Friday, January 21, 2011

Magic Wand Sheltering

Self-esteem is as necessary to the spirit as food is to the body. 
~ Dr. Maxwell Maltz

Changing Your Child's Future through Self Esteem

Stephanie Martson, family therapist and author of The Magic of Encouragement said, “Self esteem is the real magic wand that can form a child’s future.”

Many times our children look to those with “obvious” talents and play the “If Only” game. If only I could shoot baskets like Justin. If only I could sing like Tasha. Their heroes and heroines are star basketball players, actors and actresses or beauty pageant winners which only serve to reinforce their thoughts of I’m nobody and I can’t do anything.

How can we as parents raise our children’s self esteem? By using the magic wand—focusing on each individual child’s interests and talents. Not every child will be a star basketball player. Nor will they have the beauty or poise to act or to become Miss America. But in each child there is planted a special talent—it’s up to you to find it.

Sometimes the easiest way to find a child’s talent is to look at what he’s interested in. Is he attracted to paper, pencils and paints? Does he like to draw, create things with his hands or is he fascinated with creations made of clay, metal or other art mediums?

Even before Mattie could draw a recognizable figure, she loved art and craft supplies. Anything that could be glued was glued. And if it couldn’t be-- like the fresh flowers she wanted in her construction paper vase--she taped it. Crayons, paints, foam, or magnets—she loves them all and spends hours creating her projects. Mattie struggled with spelling and reading, and although eventually conquered the mechanics of these subjects, it’s clear to those who know her best that Mattie’s real love is art. It makes one wonder just what her career choice will be.

Emily loves books. Even as a small child, and barely able to read, she would hand a book to her mother and say, “This book feels so good in my hands.” Tablets and pens were hoarded so all those “stories” could be written down. Poems, essays and stories were written and proudly shared. If you couldn’t find Emily, you knew she was curled up somewhere with a good book. When most kids were begging to go to arcades, Emily begged to take a trip to the nearest bookstore. In fifth grade her SAT language skills were at the twelfth grade level. What will Emily’s future hold?

Alyssa is an animal lover--big, small and in-between. She cries when an animal is mistreated. One day Alyssa and her mother found a hawk sitting beside the road—someone had hit and left it there. At Alyssa’s begging, her mother threw a blanket over the hawk and took it to a vet. Alyssa treasures the feather the vet gave her as a memento of the hawk. Whatever Alyssa’s career choice is, it will probably include animals.

Douglas is an American! Patriotism runs right through his blood stream. At a young age he devoured books on United States presidents and other patriots. He loves attending political rallies and waving flags. When his dad ran for city council he campaigned as hard as an eight-year-old can. A highlight of his life was when, as a seven-year-old, Oliver North patted his head and said, “You’ll be a hero someday, too.” Where will Douglas’ interests lead him?

Okay, so you know where your child’s interest lies. What can you do to encourage them? Mattie’s parents display her artwork, submit it to competitions and supply her with seemingly unlimited art tools. They might encourage her further by signing her up for a pottery class or private art lessons and by planning trips to art museums.
Emily's essay medal at International Student Convention

Emily’s parents took her to story hour every Friday night where characters from the books she loved visited. She cherishes pictures taken with several celebrities--including Winnie the Pooh, Angelina Ballerina and, her favorite—Ken Henke’s “Lilly.” Mom and Dad help her submit her essays and stories for competition, provide an extensive library of her own, including signed copies of books by her favorite authors. Another way to encourage Emily--begin a writing group so she can interact with others who share her interest and receive valuable feedback of her own writing from her peers.

Alyssa’s mother shows great respect for her love of animals. It’s nothing for them to stop and move a desert turtle off the road. When Alyssa’s mother found out about an unadvertised premier of a Steve Irwin movie, she made plans to take her daughter. The results? Steve autographed her shirt, and gave them tickets to see the premier--a memory that will be made even more poignant by his early death. Future encouragement might include making sure Alyssa gets the remote long enough to watch a favorite animal show. A Ranger Rick magazine subscription should make a fun surprise, too.  Alyssa would no doubt do well in taking on some small jobs caring for neighborhood pets.

Douglas’ father takes time to discuss history with him, and during campaign time for “Dad for city council," he included him in every little campaign detail. Douglas has an endless supply of models of army tanks to build. This vividly emphasized the reality of war to him. Another way his parents can feed his love for America is to explore  Time for Kids with him (and to discuss media slant). 

