Growing Up Along with our Kids

IMG_7905After twelve consecutive years in an elementary school, the curtain is closing on this chapter of our lives. When my first two moved on to middle school it felt like such big steps, but this time around my youngest and I are more than ready. 

Watching him transform into a teen-in-the-making this year has reminded me of how he was back in half-day kindergarten– just chomping at the bit to move up with the big kids. So though my baby will bid goodbye to a place he has called home for six years and to teachers whom we adore, there will be no tears.

IMG_7942

Thank goodness, no tears, considering how often I’ve cried lately over my oldest who is sailing into her senior year.  Makes me wonder based on our readiness for the youngest’s next stage, if by the time he is graduating high school that will be different too. Is that even possible to be ready for empty-nester-hood?!

I can’t imagine that now. It sounds so sad to have them all grown up and out of the house, but I am guessing just like now, he will be more than ready to spread his wings. And, maybe (just maybe) seeing him ready and having watched the older two go through it, I’ll be ready too. 

We’ll see… But I have noticed typically when we are in a certain life stage looking to what’s ahead seems scary, sometimes causing us to want to cling tightly to where we are.  

Just think about prior to becoming a parent and feeling unprepared to raise a child.  Then upon having one, God instantly gave just what was needed to care for the baby only now you are already looking in fear to what’s next.  Again, God gave you the ability and wisdom and before you know it you are onto the next stage that had also seemed overwhelming in the past.

I remember dreading when we would no longer have quiet evenings at home with the kids in bed at 8pm. Just the thought of having to be out of the house every night for all the kid activities sounded exhausting. And while it can be and an unexpected night at home is nice, the thrill of watching my kids play ball and do what they love while also socializing with the parents of their  teammates is something I love. In fact, with all the rain lately forcing our games to be cancelled I have felt sad stuck in the house and not out on the ball field!

Today I would never trade our life with teenagers to go back in time. Although easier emotionally back then, the joy in seeing my people mature and the conversations we now have is amazing. Six years ago though when my oldest was headed into the middle school years it was scary. 

Something wonderful I’ve discovered along the way is God is growing us alongside our kids! He makes us ready and gives us the grace to walk in what He has put before us. He grants us wisdom, experience, the ability to endure and to persevere through it all.

Knowing this has been true gives me hope for tomorrow (or rather next year) that even with college looming it too will be a stage to fully embrace and love as much as every other. Until then – you’ll find me clinging to where we are, wishing I could stop the clock!IMG_7947

Advertisements

A Thousand Words Not Told In A Picture

Have you ever tried describing a spectacular sight, perhaps a place you visited or maybe just the sunset, and your words just couldn’t get across the beauty in what you saw?

Exactly why it has been said “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

IMG_5743

Marvao, Portugal at sunset

But in a world where we no longer go develop film and then pick through the batch of often blurry, red-eyed or off-centered shots, our now cropped, edited and filtered pictures aren’t always true to the thousands words they seem to say. 

The problem is we still think they are.

We think in viewing the social media feeds of our “friends” that life is great for them. They are smiling, skinny, fit and fashionable often surrounded by friends in fun settings. Their little ones – all dressed darling and perfectly epitomize sibling love; the older ones – look to be the most perfect teen based on their string of successes and friends.  When we get a sneak peak into these friends’ homes, we see fabulous tablescapes, decor and gourmet meals.  And, we assume these picture tell it like it is, everyday, all the time in their worlds.

The irony is we post our own versions of our best self with similar scenerios though we know the truths behind the facade. We know we only post picture that have been carefully edited to camoflouge the wrinkles, the grey hair and the extra pounds. And the cute outfit and Kendras we have on, we know isn’t our norm. In fact, many days we don’t even get around to putting make-up on.

We also know about the on-going struggles and heartaches at home, the bickering kids  and the spouse we contantly nag, but the thousand words of our beautiful family picture say otherwise. Others see it and wonder why they can’t be like us. Ha!  If the only knew what happens behind closed doors. But too often we refuse to let others in and by the stories our curated photos tell no one would ever suspect life is not a bed of roses.

