Do you notice and affirm your child doing good?

Do you hold certain stereotypes of your child?

I do.

I tend to think my boys just cannot organise themselves well, and are generally quite messy.

Just this week, however, one of them proved me wrong.

When scooping out yoghurt for himself and his siblings, he took care not to drip the yoghurt on the table. When he needed to grab another spoon to clean out the yoghurt spoon, he asked for help to hold that spoon. When he came back, he gingerly cleaned out the yoghurt spoon.

When I saw the amount of care he put into this simple action, I was surprised. And I said, “Wow, JJ, I like how you scooped the yoghurt so carefully and cleanly.”

This is one of the first few times I have used those adjectives on him. He was probably surprised too.

It taught me not to hold on to my stereotypes of him so tightly. Because every person has the potential to transcend the limits we place on them in our minds.

It also taught me to open my heart to see and behold the good.

Our children are capable of growth; they are capable of doing great things, if only we will let them out of the box we have placed them in in our minds.

notice the good in your child2

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Phil 4:8

Be faithful in the little things

I asked God to give me a focus for the year, for both family and work.

The phrase “be faithful in the little things” popped into mind and lingered.

Everywhere around us, most people are rushing to achieve the bigger and the better. There’s nothing wrong with having big dreams and ambitions, but don’t overlook the small, daily habits that may help us live a more meaningful life in the long run.

So I thought about the specific ways I want to be faithful in the small.

  • Training the kids to say their please and thank you’s.
  • Teaching them to say grace before meals.
  • Teaching them to show appreciation to those who serve and help us.
  • Giving them opportunities to give to others.
  • Training them to do little chores around the house (they already help out but we need to be more regular and consistent.)
  • Teaching them to consume less and make the most of what we already have.

For myself too…

  • To be thankful for even the smallest projects or jobs I secure, and to do them wholeheartedly.
  • To say “thank you” and “I love you” often to my spouse
  • To start a weekly devotional time with my fast-growing tween
  • To keep the Sabbath a day of rest (and a gadget/social-media-free day)
  • To marvel at God’s tender love and mercies that show up in mundane everyday things, in the coffee I drink, the air I breathe, and the clothes I wear.

be faithful in little things

What are the things you’d like to be faithful in this year?

“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” – Luke 16:10

Love never fails

Vera surprised me one evening with this drawing of the hubby and I. It had a bold caption: Love never fails.

There were flowers in a vase on a table. A big cross stood out in the middle of the table.

It reminded me of this verse in 1 Corinthians.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I asked Vera why she chose to draw the cross. She said it means that Jesus is in the house.

I then asked why she chose to write the words “Love never fails.” She said it was papa who gave her the idea. She originally had in mind some other words to write, but she thought daddy’s idea sounded better.

I was glad for this gentle reminder to keep God in the heart of all things, including our humble home.

As for everything else, Love never fails. His love, that is. Our human love may wane or fade or grow cold over time and trials. But His love never does.

Love_never_fails

 

 

Accepting my child for who he is

2015 has gotten off to a rocky start.

JJ had some behavioural issues at the turn of the new year, and we’ve started seeing an OT to find out how to help him. The basic issue seems to be that he has low muscle tone and correspondingly higher levels of anxiety. He is also frequently temperamental.

What does muscles have to do with behaviour? I was told that he compensates for the lack of control by being more controlling over others and over himself (by engaging in some repetitive behaviour like strapping and unstrapping his Velcro shoes.)

Since we received that piece of information, it was like a missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle. A lamp was finally lit in this dark room. With that, we’ve also grown more aware as to how to help ease him through his daily routine tasks. Mainly, we’ve stopped getting frustrated and/or yelling at him to hurry up. As tiresome as it may be, we try to give him greater allowance and breathing space to finish his tasks the way he wants to. (According to the OT, if we rush him or try to intervene in his tasks, we may exacerbate the problem and his mind never leaves the task because he didn’t finish it properly.)

I was taught simple mat exercises to help him with spinal alignment and strengthening. I was also encouraged not to keep to a strict schedule, and to give ourselves greater time allowance to get out of the door. This has helped to minimise the stress for everyone.

I can’t help but ask myself if we’ve done something in the past to have contributed to his challenging behaviour right now. Perhaps I’ve been too controlling over time. Perhaps I haven’t let loose enough, or let him play enough. Perhaps we have placed too much pressure on him to perform. Perhaps we have been too strict in our discipline.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I confess, the doubts and guilt are hard to shake off.

But I try to shift my focus from myself to helping him. It is an uphill climb, both emotionally and mentally, so we will need all the energy and grace to see us through. I’m reminded that when things seem out of control, He is in control. He has a purpose for this season. And I pray He will let us see the light of day.

So…I am learning to accept my little boy for who he is, God-created and God-designed. Not for who I hope he will be someday.

Whatever difficulties you may be having with your child, I pray that you will also find strength and encouragement in God, and be able to love and enjoy your child for the special little person that he is.

God has a story to unfold in his life, and a good plan for him. And we as mums and dads are privileged to be a part of this learning journey.

acceptance_child

On what Advent really means

What is the significance of Advent?

To be honest, even after some 15-odd years of Christian-hood, I’ve never thought much about the season of Advent. Until we moved to an Anglican church, we barely knew about its existence! (The Anglicans are known to hold some traditions dearly, and Advent is one such big tradition.)

According to Google, Advent is:

  1. the arrival of a notable person or thing.
  2. the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.

A notable person – that would be Jesus…

My church bulletin reads, “Advent has been observed for centuries as a time to contemplate the birth of Jesus. Kicking off the Christian year, it is a time for us to go back and enter again into that point in history before the first Christmas, to reflect on the first coming of the Messiah, Saviour, and King.”

Reflect. Contemplate. Prepare.

I don’t know about you, but amidst the humdrum of activities, shopping, parties, and general feasting, I often forget. I prepare the house, the tree, the food, the presents. But somewhere along the way, Jesus gets left behind. My heart gets left behind.

So…

nativityIn order to help myself remember Jesus and the message of love and hope He brings, I’ve thought of some simple things we can do as a family:

  1. Ask God for a fresh vision and appreciation of the nativity story
  2. Think about ways to respond to Him in light of His love
  3. Think about ways to show appreciation to those who have invested in your life
  4. Talk to your kids about why and how you are planning to show gratitude to these special people
  5. Count your blessings
  6. Think about those from whom you may need to seek forgiveness, or a relationship that may need mending. Call that person or write a little note if that’s easier for you.

 

** For more ideas on how to make Christmas more meaningful, do read A Juggling Mom’s post on random acts of kindness.

For a DIY Advent Calendar with craft ideas + simple bible verses that you can follow, hop over to Growing with the Tans!

For hand painted Christmas canvases that links the alphabet with Christmas themes, head over to Growing Hearts 123.

I hope you have a good time remembering the reason behind this season with your loved ones!

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