Web Site: http://thedaisymuse.com
Bio: Kim has been married to husband Brian for 22 years. They have three daughters, ages 19, 17, and 13. A former elementary school teacher and textbook editor, Kim has home schooled since her eldest was in the first grade.
Posts by kimashbaugh:
Author: Kim Ashbaugh
I once asked my eldest, who had recently graduated from high school, what her favorite childhood memory was. She could not recall any particular memory, but said “when you and Daddy played with me.”
Oh, the importance of individual time! It cannot be neglected in parenting, though many daily tasks try to take the forefront. Just as we need to spend one-on-one time with God and with our spouse,
we need to spend one-on-one time with each child, to develop that oh-so-important relationship.
When I was little, both my parents spent individual time with me. I still love to inhale when I walk into the Home Depot, because the smell of freshly-cut lumber brings back memories of my Dad taking me along on a trip to the lumber yard as he did business there. My Mom cared for our home while spending time with me. We simply did the tasks she had to do anyway…. together. Even when my baby sister came along, my mom did not neglect to spend time with me in all the hours of caring for her. She simply showed me how to do everything with my doll that she was doing with my sister. We bathed our babies, fed our babies, changed our babies. I’m sure I got tired of it after awhile and wandered away, but my Mom was always there for me.
As our children get older, and there are more of them, individual time becomes more of a challenge. Sometimes we need to get out of the house. It does not have to be expensive… a cup of coffee, an ice cream cone, a walk in the park. One of my children loves for me to come to her room at bedtime, stay, and talk. It’s late… but I do it anyway. She will be on her own before I know it, and I will miss these times.
You do not have to have elaborate plans or say anything profound during individual times with each child. It’s more about showing them they matter,that you are carving out time for them, so when they have profound questions of their own, your relationship is already solid and they will come to you.
Try to keep the individual time just for that one child, especially as they get older. I once made the mistake of texting with my eldest, away at college, during a shopping trip with my youngest. The youngest felt I could not focus on just her even for a couple hours. So I put the phone in my pocket and focused on that highly important individual who was right in front of me. I know in years to come, I’ll be glad I did.
Next Week’s Author: Susan Arico
It happens, faster than you want to think about it. They grow up! Just yesterday, it seems, I was pregnant with my third child, chasing my middle child around the house as my docile eldest played quietly with her dolls. Now they are 13, 16, and 19. Our eldest is a young adult, with a life of her own as a residential college student. Now that she’s home for the summer, I treat her differently than the other girls. I try to approach her as I would a younger woman I was advising and mentoring, rather than as her absolute authority. It’s time to let go, and I am still learning how.
What are some practical ideas for transitioning from being your child’s authority to being their advisor?
First of all, you have to have that foundation. Brian and I taught our girls about God, authority, and right choices versus wrong choices from the beginning. We now serve as “advisers” to our eldest, age 19. She can make her own decisions, but if we see a problem with what she’s doing or planning to do, we’ll step in. Because of our existing relationship and that foundation, she will listen to, and most often heed, our advice.
Secondly, you have to line up privilege with responsibility. We gradually gave our eldest freedom as she displayed corresponding behavior (freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand). When she was 14 or 15, I realized she was responsible enough (notice I didn’t say “old enough”… it’s not the age but the level of maturity) to determine her own bedtime. I knew
if she took advantage of this new freedom and stayed up too late, she would have the natural consequences of feeling pretty lousy the next day. It worked beautifully… she did, once or twice, have those consequences, but for the most part, she’d be in bed early… even before her younger sisters at times. We continued with her getting a cell phone, driver’s license, and
the freedom to tell us where she was going rather than ask, which occurred around the time she graduated from high school. The responsibility that comes with this freedom is that she has to be honest about where she’s going and what she’s doing, and when she borrows our car, she has to pay for the gas.
Thirdly, apologize if you offend your young adult. You’ll be surprised at how easily they understand and forgive when you as a parent admit your faults.
Things will not go as smoothly with each child, as we are discovering as our lovable, but very different in temperament, middle child approaches adulthood. We apply the same principles to each child, but sometimes change the methods. This is another reason parenting requires much involvement as well as prayer.
Lastly, keep up that relationship. If you always took your child out to breakfast on Saturday mornings, don’t stop because she grew up. Continue to invite her, and enjoy your new-found adult-to-adult relationship. You’ll eventually find you have mentored your child into a close friend.
