Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 3rd Grade :)

Hold Onto Your Kids: Book Review Part I

You are your child’s nurturer, comforter, guide, model, teacher, coach. You are her home base, her retreat, her fountainhead of inspiration. We know our infants world revolves around us, but do we realize that this needs to become even more true as our child grows? Why is this not the case for so many families? Why do children seem so defiant and detached from their parents now days? Deep down I think all competent young parents wonder, will this ever happen to my sweet child, is our family at risk?!?! Author Gordon Neufeld asserts that estrangement happens because of peer attachments. For parents (working and stay at home alike) who want to expose and rid anything that would stand in the way of a close attached relationship with their children and anything undermining their parental authority (I think this is all of us!), I recommend the book Hold Onto Your Kids–Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. Check it out from the library. This is not a homeschool book, it is a parenting book discussing why and how we should be the primary life shaping force in our children’s lives (although homeschool is just about the greatest vehicle for life shaping in my opinion). Parents of young children should not be naive of how peer relationships can subtly but powerfully undermine our authority and eventually steal our children’s hearts from us (psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually). We can and should prevent this! With the proper information, we can purposefully lay a strong relational foundation while our children are still young in order to prevent the seemingly inevitable alienation of growing children that we see in society. Parent teen relationships fraught with discord is so prevalent today that we tend to take it for granted, as something that just has to be, as “normal” development– but nothing could be farther from the truth. Let your mind be transformed from the “normal” pattern of this world. If you (or someone you know) is already a parent of a defiant, friend focused teen or pre-teen, then this book will wake you up to see how and why your child has slipped out from your grasp in some/all areas due to his peer relations, as well as what to do about it. (Side note: Although this book is secular, it is valuable, and we as believers will be able to perceive that the author has insightfully–also perhaps unknowingly–exposed satans methods of gathering this generation of youth to himself, which gives us the upper hand in our child-rearing!)

We the parents are meant to be our children’s universe, like planets orbiting around the sun. Whether this sounds like a strange exaggeration, or a lot like your own wishful intentions, please read this book for a serious wake up call!!!

I have taken the time to pull out what spoke to me from the book while reading the first few chapters so that I can share it with you. My hope is that it will draw you in and stir you up into action. The book asserts that our power to parent has been slipping away largely for societal reasons. (Of course the book’s secular viewpoint fails to address the Godlessness of society as the root cause.) For the first time in history young people are turning for instruction, modeling, and guidance not to mothers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to people never intended to be placed in a parenting role–their own peers. Children now days are peer oriented. Young people are not manageable, teachable, or maturing because they no longer take cues from adults. Instead, children are brought up by immature persons who cannot possibly guide them to maturity. They are being brought up by each other.

In our society, we now thrust our children from a very early age into many situations and interactions that encourage peer orientation–like day care for tiny children, longer school days, endless activities geared towards youths, and technology like cell phones and instant messaging. The author asserts that it seems very normal now days for children to be around other children more than adults, but normal does not mean it is natural or healthy. Unwittingly, we promote the very phenomenon of peer orientation that, in the long term, erodes children’s attachment to the adults responsible for nurturing them.

Typically over a process of time, a child becomes so attached to her peers that she would rather be with them and be like them, and those peers, become that child’s working compass point. She will look to her peers for cues on how to act, what to wear, how to look, what to say, and what to do. Her peers will become the arbiters of what is good, what is happening, what is important, and even of how she defines herself. Our power to parent on the other hand, rests in how much our child specifically depends on us, in their looking to us to be the answers to their needs. After all, we can not truly take care of a child who does not count on us to be taken of. The power to parent is transferred to whomever the child depends on, whether or not that person is truly dependable, appropriate, responsible, or compassionate–whether or not, in fact, that person is even an adult.

