Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inspirational Readings Lately

Lately, I have just found the most inspiring reads online which is so refreshing in the online world where we can often be left with less than desirable feelings.  I just wanted to post and link to a few of these so that anyone reading here can also find the hope and inspiration in these words.  My pastor preached Sunday on the power of our words and how they can be used to either bring us down or lift us up.  There is no muscle in the human body more powerful than the tongue.  As my sweet husband posted on Facebook, “Taming the tongue.  Parents be aware of the words you say because they influence your children.  Speak with the heart of God that your children may hear your words and take them to heart that they may change their lives.”  I am definitely in need of work in the taming of my tongue as I have a quick temper.  Hope some of these people’s words will help inspire you today! 

1)  A Facebook post of words alleged to be written by a preschool teacher to all you mommies who feel the need to compare your children to others: 

“I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 ½ year old did not know enough.  ‘What should a 4 year old know?’ she asked.  Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed.  One mom posted a laundry list of all the things her son knew.  Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on.  Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three.  A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know.  The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.  It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t.  We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights.  Childhood shouldn’t be a race.  So here I offer my list of what a 4 year old should now:
  • She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally all of the time. 
  • He should know that he is safe, and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. 
  • He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. 
  • He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up. 
  • She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. 
  • She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs. 
  • He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them.  If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs, or playing in the mud. 
  • She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. 
  • She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate, and marvelous.
  • She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies, and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics.  Scratch that – way more worthy! 

But more important, here’s what parents need to know: 
  • That every child learns to walk, talk, read, and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads, or does algebra. 
  • That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT/SAT scores is reading to children.  Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom and dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books. 
  • That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest.  We are so caught up in trying to give our children ‘advantages’ that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours.  One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood. 
  • That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies, and the freedom to explore them.  Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys, and they wouldn’t be missed but some things are important – building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books.  (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.)
  • They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too – to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit. 
  • That our children need more of us.  We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids.  Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks, and an occasional life outside of parenthood, but we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as a family day.  That’s not okay!  Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups, and soccer practice nearly as much as they need us.  They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them.  They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 mph pace of a toddler on a spring night.  They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. 
  • They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.” 
Wow, that was good to hear!  I am so thankful for Brody’s little church preschool (not a fancy one by any means) because when I worry about his not talking very much, they encourage me instead of stressing me out.  They tell me that he is doing everything a 2 ½ year old needs to be doing.  While I knew this in my heart, the world can make us feel inadequate when we fall into that snare to compare.  Hope these words encourage other parents out there.  I had one main goal when Eddie and I decided to become parents and that was to give our children the most full and happy childhood imaginable!  I wanted them to have time to play in the backyard, explore the world around them, and make those precious memories that shine like a bright light in my own memory.  While I may not have had the best childhood at times and while I know that some people may see only hardship in my past, those bright white lights of happy memories are what I remember most.  I want my children’s childhood memories to be so numerous and bright that when they look back all they see and feel are the warm glow of the brightest memories.  I don’t want them to ever want to grow up! 

2)  Here’s a link to a wonderful post from the Huffington Post.  I too was surprised to find this gem on a site that is known for its satirical and sometimes slightly offensive humor.  I have definitely been that parent with the loud, squirmy toddler more than a few times. 

3)  Okay, this one was truly amazing, and I am loving her blog now.  My lovely blog friend, Jessica Kelley, shared this one with me, and I am following this woman’s courageous journey as she is a beautiful example of a Christian woman who just shines love in a world filled with so much hate and anger.  If you have a few minutes and don’t read anything else I post, please read this little piece of this courageous woman’s story. 

4)  And I just found this new blog and loved this inspirational piece championing Christianity and science together.  I have never understood the misconception that Christianity and science don’t go together, and I loved Matt’s logic here.  To me, Christianity and science go hand in hand.  If anything, science proves to me over and over again that our world filled with wonder and order could only come from a loving creator.  How can such order come from chaos?  As Matt says, “If you take God out of the study of the origin of life, not only are you left with a confused and arbitrary thing, riddled with holes and inconsistencies, but you’ve also stripped the subject, and the study of the subject, of its meaning and purpose.”  Thanks, Matt! 

5)  And one more from Matt to lift up parents!  He wrote this to an individual he met in a grocery store who had felt the need to chastise and verbally abuse a mom whose child was throwing one of those lovely tantrums we are all too familiar with.  Thanks again, Matt!

Okay, that’s enough for now.  I hope you enjoy these little tidbits of hope and encouragement today!  

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  1. These are all well worth sharing. I'd run across all of them before. Probably through you through Facebook :)

    1. Yep, I did share them there! I like keeping good posts where I can find them again. :-)

  2. What a great read. I think I've read almost all of that before, but it's nice to re-read and to have it all together.

    1. Yep, I kind of wanted them in one place for me because like Pinterest, I like looking back at my old posts for inspiration. :-)

  3. These were great! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You're welcome, Tracy! I like to share things that are uplifting! :-)


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