Next Week’s Author: Susan Arico
Author: Kim Ashbaugh
Last November, our family entered into a time of trial like none we had ever been through before. Our eldest daughter, age 18, was in a serious accident and sustained life-threatening injuries and multiple broken bones. She was in the hospital 24 days (9 of those in ICU), and is still going through outpatient rehabilitation. My faith was tested, for sure. What did I learn from it?
1. God is good. No matter what. Early on, a good friend, who had experienced the tragic loss of her growing baby in the womb, told me that. She said, “Say it often. Even if it takes your heart awhile to catch up with your head, it will.”
2. The foundation must be laid before the trial. “Seek the LORD while he may be found.” (Isaiah 55:5)
I became a Christian when I was 18 years old. The years since have been marked by growth… praying, reading His Word, spending time with other believers, and learning to trust Him during smaller trials. Though I have certainly not done everything right, I have learned that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present. He loves us with an everlasting love. Knowing that ahead of time made it easier to trust Him and lean on Him, especially during those first few days in ICU.
3. Prayer is powerful
Our daughter had wonderful doctors, and was at one of the top 50 hospitals in the country. Yet I knew all along it was God Who would ultimately heal her if He so chose (I believed He would and that He has a special plan for her future). We prayed, and were prayed for, more during those first couple weeks than we had in the past couple years. It was wonderful to welcome people into our room…some whom we had not known before but came from local churches… to lay their hands on our daughter, and on us, and lift us up to the throne of Heaven. What comfort to know so many people, in our hospital, in the town, and across the country, were praying for our child! So many victories occurred as a result of those prayers.
4. If someone offers something, take it without question or apology.
I am usually the one who wants to be the giver, not the receiver. Yet God had me and my husband in a position of just that… receivers. “You want to bring us lunch? Coffee? Magazines? Money?” We learned to just say “thank you,” and not argue with the people who so desperately wanted to be God’s hands and feet to us! I learned to speak up… “Yes, with cream and 2 sugars,” or “Yes, please… chapstick and a case of bottled water.” You’re not burdening those people…they want to help! And they want to know what you really need…so tell them!
5. Be respectful and thankful to hospital personnel, rescue workers, administrators, and anyone else you come in contact with. It is the right thing to do and way I was raised. You will also get a lot farther with people by treating them right! By God’s grace, I was even polite to the lady in the hospital restroom who made a comment about my daughter’s accident that seemed, to me, insensitive. Let your words be kind and your tone smooth… say “please,” and “thank you,” with a smile. It helps you feel better.
6. Focus on the positives.
This started as soon as we found out our daughter had no spinal cord injury or brain damage. “Whew.” we breathed, “Ok, let’s get going on dealing with the rest.” No looking back, no regrets… just focusing on what is good and where we are going.
“I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
7. Realize there are good times tucked inside your trial.
(A merry heart does good, like medicine,” Proverbs 17:22) A turning point in our daughter’s ICU stay was the day we received cards from her old youth group. One boy’s card, in particular, struck us funny and we had the first good laugh since her accident. How good that felt! Later, friends came to visit and brought more laughter and music with them. A good friend of mine drove a long distance to bring her a tiara and crown her “The Warrior Princess,” symbolizing her strength and grace through recovery. We met many people and made many new friends. The three of us… my husband, my daughter, and I… had so much time just to sit and enjoy being together.
8. Remember your spouse.
At first, my husband and I were content to just sit across from each other in the quiet ICU room in our recliners. When our daughter was doing better, and on a day she had a friend to stay with her, we left the hospital to have coffee and do a little Christmas shopping. Since she was out of danger, I felt the need for some alone time with my husband. It was just “the two of us” before we had children, and it will be again when they have all grown up. I choose to invest in this relationship, even when times are hard.
9. Rest whenever possible.
I had a hard time with this, and was often tired. So many caring people came by the room all day long, and I was the one to welcome and talk to them. It was exhausting! I should have slept more. One thing I did right was to write a daily post, so far away friends and family could be updated without having to call or text me. I love them…but I couldn’t possibly talk to everyone, everyday.