Parenting, as surprising as it sounds, should be relatively easy (no parenting manuals or parenting classes needed!). Getting our children to take our cues, follow directions, or respect our values should not require strain and struggle or coercion, nor even the extra leverage of rewards. The key is having an attached relationship. There is a special kind of relationship developmentalists call an attachment relationship, and without having this with one’s child, parenting lacks a firm foundation. A child must be receptive if we are to nurture and guide her, and her attachment to you is what forms a context of receptiveness to your parenting. Children who lack this kind of connection are very difficult to parent and teach. Its not that you don’t love your child, its simply that you are parenting from the wrong context. In the latter half of the book, the author presents practical ways to secure or restore your child’s attachment upon you the parent (I am not yet there in the book, but it looks really helpful!).

The sad thing to me is that so many young parents reveling in the natural dependency stage of our babies and preschoolers are unaware that the seeds of peer dependence usually have already taken root by the primary grades, rather than by adolescence or even preadolescence as we tend to assume. And then soon enough in the intermediate years, the growing incompatibility of peer and parent attachments plays havoc with our power to parent. Author Gordon Neufeld had his head buried in the sand too until his own children abruptly disrupted his denial. “I had never expected to lose my kids to their peers. To my dismay, I noticed that on reaching adolescence both of my older daughters began to orbit around their friends, following their lead, imitating their language, internalizing their values….Its as if the parental influence my wife and I had taken for granted had all of a sudden evaporated….I thought my children were immune: they showed no interest in gangs or delinquency, were brought up in the context of relative stability with an extended family that dearly loved them, lived in a solid family oriented community….” Be mindful that a quiet nice life in safe suburbia, or even having a healthy functional household, is not always enough to secure our children.

I am taking time this summer to read up and go deeper in forming my philosophies of raising and educating my children! I hope you will read with me, grow with me, and find yourself fascinated in our learning. And then share what changes your life with others!! Booklist coming soon!

“My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Hold Onto Your Kids Book Review Part II

Hold Onto Your Kids Book Review Part III

Hold Onto Your Kids Book Review Part IV

Leave a comment »

Juggling Motherhood and Work

Ok, so this is not what I planned on blogging about next, but I want to share something that came up on my mom’s club forum because its of high interest to me, as well as many other mothers: can women have it all? Can mothers have a high profile career, or a full time career at all, and also be a supermom? A mom from my Pleasant Hill Walnut Creek Mother’s Club posted this a few days ago:

avatar

wenlei

6/21/2012

(4 days ago)

Juggling Motherhood and Work

I thought today’s Fresh Air program might be of some interest to some of the mommies here. In fact, if any of you are interested in getting together and discussing the article, please send me an email, since the issues raised in Slaughter’s article definitely resonated with me. Happy reading & happy summer! -Wenlei

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/21/155498926/the-impossible-juggling-act-motherhood-and-work

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/?single_page=true

           Basically the feminist author of the above articles, and mother of a struggling teen, came to a point in her life where she had to admit that it is really hard to be supermom and supercareer woman–one or the other has got to give. I was so intrigued to hear a feminists changing viewpoint on this monumental struggle of women, that I had to read through her lengthy article. I encourage you to do the same if this topic is of interest to you as well.
             Then I felt compelled to make a stand on the mom’s club forum for how I feel about the sad state of children today with the ever increasing situation of dual income families in our society, and how wonderful it has been personally to decide to be a stay at home mom. My husband and I were not sure we could do it, my husband wasn’t even sure he wanted me to do it back when we were dating, but as we looked around at children we admired, we found that many times they were the product of a stay at home mom pouring her heart and soul into raising them. I became so convinced of the power of being present in my children’s lives that I told myself if I had to, I could even live in poverty in order to remain the largest influence in my children’s lives. But God is so good because He takes the dreams in our hearts that we will not budge from, and makes them a reality. He has provided for us with a home of our own, free used furniture, healthy food to eat, scads of hand me down clothing for our children, paid for vehicles, and the ability to live on one income. Staying home with my children has been the best decision of my life. (More from me on the calling of staying home here)
              I think so many moms feel torn, split in two, by the demands of family and work. My heart is in angst for moms who have budged from the dream in their own heart, or who are finding out that the juggle of work and home is at a higher cost than they are willing to pay, or who believe that daycare and school can raise her children during the day as well as she can. So I formed a bold response to the “Juggling Motherhood and Work” post on the mom’s club forum:
avatar

me

6/25/2012

(8 hrs ago)

Sadly, I do think feminists have sold women a fiction. The article itself states, “And although women as a group have made substantial gains in wages, educational attainment, and prestige over the past three decades, the economists Justin Wolfers and Betsey Stevenson have shown that women are less happy today than their predecessors were in 1972, both in absolute terms and relative to men.” Hmmmm…..

As for juggling a career and a family, I think two parents can not both be professionals putting in long hard hours without putting their children at stake. I look at the masses of unhappy young people in our society and have to wonder if we are sacrificing our children for our jobs. I believe everyone’s pursuit of happiness starts at home with family, not at work, and so the juggling act of two income families can be quite an obstacle to the priorities of a true pursuit of happiness.

I agree with the author’s statement, “….the minute I found myself in a job that is typical for the vast majority of working women (and men), working long hours on someone else’s schedule, I could no longer be both the parent and the professional I wanted to be.” I am a happy stay at home mom because I knew I had to make a choice, and I chose my children. I am spending this life on enjoying my children to the fullest because I wholeheartedly believe that one parent needs to be very present at home in order to provide the guidance that both little ones and teens alike need very much. And moms happen to be designed with a God given maternal instinct that powerfully draws us to our children and our home. Its a good fit.

Deciding that I would stay home with our children at almost any cost, has been a wonderful decision for us. I have found deep satisfaction in being the one to shape my precious children into who they will become. Satisfaction that can not be traded for any amount of pay or status.

Anyway, just wanted to share on this great post as I often reflect on the calling of motherhood. Lots more thoughts on motherhood, family, and teaching our children on my blog in hopes of speaking to the hearts of moms. I love to hear from other moms.

https://jesuspreciouslittlelambs.wordpress.com

“Someday, when our children are grown, very few of us will say, “I sure wish I had sold more at my job, or won more awards at work, or opened new accounts for my employer.” But many of us may say, “I wish I had spent more time with my children when they were young.” ~Before Five In A Row

Most gracious Lord, help us to remember, in all the moments of our days, that taking the time to cultivate a close relationship with our children is what will open their hearts for you.

Leave a comment »

Father’s Day Appreciation

Trains! Trolleys! Transit Fieldtrip!

Transit Fieldtrip– a Father’s Day Lesson

My oh my, what a day we moms and little ones had on our Train, Trolley, Transit summer fieldtrip! The kids loved riding Bart, going over the walking bridge at Treat Blvd., and riding the Walnut Creek trolley. However, some things didn’t go as planned, and although it wasn’t amusing at the time, I laughed so hard retelling the challenges of the day to my husband. This fieldtrip served to remind me why we can be more thankful for dads, just in time for Father’s Day. First, I will start with the story of our Transit Trip……

The challenges of the day…… the Bart parking garage said “garage full”, I quickly made a rash decision to park in another garage that charged $1 every 1/2 hour so we wouldn’t be late, we missed the 10 am Bart train anyway because of the long walk, the Bart ticket machine didn’t give change for a $20, taking strollers up and down elevators at Bart was confusing, the train doors closed on me, we fell over as Bart came to a sudden start within a few seconds of being freed from the doors, we missed the trolley that comes every 15 minutes (a few times I think) because we were waiting behind a wall, the trolley driver was having a bad day, I wasn’t aware of how trolley communication works with a little rope to pull overhead when you want to get off, I got the same salad at Tender Greens that last time I said I wouldn’t get again, we had a poor tired little soul crying through lunch time, we waited and waited and waited for the trolley to come back to get us, we finally hoofed it back to Bart in 95 degree weather, the trolley started coming down the street a few minutes later but we weren’t standing in the right place, half of our party came up the Bart elevator on the wrong side of the tracks, we could not find the parking garage elevator that surely existed only a few hours ago when we arrived that morning.

The brighter side of the day………Friends arrived late anyway and so we all managed to meet up perfectly at the same late time, Cherie was a proficient navigator of Bart, the Bart workers were helpful, the kids screamed with glee as Bart pulled up, we fell over laughing as Bart came to a sudden start within a few seconds of being freed from the doors, the kids had a grand ol’ time playing on a cement “slide” while we kept missing the trolley, Emily spoke up for herself to the grumpy trolley driver, Emily knew how to pull the little rope overhead in the trolley, other people liked their sandwiches and salads, a nutty little old lady pulled out her bubbles at lunch time announcing to our children “Bubble time!” and then muttered “Now say thank you,” to herself as she walked away, I helped solve a mystery when I pointed out to Sheila that Tayler was dragging her feet in front of the stroller (she thought the silly thing had stopped working), we got one good sweaty workout on our trek back to Bart, after coming up on the wrong side of the tracks our party reunited with 3 minutes to spare, I learned how everyone else got free parking so that I can too next time, friends bonded and we chose to see the glass half full that day.

Chasms, the result of thoughtlessness

I know there are plenty of moms who can get around by themselves just fine, but for me, this is one area I heavily rely on my husband. Having a day that puts us totally out of our element, out of our area of expertise, whatever that may be, can shake us up to realize that life without our husbands would only be a poor shadow of what it is now. It is so difficult to know just how unaware we are of the significance of his role, how blinded we are by simple oversight–the inability to think of what life without him would be. If we know we have ungrateful attitudes towards our husbands or take things for granted, perhaps it is by not thinking, not perceiving, not seeing his significance. Unfortunately thoughtlessness in our marriages is ingratitude. A little thesaurus study reveals some interesting correlations. Ingratitude is synonymous with thoughtlessness. Thoughtlessness is simply not thinking about someone enough, or simply overlooking some of their contributions.  And wow, do you know that oversight is synonymous with chasm? When our relationship is characterized by ingratitude, perhaps that is when we most feel that there is a chasm between us and our hubbies?

Main Entry:
chasm
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: gap, abyss
Synonyms: abysm, alienation, arroyo, blank, breach, cavity, cleavage, cleft, clough, clove, crater, crevasse, fissure, flume, gorge, gulch, gulf, hiatus, hole, hollow, omission, opening, oversight, preterition, ravine, rent, rift, schism, skip, split, void, yawn

Do any of these synonyms ring a bell with the way we feel about our relationship with our husbands? Do we ever feel alienated, hollow, split, or that there is a void? Interesting that in the thesaurus, a chasm can be traced back to ingratitude.

ingratitude > thoughtlessness> oversight > chasm

The Lords Plans For Us are so Very Thoughtful

As Father’s Day is designed to be a day for expressing gratitude, let us not underestimate the power of gratitude this holiday. Lets make this Father’s Day special by taking special care to thoughtfully perceive what we have to be thankful for so that we can really show our gratitude on this holiday, but more importantly, all throughout the year. Honoring a father is more than giving another unneeded necktie, or a card with words written by someone else–a truly honoring expression of gratitude starts with a divinely inspired keen perception of what a father’s gifts, contributions, leadership, and life laid down for our families means to us. If our mind comes up a little blank, or if our heart feels a little empty, pray that God will give us sight to perceive how important our husbands are, and to become aware of what we have been overlooking. The blessing of doing this is that a God given thankful attitude will close up fissures, holes, and breaches that damage relationships. And perhaps revealing experiences like the Transit Fieldtrip are just the way our all knowing God answers our prayers for perception. He is a mastermind you know, who carefully plans our days so that the moment we ask, he is already at work restoring our relationships. How good it is to serve the Lord! His thoughtfulness restores every breach caused by our thoughtlessness.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Handprint Art for Daddy. We love you Daddy!

6 Comments »

Holiness

Raising G Rated Kids in An R Rated World

Once you get sick deep in your gut about one thing in this world, it can open your eyes to see that all the worlds ways are mad and merciless, and no matter which arena you look (health, politics, business, family, school, etc.), there is corruption. Do you ever find yourself wanting to scream, “that is SO wrong!!!,” ………when you find out about pink slime or watch Food Inc., or think about how prices of everything organic are driven up making it a burden for families just to eat healthy while junk food is dirt cheap, or how the huge money loving pharmecuticals manipulate our healthcare and FDA, how unethical conduct in the business world is rampant, how the media is full of everything irreverant and disrespectful, how Americans are driven by an insatiable need for more stuff which drives us to increasingly lose sight of family values in all our money making pursuits? Or how about the way government schools require total conformity, discourage parental involvement, and are churning out masses of defiant and immature citizens stripped of the ability to think for themselves. These are a few of the things that make me sick. You probably have your own list.

All this mania drives me to God, the author of everything that is the opposite of sad and sick.

If you want to escape all this corruption, if it makes you want to wretch, good. Let it make you want to run to God! He is the only one you can count on to protect you and your family from the harsh realities of this world. How else can you protect your precious innocent children? When you think of your tiny ones, you think purity, innocence, undefiled, and exceedingly precious. Does it grieve you when you look around you and see that the world is robbing children of that gift at an earlier and earlier age? My mission as a mother and a home maker, is to fashion a home that promotes holiness so that my children may grow up uncorrupted, being “Holy as He is Holy.” That they may have a beautiful set of unscarred childhood memories. That they may escape the sinful mindsets that sneakily infiltrated my own young life, even managing to get past the guard of my own faithful parents.  I want my children protected from the pain that accompanies sinful choices. Satan is working full time to lure our children into his lair by engraining a worldy mindset into them as they socialize at school, as they are bombarded with media, as they sit in our own homes under the tutelage of parents with unrenewed minds. Yes, by our own parenting. If we are not in the Word of God constantly, our minds are unrenewed, unable to think God’s higher kind of thoughts, and there is no doubt about it, we will be totally and completely susceptible to the corrupting mindsets of the world. If we do not agree with the crazy ways of the world, then why wouldn’t we do everything we can to be set apart, following higher ways, being holy–especially for the sake of our children?

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

God has given us everything we need for living a godly life…….he has given us great and precious promises (His Word!). These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 1 Peter 1:3-4

Protecting my children was a huge determinant for why I decided to homeschool. The article, Raising G Rated Kids in an R Rated World, spoke to me during a time when I was beginning to feel a holy burn inside for protecting my children. The author, Jill, says, “You see our job and goal is to train up our children in the way they should go……….. Thank God there is only ONE way. That way is narrow and few will enter into it. Why? Because it is hard to go against the world in all you do. It is hard to shut the world out and raise your children as if what is going on outside your home is not happening.” You may disagree with some of my standards for ensuring that my kids stay protected, but I will share a few to get you thinking about these things before they “sneak” up on your child. I don’t feel that little children need to watch TV or movies, that older children need cell phones, that video games do a lick of good for anyone, that kids should have a computer or TV in their own bedrooms, that kids should be going to play or sleep over at the houses of other families unless extremely well known and holding similar standards, that kids should be cared for or taught by anyone on a daily basis who does not share your standards. The last standard is one big reason why it is not possible for me to send my children away to be taught by the world’s teachers, and why I passionately embrace homeschool. Anyway, these are all personal convictions and yours may be different, but whatever they are, I encourage you to set them high. Its is easier to lower them later, than to raise them later. Besides, you may find that you love what God is able to do in your household through your high standards. In the beginning it may feel as if striving for holiness is binding, like what can we do?? No, it is not easy to shut out the world, but in the end, I believe that the happiest families are those who pay the price for true freedom. “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!!!” John 8:36

Holiness is Truly Beautiful

2 Comments »