Parenting – Teaching Your Children to Use Their Gifts

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Our oldest is just amazing.  I know I’m his mom and so of course I’m biased… but oh my gosh, God has blessed him with many talents and gifts!  He’s kind… he’s gentle… he’s a strong leader and he’s only 7 years old!!!!!  Watching him is so inspiring to me to be a better mom – to be the mom he truly deserves in life (and yes, I feel like I fail constantly)!  We all deal with some amount of “Mom Guilt.”

Anyway… his school was having a city-wide art competition, and right away I was like, “You have to do this.”  He doesn’t believe in himself, just like I was growing up and still have issues with at times.  But his raw talent and gifts can’t just be shut up inside him and never used or developed!

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This is something I wish I had learned earlier in life myself – that my gifts, whatever they were, were supposed to be used and practiced and developed and strengthened!  It’s nice to have people loyally on your side, watching you with a gracious intent, gently encouraging you to use your gifts, but usually none of us really have people like that around, so we develop self-consciousnesses or neurotic beliefs that we’re always wrong or not very good.

And I see them reflected in my son.  His self-doubt, his belief that he’s actually NOT a good artist, or that he’s not funny, and not that smart (when he makes All A’s and B’s and excels in things like math!!).  It’s weird to me how we can have such a distorted view of ourselves when in reality, we are given so much more than we see.  This is what I imagine Paul was referring to when he was encouraging Timothy to not let anyone look down on him because he was young, but to set an example for other believers and to USE his gifts, and practice them and develop them.

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Practice.

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Develop

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It took him 3 days doing it a few hours at a time, and I had to keep reminding him that he probably wanted to work on it or it wouldn’t be finished in time for the contest, and he did want to finish it.  The more he painted, the more he enjoyed it, too!  As he and our other children grow older, I’m not going to be harping on them as much so that they can learn that if they don’t hustle and do their work on time – or be consistent in it – they will miss MANY opportunities in life and some that they won’t get a second chance at.

 

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But for now, I’m like the woman Jesus talked about who kept pestering a man to do what she wanted 😀  I will encourage him, remind him, love him, prod him, and “train him up in the way he should go,” according to his gifts I’ve seen God has given to him.

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His art teacher came up to me with excitement yesterday when I picked him up from school, and told me with wide eyes that he had placed in the competition… out of THOUSANDS of other kids who entered all over our city!  He won his school somewhere between $1,000-3,000 in art supplies!!!  Of course we were so proud of him!!!

And I asked him in the car when we were driving back home, if he was glad that I pushed him to enter… because he never would have known if he could win if he hadn’t even tried.

I explained to him again that when God gives us special gifts like that, He expects us to USE them for Him, and that others are BLESSED through our gifts – but only if we have enough confidence in ourselves to decide to step out in faith act.  We are also blessed when we bless others!  As he found out when he won that much money for his art teacher!  It’s a blessing to be able to bless other people!

He’s heard about the parable of the talents, but it will probably be a deeper lesson saved for when he is a little older – that if we don’t use our gifts, that God may decide to take them away.  I know it sounds harsh, but we are stewards of the things God has given us, and that includes our giftings and talents.

May we all learn to be more confident in the gifts God has given us, and to use them, practice them, develop and strengthen them for His glory.

Stephanie

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My Amazing Husband & His Boys

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Snapped this photo when we went downtown to see my husband working our annual city party called, “FIESTA!!”

My husband is an incredible hero.

It’s not just because he wears the badge, although the courage and bravery there are not to be discounted.

It’s his strength, heart, and mind that make him go above and beyond in teaching our sons how to actually be men.

Real men.

The kind that fight for goodness and against evil in our society.

The kind that are God’s warriors and ministers – both at the same exact time.

Words can hardly even describe the intensity with which I love this man so much.

patrickboys

 

My Son & Volcanoes

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My adorable, crazy & full of life and laughter son, LOVES volcanoes.  He has been pretty obsessed with them all summer – making them out of the sand when we went swimming, out of the bubbles in the bath, and even out of toys he sees simulate the explosion that happens in an eruption.  So since we do science experiments together (he absolutely LOVES science), I thought a perfect experiment would be the classic baking soda & vinegar volcano.

We used in total, 3 glasses of vinegar, dyed with red food coloring, about 1 cup of baking soda, and an empty soda bottle.

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We then took it outside to create the volcano out of real dirt and mud – placing the bottle (baking soda inside) at the center of the volcano… it was dirty and icky and so much fun for him!

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I also talked with him about the acid -base reaction and why it would explode, bubble, and fizz… its important to make things fun when you can – and showing your child how something works and letting them experience it for themselves is the greatest gift we as parents can give them to grow their curiosity!

 

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All throughout the experiment, even when he was just funneling the baking soda into the bottle, he kept telling me how much fun this was …

Learning + Fun = SUCCESS!!!!

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I didn’t get any pictures of the eruption, but it was awesome!  And since we did it 3 times (3 glasses of vinegar), the third eruption went the highest – actually SHOOTING out – while we laughed and screamed.  🙂

 

When Mothers Emasculate Their Sons

When you have a child you want to be the perfect parent to them; my son is going to turn 4 years old in June, and it has been so crazy, beautiful, and wonderful all at the same time.  But there are times when I wish I really knew what I was doing – sure you can ask parents, friends, and mentors and get wonderful ideas and advice from different perspectives, but when it comes down to it, you never really know if you’re completely doing everything right.

I think if I had to pick the biggest mistake that a mother could make with her son (and my biggest fear), it would be this emasculation process.  What exactly is emasculation of your son anyway?  Reading Wild at Heart by John Eldredge years ago really opened my eyes to what it’s like to live in a man’s world – his problems, fears, passions, and how things in childhood can really affect his masculinity later on.

Emasculation, as this book explains through it’s examples, is a mother’s not allowing her boys to make the transition from her sweet, adoring baby to a male that wants to be adventurous, wild, and even dangerous.  Not allowing him to learn to shoot a gun when he’s old enough, not allowing him to be with his dad if you’re divorced, or go on hunting trips, fishing trips, camping trips… these things are invaluable to boys and often remembered in their adulthood.

Overprotecting your son (and even your daughter) is just not good.  It gives them the message, “We don’t think you can handle this, so we’re stopping you from even trying it.”  It lets them know that you don’t have confidence in them.  You give them a confidence complex because they constantly feel that you don’t believe in them in the deepest way.

Boys especially, need that affirmation that they really can handle it.  Men have it hard in life, they are always expected by society to be able to handle anything – and this isn’t just our modern society, all throughout history men have been expected to be able to handle life as the sole provider, the frustrations of working to support ridiculously large families, and the brutality and horror of war.  If a boy is expected to be happy later in life, he needs to feel that he can handle it, he needs to know his mother believes in him.

Dads play a special role in this process as you can imagine… they are the idol to a boy.  It’s strange though, that nearly every man I’ve met has had a difficult relationship with his father (including my own brother which can show you how different siblings can even be treated).  The different ways in which dads fail to establish a good relationship with their sons is a different post altogether, but rest assured that dads have the responsibility of bestowing masculinity on their sons – as a mom, I just can’t do it.

“Femininity can’t bestow Masculinity”

 

Even right now this morning as I write, my son has drawn on tattoos of crosses on his legs with his dark blue marker!  His response when I act a little shocked: Well, I like tattoos because I’m a BOY… like Daddy.

Point taken.