  • If this is all true about us, why are we so sure everyone else is perfect?  
  • Why do continue comparing ourselves and our lives to the facade?
  • Why can’t we be okay with the mess of who we are and see that everyone else is too?!

I like the way author Kay Wyma asks the question in her new book, I’m Happy for You {Sort Of… Not Really}:

“Has comparison-living hijacked your life?”

This issue of comparison is causing us to feel less-than and robbing our joy. Sadly it’s as true for teenagers as it is for adults. But, if we adults don’t get outside of ourselves to see it for what it is, we are only going to add to the unrealistic pressure our kids already feel. From the teen survey I’ve been conducting their level of stress is already averaging at a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10. The cases of depression and the ways in which they are dealing with it are devastating.

So what do we do? Where do we start?

Answer: Our own hearts.

We must ask the Lord to help us admit our struggles and to see where we are buying into the lie. If our own hearts are discontent and distracted we won’t be able to see where and how are kids are falling prey to comparison too.  We must taste and see what the Word says is true about where “life” is found and not be deceived by the so-called perfect lives behind the pictures we see.

Very practically to undo the lies, let’s focus on the joys. As Ann Voskamp advocates, let’s instead count the One Thousand Gifts of joy and thanksgiving and blessing. We are trying to do this more in our own house by deliberately looking for the daily graces He gives and the little reminders in our days that He is near and that He is good and that in Him there is life – true “life.” 

Looking to the One who was perfect for us is where we must go to reboot our minds and be filled with what His words say about us. It is in Him we are fully loved, accepted, declared righteous and made perfect. The thousands words of the cross is the only picture we need and must see as truth!IMG_7884

Don’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box!

A Lesson for the Busy from the Man with the Remote-Control Airplane

In a recent post I mentioned briefly the man who flies a remote-control airplane in the park. I have seen him numerous times and even laughed out loud the first time I noticed him. How odd I thought! 

What grown man flies a remote-control plane without any kids? Why isn’t he at work? Doesn’t he have something else to be doing at 9 AM?images

But as I turned out onto the street and caught him in my rearview mirror this last time, a thought pierced through the judgment. A thought that actually caused me to cry! (I  know, you are probably thinking not what is wrong with him, but what is wrong with me?!)

There is something wrong with me, but I don’t think it’s just me! Maybe he knows something in a deeper way than I do – maybe than most of us do. Granted I’m speculating, but whether it’s factual or not isn’t the point because God used the man and his remote-control airplane to speak to me all the same.

What if this man comes out to fly his airplane in the morning sun to start his day with a clear head?

What if he uses the time to reflect and pray?

What if what looks like wasted time to people like me he sees as time to just be free from the worries of the world?

What if the joy he experiences flying his plane, even for just that short-time in the park, rejuvenates him in a way that impacts the rest of the day?

It made me think about how in our busyness, self-reliance and stress we push forward trying to manage it all. We complain of being exhausted and of our ever-growing to do list – especially it seems in the month of May.  The irony is it doesn’t have to be this way! Christ offers to carry our burdens for us. We weren’t meant to tackle life on our own. Yet, we can’t stop or slow down enough to see.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

If God’s Word and His Sabbath Rest were given as gifts of grace meant to put us back together and to hold us together, why do we consistently dismiss it?  Why do we think we are too busy for the eternal things – His Word and His people, His church – (the things that will actually renew us), but try to cram everything else in?

If you are like me, just thinking about giving my valuable morning time away to mindless moments flying a plane stresses me out. But, what amazes me again and again is when by God’s grace I stop for focused time to pray, to read and to reflect, He meets me there. The same is true on Sunday mornings and on the slower Sunday afternoons. He calms my heart and reorients my mind to His truths. And when I am tethered to Him, there is Rest … even admist the fast-paced days, life’s struggles and the burdens we bear.

Don’t want to miss a post? Interested in receiving my future monthly newsletter? Enter your email to sign up in the top right-hand box!

The Indelible Mark of a Mom

Earlier this week as I thought about today being my mom’s first Mothers’ Day without her mom – my grandmother.  I wanted to know how my mom was feeling, what she misses, the memories she holds close and some of the shaping influences of her mom.

