Tag Archives: kids

Put Your Kids To Bed; Don’t Send Them To Bed

A a newborn, most parents naturally keep their child very close by and never out of sight. When it comes time for the child to go to sleep, often times they will sleep in the bed with mommy and daddy or at least in the same room. They can’t even walk yet, so parents are forced to “put” them to bed, not “send” them to bed.

As they get to the toddler stage they start sleeping in their own room, but we still rock them to sleep, then lay them down in their bed and tuck the covers around them. A kiss on the cheek is almost never left out.

As they get into the elementary school years they are still very lovable and cute. At bed time we may send them to change and brush their teeth, but are very close behind to help them to bed, tuck them in, say a prayer and kiss them on the cheek or forehead as we say good night.

As they enter the teen years, the child begins to want to separate from mom and dad a bit and may shy away from being tucked in the bed and kissed goodnight. They are naturally growing and maturing into a young adult. It is at this stage that mom and dad tend to get away from putting their child to bed and start to just send them to bed.

I encourage you today, no matter the age, to always put your child to bed; don’t just send them to bed. I am talking to myself as a write this because I have 3 kids that are 10, 14 and 15. As they get older its ok to tell them to go get ready for bed, but always follow up on them and be there to make sure they actually get in the bed. Pray with them, tell them you love them and wish them a good night.

Put your kids to bed, don’t send them to bed.
A simple, yet important message, that should have a long lasting positive impact for both you and your child.

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She Cooks, We Clean

I know that I can be simple minded sometimes and this one seems fundamental, but I thought I would put it out there anyhow. If the mother of the household cooks then dad and the kids should clean up, right? Something seems wrong if everyone scatters to do their own thing when dinner is over except for mom. Something is definitely not right if the kids scatter when dinner is over and leave dad and mom to clean up.

There are many benefits of eating dinner together as a family every day.
One of them is an excellent opportunity to teach your kids the importance of working together to help get the dining area and kitchen cleaned up afterwards.

In our house, a fringe benefit of having 3 boys that are old enough to work is that the duties can be spread out amongst each of us.
One is responsible for cleaning the table and sweeping the floor; another is responsible for cleaning the dishes; another helps put food away and I clean off the counters and stove.

If your kids are still young, they can at least carry their own plate or cup to the sink. Naturally, as they get older, then they can do more.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

If it is just you and your wife, if you only have one child or if you are a single mom, the same principle applies. Mom should not have to do it all. The work load should be shared amongst everyone in the house.

If you are already practicing this in your home, then you are probably living in a happy home; cause when momma is happy, everyone is happy.

If your household might need a little work, then the following is how I would go about getting the ship turned in the right direction.

1. First, have dinner together.
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t typically eat at a dinner table together then it’s harder for the kids to form the habits you might be looking for.

2. Talk about it.
Don’t just start hollering and giving marching orders. Make it the topic of the next dinner conversation. Discuss why it is important for everyone to pitch in and help. State what you need help with and then give everyone the option of choosing which one they would like to do.

3. Have the same person do the same task every time.
If no one knows what the other is doing, then something will get left undone or there will just be plain chaos. We are creatures of habit.
The challenging part of this though is trying to prevent your kids from thinking only about theirselves and their own job and not wanting to cross the line and help someone else out when needed.

Good luck and happy cleaning!
If you have any comments or suggestions please share.


What Is The Gold Standard for Raising Children? (Part 2)

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In the book, The Noticer Returns, by Andy Andrews, Jones is leading a parenting class. He asks those in the class three questions.

1) “As parents, do you believe that you are doing the very best you can?”
2) “If society’s best parents—the most loving, the most determined, the most concerned parents—are all raising their children by setting their sights on a target called ‘doing the best we can,’ is anyone aiming at the same thing?”
3) “What do today’s parents agree is the gold standard for raising children?”

In response to the first question, most truly loving and caring parents would say that, of course, they are doing the best that they can and then may even respond with their own question, “What’s wrong with that?”
There is nothing wrong with doing the best that you can, but is that good enough? If everyone is truly doing the best that they can, then what is it that everyone is “doing”? Are we all doing the same thing or is everyone just raising their kids how they see fit.
Is there one standard by which everyone parents?