Remember, each child is different. You may have two boys, one interested in technical things and one who lives for sports of any kind. Don’t expect the techie son to shoot hoops or practice throwing curve balls all day like your sports-minded son. Instead, provide him with tools of his trade, brag on him, and use special occasions to build his craft, thus showing how important it is to you.
Now you know the secret of the real Magic Wand--use it and watch your child’s self-esteem guide his future.

                                                              Three ways to work magic:

Zander needs breath mints!

You don’t have to spend a fortune to show your child you are proud of his skills. A new paint brush with a clear red handle, a colored pen for journal writing, or doggy breath mints. It’s just saying, “I believe in you.”

Show off your child’s talent whenever you can. Frame a work of art, create a portfolio of your child’s writings, take pictures of your child with his/her pets and display them, make sure your child overhears you bragging on their history grades and his/her interest in elections.

Special occasions are fun times for building your child’s supplies. A special light for drawing? An idea for Santa. A retractable pet leash? Great birthday surprise: A special interest magazine portraying a previous election? Tuck it in an Easter basket.  Book giving is another way to show how important your child’s talent is to you—books on famous men, artists and writers; books on animal care and showmanship, and novels about animals. Build a library of facts and fiction and assign a special place for them. Check out library books on the subject that interests them.

I've linked this post to Fab Friends Friday at For The Love of Blogs.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Shelter Sightings

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale 

I've been pondering the above words of Hale.  Deep inside of all of us is the desire to do something large, something that would change someone's life.  Most of us don't have the resources to build a home for a homeless family, to save a life by donating a kidney, or to sponsor a family adopting a  child from overseas.  Somehow we feel like our gift is rated by the largeness--or smallness--of its size.

E. E. Hale seemed to think otherwise. I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.  In my journeys around the web I've found so many kindred spirits who are intent  on doing their "something."  It warms my heart every time I find God's loving people shelter those in their pathway. 

Precious people like Kathyrn at Expectant Hearts.  Several years ago, Kathryn's son, Seth, was born with half a heart and went to Heaven when he was six and a half months old.  Losing a child is heartbreaking--it stays with you forever.  But what was Kathyrn and her husband, Leland, doing over Thanksgiving?  Stocking the Kleenex in the PICU at the hospital who cared for Seth.  Why?  In Kathyrn's words,
"Personally, any family in PICU over Thanksgiving deserves soft Kleenex, in my opinion."  They were sheltering other grieving parents though their own grief is still raw.
* * * * *
Chrissy is another one offering shelter.  When Chrissy was depressed, her pastor's wife gave her some advice (the same advice my Mother gives to me), "Call someone in the church and see how they are doing."  I don't want to spoil Chrissy's story, so you'll have to read it over at Enriched Living.  She's issuing a challenge for us to contact one person a day for the month of January and I hope some of my readers will take her challenge.
* * * * *
And then I met the Frans Clan. Momma Frans is a youth pastor's wife with  two young children.  She says, "I love being a youth pastor's wife and the opportunities I'm given to love on teenagers with the love of Jesus."  Besides the teenagers, one of the ways this family chooses to shelter is through Homeless Bags.  Momma Frans explained:

The first time we did it, we took gallon bags and filled them with things like peanut butter crackers, a pair of socks, granola bars, a bottle of water, a bar of soap, toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, etc. The ones my kids put together the other day were 2 gallon bags, and they added a hand sanitizer and a warm hat and gloves since it's cold outside.  We keep them in our car so we have them on hand when we see a homeless person.  We have some areas of town where they stand on the corner with their signs, so we usually hit those spots.

Don't these ideas touch your heart?  They did mine and I'm hoping you will try these or let them spark an idea of your own.  I will leave you with the story of a sweet shelter that touched someone dear to me.

My  niece (and namesake), Pam, is an amazing young woman.  She has three beautiful daughters, the youngest with special needs.  Pam homeschools her oldest and keeps up with all Maddy's therapists, sings in the church choir and so much more.  She's bubbly, joyful and loves being a Mama.  But this week, sweet Maddy was sick.  Actually all three girls had been sick off and on for three weeks and Maddy was going to have to see a doctor.  Pam's post on facebook immediately brought a response from Diana: So may we help you? Perhaps some warm muffins or a loaf of cottage cheese bread? We will be out your way this evening.  Later that evening I read, I feel guilty and oh so happy that Diana brought us homemade cottage cheese bread and chocolate cake squares! 