For that matter, I wanted to hear from my Dad, too. His mother passed more than thirty years ago. But no matter how much time goes by, the indelible mark of our mothers (and fathers) remain.

IMG_7739

My dad and his mom.

My paternal grandmother liked to play games with my dad and his siblings and she took them on camping trips despite not particularly loving to do that herself. She desired for my dad to have good friends, to get a good education, to go to church, to play the piano, to eat what was on his plate and to do his chores. She worried about him when he took the car out.

IMG_7741

My mom with her mother and brothers.

My maternal grandmother enjoyed cooking – especially making special treats tailored to the exact preference of each person she was serving. She taught my mom to tell the truth, to be dependable and to use good manners. In her quiet yet strong demeanor, she led by example by always making the best of difficult situations, not complaining, putting others first and loving Jesus.

In reflecting on the lists my parents wrote about their mothers, what stuck out to me was their recollection of simple, daily life, kind of things.  But it was through those on-going, ordinary ways of daily nurturing that made them extraordinary moms. The same being true of my mom in the ways she still continues to love and care for us. 

For those of us though in the throws of raising children we are often exhausted (if not physically, emotionally), maybe we feel discontent or become distracted by comparing ourselves to those around us thinking we need to do or be more.  Perhaps we think something other than parenting will be more stimulating, so we give our most focused attention to other work or projects. Maybe we think in order to be the best mom we must give our kids every opportunity or thing they desire.  In other words, a keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset. Maybe we feel like we are failing as moms if we can’t pull of the perfect Pinterest projects that others are always photographing. Or perhaps we base our parenting decisions on trying to be our child’s best friend and not the parent they need.  Whatever it is we easily become fixated on the wrong things and undervalue the ordinary, unspectacular moments.

But it is in our presence, sacrifice, nurture, instruction, discipline and unconditional love, not tied to our kids’ performance or our expectations, that is the true gift of being a mom.  

This made me wonder,  “What is it my kids might one day recall to their children or grandchildren about me?”

I hope it won’t be – “she was on her laptop all the time!”  What I want them to know is my undevoted love for each of them and for their dad. And for them to recall a mom who showed them grace and pointed them to Jesus. I don’t do it perfectly by any means, but I hope over the long haul in the things I say and do and in how I invest my time they will see extraordinary significance in the ordinary daily ways of a mom.

IMG_7416

IMG_6856

My mom and dad with all their grand babies.

Not Alone in the Wasteland

For those of you who know me pretty well personally, you know I am normally even-keeled, not particularly emotional or too easily rattled. Well, three times over the last week I have spilled tears in public places.

The first time happened while sitting at a bar with my husband. We were talking about all the upcoming graduation parties when tears started streaming down my face just thinking about our daughter graduating this time next May.

A few days later as I was driving away from the gym I saw the man who flies battery-operated planes in the park and started to cry. That is a story in itself that I will explain in a future post so stay tuned!

The third time was during the Compadres concert this past Thursday night. We were having a great time, enjoying our friends and the incredible performance by my new favorite artists when the words to the NEEDTOBREATHE song, Wasteland, perked my ears.IMG_7698_2

“All of these people I meet
It seems like they’re fine
Yeah in some ways I hope that they’re not
And their hearts are like mine
Yeah it’s wrong when it seems like work
To belong all I feel is hurt”

The anguish in these lines resonated well as we live life with teenagers and see so clearly how the struggles we think are unique to us are true of those all around us. They may look perfectly put together so we have no idea they are barely holding on, thinking the world is against them too.

And then the chorus came: 

“Oh if God is on my side
Yeah if God is on my side
Oh if God is on my side
Who can be against me”

I had just posted earlier in the day my last blog When God Seems Against You and quoted the same verse from Romans 8:30. These words echoing through my head felt like God affirming what I had written. 

Yes. Kristen. I AM with you. I know intimately everything going on and have you in the palm of My hands.

IMG_7718_2

Then the music broke back in through my thoughts and with these next lines I started to weep:

“Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to get by
Yeah in this wasteland where I’m livin’
There is a crack in the door filled with light
And it’s all that I need to shine.”

Yes, Lord. You are the Light and only hope for this sinful broken 
wasteland we call home. Help us to see you even in just a sliver 
coming through the cracks. Illuminate the darkness so we know you 
are here. So we know you are on our side.

