When people don’t believe we respect the struggle they experienced while accomplishing a task, our compliments and corrections won’t be as effective. They may not hear them at all. Dr. Kathy shares good things that occur when we respect people’s struggles. If you asked your children if they believe you respect their struggles, what do you think they’d say?
What’s Your Verb?
Why do you do what you do? What’s your verb? Or, what are your verbs?
Are you familiar with the idea that’s become quite popular – choosing a word for the year? I’ve seen many women post their word on Facebook. I’ve not asked God for a word. If you have, that’s great.
I have a word, though. I’ve always had it. It’s a verb because I want to be a woman of action. If you’ve been following me for a while, my word won’t surprise you. It’s influence. That’s what I’ve always been about. I want to have an effect on people. And I want people to influence me – in the right ways, of course.
Why do you do what you do? What’s your verb? Maybe this list will help you. Or, maybe you’ll think of a verb that’s not here. I’d love to know – what’s your verb? Why are you in relationship with people? What are your goals?
Of course, just choosing a word doesn’t guarantee much. How will you put that desire to change, impact, train, develop, … into action? May I make three recommendations?
- Pray, asking God for opportunities, discernment, and insights.
- Have high expectations. Expect God to introduce you to people and use you in situations.
- Work at it. Finish strong.
Have you seen the amazing news that Kirk Cameron chose me as an expert to talk with in his upcoming movie, Connect? I’m truly humbled and excited.
I Never Dreamt This Was a Possibility
As I’ve told many people, I never dreamt this was a possibility so I never prayed, “God, allow me to be in a movie.” But, I do pray for influence. All of us at Celebrate Kids do. In this instance, God answered “Yes.”
But here’s the thing. Other than influencing Kirk Cameron and the camera operators and others involved in the movie, I haven’t influenced anyone yet. My work isn’t finished. Being in a movie and getting people to the theater to see the movie are two different things. I can’t rest and declare, “Have you heard I’m in a movie?” I could care less.
What I care about is people being empowered because they saw the movie. I want parents to find hope. I want teens and young adults to see the truth. I want people influenced for good and God’s glory. Therefore, I’ll post about the movie and do radio and print interviews about the movie. I’ll make myself available to Kirk and the movie’s director and producer. I’ll be busy. Why? Because I’m a woman of action and I want to influence others.
Change. Some people embrace it. Others run from it.
There’s not a person alive who wouldn’t have a better life if they were willing to change something.
More productivity. More peace. More joy. More friendships. More hope. More stability. More wisdom. More confidence. More security.
Less fear. Less trouble. Less loneliness. Less trauma. Less despair. Less confusion. Less doubt. Less arrogance. Less aggression.
How do we get started? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life and legacy we celebrate in America today, believed a dream was essential. He was right.
In 1968, in The Trumpet of Conscience, he wrote: “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.”
What do you need to be dreaming? Not what could you, can you, might you, or do you want to dream. No, what do you NEED to be dreaming?
I agree with Martin Luther King, Jr. Dreaming results in:
vitality so life keeps moving,
courage to be,
and the quality that allows you to go on no matter what else is happening.
Dream. Dream big. Dream large. Dream gigantic.
In Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963, he proclaimed, “I have a dream” 8 times. He was serious. Some of us need to get serious.
He also twice declared, “We refuse to believe” and five times stated, “We cannot be satisfied.” Four times he stated “We must” and three times he emphasized, “Now is the time.”
Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we need to know what we believe and what we need. We need to know what misbeliefs and complacency will get in our way and we need to “fight” against them.
Do you want to give a great gift to children you know? Help them figure out how to dream well. Support them.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Dream. Fight. Win.
Here’s the first video in a new series about how to compliment and correct children well. Dr. Kathy begins by pointing out that we should take our opportunities to provide feedback seriously because it can be and should be powerful teaching language. She encourages us to compliment and correct to affect the future and not just judge the past. Which do you think you do most often?
Do Your Kids Feel Stuck?
Kids giving up. Kids not asking for help. They’re asking for help when they should know what to do on their own. Sound familiar? These are common frustrations.
As I write about in Screens and Teens, helplessness can be an effect of digital devices. Kids of all ages believe things should be easy, learning shouldn’t take any effort, and winning should be guaranteed. Of course, none of this is true!
Many parents and teachers tell me that kids are hurrying through their work, not concerned with excellence. They skip things they can’t easily do on their own. This is true of academic pursuits, musical practices, and handling chores around the house.
When children aren’t sure what to do, many aren’t asking for help. Perhaps they can’t admit they need it because “everything should be easy.” They might not even know what kind of help they need. When that’s the case, asking for help is nearly impossible.
