Resting and Reconnecting- Parenting and the Sabbath

aylee sand

Happy Easter!

We live in a busy world. Here is a little glimpse into my world: wake up at 6, make breakfast for the 4 kids and myself, get dressed and ready for work, take the kids to school, work all day, come home, cook dinner, help homework, get kids to bed, do my second job teaching online, and then go to bed to start all over again. Of course, there can be other things going on in a day- I might have a parent/teacher conference or coach cheerleading or have a game to go to. But you get the picture. Very busy lives!

We can get so busy as parents, in fact, that we can miss the little moments.

So in our family, we celebrate Sabbath.

What does that mean? We go to church on Sunday and then the rest of the day is for reconnecting and relaxation.

I know you are busy. I am, too! Weekends usually mean grading, lesson planning, and test writing for me. For my kids, it means homework and sports. But we try to get that done by Saturday so that Sunday is our family day.

Oh, and another thing, our family day is rarely at home. This is intentional because I would work myself silly if I stayed home. But if we leave, then it forces me to focus on my family.

We usually go to the park or the beach, since it is free and close to where we live in South Florida. The point is not how much you spend on the outing, it is that you spend time together. We also have done museums or the zoo. We actually have a season pass to a museum and can use that to get free admission to other museums in the country. It is a great way to get to know where we live and explore new things. As you do things together, you feel closer as a family. And as you feel closer, your kids feel more comfortable coming to you with what it on their minds. Many deep conversations have come from our family outings. Find things that your family likes to do- and then just do it!

What if your life is so busy that you don’t have time for something like this? Well, then I would say that you are too busy. We should never, as parents, be too busy to spend time with our own kids. We are responsible for providing for them and training them. They shouldn’t be an after-thought.  Remember, what you put in to your relationship with your kids IS WHAT YOU WILL GET BACK.

And this might be touchy, but might I suggest to churches: stop scheduling stuff on Sundays! Well, a Sunday morning service is OK. But why not encourage families to do stuff together that day? Pastors and staff, why not do something with your kids that day? Why do we feel the need to have small groups and other things going on that day? Why have youth group Sunday evening? Let families have time together.

So, homework for this week- plan something this next weekend. Or whatever day you have with your kids. Maybe it has to be a week day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. But make it special. Focus on your family. Talk. Spend time together with no agenda. (sorry moms, but taking the kids grocery shopping doesn’t count!) If some topic comes up that you don’t feel capable of handling, tell your kid that you will get back to him/her. It is ok if you don’t know everything. Don’t be in a hurry to go do something else. Let your kids see that you enjoy being with them! You are building your relationship with them! One tiny grain of sand at a time.

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Parenting- starting off

Starting off

So here it is- my very first blog post. I suppose I could have decided to write about anything, but the thing that is closest to my heart is parenting. So, even though I am not the perfect parent (who is?), I have decided that I should just go ahead and do it.

Who am I? Fair question. I am Kelly, a wife to a wonderful guy (Daniel) and have 4 kids. Micah (11), twins Jadon and Chaya (9) and Aylee (6). Two boys and two girls- just what I always wanted! Oh, and for a living, I am a high school math teacher.

In my years of teaching high school, I have had lots of parent/teacher conferences and had in my mind what I was NEVER going to do as a parent once I had kids. I’ve been pretty successful with that, since I saw how kids turned out with different parenting styles. I also saw what did work, and tried to align what I did with what works. As I write these posts, please keep in mind that every family is different, so I will try to keep to key principles. Nothing here is meant to offend, just to offer advice. And I welcome your input into the conversation!

Why parenting? I am so type A it isn’t even funny. The first few years after I decided to be a stay-at-home mom for a season were killer. I wanted results. I wanted to feel useful, productive. As much as I loved those sweet babies, there is little to show for from feeding and changing diapers all day. But then that day came, where I saw that little person starting to emerge. My view was forever changed! I am not just feeding and changing diapers- I am shaping a HUMAN BEING! Wow- what a humbling revelation! Everything I do and say will either build them into who they were created to be, or damage them. Have you ever thought about that?!?

So today’s post is about first things. I believe in order to be an effective parent, we need to be in sync with the One who created us. How is your relationship with God? Are you growing closer or farther away? The first thing as a parent or parents, is that we should have a good, growing relationship with God. Maybe you’ve had a relationship with him before. Maybe you went to church in the past and have been hurt. Maybe you are just burnt out. As parents, we do things all the time that require being selfless. I certainly didn’t want to wake  up at 3AM to make another bottle! But I did. Why? My kid needed it! So why try to get closer to God- even if we’ve been hurt? For our kids- they need it! At first it may be hard, but just push through. Start to pray- really pray! What has hurt you? Tell God, He cares! What are you struggling with right now? Pray about anything and everything. I know I feel so much better when I bring things to God.

Some of you have a pretty good walk with God already. Others need healing. Once you are at a place where you feel closer to God, now is the time to start parenting. Do your kids know about God? Is it just because they go to church? Do they hear you pray? One thing my husband and I have been very intentional about, is being transparent and real in our faith. I pray, out loud, over my kids daily. And not just “God is great, God is good, let us thank him for our food” type prayers. Specific prayers. I pray for their walks with God, things they are struggling with, for their future. This shows them, that in our family, we depend on God. We talk to Him as we would our Daddy. He cares about every aspect of our lives. This also teaches our kids how to pray as well. It is so sweet to hear my kids pray for their friends and each other. When mommy has had a bad day, they pray for me! We need to teach our kids to focus on God. If they can learn continual prayer as a young child- what a blessing! I had to learn this once I was a grown up!

You don’t have to be a minister to pray. Prayer is just talking to God. Thank Him for your kid(s). Thank Him for giving you what you need. Pray for what is on your heart. Don’t be afraid to be transparent! One of the biggest mistakes I see parents make, is trying to cover up the fact that you aren’t perfect! They know, trust me!!! Meet them where you are and go to God together. What something amazing to happen in your family? Humble yourself enough to ask forgiveness for something you have done, out loud, with your kids (obviously, use your discretion if you have done something that is not kid-appropriate). They will see another side to you and that can tear down walls. I recommend praying with your kids all the way through school, even in 12th grade! If they want to pray with you in college, go for it! There is something powerful about praying together!

Homework: (I am, after all, a teacher….)

1. Do something that will bring you, as a parent, closer to God. Anything. No matter how far or how close you are, try to get even closer!

2. Start praying with your kids. Today. Start as simple as you need to. And pray “real”. I’ve heard that it takes a few weeks to make something a new habit. So start now and keep at it. Even when you are tired, or feel you have nothing to say. As you do so, it will get easier and it will become a good habit!

Matthew 6:9-13 is the Lord’s Prayer, maybe this can help you get started.

God bless you as you seek to raise your kids!