Here is an excerpt from the book that tells us how Jones answers this question…

Suddenly the old man was animated. He rose from the chair and passionately declared the conclusion to which he had come. “You see, my friends,” he said, “by not addressing the issue of an accepted standard, today’s parents have defaulted into an uncomfortable agreement with each other. They have agreed that there will not be a standard for raising our children.
“One set of parents teaches their daughter to say ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘no sir.’ Another couple contends that standard of behavior to be a matter of opinion.”
“One parent demands her boys dress in trousers that are belted at the waist. Her boys must wear their ball caps with the bill pointed to the front, and those caps are to be removed, with no exceptions, when indoors. That parent’s next-door neighbor, on the other hand, might have entirely different rules about what clothes her children are allowed to wear and how they are allowed to wear them. Meanwhile, society lives with increasingly discouraging results.”
Kelli spoke. “So you are saying there are no standards?”
“Quite the contrary,” Jones replied. “I am saying that there are many different standards. That is essentially why there is a vast array of parenting books published every year, each touting new methods or different ways to measure a child’s success. There are scores of classes—most larger than this one—all being taught by a countless number of people who claim to be experts in the field of parenting.”

Jones goes on in the book with an analogy of planting a fruit tree and raising it. Most trees that you go buy at the store come with instructions on how to plant and care for that tree in order for it to produce good fruit. If you follow those instructions your chances of growing a tree that produces good fruit are much better than if you just stick it in the ground and ignore it.
Those instructions are the standard by which many people came together and agreed would be the best way to raise a fruit tree and get good results.

As parents, we have been given an enormous challenge in raising our kids because when they were born they did not come with an instruction manual. There are many books and lots of different opinions out there, but society has not yet came to an agreement on a single standard by which everyone should raise their children.

About the only standard that I can think of that civilized society has come up with is that parents should send their kids to school for 13 years.

Is that good enough?
Does there need to be a standard for raising children?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

This topic has struck a chord in me and I plan to write more about this in the coming weeks. As parents, the future is in our hands and it all starts with how we raise our kids.

Excerpts From: Andrews, Andy. “The Noticer Returns.” Thomas Nelson, 2013-07-01. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewBook?id=619416934


10 Keys to Successful Parenting

Looking back over 15 years of parenting so far, the following is a list of decisions that we have made concerning our kids that we believe has had the biggest impact.

Here is the quick list and below are explanations of why I believe that each are important.

1) Believe and trust in God
2) Pray together
3) Go to church (consistently)
4) Eat dinner together
5) Be there for them
6) Take lots of pictures and videos
7) Educate yourself
8) Sports and Music
9) Stay together
10) Have fun and make memories

1) Believe and trust in God
God must be number one in our lives and we must show our kids that we believe such. That is why the first 3 keys to successful parenting deal with your faith and belief in one who is higher than us all.

2) Pray together
A great way to teach your kids the importance of God in our lives is to spend time daily with them in prayer. Pray with them before they head off to school. Pray together at dinner. A simple bedtime prayer together is also a great habit to get into with your kids. Becky and I have prayed with each of our kids at bedtime since they were babies. They look forward to bedtime prayer and if you try to skip, they’ll remind you. There is something about praying before bed that gives you and the kids peace of mind to close your eyes and sleep soundly.

3) Go to church (consistently)
Find a good church and then take them consistently. Don’t skip church for ball games or days out on the lake. Schedule events around church, not church around your events. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

4) Eat dinner together
Dinner time is a great time to bond as a family. At our home everyone is involved in the whole dinner process, from setting the table up to cleaning up afterward. Eating together should be a daily tradition that is not skipped. Turn the TV off, set the phones and other electronics to the side and enjoy some quality time together.

5) Be there for them
If at all possible, one of you should stay at home with the kids. When our first child one born, we decided that being at home with the kids was more important than making extra money, especially during the first 5 years of their life. Once they were all in school, Becky went back to work, but has always worked a job that was flexible enough to allow her to be there for the kids when they returned home from school. Your must be there for your kids.

6) Take lot of pictures and videos
Kids grow up fast and along with growing up comes change in how they look. Enjoy the moment, but also take lots of pictures and videos. Both you and the kids will love being able to look back, when they are older, and cherish the moments that you had together.

7) Educate yourself
We all spend about 13 to 17 years of our lives going to school and learning just about everything you will need in life, except how to raise children. Kids don’t come with instruction manuals, so it is necessary to educate yourself in some way about how to raise kids. Read books, talk to and learn from others that have been there already, pray, read the Bible. We have learned a ton from reading books about kids and how to raise them. As they get into the teenage years you will find yourself searching for even more than when they were younger.

