Who do you want your children to be when they’re 18? Are you parenting so this may actually happen? Do your children have the same goals for themselves? It may pay to ask them and then to explain your goals, dreams, and desires. As always, we pray this video is a blessing.

Do You “Highly Value” The Way God made Your Children Smart?

Don’t let this be your story.

Recently it was my privilege to teach older teenagers and young adults about the 8 Great Smarts. As with other groups, I could tell they were encouraged to discover that they are smarter than they thought they were and that the way they’re smart is God’s choice.

During some question and answer time, one young man stayed back. He began, “What could my friend do …”. The whole time I listened and then answered him, I wondered if the question was actually about him. Near the end, tears in his eyes confirmed it most likely was. I didn’t let on that I drew that conclusion.

What did he want to know? “What could my friend do who is very music smart and loves being music smart, but has a dad who doesn’t care about it at all?”

I encouraged him to affirm his friend’s musical gifts and desires. Peer support matters. I talked about his friend’s need to honor his dad even though he didn’t value this way his son was smart. I encouraged him to stand up for himself when he could, while still respecting his father.

This young man knew about my musical abilities and that they remained a hobby and joy for me and not a career pursuit. So, I talked about that. We talked about careers and how important it would be for this friend to find fulfillment and success even if he didn’t feel free to pursue music because of his dad’s opinion.

My heart was heavy and concentrating wasn’t easy. One of my goals in answering was that this young man would believe in his ability (or help his friend believe in his ability) even if the dad dismissed it. This was about identity and God’s choice in designing him/the friend. It was no small question.

Also, because I sensed that at least part of the question was about how this friend could connect with his dad, we talked about finding something they have in common and bonding over that. I suggested that as they did things together and had fun together, his friend wouldn’t feel as much pain from the sting of rejection. He had a strong reaction to this idea. I believe his pain was deep.

When our children don’t think we value how they are smart,

  • they may question whether we value them,
  • they may work to develop a skill they think we value, but resent it the entire time,
  • they may choose not to develop other gifts and talents because they feel hopeless,
  • they may reject how God made them smart,
  • they may question whether God did a good thing making them the way He did,
  • and, ….

What would you add?

What would you say to children you know who are concerned that their parents don’t value the way they’re smart

If I asked your children whether you value the way they’re smart, what might they say? What if I gave them a scale of 1-10 with 10 meaning “highly value”? What score might you get? What could you do to raise the score?

What if we had your children rate themselves? Do they “highly value” the way God made them smart or not? How can you talk about this with them? When will you?

Do You Know What You’re Aiming For?

Archery may be easy if you’re trained. Just having a bull’s-eye in front of you doesn’t guarantee you’ll hit it. When I was a college student, I “learned” archery as one of the units in a PE class I was required to take as an elementary education major. Learned is in quotes because it would be more accurate to say I tried archery.

Just because the bull’s-eye was in front of me didn’t guarantee my arrow would come anywhere close. It wasn’t easy! People often recommend you have a goal to aim for. That certainly is true. But it doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach it or hit it.

What about bowling? I enjoy bowling with my family and with friends on occasion. One of my favorite bowling memories is bowling after a wedding reception with the bride, groom, and wedding party. To the others there, we must have looked ridiculous in our fancy dresses and tuxes. Continuing the celebration of my friends’ love and marriage in this way was very special.

There we were. We each chose a ball. The pins were right in front of us. There were even gutter boundaries to help us. Yet, there was no guarantee that when we released the ball it would knock down any of the pins much less score a strike. We needed to concentrate and think about everything – pulling the ball back, the release, the aim, the follow-through, where our feet were, and more.

Like with archery, knowing the direction and your goal is certainly valuable, but intentionality, strategy, and training are necessary to knock down the pins.

It’s the same for parenting. You have to know what you’re aiming for when you think about raising your children. What does your bull’s-eye look like? What would you consider a strike? Being intentional is wise. Having strategies to help you accomplish your goals makes it more likely that you will be successful.

I hope you will be blessed by a series of blog posts about how to intentionally raise children. I want to help you think about what your bull’s-eye is and what your strike is. Then I want to help you discover some ways to be successful.

It’s easy today to be distracted. It’s easy to think everything should be easy. But it never has been and it never will be easy to raise healthy children. This week, think about your goals and why you have them. I’d love you to let me know what they are. Come back for the next few weeks as I continue the series and give you some thoughts about hitting the bull’s-eye or making a strike as you develop children’s intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual sides and their character qualities, too.