10. There will be setbacks and frustrations.
When our daughter got out of the first hospital and was sent to another one for rehab, we thought we were on the downhill slide. But the first day in rehab, we were hit with a surprise… another severely broken bone (in her elbow) that had been entirely missed. I even argued with the rehab doctor as he, a fresh set of eyes looking at her x-rays for the first time, showed me the breaks. I told the nurse he was seeing something that wasn’t there. Alas, it was there, and explained her intense pain when lifting her arm, even after the wrist surgery supposedly had corrected everything. Following more than a week in rehab, she had to be readmitted to the first hospital for yet another surgery and a 3-day stay. Talk about discouraging! But God knew of this broken bone all along. Nothing surprises Him, and He reminds us to give it all to Him:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Some of these things I learned by NOT doing the right thing… not trusting God completely, worrying about the “what ifs,” or getting frustrated at something or someone. The one thing I have taken away from this, however, is that God is a God of grace, and He loves me regardless of whether or not I do everything correctly. He is worthy to be trusted when I can’t see the outcome, to be praised when I am feeling down, and to be called “Abba, Father,” for my every need.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
I Peter 4:8-10, NKJV
In this passage, the Apostle Peter (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) challenges believers to use our different spiritual gifts to minister to one another. What is interesting is that he challenges us ALL to use hospitality. Hospitality is to be practiced by all Christians, regardless of other spiritual gifts they may have. One thing I want to teach my children (by
doing it in front of them) is hospitality. Below are a few myths some believe about this practice– notice I said “practice” as we are all commanded to do it, but it does not come naturally to all.
Myth #1: I have to have money to be hospitable.
“Of course I do. I have to feed people a full meal, right? Doesn’t my house have to look really nice?” That couldn’t be more wrong! As a college freshman and new believer in Christ, I experienced the hospitality of a newly married young couple I had met…the same couple who had clearly shared the Gospel with me for the first time in my life. This couple continued to invite me and other students over to their humble one-bedroom apartment for discipleship and fellowship. With the husband in college and the wife working to put him through, they had very little money, but we always had good times. I remember sitting in their living room, four of us at the time, sharing a huge bowl of popcorn and drinking homemade iced tea. This was all they had to offer, and it did not disappoint! The joy came from the fellowship with other believers who welcomed us into their home, not from elaborate food or fancy décor.
Myth #2: I have to be really outgoing to be hospitable.
Again, not true. I have a sister who is not at all outgoing, but she can bake cookies and ring a doorbell…something she does whenever a new neighbor moves in. Her willingness to serve God through this ministry despite her reserved personality is an inspiration to me. Often, it is the quieter people who are appreciated, as when a crisis occurs. These people
walk into someone’s home and begin to serve…cleaning, doing dishes, taking care of things…comforting by their helpful presence instead of words, which is often preferred during a time like that.
Myth #3: I have children…I don’t have time to serve others.
Having children is the perfect time to serve others! What better way to teach them than by example. I became more aware of my need to show hospitality to others when I had my daughters. “This is what Christian women do,” I thought, “I need to show them how it’s done.” Involving my daughters in cooking, baking, and serving others or including them in preparation for a meal with invited guests teaches them much more than I could by just telling them to be hospitable when they grow up. Even toddlers can “help” by stirring, or carrying light, unbreakable items to the table.
Myth #4: Hospitality is for those outside my family or my church
I can not believe it, but some people actually think so. I disagree. John tells us that “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Showing love to the believers around you is actually a testimony of your love for Christ. If I have taken a delicious meal to an elderly couple, and come home and feed my family peanut butter sandwiches because I have spent all my time, grocery budget, and energy on someone else, I am in the wrong. The easy way to remedy this is to make something tasty but simple, and just double what you’re having. If you can only afford to make one chocolate cake, cut slices for your brood before taking the rest of the cake to someone else. I guarantee your explanation for the less-than-whole cake will bring chuckles. If you are having a dinner party for adults, make sure you invite some of your teenagers’ friends over and serve them on the next available date. The favorite mom in our group when I was a teen was the one who treated her son’s friends as her own invited guests…six of us would be playing ping-pong as she came out with a tray of sodas, chips, and goodies, smiling as she served us. Guess which house we hung around the most?
Hospitality is for all Christians, and something we need to teach our children. The best way to teach is by example! What are some ways you have shown hospitality by involving your children?
Next Week’s Author: Joanne Miller
So states Proverbs 17:17. When I became a parent, my focus in life changed. I had many new responsibilities and tasks that simply did not exist for me before. However, amidst these new duties, I did not give up my friends. I kept the friendships I had at the time, and continued to make new ones. Not only do I think it is healthy for parents to have their own friends, I think it is unhealthy not to.