Some children get easily scared of something that looks new and hard and ask for help before making honest attempts on their own.
I feel for these children and for you because this isn’t healthy, but it is stressful. The next time you see kids behaving in one of these ways, maybe you can use the example of an escalator to open up communication.
Remind your kids of escalators they’ve seen in movie theaters, shopping malls, and museums. Ask them to picture two people on an escalator when it unexpectantly stops. They realize it’s broken and they feel stuck. They wait quite a while, just looking around. Then they begin to shout,
“Somebody help us!!”
“Help us! The escalator isn’t moving!”
“We’re not moving! Somebody get help!”
Hopefully your kids will see how silly that is. Perhaps you’ll all have a good laugh. Then talk about what they could have done instead. “Walk up the stairs created by the escalator, of course.”
Exactly. Take a step. Get moving. Do for yourself what you can do.
Everyday Prayers For Parents
Today I’m sharing a prayer titled “A Prayer About Gospel Parenting” from Scotty Smith’s book, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. I’ve occasionally posted parts of prayers from this book on Facebook. Today, I decided to share this entire prayer.
I can’t imagine parenting without praying. And I love his emphasis on gospel parenting. What if this was a goal, emphasis, and priority this year?
This line caused me to audibly gasp: “Teach us – teach me – how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners.” I wonder what parts of the prayer will most minister to you. Let me know.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
Heavenly Father, it’s a joy to address you today as the architect and builder of your own house – including the household of faith and my children’s place in your family.
As I look back over the years of my pragmatic parenting, I’m saddened, but I am also gladdened, for you’ve always been faithful to your covenant love, even when I was overbearing and underbelieving. The move from parenting by grit to parenting by grace has been a fitful but fruitful journey. Take me deeper; take me further.
You’ve rescued me from parental “laboring in vain” – assuming a burden you never intended parents to bear. Father, only you can reveal the glory and grace of Jesus to our children. Only you can give anyone a new heart. You’ve called us to parent as an act of worship – to parent “as unto you,” not as a way of saving face, making a name for ourselves, or proving our worthiness of your love.
Oh, the arrogant pride of thinking that by my “good parenting” I can take credit for what you alone have graciously done in the lives of my children. Oh, the arrogant unbelief of assuming that by my “bad parenting” I’ve forever limited what you will be able to accomplish in the future. Oh, the undue pressure our children must feel when we parent more out of our fear and pride than by your love and grace.
Since our children and grandchildren are your inheritance, father, teach us – teach me – how to care for them as humble stewards, not as anxious owners. More than anything else, show us how to parent and grandparent in a way that best reveals the unsearchable riches of Jesus in the gospel. Give us quick repentances and observable kindnesses. Convict me quickly and surely when I do not relate to your covenant children “in line with the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14). I pray in Jesus’ faithful name. Amen.
God has used this book to mature my faith. I read a prayer daily. If you want to join me, you can find the book here.
Go To God
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God is in control of everything big and small. Though I will admit that I don’t always pray about the things I consider small. I will more often in 2018.
Last Friday I left my brother’s home in the Atlanta, Georgia, area to drive about 12½ hours home to Fort Worth. It was a beautiful morning as I headed south on 85 and then 75 to merge onto 20. This highway would take me west, all the way home.
The sun was behind me and I responded with gratitude in my heart. I remembered that when I drove to Atlanta a month earlier, the sun was in my eyes for the first two hours or so. Do you know what I mean? There was that long, awkward period when the sun was too low for the car’s sun visor to block it. Even with great sunglasses, it’s frustrating and dangerous because you can’t see well?
Remembering the drive that began my Christmas break at Dave’s, I realized I would be approaching Dallas at an awkward sunset time. It would be the same problem, but at the end of the day. Knowing I would be tired after a long day and that the sun can make seeing everything so much harder, I prayed a little prayer. I said something like Father, cloud cover at the end of the day would be a blessing. If you’d choose that as a good gift for me today, I’ll be grateful.
I didn’t think much more about it and just kept driving. At about noon, I talked with Nancy. When she asked about the drive, I mentioned my prayer. I commented that cloud cover certainly wasn’t the most important thing God could do for me, but that it would be a blessing. I quoted Matthew 7:11 – “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”
There’s No Such Thing as a Little Thing
At about 3:00, I stopped to get gas and something to eat. When I walked into the restaurant, the sun was out bright and beautiful. When I walked out 15 minutes later, the entire sky was covered in white fluffy clouds. The sun was completely hidden behind them.
