silverware, sugar, ketchup or whatever they can find and get reprimanded because they are making a mess.
Talk to your children, find out what they are interested in and let them know what you’re interested in. Have a conversation! Make up a story! Sing songs, make up songs, read a book together or tell a joke and laughed so hard you want to pee on yourself. Be all there! I know, that’s me too! My grandson and I have the most fun doing this at bedtime. And what really funny is we are not getting ourselves sleepy by doing this. We are actually keeping ourselves awake, but we are having fun.
Find some way to connect to your child and keep them away from things you know are too old for them and things they spend way too much time on. The internet is an interesting and helpful place, but only if used appropriately.
I know this message will step on some toes as well as mine. But this needs to be addressed.
Children are born with no knowledge of how to do anything but cry, eat, sleep, poop and pee. Everything else is taught! Not by the teacher, but by the parent. Your child learns everything from you and the people they are around, good or bad! The Bible, written a long time ago said, “Start off children on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Before leaving home to attend school, with exception to special needs, children should know how to sit in a chair and at the table, respect adults, eat with a spoon, treat others nicely, listen to adults, use the bathroom by themselves, wash their hands, put on their clothes, say please and thank you, maybe “Yes, mam” and “No, mam” or (Sir), wait their turn, and clean up after themselves. This only names a few.
I teach and some kids can’t do these things. A teacher has more than just your child in their class. They have a lot of children who also cannot do these things. Our job is to enhance skills already taught by the parent. Not to teach skills that should be taught at home.
Think about the way you were taught! Someone, before you came to school, taught you how to do these things and more. No one comes to school not knowing how to walk unless there is a medical issue. Teaching basic need skills are taught by parents from babies all the way to forever. You will know what your child is learning by what you are teaching them. I know what the children in my class can and cannot do. I know what they need and don’t need. I’ve only had them for 6 months. You have your kids forever, do you know what they know or don’t know? Do you know what they need and don’t need?
A child does not know how to do anything unless they are taught, good things or bad things. What we teach them is what they give back. What someone else teaches them is what they give back. Words, phases, gestures, body language, etc. are taught to them. They see and they do, they hear and they say, we act and they react. If something we do or say or act is wrong or inappropriate, we have to let them know it’s wrong and why. We can’t just laugh it off or ignore it. It will continue until they are taught it’s wrong. We don’t want it to be too late.
Our kids will one day be adults who live on their own and have jobs. What will we see then? Young adults with manners, integrity, honor and respect or rude, jobless, live at home, rebellious children. I chose to believe that wrong can be made right, but it takes more than just the one teacher in a classroom full of children to set the record straight.
As the saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child (African Proverb) that means it takes everyone!
During a sermon at church Sunday, my pastor, Richard Myers, preached this message, Blood, Sweat and Tears. It is a sermon series about relationships. Sunday’s message was about marriage, but not being married, I saw it a different way. But for your benefit, you can insert the word marriage where I inserted children/parents.
Being a parent is hard work. You can’t have a kid and expect it to be easy peasy because it is not. It will be fun and interesting, but never easy! So while I was listening to this message I realized that after all these years, I haven’t done such a bad job! They are not dead and I’m not dead. We survived! I mean, it’s not like they come with an instruction book! But there were things I could’ve done different or even should’ve. With this new found knowledge based on the bible, I had a second chance to teach my young adult children and my grandson what I had missed.
- I won’t act like I am single or have no children. We have to shift our perspective from “Me” to “We”. There’s no room for “Me” when you have children. Ask yourself, how will this impact my children? That’s a tough question. I know I should do this when I watch TV. (Hawaii five-0 and Bones) I know my grandson shouldn’t see shooting and sometimes hear a curse word or see bloody bodies, etc. Maybe I could watch them when he goes to sleep and watch TV or play video games with him. “Just because we are in the same house doesn’t mean we are spending time together”, my daughter use to say; a very wise girl.
- I need to show action not just intention. Work on your relationship with your children. Your relationship with your children is a work in progress. Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! Let me repeat that! Children do not know how to do anything unless they are taught! This means things that are good and bad for them. We can’t expect our children to know what we mean when we say, “Pick up your toys”, when we haven’t shown them how to do it. They need your help with everything! I mean EVERYTHING! Don’t wait until they get to school and say,” Let the Teacher teach them!” Their first teacher is you and should be YOU! Remember, whatever they learn, they learn from YOU first! So be careful, they repeat words, actions, patterns and attitudes. When we ask them, “Where did you learn that from?” We immediately want to blame someone, but when they say,”You, mom or dad” we have to forgive ourselves, let our children know we make mistakes and try to do better.
- Every good relationship deserves encouraging words. Try this: If you think of something good about your children; say it out loud and to them, even to others while in front of them. As a Teacher, I correct kids all day, every day. I also need to remember to encourage my students by looking for ways to praise them; as well as my own kids and grandson at home. It’s really hard to see the positive and praise it, when you can’t look past the negative. I need to do better at this. When I pray, I want God to change my children and students, but God wants to change me. I can’t change them, but I can change me! I should be the best I can be, do the best I can and let God do the rest!
- Forgiveness is not fault-finding. Stop keeping a record of what your children do wrong and start keeping a record of what they are doing right. Don’t bring up past things. Keep the past in the past. We don’t like it when our children bring up what we promised to do and didn’t do, again. Our children don’t like to be reminded of their wrongs either. We all have feelings, the same feelings. What hurts us hurts them. When God forgives us of our sin, it’s gone, never to be known again. He doesn’t bring it back up every time we ask for his forgiveness for the same thing or a different thing. It doesn’t exist! We should follow our Heavenly Father’s example. Forgive and Forget. A new day, a new start! A do-over! Things change when you’re a parent, as they should. Healthy parenting consistently lives with an attitude of forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:32)
Being a parent has been the most scary, rewarding, hard, loving, maddening, meaningful journey of my life. Having a healthy and satisfying relationship with my children has been an on-going battle, but one I’m willing to fight! Keep pushing, keep pounding, keep loving and learning. Do your very best and let God do the rest! You are a GREAT PARENT!
At first glance of this remarkable book, I felt a little uneasy. I have a daughter that had a “poof” when she was growing up and she always complained about it. So I was a little unsure if I would be able to see it differently, but I did. After reading it to myself, I realized that I could make this work in my classroom.
I teach NC Pre-K and wanted to share this experience with my class. We celebrated Multicultural Children’s Book Day by reading this incredible book. The kids listened and laughed. They answered questions like: What do you think Poof will do on picture day? What will he become and what did you like about this book? They raised their hands to answer and ask questions, they discussed ideas with their friends and told me that what they really liked about this book was the pictures!
After reading and sharing this book, I sent them to the Art Center to create their own Poof! They were given the directions to draw a picture of themselves and add their Poof. It could be whatever they wanted it to be. Then, write their names on their paper, bring them to me and tell me what their Poof is. They created some really awesome pictures! There were Ninja Turtle Movie Poofs, A Ball of Poof, A Zebra Poof, A Poof getting bigger and bigger, A long hair Poof, A Bear Poof and A Smiling Poof. I had one little boy who never goes into The Art Center, create 4 different Poofs including a girlfriend for his Poof.
I saw smiles, excitement and wonder as I read this to my class. I know they are better today for hearing and seeing it. Thank you, Stephen Hodges, for a wonderful book!
NC Pre-K Teacher
Author of You Are Wonderfully and Beautifully Made