I love how music can speak so deeply to our souls and in that moment standing by my husband, the words became a prayer and the tears my surrender. Only God can burst through the darkness to expose and change hearts. But even so in the midst of my own wasteland He shines His truth through the words of a song and I know He is drawing near.  

 Don’t want to miss the next post? I would love for you to subscribe for my blog to arrive directly into your inbox. You can do so on the top right corner of this page!

When God Seems Against You

I remember as a high schooler trying out for cheer, which I had no business doing considering I had never taken gymnastics in my life! Back then though kids didn’t have to choose an activity from such an early age and at my high school the cheerleading squad was a privledge just for seniors. I’m sure my soccer coach was so annoyed, but the status of being a cheerleader carried great appeal with me at the time.

Needless to say I didn’t make the squad. I did continue playing soccer. Initially though I was bitter that God didn’t give me what I wanted. In my mind as a “good” Christian, I deserved it. So why did he “bless” others and not me?

This example seems trivial and silly now. But, do you ever think this way?

Perhaps, you have been passed over for a position or promotion. Maybe you’ve been trying for months, years even, to get pregnant. Or, you can’t ever seem to get ahead with your finances because something is always breaking down or needing repair. For us, it’s God not working according to our timetable with the church we are planting. Regardles of what it is, do you sometimes feel like you are doing everything “right” so why isn’t God coming through?!

The part that is hard to admit is this mindset points to a works-based religion, a theological persepective that most Protestants would deny. Yet functionally we are believing our “performance” should determine God’s response. If we hold up our end by doing “good” and acting obediently, we deserve God’s blessing. On the flip side, when something bad happens we assume it was deserved because of a lack of commitment to Christ. When it doesn’t work out this way, our prevading reaction: God failed us.

Image by hauntedbymymemories.deviantart.com

Image by hauntedbymymemories.deviantart.com

Does He though? 

His Word says He is for us and “if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?” It sure doesn’t feel this way when at times it seems everything and everyone is against us – including, and maybe even especially, God!

Continuing to the next verse we read: “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)?”

Giving us all things? Really?

Certainly it isn’t the all things that we want! Nor all things we think would be best. Could it be all things is actually something greater than we imagine – something more?

I think the key to this verse is found in “how will He not also with Him graciously give.” ALSO WITH HIM refers to Jesus.

In Jesus, God graciously gives us all things. All things being His perfect perfomance record credited to us, His righteousness replacing our filthy rags, and his sacrificial, atoning death so that we might live. In a nutshell, God gives us Himself!

Because of all these things when we fail, God still views us as perfect. We won’t ever get what we really deserve because He became sin for us. So, instead of judgment – we receive His grace and mercy and unending love.

The problem is in the midst of our here and now and not getting what we want, we forget these things. We believe He is against us becaue it looks like He is withholding “good.” We charge Him for not coming through according to our plans. We rebuke Him because what we really want is for Him to hand over His reigns. We think certainly we would do a better job of ordering all things.

What we fail to see in this is how He could possibly be using (even allowing) our sin, struggles, disappointments, rejections, hurts, heartaches and hardships for our good. A good that is better than what the world views as “good.” Good in the sense of bringing us to the end of ourselves so we land at the foot of the cross.  

I know that may not sound better than the “good” we want, but to the degree we see our need and dependence on the One who took our sin and gave us His life is to the degree we will be overwhelmed by His love for us. 

When I know His unfailing love for me and see the all things God has bestowed upon me through His Son, it may not take away the pain or make life easier, but it does give me hope to hang on to. And it gives me the reassurance I need to know He is not only not against me, but He is for me. My ultimate good and His glory is always, without fail on His mind.

Finally Coming: My Book for Teens…BOOKS, that is!

For a few weeks I’ve been sitting on some news. Not sure why or what I’ve been waiting for, but today I thought I would fill you in on some happenings at the House of Hatton.

