Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nice Kids Chapter 3

Chapter 3 of the study is entitled Clarifying Vision.

What is the vision I have for my kids? Do my kids know anything about the vision I have for them? If they know, do they get it too? I don't know if I've really thought about a concrete vision I have for my kids. I have a general target or umbrella thought about what I would like for them but I have never really thought of targets along the way. Or as all of us school teachers keep hearing....the benchmarks.

The author came up with a target that he wanted for his children when they reached 18 - it included goals in the following areas; spiritual, social, physical, emotional, mental, character and life skills.

Being the visual person I am, I actually want to create a picture of a target....break it into annual chunks and sit down with each of the kids and come up with our 'targets' for the coming year. With the new year right around the corner I think it's the perfect time. The goals can be measureable and we can check ourselves as the year goes on. I want my kids to take ownership of the target vision too....which is why Greg and I are going to include them in the planning process. Greg and I will also be working on a long range goal to help direct our parenting.

Here are some of the quotes that I liked and some of the things that gave me pause from this chapter:

"Only 4 percent of the parents surveyed (this was from a Barna Group survey) thought it was important to help their kids develop moral values. More than twice as many parents were concerned with making their kids happy than with seeing their kids moral."

"If we seek to disciple our children, the goal isn't their happiness but helping them prepare for life and make wise choices. One of the crucial goals parents often forget is imparting a vision to their child - helping her discover her purpose and see herself as a significant member of a larger community, contributing to a greater cause."

"Many parents are climbing the ladder of success and dragging their kids behind them, only to discover the ladder is leaning on the the wrong building. The ladder is leaning against the fun house from a traveling carnival. Tomorrow the structure will be gone. Happiness for our children is too elusive a goal."

"I like to tell Christian parents, "Don't stress. Pray. The same Holy Spirit that is in them is in you. Pray that he'll do his work.""

"Before we can pass on vision to our children, we must have one for ourselves as parents."

"It's no good to have a home with curb appeal but a crumbling foundation."

"Your children are more likely to become persons of vision if they have grown up in a home that believes in and reinforces vision."

"Prayer helps us imagine our children's future with confidence because we know that they won't walk alone - God will be with them."

"It takes a lot more than good intentions to leave a legacy of love. The best intentions have a tough time competing with the relentless pressures of culture. We have to be focused and strategic. Good intentions that aren't followed by specific actions are just empty words."

"A child with vision doesn't get trapped in the mundane. There is something he is shooting for. He has ideals and goals that inspire him. With an internal sense of purpose and a clear vision of what he wants to become, he is motivated to pursue his aims."

***Then one of my favorites of all***

"We are created by intelligent design rather than by evolution through natural selection. We aren't mistakes; we are masterpieces. We are creations of worth." Can I get an Amen!?!

So, do you have a vision for yourself? For yourself as a parent? For your child? Children? Do they know what the vision is? Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This Little Girl

was born strong....even in the womb she was strong. And strong is a great way to describe her....she has strong will....a strong love for animals....a strong reliance on she grows she will be a strong force to be reckoned with!

She is also very smart! It amazes me that she is already writing all her letters and numbers....spelling words
.....drawing pictures and then telling us a story about them....

What a blessing she is!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Firstborn

He's my boy.....watching him grow is bringing tears to my eyes....tears of joy....but also of longing....for that little toddler in the cowboy hat. Tonight he reminded me that "he's halfway to being a guy"

How to describe him.....sensitive, empathetic, athletically gifted, artistic, loving, authentic, messy, distractable, creative, goofy......

I'm proud of the boy that he has become....he's overcome things....he still does not believe in himself as much as I do....but that will too come in time. He's my firstborn and will always be my baby!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Raising Nice Kids Part II

Thanks for all your insightful comments on the last post. I love being part of conversations (even if online) where everyone can share freely and respectfully.

I think the gist of what I'm feeling from this book is that our kids need to be equipped to be more than just 'nice'. 'Nice' is great but can be so ambiguous. What is their 'nice' based in?

The second chapter is titled "Parenting as Discipleship" and holds to the thought that parenting should be more than just modifying our children's behavior. It shouldn't be just raising them into compliant little people that are dressed and groomed well and show good manners in public. That's part of it, of course, but they need preparation.....preparation and conditioning to take on the challenges they will most certainly face in life.....getting them ready to do battle in the 'cosmic contest' that is going on around them.

So here are some of the main ideas of this chapter that I found most intriguing....

"We want to pass on lasting values to our kids. To do this we need a perspective that is transcultural and not simply a product of our culture. We need a long term perspective that is not obsessed with short term payoffs."

"We are on a mission from God. We have been called by Him to raise up the next generation of moral leaders. We need to move beyond punishment and discipline to discipleship."