8) Get them involved in sports and music
There are many benefits of getting your child involved in a team sport. They learn how to interact with others, how to work together as a team, how to control their emotions, develop motor skills and much more.
Every child should be given the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. I can’t tell you how many times that I have heard someone say, “I wish that my parents would have made me learn…”. If your child learns how play an instrument, that is something that they can keep the rest of their lives. It’s not easy making them practice every day, but in the end both you and they will be glad for it.

9) Stay together
Your marriage will be tested many times throughout the parenting years. There will be times when you feel like giving up, but don’t.
Diamonds are formed under pressure. If you can stick it out to the end, both you and your kids will be better for it. I am very thankful for my wife. There are many days, when I think about all that she does for us. How I could do it without her, I have no idea. And vise versa. Husband and wife must compliment each other and work together to make the family run. I feel for all the single parents out there and their kids. They have to be under a huge load that I cannot understand.

10) Have fun and make memories
Amongst all the hustle and bustle of life, take some occasional “time-outs”, put life on pause for a moment and enjoy some time together. Play a board game, cards, roll around on the floor with your toddlers, and get away when you can.
One thing that my wife had to teach me concerning vacations was that it is all about making memories. Often times I would get all caught up in how much it is was costing. Gas, hotel, tickets and other things have a price, but memories are priceless. When you spend time together, either at home or on a trip somewhere, focus on having fun and making memories.

Thank you for taking a moment your time to read this. If you feel that it was helpful to you and believe that it could benefit others, please share.
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God bless you.


Turn Off the Internet

Are your kids browsing the internet when they should be going to sleep?
Are they struggling to get their chores done because of the distractions of electronics?
In 2014, most everyone, including kids have their own personal device that can access the internet through Wi-Fi.
It could be a phone, iPod touch, tablet, laptop, desktop PC, XBox, and now even TVs.
This easy internet access makes it increasingly more difficult to control how much time the kids spend on it.
Television is no longer our only concern.

The solution that we have come up with for our home is very simple; we just turn the internet off.
How do you turn the internet off?
Simply pull out the cord that powers the Internet modem and wallah…no internet!
Every week night, at about 9:30, we pull the plug on the internet, say a prayer together and get to bed.

We’ll even pull the plug in the morning or in the middle of the day, if necessary.
If we find the kids staring at a screen instead of doing their homework or chores you can get their attention real fast by simply pulling the plug on the internet.
If they want it back… they will get done whatever it is that they need to do.
Try it one day! It’s kind of a rush to know that you have power over the mighty Internet! (At least, in your home)

Now, there still may be times when simply pulling the plug may not be enough, especially if your kids have their own internet enabled phone. In this case, you can have them turn their phone in to you.

You can limit the use of the internet with anti-virus software as well, but we still find it to be easier to just pull the plug.

If you have other ideas for controlling the internet in your home I would love to hear from you.
Let me know how it goes, if you try pulling the plug.


How To Wake Your Kids Up In The Morning

As parents, we set the tone for the whole day, good or bad, starting with how we wake our kids up.
It is never easy getting kids up in the mornings, especially on school days, if you hope to do it without making them grumpy in the process.
At the end of this article I share a method for waking my kids up that Becky and I have found to be most effective, but first I want to share with you what I have learned NOT to do.

Do not SING
This one was doomed to work from the start because I am a horrible singer.
And to make things worse, my choice of songs were not always the best, like…

“Get up, Get up, get busy, busy…Get up and move that body! Get up, get up get busy, now the night is over”
“Rise and shine, and give God the glory , glory”, clapping my hands loudly as I sing of course.
“It’s time to get up, it’s time to get up, its Monday morrrrrrrrrrrrrning”. I think I made this one up myself.

For some reason, when I sang, they just pulled the covers over their heads and screamed “STOP!”
Stay away from singing.

Do not YELL
Yelling is typically not intentional, but on occasion it has been what I thought was the only way to get their attention.
Normally, it’s because we’re running behind, got up late or we thought the kids were up, only to find out 10 minutes before it’s time to go that they never got up in the first place. Now everyone is in a frantic rush and it’s next to impossible to have a good start to the day with this scenario.
Yelling doesn’t put anyone in a good mood.

Do not TURN ON THE LIGHTS
I’ve tried this a few times and although it does wake them up, they instantly pull the covers over their head and just scream.
This doesn’t seem to get them in the best of moods either for some reason. Let them turn their own lights on.