Many of you know I have been in the book writing and publishing process for awhile now. For those who don’t know – I’ve written a teen devotional book, for both girls and guys, being published by New Growth Press, called Get Your Story Straight: A Guide to Learning and Living the Gospel! If you click the link you’ll see its already up on Amazon and can be PRE-ORDERED!FullSizeRender

Though the journey of waiting, writing and editing has been long, seeing it on Amazon and finally having a release date is amazing! October 12th is the day!

Since this whole process is new to me, I continue to learn alot as I go.  What is very clear though is the truth of the gospel I so passionately want teens to hear can’t happen without your help!  

As a first-time author, I especially need people who will spread the news of this book through social media, sharing my blog posts, writing Amazon reviews and asking your church or youth ministries to pre-order books in bulk, host book signings or speaking engagement for me. And starting now is not too early.

Will you partner with me in this way? For the sake of our teens?

Teens need to understand how the gospel applies to all of life. They need to see how Jesus is life. There is a disconnect between believing the gospel and really believing what that means practically in very specific situations. There is also a void in books for teenagers focused on deep issues of the heart. Most simply skim the surface of topics teens face, but don’t adequately apply the gospel as the only true and lasting solution.

This is the reason for this book and you can be certain you will hear lots more about it in the coming months. Hand in hand with this is the other part of my exciting news… In February I submitted a new book proposal and have recently been offered a contract on it!

This second book will be specific to teen girls and related to the Teen Survey some of you may have helped circulate or remember reading about in my post: Behind the Scenes of a Selfie Society for a Teen.  Actually, I still need your help getting it out. I need hundreds more surveys back. Would you please share the link below with teens and/or youth pastors/leaders who can send this out to more teens? 

This will be so helpful in collecting research to be used in my next manuscript. The purpose for it is to help teen girls find their true worth and identity in Jesus. In our social media age, the struggle for acceptance, approval, of measuring up, performing well, popularity and the like has only intesified.  And, issues such as eating disorders, stress and depression among teens is at an all-time high. Parents often don’t know how to deal with the problems or even know what is going on in the mind of their teen who may be secretly comparing themselves to everyone around them while sinking into a dark emotional and spiritual place.

The only answer is Jesus.

I don’t mean this in a Sunday school answer kind of way, but truly unless our identity is found in Christ, we will continue turning to other things to give us worth or make us feel okay. This is true of all of us, not just teens. But how much better life will be for our teen girls if they come to know and rest in their identity, firmly rooted in Him, nowI wish this book was out on the market currently, but by God’s grace He will give me the time and the words as I work to get it submitted by August.

I could not be more excited about the opportunity to author two books – something I never even would’ve dreamt of. But both of these have been born out of a growing passion for teens, my personal experience as a mom and Bible study teacher for teens and the void in gospel-centered teaching and material available to them.

Thank you for following me and reading what I have to say. Thank you for encouraging me and thank you in advance for helping me any way you can to share the word of these books and circulate the survey! Look forward to hearing from you!

Survey link to share with any teen you know: http://www.surveyface.com/study/Behind-the-Scenes-of-a-Selfie-Society-for-a-Teen-15022.php?l=y

Parenting Upstream Stinks!

Parenting is an exhaustive job, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of the ages of your kids. Though the physical demand dissipates as they grow, the emotional and mental energy only intensifies.  As our pre-teens and teens face a range of issues, we become increasingly burdened with tough decisions requiring much guidance, thought and prayer.  At least we should. But over the years what I’ve discovered in various situations is parents tend to respond by either-

  1. Abdicating their authority and allowing their teen to run with whatever plans they wish.
  2. Abstaining from speaking out against/changing plans they don’t agree with so as not to be the “party pooper” or for their teen to miss out.
  3. Aiding their kids with the plans but failing to prevent or address red flags out of naiveté.

Now I know this post runs the risk of sounding judgmental or stepping on toes, but to be honest, I am tired of feeling judged and dismissed for putting my foot down. Some may presume because my husband is a minister we are stricter, though I don’t think so.  As we’ve told our daughter countless times, “This has nothing to do with Daddy being a pastor, our decisions come from our core convictions as Believers!”

