Growing up in a household without any siblings is one of the most defining parts of my child and personal journey. Oftentimes, children are defined by their ranking in the birth order of their family. The oldest usually ends up being the “type A” overachiever while the middle child is constantly striving to be seen and heard. These generalities sometimes come to fruition and other times couldn’t be more wrong. But what about the only child? If you’re the parent of an only child, there’s no comparisons to be made between children. It’s a unique and special opportunity! As an only child, and also one who ADORED being the one and only, I thought I’d share a few of my observations from my own journey to provide insight on what it means to guide an only child toward Christ.
We have all be in that place of feeling unnoticed, unwanted or maybe even overlooked. We've all also felt what it's like to be welcomed with open arms, wanted and loved. If you have a beating heart, I'm sure you can relate to all of these high and low feelings.
Dave and I have come full circle on the “how should Christian families handle Halloween” debate. As our children grew we processed through several phases: From dressing up and trick-or-treating (reserved acceptance), to participating in the biblically-based ‘Fall Festival’ at church (Christian alternative), to going to friends’ homes for parties (controlled exposure), to skipping the whole thing by taking the kids out to dinner (avoidance), then back to celebrating with family and friends, costumes and trick-or-treating (happy acceptance). We did not know what was the “right” thing to do so we simply did the best we could. Just as the kids were growing in “wisdom and stature,” Dave and I were also growing as disciples. Over the years, our kids changed, the opportunities changed, and our attitudes toward Halloween changed (more than once). What worked for our family when they were toddlers, was different than what worked during elementary, middle school and high school. We started with carefully walking the kids around the cul-de-sac and ended several years later with inviting family and friends over for Frito-chili-pie, then sending all the kids off to trick-or-treat on their own while the parents stayed behind to socialize and answer the door. This year, my 22-year old (who still loves cosplay) is throwing a murder mystery dinner party for her friends.
Most kids hit a phase when their answer to the good ol’ how-was-your-day question is less than, shall we say, informative.
I don’t know about you, but this school year has been ROUGH. It has only been 6 weeks. We have been in and out of distance learning twice already with my two elementary kids, and my preschooler is just been along or the ride. Poor guy, he really has been getting the bottom of the barrel of my attention these past few weeks. Mom guilt 100%. Add in the virtual disappearance of our support systems and babysitters (no pun intended). It takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when that village is in quarantine? This article from our curriculum provider really helped me realize that I am not failing, I am just overwhelmed. And there is grace. Lots and lots of grace for you, for your kids, and for their teachers. You are so loved, not only by your kids, but by the Father who made you. He doesn’t want you to feel like you are failing. https://theparentcue.org/youre-not-failing-youre-just-overwhelmed/
Growing up my mom was the master of our family schedule. Looking back, I have no idea how she balanced four kids’ daily itinerary’s while still finding time to go to the bathroom and do really anything else! We lived in a small mountain town that was around 45 minutes from our daily activities. I have some of the best memories from those car treks in the mountains and the conversations that my mom initiated. At AsburyKids we know that you are doing your best to make the most of your family rhythm and take advantage of those precious minutes with your kiddo. We encourage you to continue to embrace all of the little moments that you can get! I have attached a short video that might have some new tips/encouragement for your car time!
Have you ever had the realization that “oh man, my kid is actually really grasping the things they’re learning in AsburyKids, but where do we go from here?” Well I’m sure a lot of you have, and man do I have the coolest thing for you- Parent Cue! Parent Cue is a fantastic resource to engage your kids beyond Sunday mornings. With it being an app or a website, there is a lot of variety on how you use Parent Cue. Beyond the information available to you about what your kids are learning (including the video our Early Childhood kiddos use), there are many blogs, podcasts, and resources on conversations that will come up as you navigate parenting.
Scientists have studied the human brain and have discovered that we have an opportunity to change our thoughts every 6 seconds! Amazing, right?
I would say that one of the top questions I get asked by parents on a regular basis is “how do I talk to my student about…?” Talking to middle school students sometimes feels like one of the most intimidating things you can do, especially if it is on a hot topic issue. First off, I want to assure you that you are not alone in your struggle to start a conversation with your student. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent and it doesn’t mean that you don’t know your own child. Just as your student is growing and changing, so is your relationship. You both have come so far from your conversations being, “don’t touch that!” or “that wasn’t kind.” Now, there’s bigger issues on the table and way more questions and negotiating to be done. You now have the amazing and joyous opportunity to start having conversations about your student’s faith and personal relationship with Jesus. And they now can actually communicate things back to you in pretty adult ways sometimes! That’s huge! But it’s also really scary. I know many of you will immediately read this and say, “I can’t get my student to talk to me about what they did at school. How am I supposed to talk to them about God?” Stay with me here and let me share with you a few tips I’ve picked up along the way!