The Bibles says that “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” I need good friends to edify me and simply help me along my way. I would not be the mother I am today without the help and encouragement of the friends God so graciously put in my life.
First of all, there are the friends my husband and I have as a couple. I am thinking primarily of a couple our age whose long-time friendship with us began when our first baby was an infant and they were childless (there are now six children between us). They sat around our dining room table, all of us talking and laughing that first night we had them for dinner, our daughter on the wife’s lap, excited about the company and unable to fall asleep. Later, we tried to play a board game but couldn’t stop talking. Talk about a lot in common! That night was the beginning of a friendship so dear and special, it’s like a little bit of heaven. Many years, several moves, and five more children later, my husband and I still cherish our time with this couple. So much so, that we drive eight hours to visit with them! Our friendship is more than good times and laughter, we have also shared difficult times and even some tears. I know that in times of need or trouble, these friends will always point us back to the One who is the friend that “sticks closer than a brother.” I know in my heart that because of this friendship, I am closer to Him.
There are old friends, such as my friend who passed away from leukemia in 1999. She was a beautiful example of Christian love for and service to others. I am still good friends with her sister, who reminds me not to be so serious….to be playful and childlike at appropriate times. There is one friend who keeps me grounded in simplicity… everything that is practical and sensible. Another was my college roommate and “kindred spirit.” We were and are Lucy and Ethel, Anne and Diana. Later on, in a church new to us, I met someone whom, I ashamedly admit, I first thought was a snob. She was merely shy and quiet. How glad I am that I persevered and became her friend, and how she has sharpened me like iron with her wisdom and biblical discernment!
Having moved across the country, I have friends I did not meet until I was older…like my friend from church who possesses that “meek and quiet spirit” and biblical wisdom without being preachy or self-righteous. How I need friends who are my opposite in personality! Another of those encourages me, through her blog, to enjoy the moments with my children. Then there is the mother of eight who models the example that every child is special. She cherishes her children and is a couple years ahead of me in motherhood, so I can learn from her experiences and wisdom. Another, newer friend, encourages me by her example to put my Savior first and foremost in my life.
Some friends, you’ve had for life, and know quite well. My mom and sisters daily remind me of the meaning of unconditional love, for there is no pretense, favoritism, or jealousy among us…just love and acceptance of the others, despite our faults.
So, parent, I encourage you to keep up those friendships, and don’t be afraid to start new ones! You may have to be the one to reach out, as the Bible also says “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” (Prov. 18:24) Some of your best friends may turn out to be your children’s friends’ parents! I smile as I remember my husband and I sitting at our friends’ dining room table playing a game, drinking coffee and talking…well past midnight. At that time, there were four children between us, all sprawled out asleep on the floor in the adjacent living room, exhausted from their play together. Yes, you can still have friends as a parent. You just have to be a little creative when you get together.
Next Week’s Author: Joanne Miller
Kim has been happily married to her husband Brian for 20 years. She is a former elementary school teacher and textbook editor, and currently homeschools her three girls…two teenagers and a middle-schooler. She loves to read, write, watch old movies, and encourage younger women in their roles as wives and mothers. She also blogs at thedaisymuse.com and is a guest blogger on habitsforahappyhome
I wanted to write this in time for our 20th anniversary, but time and busyness, combined with procrastination, got in my way. I know you understand how fast our days can go, raising 3 girls, paying bills, maintaining our home… the list goes on and on.
Our 20th anniversary was uneventful, due to our overly-stretched budget. You thought I was disappointed, but the truth is, I couldn’t be happier to have shared dinner and a movie with you in our own living room, celebrating simply and cozily.
Your gift to me is your faithfulness. Rather than diamonds, trips to Europe, and an expensive home, I have a husband who is committed to staying married to me no matter what. One who works hard every day, and some evenings, to provide for the girls and me everything we need, and even some things we just want. Who spends time with me, and with each daughter, knowing we crave your attention and affection. Who leads our family in prayer, instructs us in the Word, and takes a stand at work, church, or in the community when necessary. When people outside our home see you, they see exactly what we see inside the home…you are the same everywhere you go.
There are no funds great enough to buy this gift. It can only be given through a life dedicated to God and His kingdom, from someone who knows and loves God and His Word. I am thankful God brought that man to me 20 years ago, and that you chose to marry me. I am safe, secure, and loved. I have it all, and I ask for nothing more.
I love you!