Thankfully, even when she hasn’t initially seen eye to eye with us, she has accepted our stance without too much argument. It hurts me though that she often feels alone in having restrictions and it angers me to feel as if we are swimming upstream alone in an increasingly permissive “Christian” culture.

imagesHaving ministered to college students for nearly eight years my eyes were opened wide to the effects of hidden sin and struggles in the world of teens. And still today being behind-the-scenes in ministry exposes us daily to the reality of the sinful, brokenness that is in all of us. So, while my daughter has never given us reason not to trust her, why would I hand her over to opportunities of extra temptation and lack of protection?

The truth is none of us are above doing things we never thought we would do. We can have pure intentions and absolute resolve yet still fall to temptation. The deceitfulness of our own hearts and Satan’s relentless pursuit make us easy prey. Don’t you know this to be true from your own heart and experience? Whether we love Jesus or not, we are all prone to wander and at any given moment something other than Christ becomes more desirable.

The answer, however, is not to shelter our kids from everything of the world since sin comes from within us and not outside of us. Instead, allowing our teens to learn through things like experiencing formals or navigating social media can lead to opportunities for deeper dialogue, growth and learning while under our roof… and with the loving protection of boundaries.

images-2

Though boundaries restrict they are designed for our flourishing by providing and protecting. Author Paul Tripp in his devotional New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel DevotionalNew Morning Mercies describes boundaries well by saying, “It may seem constricting that the train always has to ride on those track, but try driving it in a meadow and all motion stops.” 

We, too, are most free when we are within the boundaries of God’s grace and provision! Anything outside of that (appealing as the freedom of doing whatever we want seems) will actually enslave us to our own desires and expose us to Satan’s snares.

Jesus says in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Let’s prepare kids who can swim upstream by shephering them in awareness and wisdom of the lurking evil – not just in the world – but in their hearts, while simultaneously setting perimeters to help them remain pure. To do so, we must also be willing to swim upstream from popular opinion, new cultural norms and fear of man.

Having to parent upstream stinks, but by God’s grace I intend to keep going that direction. Will you join me in swimming against the tide?

The Blur Between a Well-meaning Mom and a Nag

What is it about being female that makes us nag? I’m sure there must be some men who do it, too, but they aren’t the ones the Bible compares to “a continual dripping on a rainy day” and as more difficult “to restrain than the wind.” As if that isn’t bad enough, we also read in Proverbs that men would be better off living in a desert or on the corner of the roof than sharing a house with a nag!

In the early years of our marriage I think my husband may have agreed :). Of course, I put it back on him, fully believing that if he would just pick up his clothes and put bascially everything else back in its “home” after use, I wouldn’t have to nag. The problem is: things left out not only don’t bother him, but he actually likes it so he can always see where things are.

No matter there are empty drawers and cabinet space, if he can't see it plainly it might as well not even be there!

You’ld never know he has empty drawers and cabinet space in his office! But, even with the clutter he knows exactly where everything is.

I finally realized I could either be the constant “dripping,” or for the betterment of our marriage, adapt.  So, I’ve learned to make convenient easy-to-use “homes” for his commonly left-out items or to just pick up for him when I get tired of items sprawling across the countertop.  There is no point in nagging or drawing attention to what I’ve done to “help” him because honestly it’s all God’s grace to me.

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. And, the canister? Perfect for hiding phone chargers and cords:)

This antique copper plate is perfect for his keys, phone, wallet and other misc smalls. While the canister hides phone chargers and cords:)

This cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items.

The cute little box from Anthro? Great for his eye glasses, pens and other need-to-be-near the couch items. Love pretty solutions!

But now I need that grace as a mom because somewhere along the way I redirected my nagging toward my daughter! 

Like with my husband, I didn’t think nagging is what I was doing. I thought I had well-meaning motives and was just trying to help. But in trying to help, I have been trying to control and in trying to control, it just may be this is my area of helocopter hovering.

At some point (a point rather soon considering she is almost a senior) she will have to take full responsibility for herself. I won’t be there to remind her of deadlines, to help her plan ahead, to make things easier, to manage her time, to put her clothes away or to clean her tub!

IMG_7542

But while she is still here under my roof and since her life is full with many demands (as it will forever more be) and I just happen to be organized and a good time-manager :), I have made it my mission to “help” her.  And so the lines have become blurred between well-meaning and nag!