Be blessed!

** Make sure to come back on Thursday to watch this week’s video where I address similar issues.

Dr. Kathy recently spoke at a banquet for an organization that values parents and the role they have in children’s lives. To prepare, she thought about why parents parent. What’s their goal? What do they want to be known for? What about you?

Create Opportunities For Children To Deepen Connections And Belonging

Do you collect things that are meaningful to you? I do, including pine cones that I suppose others might think are a rather strange thing to collect. But, each one on my living room shelf is important to me. I wrote about them here.

When teaching at a youth camp in early June, I was surrounded by pine trees and lots of beauty in New Mexico. I thought about going exploring to find a pine cone to take home as a memory. Because my back was acting up and I was using a cane, I knew walking on uneven ground would not be wise.

One day with the almost 400 7th graders I taught every morning, I mentioned my collection when explaining that nature-smart people often collect and categorize by patterns. I explained that I was sorry I couldn’t go find a new pine cone to add to those I already owned to represent our fabulous times together.

Before I knew it, I heard myself encouraging any child who wanted to find and give me one to do so. I was stunned by how many did this, eagerly looking for me later that day to hand theirs to me. Some shared their stories of where they found it and why they chose the one they did.

Some found a pine cone for me because they’re nature smart and it was easy and natural for them to do so. What I found more interesting was how many did it to further establish their relationship with me. It was a belonging issue. It was clear to me in the way they approached and interacted with me. They wanted to participate. They wanted to be known.

It’s not hard to create opportunities to help children and teens establish themselves in a group. It’s not hard to deepen connections and belonging. It’s not hard to help them feel important, recognized, and known. We just need to do it.

Let’s think of some ways to do that today. Then let’s follow through and do it. Watch for smiles. Confidence. Conversations. Connections.

Don’t just do it once. Keep it up. Thanks.

Baking Self-Respect by Tina Hollenbeck

At Celebrate Kids, we believe self-respect is a very important character quality to develop in ourselves and our children. It can be the one that motivates us to engage all the others.

Tina Hollenbeck, a staff writer who consistently contributes excellent work to our email newsletter, has allowed me to post her most recent newsletter column here at my blog.  It will be a part of tomorrow’s issue. If you want to read more of her excellence, subscribe to our newsletter here. I think you’ll find her analogy about raising children who have self-respect thought provoking and beneficial.

Why does self-respect matter? Among other things, as Tina includes below, it’s what can cause children to care about the long-term ramifications of their actions. Does that appeal to you?

Baking Self-Respect by Tina Hollenbeck

When my daughters were little, one of them regularly expressed her frustration over disagreements with her sister by biting. She’s since explained that after a certain age she unequivocally realized that verbally working out conflicts was right and more productive in the end – she was, after all, disciplined any time she bit her sister and usually had the very thing she’d wanted taken away for good. But she still bit because doing so was simpler and more satisfying in her young, immature way of thinking.

Of course, she doesn’t bite anymore and hasn’t for several years. But what ultimately influenced her to stop despite how “good” it felt to chomp at her sister’s arm?

Consistent discipline was critical. Brainstorming and role-playing alternative reactions had value. Fostering a spirit of cooperation between my daughters mattered. Modeling proper ways of responding to conflict helped. And praising her when she chose well was great reinforcement.

But all of those things were merely ingredients, the way eggs, milk, flour, and sugar serve as ingredients for cake. A bunch of eggs – even when cracked open and whisked – doesn’t transform into cake. A cupful of sugar cannot morph into a cake while it sits on the counter. In fact, we can have a ready supply of all those ingredients and use them liberally for various purposes. But unless we mix them together in the right proportions and then bake them – applying heat over time – we’ll never get the cake.

The same is true in regards to fixing childish behavior and poor choices our kids make. We do need good ingredients like consistent discipline and positive reinforcement. And we can’t skimp just because we’re tired; I had to keep at it with my daughter regardless of how her behavior exhausted me. But, honestly, just as a cake removed from the oven too soon will either ooze out of the pan or deflate before our eyes, we cannot rush the development of what it takes for kids to have a willing-good character.

My daughter is now an adolescent – a true young lady, not the stereotype of a “teen.” She would never dream of expressing frustration physically now. And, in fact, remembering her biting habit mortifies her. Why? Somehow – just like the mystery behind the chemical reactions inherent in cake baking – the combination of ingredients my husband and I chose “baked” in God’s “oven” of child development over time produced a beautiful “self-respect cake” in her.