Next Week’s Author: Tyler Robbins
Author: Kim Ashbaugh Kim Ashbaugh is an avid reader with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in English. Her childhood was filled with trips to the library, her bike basket filled to the brim with books. Kim went on to teach first grade, then kindergarten, and finally, to homeschool her three girls. One of her main goals has been to instill a love of reading in her students and her own children.
A quote from one of my favorite movies goes like this: “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” (You’ve Got Mail–Kathleen Kelly) I find that to be true in my own life, and I have tried to pass that along to my children by exposing them to reading at a young age. Whether homeschooling or not, parents are key in a child’s eventual understanding and enjoyment of the written word.
How does one pass along this love for reading? The process literally begins in the cradle. Before your baby can even understand what you are saying, read to him. (Some even read to their children in the womb…go for it!) The sound of your voice is soothing to your little one, and he will grow accustomed to it. You can read whatever you want, just make sure your voice is calm, yet full of inflection. Following are some recommendations for reading material at different ages:
Babies to preschool:
Nursery rhymes are great! My favorites are the ones with finger-plays, such as “This Little Piggy” and “The Itsy-bitsy Spider.” I have fond memories both of sitting on my mother’s lap after bathtime, wrapped in a towel, with her playing the Little Piggies on my toes and of being the mother, doing the same thing with my little ones. Children at this age thrive on repitition and rhythm, and nursery rhymes have both. Bible stories with pictures are also a great source at this age. Get a good, chronological Bible story book and go through it story by story, then start over again. This is a great way to teach children the basic truths of the Bible without overwhelming them, and pictures help their understanding. Another classic book for this age that cannot go unmentioned is Goodnight Moon. It has that same repetitive, rhythmic tone. You may get tired of reading that every night, but your child will love it!
Kindergarten through Second Grade:
At this age, children love stories about animals, usually with human characteristics. The following books will entertain as well as educate: In Stellaluna, we learn about the habits and lifestyle of bats while waiting breathlessly page after page for poor Stellaluna to find her way back to her mother. And who can forget Charlotte’s Web? Before reading that book, I had no idea spiders sucked the blood from the little bugs they caught in their webs. Stuart Little is also an entertaining book about a little mouse, although his habits are more human-like, as are Paddington’s. And I recommend anything at all by Tasha Tudor (author and illustrator).
This age is also a good one for children to be exposed to poetry. A great place to begin is Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. A well-illustrated version is priceless…this is worth having in one’s personal library. My favorite is “The Swing”:
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Another classic story to for this age is the fairy tale. Fairy tales are great “pretend” stories that help the child process good versus evil, and teach morals. The Brothers Grimm wrote many of the fairy tales we enjoy today. There are others by other authors, and I recommend the classic ones by original authors rather than today’s shortened, simplified versions.
Your child will likely begin reading himself at this age, and want to help you with some of the words. It may be tempting to put him off, finishing the story yourself (especially if it is bedtime!). Let him help you! This is how he learns. Teach the sounds for combinations of letters he doesn’t know. If you are homeschooling, I recommend teaching phonics, but lightly, with short lessons, and separately from your story reading. The fun of reading should not be demolished by tearing each word apart mercilessly.
Third through Sixth Grade:
Children in these grades are beginning to think things through and process ideas, motives, and concepts. Short stories with morals are contained in The Book of Virtues. No pointing out of the moral is necessary…it is better to let the child see it on his own and internalize it. This age group also loves mysteries (my favorites at this age: Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden). Books about people are more interesting to them now…oh, to have time to read all of the “Moffat” books again, and to explore Deep Valley with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib! For some hisorical fiction, look no further than the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, where you can learn how pioneers made butter from cream, baked on a hearth, and washed laundry in a tub while becoming part of the beloved Ingalls family. And who can forget the exciting allegory The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?
Seventh through Twelfth Grade: It gets a bit harder to control everything your child is reading at this age, but if you’ve taught them principles of good literature, they will be good judges. This is a great time for the Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Jane Austen books (for girls) and for boys, Ivanhoe, Kidnapped, and Treasure Island. Everyone will enjoy the “Lord of the Rings” series (start with The Hobbit).
I have barely scratched the surface of all the quality literature that is available. For more lists of good books for certain age groups, I highly recommend Gladys Hunt’s book Honey for a Child’s Heart. And one more thing…keep storytime as long as you can. My teenagers still enjoy having me read a book to them now and then, as long as it’s not a “kiddie” book. Everyone likes to be read to!