After a recent honest conversation, I see how my nagging has contributed to her feeling like she doesn’t measure up not just to my expectations, but to me. And by me trying to “better” prepare her for college and beyond, it has actually led her to feel like I think she is incapable, a failure even.

Wow- how’s that for a wake-up call to the drip-drip!

The only thing I want to be dripping is grace and compassion and love. So even though I considered myself to be “loving” her by “helping” her get things done or turned in, what I have really been doing is trying to control and keep her from failing. Perhaps I can better love her by trusting God’s control over her, even if this means something doesn’t get done according to my timetable. In fact, maybe that is loving her by allowing her to learn on her own?!

So, Moms…

  • What if we asked God to show us where we are failing to love because what we love better is our own way?
  • What would happen if we held our tongue and just accepted those we love as they are?
  • Do you think the lack of control would kill us or might we actually find more peace in letting go?

If Helicopter Parents Switched Gears…

Unknown-2By now we’ve all heard about the negative effects of “helicopter parenting” though it sure hasn’t it stopped it from happening. Probably because the driving force behind it is control and one thing is for sure: giving up control and trusting God with our kids is one of the hardest things.

But for a majority of helicopter parents the control is about doing everything in their power to ensure their kids get into the best college and the brightest future of opportunities. To secure this end-all be-all of ultimate parenting success, parents relentlessly go to bat to help their kids secure straight A’s, a spot on the most competitive teams and involved in as many resume-building, extra-curricular activities and charitable organizations, even at the expense of the family. But it doesn’t stop there.

Unknown

Parents also want to control their kids’ social status because somehow, like their college acceptances and future careers, we think their popularity is a reflection on us.  So if they hang out with the right people, get invited to the right parties and make the right choices than we must be “good” parents.

Really? Is that what quantifies doing a “good” job? Certainly, if we are basing it on the world’s standards. 

But, what about in parenting the things that really matter – our kids’ hearts, character and love for others?  What if we turned our helicopter tendencies to shaping their core, who they are on the inside, instead of trying to make them stand out on the outside?

I write this post quite simply out of sadness in thinking about a few stories I’ve heard just this week. Situations that may have gone differently if parents were more involved in this aspect of kids’ lives instead of leading them to entitlement and self-focus.

Take just these three samplings to see what I mean…

  1. Teenagers being asked by the teacher to read a paragraph out loud in class refused to do so because they didn’t feel like it. The same class in which they chose not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. What does this communicate to the teacher? To the other students in class, perhaps even some who have family members serving our country?                                                                                                                  
  2. Then there is the teen who was deleted out of a group text as a supposed joke without any friend standing up to add them back in for days. Though it may seem trivial, how is being “kicked out” of a group text any different from other types of bullying? For the ones who are still in the group – not a thought, but for the one left out – devastating.                                                          
  3. And there was a student feeling down after losing an election.  Only the seeming rejection was intensified when only one person even reached out to her via text. Everyone else ignored it. Probably because they didn’t know what to say, but quite possibly because it didn’t happen to them so it was just a blip on their radar screen with no further care.

Things like this happen everyday, everywhere. At some point your kid is likely being hurt in this way and in other situations they may be the ones disprespecting, dismissing and ignoring. But largely these things pass, even the helicopter parents, right on by. 

Unfortanetly I’m afraid the lack of concern our kids have for others is because we as helicopter parents have inadvertantly taugh them to think the world revolves around them. 

Well, what if helicopter parents switched gears?

  • What if we focused as much energy as we have on the external on shepherding their hearts?
  • What if they understood manners to be a sign of respect to those they are with?
  • What if they turned off their cell phones when they were hanging out with a friend?
  • What if they were taught to extend grace instead of spreading gossip?
  • What if they worked to build others up instead of doing whatever it takes to make themselves great?

(What if we did this too?)images

How would school and community environments change? How would our kids’ self-worth and security be affected? How would relationships benefit? How better prepared for the world would they be?

Seems like they would be set up for success no matter where they go to college or what they pursue, because they would’ve learned to put others above themselves instead of only seeking things to the benefit of self.images-1

Would love to hear your thoughts on how switching gears would change our kids and maybe change you too:)