"Discipline should be understood not as punishment but as teaching of self-discipline, an internalization of values through relationship."

"The primary goal of parenting isn't teaching, it's modeling"

"A focus on discipline generally creates compliant kids, but it rarely produces courageous ones. Now I am not advocating a permissive style of parenting; I am calling us to a more demanding style of parenting - one that requires us to change and grow and provide the example. Discipleship calls on us to set the pace, knowing that our children are most likely to absorb the values they see lived out in our lives. We can teach them skills, but we need to show, not tell, when it comes to what we say is important."

That last paragraph is the most telling for me in the chapter. This book is reminding me that to change my children, most of the time I need to change myself too. I need to be present and cognizant of my daily doings.

Is what I am saying/telling my children matching up with the way that I am living on a day to day basis? Am I around when those 'teachable moments' present themselves or am I too absorbed in myself? Am I trying to occupy them by buying them the lastest and greatest, signing them up for every imaginable activity or am I showing them that I intend to be intentional and deliberate in the time I share with them?

Sometimes these questions are hard to ask....but we have to be honest with ourselves....not delude ourselves to think we're already doing everything we can to raise them.....I know that when I ask myself some of those questions the answers that I give are not the ones that will be in the best interest of raising my kids. So I have to change....and be willing to change.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Danger of Nice Children

Greg and I are in a small group right now studying a book called The Danger of Raising Nice Kids. The first time I saw the title, I was baffled. What's wrong with nice kids? I think my kids are nice? I want them to be nice.

But as we're delving into this book I am finding reasons why I want my kids to be more than nice. Let me share a few things from the first chapter with you. As we dive deeper into the book and into conversation I'm sure there will be more.

What is nice? According to the author it's a pleasant, friendly, well-mannered, carefully groomed and most likely conservatively dressed person. But Webster's dictionary will tell you that at one time nice meant strange, lazy and foolish coming from the Latin root for 'ignorant.'

If you noticed all of the things the author mentions in his description of nice are outward or behavioral issues. Yes those things are important but what about the qualities of the heart like vision, authenticity, listening, empathy, compassion, discernment, boudaries, contentment and passionate love?

So for now, I will leave you with some of the quotes that struck me the post from the author. Feel free to comment. I'd love to be in conversations with you about this too.

1. A lot of what passes as advice to parents, including advice to Christian parents, will help us raise nice kids. Nice wimpy kids. Kids without backbone, passion or courage. In this era, kids like that will be destroyed.

2. We need to know how to go far beyond influencing our children's behavior to influencing their heart, mind and skills for life. We need to learn to parent with purpose, to grow integrity within ourselves and our children.

3. Our children need qualities that will help them become warriors, not wusses.

The author has a whole discussion on how we are creating an entire generation of children who do not know how to fail. We offer praise to our kids about everything and tell them they did good, even if the didn't. Do they realize we're just patronizing them sometimes? I have a feeling my kids do. So back to authors quotes.

4. False praise creates fragile people. We want people to feel good about themselves. As a result of this esteem obsession, we have a generation who thinks they are entitled to things without working for them.

5. We need to resist our culture and allow our children to grow up slowly.

6. Don't be afraid of your child. Don't be afraid to draw the line. Children need a moral center - an anchor that provides stability while they choose friends, discern the right decisions and perceive others with empathy.

7. We need to train them to take criticism without falling apart. We need to permit scenarios in which they fail but learn that failure is never final, unless you blame someone else. Some of lifes greatest lessons can be learned from our failures, if we are willing. We need to help our children develop an accurate view of themselves, with clear-cut analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, instead of a hyped-up self-esteem based on shallow slogans. We want them to feel good about themselves without thinking god of themselves.

Ok friends - that's it for today. I'll bring you thoughts on chapter 2 tomorrow.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Music Tag

Liz tagged did Bonni I think and maybe someone else I guess I shall participate.

The Rules
List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether or not they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your LiveJournal/blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

1. How To Save A Life by The Fray
2. 100 Years by Five for Fighting
3. Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
4. World Spins Madly On by The Weepies
5. Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
6. Since You've Been Around by Rosie Thomas
7. Where Does The Time Go by The Innocence Mission

Now who can I tag that hasn't been tagged yet.......let's see:
1. Jodi
2. Amanda
3. Sara
4. Miki
5. Kathy
6. Sonda Rimes
7. The In Case You Didn't Know Blog

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I'm behind on my blog - I know.....lots happening this past week, but more about that later. I need to share this. Kade did this the other night. It's a pic of Kita the first day Greg and I got her 11 years ago. She got liver cancer and we had to have her put down about 2 years ago. My kids are still mourning her.

Kade knows she's not coming back....but he made this anyway....and he left it sitting on my desk. Brought tears to me because she was such an amazing dog. And my boy still misses her so much.