Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you seen this? 

If not, you have got to. It's a wonderful depiction of following 4 babies from San Francisco, Africa, Mongolia, and Japan; newborn to 1 year. Outside of a few words spoken by the mother, the movie is essentially nothing but watching the babies grow in their environments.

The movie helps put much into perspective. One being, there's more than one way to do something, ie; raising a child.  The mothers in the film had the task of nurturing their children. The intended goal is practical in the sense of feeding, teaching, cleaning and nurturing; pretty much meeting their every need. To survive in the world they will live in, our job is to prepare them.

We want our children to be well and in order for that to happen we give them tools. The old adage is true- you can give a man a fish and it will last a day, but teaching him how to fish will last a lifetime.

That's what moms do.

I happen to believe a lot is already in a mom. Poor or wealthy, the U.S. or Africa, we've got the goods. Yet, beyond the practical basics of mothering listed above, we also help our children to choose good and right paths; tools in which to lead their lives. There's a lot vying for our attention that says: go this way. We have to determine what is good and right. Letting the culture or schools or Dr. Phil raise our kids is giving away what has been given to you.

What is the target you are aiming at? If it has merit, you will get up every morning with it in sight and have the energy it requires. If it is simply to get through this mom stuff so your child can be 18 and out on his or her own so you can have time for yourself, your days are going to be drudgery. You will not want to face each day.

The target has to be bigger than you.

Let's back up a bit. It seems redundant at times when you think of the generations over the centuries that are born, live, and die. What's the purpose? Well, there is much we do not understand about life. But what we do know is that life is both difficult and wonderful. And if we move away for a moment from the basics of life and death, there's a whole lot in-between that is quite fascinating. There are heroes, whether known or unknown, that have given up something for the benefit of the next generation in line.

Mankind is wired for progression and advancement. There is something almost sacred in us that understands this and how we must not only progress and advance, but keep the next generation in our mind. We are capable of sacrifice in order to carry this out.

For example, if it weren't for those who gave up their lives to create and protect our freedoms in America, where would we be today? And still, there are those who continue on in that vein since there must be a watching and maintaining of something so precious.

Your children are precious. They are a gift. And while we do not know what they will become as adults, we do know that we have a window of time to teach them what is good and what is right. Qualites such as courage, honesty, humility, kindness, productivity, self-control, generosity and more... all place the interests of others over their own. There has to be an understanding that the world does not revolve around them, that they are part of a whole and their contributions, good or bad, effect the whole.  The target becomes this: others.

These and other qualities are found in the Bible. They are tried and true principles that not only are effective, but the reward is the good feeling inside when doing good and right. Based on faith in God, realizing God helps us, we will become healthy families that become healthy societies.

But first, you must have your own target. Because you cannot give what you do not have. If you live your life with you as the primary focus, believing "you deserve a break", you will find yourself never really happy with being a mom. Whether it is glaringly obvious with your attention being consumed with your friends, shopping, home decorating, television, computer time, etc or more subtle with frequent sighing, complaining, or resentment, the results are the same. Far more is waiting for you when you place yourself in the position of servant which means you are not the focus. When one sacrifices, lays down their life for the benefit of another, there is strength and joy to be found. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it works.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

take aim.

You have to have a reason to get up in the morning.

There is a scripture in the Bible that states, "Without a vision the people perish". In other words, you have to be heading somewhere ... aiming at something. If your days are just muddled with little routine or organization, with everyone just doing their own thing, it is going to be chaos.

Moms have a very difficult job. We set the tone. We guide and direct. Oftentimes we end up getting the flack for being so "bossy". Tough stuff. I've gone to sleep crying and so will you if you haven't already.

Life is difficult.  I think when we face that fact we will be more equipped to handle what comes along. This is not a hopeless statement. It is reality. And for the Christian mom who takes God at face-value, she will learn to be courageous, gaining her strength from the One who watches over it all.

Now that we've got that out of the way, you've got to know why you are doing what you are doing. It's not enough for most of us to go through the days if we don't have a purpose. And this we will talk about at more length the next time I write.

Until then, keep up the good work. God has chosen you to be a mother and it's not an accident!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

teach your children well.

I just returned from my first visit to our nation's capitol and I was struck by the inscriptions on every building.

On the four corners of the National Archives that is home to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution these inscriptions can be found:

"Study the Past"

"What is Past is Prologue"

"Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty"

"The Heritage is the Seed That Brings Forth the Harvest of the Future"

These words are as solid as the stone in which they are inscribed. They are foundational to the workings of our society. A society is not going to survive without truth. One can wrap it anything they want but if it's not truth it will not stand.

In raising our children, it is essential that we impart tried and true methods that may be thought as out of date. I don't care how advanced we are in education, medicine, or technology. We can be moving forward at record speed and at the same time be going no where. As sure as the law of gravity, in the end, truth will prevail. It was made to.

Truth has become nebulus in much of our society and it shows. Even in our government, which is should model leadership; honoring and protecting the intentions of the Founders as they deliberated to build the foundation of a new nation, we find not only corruption, but a diluted outcome has evolved from interpretations. I don't think you have to think too hard when you walk through Washington, DC, to figure out what it all means. The place is rich with our heritage and it will be forgotten if we do not impart it to our children in its proper context.

We live in a day when it boils down to truth or a lie. And if we allow the culture to dictate our children's lives, it will. And our culture has cast off restraint and allowed lies to prevail based on personal opinions. Just as a building cannot stand with a faulty foundation, neither will a society, neither will a nation.

There is a quote that reads, "Courage in not the absence of fear". We want our children to be successful. Let them be successful in having the courage to stand up for truth and unashamed to proclaim it whenever necessary. If we do not, the next generation following will have little to stand on.

Friday, August 06, 2010

a dream come true.

Over the years of homeschooling, I found a love developing for American History. I'm not sure why it didn't appeal to me while I was in school (could it be that my 11th grade American History teacher literally stood outside his door every class talking to the football coach while he had us on an assignment?), but as I think back, English and Art was where my mind was.

Homeschooling allows a more in depth approach to learning and the freedom to take bunny trails with focusing a few weeks on a particular aspect (ie; "Let's read more about Abraham Lincoln."). I found that learning beyond the text book approach, along with learning the true, documented facts of history and not the biased, politically correct approach (often based on a living Constitution which means we rearrange the foundation to fit our current thinking), offers a foundation that is solid and can be built upon. No matter what our kids do in life, I think it's important that they value their heritage (which almost always means someone's sacrifice), but also, they become men and women of good character, not solely thinking of themselves, but the greater whole of society. Reading about men and women who were models of this courage and fortitude will help stabilize society and defy the cultural trends that weaken a nation.

That said, it wasn't long before my dream was to visit Washington, DC.

Two years ago was my first flight since 1979 when my daughter and I visited friends in Florida. We had a connecting flight in DC and we landed at Reagan National, I looked out the window and I saw the Capitol! It was amazing.

Long story short, after 23 years, my two youngest boys and I are leaving on Sunday to go to DC! We will stay with a friend who lives there. What better way to begin school this year?

If you are a mom who doesn't get out much because you are busy serving your family, keep on keeping on. Outside of planned family vacations every 4 years or so, I pretty much didn't do anything else. Now, at 53 years old, a whole new world has recently opened up to me that I didn't know was coming and quite honestly, didn't have my sights on (aka "I can't wait til this is over so I can do something for me). Writing, traveling, and getting some "breathing space" has been feeling very nice!

*edit: I have to clarify that in the last paragraph when I wrote "aka I can't wait til this is over so I can do something for me", please understand that my intention was to say that I didn't think like that.