It wasn’t until I was leaving the parking lot that I realized I did not need my sunglasses. I saw the clouds. I was stunned. The clouds! They were everywhere! I know the biggest smile came across my face and I smiled the rest of the way home. I thanked and praised God constantly.
God delighted to give me a good gift. This is His nature. I want to pay more attention to His blessings and I want to know His goodness. I want to expect it and I don’t want to take it for granted. Therefore I will pray more often for the things that seem small to me. This will help me see God in what happens so I further dismiss the idea of coincidences. These prayers will grow my faith. God’s answers will allow me to give Him the glory He is due.
Perhaps you’d like to join me this year. Let’s trust God for the big and the small and let Him know we trust Him by our prayers.
We hope you enjoy Dr. Kathy’s annual “Merry Christmas” message. All of us at Celebrate Kids wish you a fabulous, merry Christmas. Celebrate Jesus’ birth well!
A week ago, through this blog, I challenged us to be more like Joseph, the husband of Mary and the earthly father of Jesus. Today I’m posting an encouragement from Tina Hollenbeck. She, too, uses Joseph and Mary to remind us of some valuable things. If you read our free, twice-a-month email newsletter you’re familiar with Tina. She always writes an insightful column for you. That’s why she wrote this initially, but I want more of you to read it so I’m also posting it here. Read it slowly and let her thoughts sink in.
Mary and Regular Joe
Mary was a young teenager when she gave birth to Jesus. Joseph was a bit older, but he was certainly as unprepared as she to raise the child thrust upon him. The angel who initially encouraged each of them announced that the baby would be “the Savior,” so they had a glimpse of how his life would turn out. But, of course, they couldn’t possibly have guessed the painful journey He’d need to take in the process.
Yet they managed, successfully raising Jesus to adulthood in the face of continual gossip about His paternity and despite living in relative poverty. How did they do it?
God didn’t give them the ethereal halos with which they’re so often portrayed in Medieval paintings. They were regular people, aiming to do their best – no doubt stumbling through plenty hard days along the way – without really knowing the “end game” for Jesus or their other children. They relied on the Scriptures available to them at the time, the Holy Spirit with Whom they’d been infused, and supportive friends, family, and community members. They lived by faith that God was with them and would guide them each day, week, month, and year.
Of course, none of our kids is destined to be the Savior of the world – that job’s already been taken! – but the Lord does have a unique, individual plan for each of them nonetheless. And He will guide us step by step, the same as He did Joseph and Mary, as we choose to walk by faith through the parenting process. Though His plan will sometimes differ from our expectations, He always works everything for the ultimate good of those who love Him. He did it for Mary and her “regular Joe” husband; He’ll do it for us, too.
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.
End of Year Gifting
When children know their purpose, it can direct their efforts throughout life. Purpose is an antidote to helplessness and hopelessness. Purpose prevents apathy and inspires passion. It does this because purpose strengthens children’s security, identity, belonging, and competence. Knowing purpose builds lives. It rebuilds lives, too.
A major purpose of Celebrate Kids is to inspire people to find and believe in meaningful purpose. Purpose and life go hand-and-hand. We love helping children and teens discover why they were created and the differences they can make. We do this through programs for them in schools and churches. Also, our seminars and materials for parents, grandparents and church- and school-based teachers help them communicate purpose to their children, grandchildren, and students.
Also, many parents and teachers have told me they make new commitments to prioritizing their children and students after hearing me speak. Truths in my books inspire them in similar ways. Rather than succumbing to legitimate fatigue and rather than giving up when children challenge them, they step into their meaningful purpose. Their lives are rebuilt. All of us at Celebrate Kids are very grateful for these opportunities. We are grateful for our meaningful purpose!
In just a few days, I’ll be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. I hope you will be, too. I celebrate His birth because of His purpose – He came to earth to sacrifice Himself and to save us from our sins. Purpose always matters. Always.
Especially if you agree in the importance of children and teens knowing they were created on purpose, with purpose, for purpose, you can help us continue to fulfill our purpose. The gift of a contribution says “thank you” to us for what we do for you and others.
As a non-profit, for-impact ministry, contributions are an important income stream. Crunching our numbers reveals that on top of earned honoraria for my speaking and the profit from material sales, it costs an additional $2.36 to reach each person. When considering your gift, keep in mind the number of people you would like to impact.
Also, know that we have a matching challenge because of people who understand the needs of families and our ability to meet them. When we receive $10,000, members of our Celebrate Kids family will donate another $10,000! Now would be a great time to say “thank you.” Every gift matters. Just click here.