Next Week’s Author: Joanne Miller
Author: Kim Ashbaugh Author: Brian and I have been happily married 19 years. For the first half of our marriage, I was a teacher and then a part-time children’s textbook writer/editor. Since 1999, I have been a stay-at-home mom. We have three children–ages,17, 14, and 11 This is my eleventh year homeschooling them.
One of my silliest ideas before becoming a parent was that the only children who threw tantrums in the grocery store were the children of clueless, inadequate parents. That theory went out the window around the time my second child turned two. This one was a tantrum thrower–louder, the better. Of course, we took care of discipline problems at home and were willing to pack up, leave a store, and come back later if necessary. But what really helped was remembering that a little preparation goes a long way. I remembered some things my own awesome mom did when she took me and my sisters out to do errands and would love to share them with you.
The first thing my mom did, or rather didn’t, do was take us out when we were tired. Nap time was at a set time every afternoon, and errands were done before or after. When asked to behave in a public place, we were well-rested and better prepared to comply.
My mom also never took us out when we were hungry. Either we had recently eaten a meal, or she brought along a low-sugar snack. I have memories of myself and my sister Tammy eating animal crackers from those little red boxes with circus animals on them as we followed our Mom up and down the grocery aisle. It was a treat my mom reserved for shopping trips, and it was tasty but not too sugary. String cheese and crackers would also work. By the way, she never used food as a bribe (“If you’re good the whole time, Mommy will buy you an ice cream.”). That presents a host of problems, and the challenge of being a good girl or boy on an empty, growling stomach can be too difficult for a young child.
Mom always set expectations before we left the house. Here is a conversation I remember from age two or three:
“First, we’re going to the bank. We will wait our turn at the drive-up window, and then you can say hi to Irma!” (Irma was the drive-up teller in our small town.)
“After the bank, we are going to the library. Remember how we act in the library? That’s right, we whisper because people are reading books. After I get my books, I will take you to the children’s section and you can chose some books of your own.
Lastly, we will go to the grocery store. I have some things on my list, including pears because you reminded me yesterday how much you like them. At the store, you can have your snack while you sit in the cart. Then you can get out and walk, but you’ll need to stay right by Mommy. After the grocery store, we will go home and you can play outside.”
I may have needed to be reminded what we were doing after each stop, depending on my age, but the point is, she informed me what we were doing and exactly what was expected of me.
Mom engaged us in what she was doing. Whether it was saying “hi” to the bank teller, checking out my own library books, or retrieving a box of cereal from a low shelf at the grocery store, my mom included me in her plans instead of just dragging me along as a bystander. The result was that I looked forward to going out with her to do errands, and that put me in a good mood, much more ready to behave.
Lastly, I would like to encourage parents that when the above ideas are applied and still fail to work, resulting in a tantrum or public misbehavior, forgive your child and yourself. He is still learning how to process his emotions and deal with not getting his own way, and you are still growing as a parent.
“Faithful is He who calls you [to parent], and He also will bring it to pass.” (I Thes. 5:24, New American Standard version)
Next Week’s Author: Jeanine Cook
The other day I was engrossed in a memory of something that happened 5 years ago. I thought about how fast time has passed since then, and then proceeded to imagine our family 5 years in the future. Our three daughters will be 22, 19, and 16. The eldest will possibly be engaged or married by that time! Below are some qualities a friend of ours listed that she and her husband are looking for in a future son-in-law:
He must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14)
He must be committed to biblical headship (Ephesians 5:22-26)
He must welcome children (Psalms 127:3)
He must be a protector (Nehemiah 4:13-14)
He must be a provider (1 Timothy 5:8)
We love our daughters and want them to be happy. Yet if the girls are not “picky” enough, or are swayed by the physical attraction of youth without attention to character, their lives could end up being tragic, or at the very least, second best. Teaching them now to wait for a young man who fits these guidelines will help them make a wise choice in the future.
In our visually driven, Hollywood-perfect society, looks and physical attraction tend to be deciding factors in serious relationships. It is true that when one finds the perfect mate, physical attraction is present, but that alone must not be the deciding factor for the person we will spend the rest of our lives with. We have counseled our girls not to date around or get serious with a guy until the three of us (Mom, Dad, and daughter) feel he is “the one”. We discuss the above qualities with our daughters, and try to instill in them the necessity of each of these qualities in a future mate. We also encourage casual friendships with boys their ages, so they can get to know the opposite sex in a fun, non-pressured way. Our daughters wear special rings, given to them by their dad and I on their thirteenth birthdays, that symbolize their commitment to remain pure until that special someone comes into their lives. Rather than go looking for God’s man for her life, we encourage each daughter to be the young woman God wants her to be, living her life for Him and trusting Him to bring a mate in His time.