I don't know why I am always surprised when I find God's people sheltering others.  I thought my readers would be encouraged by others around the world who are reaching out their sheltering branches --  Others saying, I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do. 

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 Bread Maker Cottage Cheese Dill Bread
Make a loaf to take to someone who's a bit under the weather.
2/3 cup warm water 
2/3 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons margarine
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dill seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

Measure ingredients into the machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. 
Use the dough setting.  After the first rising, take out of machine and put it in a bread pan.
Allow to rise again, then bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
(If you prefer, it's fine to bake the loaf in your machine.)

This post is linked to A Few of My Favorite Things.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sheltering Tree of the Word

For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant. ~Martin Luther

I recently found the book, A Home Book for Mothers and Daughters, written by Christine Terhune Herrick.  It's a beautiful little book, printed in 1897 by Louis Klopsch.  You'll find delightful reading in these chapters:

The Irregular Baby
If we have not yet reached the pitch of perfection attained by Susanna Wesley, the mother of nineteen children, who taught all of them who fear the rod and to cry softly, we have at least greatly improved upon the ancient unruliness of the nursery. 

A Child's Party
One of the best games for breaking up stiffness and making the children forget themselves is the old  and ever-popular play of "Going to Jerusalem"...The instant the music stops,--and it must break off abruptly,--the marchers must seat themselves...

How to Get up a Picnic
First -- catch your guests.  The selection of members for a picnic party requires a care and judgment second only to that demanded in a choice of company for a dinner.  At a large social gathering there is opportunity for those affiliated by bores to rid themselves of their tormentors...

You can see that it is a delightful book -- full of entertainment. I love reading through the chapters written more than a 100 years ago.  While reading the chapter  Our Girl's Diet, I found these words:

Those who have the charge of children should always bear in mind that a growing child needs a different diet from a grown man.  The latter has "got his growth," as the saying is.  His bones are solid, his flesh firm.  The bones of the child are soft, his flesh tender.  

Immediately I thought of the words in 1 Peter 2:1-3, 
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
John MacArthur said, "Genuine spirituality, genuine Godliness, is always marked by a love for and a delight in God’s truth."  As I pondered on the verses, my first thought was, we don't long for the pure milk of the word until we put aside some attitudes.  Attitudes like malice, guile, hypocrisy, envy and slander all lead to a lack of character.  Malice, deliberately being mean; guile, sneaky and deceitful; hypocrisy, pretending to be something you are not; envy, wishing we were more fortunate than others; slander, destroying another's reputation.

I will be examining my own heart to see if any of these sins have taken root.  John Piper probably said it best, "Thousands of people live year after year without much passion for God or zeal for his name or joy in his presence or hope in his promises or constancy in his fellowship and feel—well, that's just the way I am." 

"Just the way I am" most often means we are harboring ungodly habits and sins.  Once the sins are taken care of, we reclaim our love of God's Word, look forward to the reading and study of it.  My friend, Rebecca, just wrote an excellent blog post on the place the Bible should have in our lives.  I'd urge you to read it. 

When I think of loving God's Word, I think of two people.  One was Darnell who asked one Sunday years ago, "I just love the Bible, don't you?"  Darnell's life shows the evidence of her love and I've never forgotten the visual picture of her standing there, a glow on her face, clutching her Bible. 

The other mental picture I have when I think of loving God's Word is of a man who pastored in Grand Cayman nearly two decades.  We were staying in their home while leading a Sunday School Convention.  Every morning as I passed the living room I would see him sitting erect on the couch, listening to God's Word.  There was nothing to distract him -- it was just John Case and the Bible he loved.

I, for one, want to echo Jeremiah 15:16, Thy words were found and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.

* * * * * * *
Further inquiries led to the information...that strong tea and coffee were habitually used by almost babies.  ~Christine Terhune Herrick

This is another quote from The Home Book.  To support this thought, here's a recipe to use "habitually."  That's certainly a better way to say, "It's addictive."  I don't know the origin of this recipe but it came into our family from my niece, Pamela.

Photos by Emily

Mocha Punch

1.  Boil 6 cups of water
2.  Add 1/4 cup instant coffee
3.  Add 1/2 cup sugar
4.  Add 1/2 cup Nesquick
5.  Refrigerate 4 hours
6.  Remove 30 minutes before using
7.  Add 1/2 gallon vanilla and chocolate ice cream
8.  Serve with whipped cream on top.

                                                                I linked this post to: