Inspiration on parenting

A Case for Clarity


I heard someone say that thinking in terms of do’s and don’t’s is negative.

Mmmm. I wholeheartedly disagree.

What a gift parameters are! What a gift the word “no” can be!

My child is playing outside, we live by a street where cars go by, would I be a good parent not to warn her about staying off of the road? I might talk her through the situation before I leave her there. I might walk off the space with her to show her where it is safe for her to play. I might string a rope to show her the boundary or I might put up a fence. I might watch for a few days to see if she is understanding the boundary. And as she shows she is capable of staying out of harms way, I would come to trust that she is good with the situation.

If, however, I ever saw her run after a ball or ride her bike into the street without looking for traffic, you can bet I’d be immediately and loudly warning her to come back into the yard. And then there may be a few days of playing in the house before we try the yard again.

Do’s and don’t’s are part of life. Whether you say them or not, they are built in.

Don’t let your hair get close to the candle flame. 
Don’t consume alcohol and then operate your car.
Don’t steal, lie or cheat, there will be consequences you won’t like.

What makes everyone happier, and I think what was truly meant by the comment I heard, is that more do’s than don’t’s is nice. Keep the don’t’s but use a plethora of implied or implicit do’s more!

Don’t hit your sister…do use your words to work things out!
Know I love you!
It’s time to go to bed, you need to get your rest.
Keep going, you’re doing great!
Eat your veggies first, then we’ll have pie!

And the best do of all, the one that goes unspoken but is loud and clear is:
“Watch me, I’ll show you how to ____________ .”
Then fill in the blank with those things you are practicing and desperately wanting your children to know. Things like, how to forgive. How to let go. How to pray. How to laugh. How to roll up your sleeves and work! How to be dependable. How to learn. How to take counsel. How to practice and not give up. There’s no getting around it, our children learn more powerfully from our example than by any other means! It’s teaching without words and it is profound.

Boundaries are a beautiful, necessary and crucial thing. They give stability, confidence and comfort to our families. 

As a family leader, we must be willing to learn them and teach them. {Remember the text, I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, by Gary and Joy Lundberg for strengthening your foundational understanding of boundaries.}

Much love to you today!

The Basics


I heard an insightful talk recently about strengthening families. The speaker referred to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, {remember, the pyramid that begins at the bottom with basic needs being met, then rising to the top with the ability to self-actualize, or fully develop one’s talents and gifts?}

and suggested that we may think that in the midst of our abundant lifestyle, that our basic needs are met, meaning we have food, water, warmth and rest, safety and security.

We also might assume we have the next layer of psychological needs which are the need to belong, to be loved, have friends and a sense of accomplishment.

We also might think that since all our basic needs are met, we believe our families will eventually self-actualize, or grow to their full potential!

The question was asked, how are your family’s basic needs being met? You have shelter, but is it safe and secure with order and boundaries? Is there good food to eat at regular meals? 

Have we put in the work to help our family members feel that they have a place to belong? To have friends and family connections, and do they feel loved and heard?

I thought that highlighting these questions was profound.

And then I heard the perfect anecdote for the ways we, as a society, may be falling short in providing these basic needs for our families. It was a jewelry commercial of all things, but the tagline was: Dare to be devoted.

I don’t think that our kids can expect to truly reach their potential without the dedication and devotion of parents. 

What might devotion in this sense mean?

Maybe being very clear about limiting the distractions we allow into our lives and making courageous decisions about how we spend our time and resources. {Our children are here and then they are gone!}

Maybe setting goals to cover the basics well, and more consistently. Regular meals; nap-times; bed-times; homework times; clean clothes to wear; clean beds and a general sense of peace in our homes.

Maybe to put in the time and effort to heal relationships; minimize stressful situations so that kids can be free to play and learn and grow.

Maybe upping our self-care so that we can be the best version of us possible in this time. Rest. Eat well. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Learn. Laugh.

We are blessed with so many options! I believe it is more important than ever for us to chose well. We can dare to be devoted!

I hope you will have a wonderful week ahead!

Much love to you,

Whose Is It?


Learning to know where we end and where our children begin is of utmost importance.

What problems/challenges/desires/opportunities belong to us?

Which problems/challenges/desires/opportunities belong to them?

Our children need us to get this right. They need to learn to solve problems, speak up, make decisions and gain

their independence one small step at a time.

If we jump in to solve every problem, to speak for them when they can speak for themselves or override their opportunities without considering their desires, we may be overstepping our boundaries.

Remember, as we learn from the Lundberg’s book, I Don’t Have To Make Everything All Better, we can walk beside those we love and offer a validating, listening ear, but we most often need to let the problem stay with it’s owner.

We can ask ourselves, “whose problem is this?” and “how can I let my child know I’m here to offer support without taking over?”

We can also practice listening, giving our full attention and memorize the validating questions and phrases to help us engage in our listening to the point that our child can feel our love. They will also feel our confidence when we keep out of trying to solve the problems that are the perfect growing opportunity for them.

Practice. Practice. Baby step. Baby step. That’s how we are growing.

We can give our children the same opportunity.

Much love to you today,

That’s It!


If you’re a parent you’ll know what I mean when I say that some of the pep talks I’ve given my kids get given back to me when I need them!

No doubt this will be one. And that’s good! It means they’re listening in and… heaven knows, I do need reminders!

To start, a few questions:

How do you feel when you get your kitchen drawers cleaned and orderly?

When the pile that’s been driving you to distraction is sorted and decided upon and gone?

Or, how do you feel when you realize, that instead of beating yourself up for a perceived failure that might have depressed you for a week a few years ago, you have automatically given yourself kudos for trying and committed to keep trying? Wow!

It feels great!

It’s liberating!

It’s the feeling of winning and accomplishing and conquering!

If you aren’t feeling that way pretty regularly, what is a problem or job you could pull apart, decide upon, attack and finish today?  (Even if it’s ‘just’ putting the folded laundry away, do it! It’ll give you the feeling of finishing and lead to other finishing tomorrow!)

Being fierce in the face of our daily problems turns that sluggish, overwhelmed, tired feeling into an air-punching, celebration kind of feeling!

And, I submit that when we attack problems that are ours, we are less likely to attack people. We also lose the compelling notion to control other people when we are taking care of our own stuff. Attack problems, not people. 

I’m rootin’ for you today! You are doing great things (even if they feel small) with great love. That’s the ticket!

P.S. “The older sets are the easiest to fix: simpler circuitry, uniform tubes. Maybe it’s wax dripping from the condenser or charcoal built up on a resistor. Even in the newest sets, Werner can usually puzzle out a solution. He dismantles the machine, stares into its circuits, lets his fingers trace the journeys of electrons. Power source, triode, resistor, coil. Loudspeaker. His mind shapes itself around the problem, disorder becomes order, the obstacle reveals itself, and before long the radio is fixed.” All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr


Boundaries For Balance


Ever feel that you’re not sure if you should be pushing yourself to do more or if you should slow down and do less?

This is a daily question for we women, particularly mothers who are doing their best to cover the every day demands of a family such as planning and preparing meals, taking care of home maintenance, educating and training kids, supporting the development of talents and getting people where they need to be when they need to be there! (It’s a pretty amazing job isn’t it?)

So how’s it going and how do you decide if you’re getting close to a healthy balance?

Do you run, non-stop until you are exhausted and then drop? Or do pace yourself and stay pretty even-keeled? Or do you sometimes feel that you are lacking passion and challenge and need something new in your life?

Most likely, we all fluctuate somewhere on the line between too much to do and not enough going on. {Well, I don’t really know of anyone with not enough to do, but I’d guess it’s a real challenge for some!} Our personalities are unique and are expressed in ways that effect our daily balancing decisions, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to balance best!

Someone told me recently that they are usually deciding what they can be okay with leaving undone, and then using their time and energy to do the rest.

The thing I like about that thought is the calm acceptance tucked into it, the recognition that there are more things needing to be done than my friend can possibly do in a day, and so she doesn’t beat herself up about the fact, or pretend otherwise, but simply prioritizes her to-do list and then does what she can.

I personally want to get better and better at:
saying no to activities that divert my attention away from my most important relationships, goals and learning;
planning my work and working my plan;
keeping a little ahead of deadlines and assignments and
regularly taking breaks to renew myself.

One tried and true practice that gives consistent peace, on crazy days or kicked-back days, {whether you function as a soldier or as a spontaneous gypsy} is doing the most important things as early in the day as possible, particularly those practices that feed your soul. Prayer, scripture reading, journaling and meditating set us up for a day of knowing who we are, what we value most and that we can have heaven’s help in accomplishing the daily things that matter most!

Praying for inspiration to feel what God would have us do throughout our days is the best balancing practice I know.

His will is always for our growth and benefit, and we won’t go wrong in listening for that small voice that guides us in wisdom’s paths.

One day at a time, one prayer at a time. There’s balance.