My daughter knows right from wrong, but she knew it when she was still biting. The difference between then and now is that maturity has brought with it self-respect such that she now cares about the long-term ramifications of her actions within her own spirit. Being able to smile at herself in the mirror a month from now matters much more than instant gratification.

Again, working with good ingredients along the way is imperative; cake doesn’t get baked in an empty oven either! But the self-respect that has transformed our daughter into a young lady who is willing to make the right choices even when she doesn’t want to could only come over time.

As you’re “mixing up and baking” your child’s self-respect cake, anxious to taste it in all its glory, remember patience. Your child’s “cake” will be an amazing confectionary delight…in due time.

In addition to homeschooling her own children, Tina Hollenbeck directs The Homeschool Resource Roadmap and a Facebook group for homeschoolers.

She enjoys providing useful information and encouragement to those called to educate their own children. In addition to writing for our newsletter, she also co-authored Celebrating Children’s 12 Genius Qualities with me and Brad Sargent.

Love For Our Imperfect Nation, All Year Round

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~Erma Bombeck

I do love our imperfect nation. I hope you had a great 4th and I hope we all keep the freedoms and love for country alive in our hearts year-round. Let’s talk with our children regularly about what it means to be an American.

The Fourth, Freedom, And Family

If you’ve been following me a while, you know my whole family is quite patriotic. In my Flag Day blog last month, I wrote, “I joke with people that I bleed red, white, and blue because I love America so much. I was raised in a flag waving, politically active family.”

Check out these pictures of my brother and sister-in-law’s tablecloth and centerpiece on their kitchen table and how she decorated her kitchen windowsill. Especially my grandparents and parents would have been so pleased!


Dave, Deb, and I inherited many small vases from my mom. She had a green thumb and was very gifted at arranging flowers in vases in just the right way.  The vase on the windowsill was originally my mom’s.

???????????????????????????????Debbie also makes her own greeting cards. Three lucky relatives or friends will receive these in the mail this week as she took time to wish them a Happy 4th of July.

I encourage you to spend some time going on a scavenger hunt at home with your children. What do you own and display that reminds you of your heritage? Do you display anything red, white, and blue year round or this week? Why or why not? (Neighbors display a flag on an in-the-ground-tall-pole every day of the year. I’m glad they do.)

Make and take time to celebrate the Fourth, freedom, and your family. If you have faith you value, as I do, talk with your kids about it, too, and American’s important and unique freedom of religion.

If you know Dr. Kathy at all, you won’t be surprised to know that she believes much learning can take place during the summer. In this video she shares how to involve your entire family in this pursuit. Let us know how it goes!

Taking A Spiritual Inventory

Because of some recent bumps and bruises as I do this thing called living, I was prompted to complete a spiritual inventory I always do at the end of the year. I think about these things regularly, but it’s rare that I sit down and deeply ponder each question, even writing out my responses, except at the end of the year.

I’m glad I took this seriously last week. My answers encouraged me and I was appropriately challenged, as well. I’m sharing the questions here because maybe you’ll benefit, too.

I really want my life’s focus to be Jesus, but it’s easy to get sidetracked by life’s busyness. For integrity, I want my life to line up with what I say is important. What about you? Asking and answering these questions helps me get back on track.

These questions come from various inventories and from my awareness of my own tendencies and what to be alert to. Use them if they appear complete for you and your situation. If not, adjust the list so you’re appropriately challenged to grow. And, how about helping children and teens use these, too? Imagine! To God be the glory!

  1. Do I know God better? Do I love Him more? Do I trust Him more?
  2. Is the Word of God refreshing to my soul? Do I know more of it? Do I willingly prioritize reading it, studying it, and meditating on it?
  3. Am I less attracted to the world now than I was before?
  4. Do I have a greater desire to do the will of God? Do I earnestly desire what God wants for me or do I want my own way?
  5. Do I present the Gospel when the Spirit prompts me to?
  6. Am I more disciplined? Do I more quickly recognize sin as sin and turn from it?
  7. When God chastens me, what’s my attitude? Do I choose to see God’s loving care for me?
  8. Am I more focused on pleasing God than people? Do I regularly respond to people as Christ would?
  9. Do I appropriately prioritize fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ?
  10. Are my times of worship rich, regular, personal, and meaningful? Do I generously and sacrificially give back to God?
  11. Do I pray confidently and expectantly? Do I wait for and recognize God’s answers? Am I appropriately grateful for all God is and does?
  12. Do I honor the Sabbath?

These questions were included in an earlier blog.