In the end, as our girls grow up, it will be up to them to follow these guidelines. Parents can only do so much training, and then must let go. I pray my daughters use wisdom and discernment, looking at what God’s Word says about what a husband and father should be.
I recommend this book: What He Must Be: …If He Wants to Marry My Daughter - by Voddie T. Baucham
Next Week’s Author: Jaime DeCarlo
Author: Kim Ashbaugh
Kim Ashbaugh is formerly an elementary school teacher and presently a homeschool mom of three daughters ages 16, 13 and 10. Her family has lived in Florida, California, and presently resides in Georgia. She loves chocolate, old movies, Jane Austen novels, and almost anything “old-fashioned.” She appreciates modern technology but longs for the simpler days. Her highest priority after God is her husband and children, and after that she loves to minister to young moms
One day recently, as I was walking into a large retail store, a boy around age 9 held the door open for me. I thanked him as he looked at me proudly, knowing he had done the right thing (obviously taught by his parents or guardians to do so). Another day, my three daughters and I walked into a dentist’s office, signed in, and turned to face a crowded waiting room. Not one chair was available. As we made our way across the room to stand by the wall, several young men and boys, most with their mothers, looked right at us. Not one of them stood to offer us his seat. Worse, not one of the mothers encouraged her son to do so. These two events occurred within months of each other and in the same county. What was the difference between the first boy’s motivation to open the door and the second group’s complete indifference to offer their seats? I believe it was instruction in manners.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, manners are “social behavior with respect to standards; correct social behavior.” There was a time in our society when a man, young or old, would never have sat in a room when women were standing. Children were taught manners as readily as they were taught to read. Somewhere in the development of our wonderful nation, some of this has been forgotten. We focus on advanced education (a good thing), but neglect something as practical and straightforward as good manners. We cheer our children as they make goals, homeruns, and touchdowns, but neglect to encourage them to show preference to others.
One character trait of successful people is that they usually display excellent manners. Imagine a politician who belches loudly at a state dinner, or a businesswoman who is 30 minutes late to a meeting she called. It makes sense that good manners are a part of a successful life, whether that success is in business, politics, or one’s own family relationships.
What does it mean to have good manners? Having good manners simply means being thoughtful and putting others ahead of self. Jesus demonstrated this principle throughout the New Testament (the ultimate example being His death on the cross), and encouraged such behavior among his followers. When you practice good manners, you get the added benefit of an uplifted mood, whether from seeing the smile or hearing the “thank you” of the other person, or just knowing you made his day a little brighter. You also become the “salt and light” that Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:13-14, showing His love to the world.
How can we practice good manners? Maybe yours are also a little rusty (I have been known to leave my grocery cart in places other than the designated cart-return, interrupt my friends when they are talking to me, and fail to rsvp–just to name a few). Begin by making a list of three principles of good manners you would like to change, and work on them. (Example: I will put my cart in the cart return, I will let someone finish her sentence before responding, and I will call or e-mail the person whose party I just received an invitation to.) Your practice of good manners will be an example to your children, and they will follow suit.
Recently I observed my eldest daughter as she was making a purchase in a store. The clerk said the usual, “Hi, how are you?” and she responded “Good! How are you?” in the same warm, enthusiastic tone I usually use. My enthusiastic response to those who serve in our community is based on my own mother’s warm, friendly tone when dealing with people. A learned habit, it is a chain reaction that flows down through generations.
The following is a list of important practices that I consider good manners and have strived to teach my children (some I am still working on myself; others my children are still endeavoring to make into lifelong habits).
Table manners: chewing with mouth closed, saying “please” and “thank you,” keeping bodily functions private or at least saying “excuse me”, taking a reasonable portion of food, especially at potlucks and buffets
Other manners: being on time, letting the elderly or handicapped go first, boys giving up seats for ladies (or anyone for the elderly or handicapped), thinking before you speak, helping someone carrying a heavy load
These are just a few…I think it would be fun to see all your ideas in the comments section!
Book suggestion: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, written by our first President when he was 14. Some of the selections apply to his time period only, some are still true today, and some are downright funny!
Next week’s author: Jaime DeCarlo