Character Development: Let His Light Shine

“They won’t let me play.”

“She said I can’t be a mermaid too.”

“I had it first.”

These are examples of the great conversations that we have around here.  It can get tiring.  Being a referee is draining.  So, how can we turn that around?  Well, we can’t totally win that battle.  However, hopefully we can praise more than we correct.  We are working on it around here.

For me, one of the greatest privileges and biggest responsibilities of parenting is encouraging my children’s character to shine for Christ.  While we certainly have not perfected this in ourselves or our children, we do want to encourage it.  This world is a hard, hard place.  It takes about two minutes of life to realize that we are battling all sorts of external influences.  We feel that the more that we can do to help direct their actions, the better.

Character development, one buck at a time...One of the things that we have done at our house is what we call “Bulb Bucks.”  When we catch our girls doing something that is symbolic of letting their light shine for Christ, we award them one.  This could be a kind word to a sibling, giving encouragement to a friend or family member, being extra helpful without being asked and a host of other things.  While these are some of the things that we also expect, we feel that pointing them out and rewarding them helps to solidify that they are important parts of good character.

When our girls have accumulated five bulb bucks, they can visit our treasure chest and trade them in for a prize.  I have filled this with a collection of mostly dollar store finds that appeal to the girls’ interests.

My husband made a cute printable for the bucks that we hand out.  I have included it here.  Feel free to print away.

Sometimes I am Henny Penny

My girls were watching Garfield this afternoon and a remixed story of Henny Penny (a.k.a. the sky is falling) was included.  I asked the girls if they had heard the story.  They all had and we talked about it for a few minutes.  Such a simple story caused me to pause to think about my reactions to life’s situations.

Withing five minutes of that thought, my son left quickly to head to a meeting at school. I was asking him something as he was leaving but he obviously didn’t hear me and headed out.  I immediately started calling him but can’t get him to answer the phone or the texts.   Within ten minutes, my stress level went from 0 to 100.  I have imagined the worst possible scenarios.  I called my husband so that he could pay attention on the route home.

I didn’t sleep well last night.  My other son is scuba diving this week.  It is his first scuba diving trip.  He took lessons.  He has a very level head and I have no reason to believe that he would take any unnecessary risks.  Did that keep me from googling scuba diving dangers at 2 a.m.?  No, it did not.

My daughter has a cold and a sore throat.  I saw such sad news about a thirteen year old girl in a neighboring state that died of the flu last week.  I felt my daughter’s cheeks no less than 10 times during the night last night to make sure that she did not have a fever.

So, as I sit here tired and anxious…..I realize that I am a lot like Henny Penny.  I instantly begin to worry and allow any small disturbance to cause great distress in my life.  I once heard a fellow Christian say that worry is temporary atheism.  Ouch!

Do I trust God?  Do I trust that His ways are perfect?  Do I believe that He is for me?  Do I pray as much as I google?  Do I pray as much as I worry?

These are all questions that I need to address within myself as I struggle to turn all of my concerns into prayers.

 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

And as I finish writing this post, my son answered.  His phone had been turned off.


How To Help A Friend Who Won’t Ask

I am that friend.  I love to do for others but I do not like to ask for help….even if I need it.  It isn’t because I’m too proud to ask for it.  I simply don’t want to burden or impose on others.

Here’s the problem with that:  When I turn away help, I take the blessing of being a helper away from others.

So, here are some ways that you and I can help others who are like me and resist the help even when they need it.

  1.  Pray for them and let them know it!  Send a message by email, text, snail mail.  Let them know that they are on your mind, in your heart, and in your prayers.  Everyone likes to get well wishes and the power of prayer is amazing.  Surround them with positive thoughts and encouragement.
  2. Take them a meal.   On Friday, I had a small procedure done on my leg.  This was going to keep me off of my leg for a while.  My friend, Jessica, knows me as well as I know myself.  She texted “I’m bringing chicken casserole tomorrow night.”  I texted back, “No, you’re not. It’s ok.  Everything is taken care of.”  Well……the chicken casserole and blackberry pie were so helpful (and delicious) last night.  I had forgotten that Henry had multiple errands with the girls and wasn’t going to be home most of the afternoon.  It was so helpful to have a meal ready in the oven.  If they are going to need meal help for a longer period, set up an account on a site such as take them a meal and take the worry of meal preparation away for a while.  It will be such a blessing to all involved.
  3. Offer to do their errands.  Take their kids to school and pick them up.  Drop off dry cleaning.  Pick up mail.  Go to the grocery store to pick up the essentials for them.  Do any small or big thing that they could normally do but temporarily can’t.
  4. Last but not least, if you have already said that you are going to do something, don’t ask again if it is okay. The person like me will say “Oh, that’s ok.  Don’t worry about it.”  Do it!  Of course this would depend on your level of friendship.  While you certainly want to honor their wishes and not become rude or overbearing, you might be able to press through and convince them that you are going to help them because you care for them and know that they need it.

Again, this is simply for my personality and all of these things depend on your level of friendship.  I know that there are others like me out there.  We are better at giving than receiving.  Please know that we still appreciate you!