Do not BLARE MUSIC in their ears
Somehow, I really thought that this method would be fun. Who doesn’t like music right?
I even went as far as to download a song on my phone just for the purpose of waking them up.
You know the song from the movie Madagascar….”I like to move it move it”?
Who doesn’t like that song? It was the perfect song to get up to, so I thought.
WRONG! For some reason hearing this song blaring in your ear first thing in the morning is not how my kids like to be woke up.
I have to admit, that I thought it was kind of fun at first, but it didn’t last long once I realized that they were not enjoying it as much as I did.
Maybe a softer, more gentle, song choice would have been wiser.

After all this experimenting, there is one method that we have settled on and determined to work the best.

How to wake them up in a good mood…

  1. First, wake yourself up 15 to 30 minutes earlier than normal. You want to be up and ready ahead of the kids so that you can put your full focus into them. If you get up late yourself then you almost have to revert to the “Yelling” or “Turn the Lights On” method and that is never, ever fun.
  2. About 15 minutes prior to the time that you really need the kids to get up, turn a light on that is near their room, but not the one in their room. The hallway, bathroom or closet light should work. Go into their rooms, gently touch them on the shoulder and, with the softest voice that you have, simply say, “Good Morning”. They should at least shuffle under the covers a little or turn over.
  3. Now just walk away. They will not get up yet, but that’s ok. This is Stage 1 and the point is just to get them stirring.
  4. Now, go spend some time packing their lunches or getting breakfast going.
  5. Stage 2: Come back to them after about 15 minutes. This time speak to them in a normal voice, letting them know that it is time to get up. Stick around until you see them actually get out of the bed. Don’t say anything else, just stand there for a minute. Most of the time they will sense that you are there and know you mean business. Don’t let them drag things out; give them a minute at the most. If you walk away without seeing them out of bed and moving, you could come back later only to find that they have fallen back to sleep. Then you have to revert to yelling and the whole day gets off track.

This method may not work to perfection at first, but if you do it every day they will eventually get used to the routine.  You may even be pleasantly surprised on occasion and find them already up before you make it back for the second wake up call.

Think about how you woke your kids up when they were a newborn and simply continue to treat them the same as they get older.

Determine in your minds today that every day will be a good day and it all starts with me.
Make it your purpose to start the day off right, by waking the kids up gently and in a good mood.

I would love to hear from you.
How has your experience been in waking your kids up? Good or bad?
Do you have another method that seems to work well?


Parenting 2014: Our Story

Our parenting journey began with the birth of Collin in October 1998. Becky and I were still young at the time, in our lower 20s. Both of our careers were still developing, but we decided that it would be best if she quit her job to stay at home with the kids. Those early years don’t last long and they are so critical in a childs’ development.

Connor was born 15 months after Collin and then Colton about 3.5 years after him. That allowed Becky 8 or 9 years to be at home with the kids before they were all in school. She continued her education while she was at home though and became an RN so that she would have something to do when the kids reached school age. We do not regret the decision for her to be at home with the kids one bit. Our kids received a lot of one on one time and that has helped them tremendously in more ways than we probably know of.

During their early years Becky and I read to them a lot and just simply spent time playing with them. I remember being on the floor a lot, letting them roll me around like a log. Blue Clues, Dora and the Wiggles were popular then as well. Collin learned to write by mimicking Steve and his Handy Dandy Notebook with a Magna Doodle that we had bought him and still to this day, I find myself singing songs like “Big Red Car” and “Fruit Salad, Yummy, Yummy”. Dora was a step ahead of Dave Ramsey, by saying, “Swiper, No swiping.” We took lots of pictures and videos and had a blast while they were young.

As the kids grew older we started them off in T-ball for a couple of years and dabbled in gymnastics, but one day Collin came home from school with a martial arts book and expressed interest in trying that out. We researched a couple options and decided to go with TKD (Tae Down Do). After Collin started, Connor got in it, then Colton and I joined. Martial arts became a family thing that we did together for about 6 or 7 years. It was a large commitment, because we were at the school for several days a week, but we all eventually met our goal and became black belts. Collin and Connor even earned their second degree.

During this time we also were introduced to a ministry called Bible Quizzing at our church and have since committed our lives to that. Bible Quizzing is a program that is meant to give kids motivation, through competition, for learning scriptures from the Bible, but we are not just talking a few scriptures. Our kids learned 300 to 500 verses each year depending on the age division they are in. We spend an hour or so each evening memorizing and reviewing scriptures together. They must know them to the point that given a unique word they can tell you what verse that word is found in and then quote the scripture word for word. I take them and other quizzers to local and national tournaments to quiz against other teams on what they have learned. Bible quizzing has changed our lives forever. If you are interested in learning more about it check out http://www.seniorbiblequizzing.com or http://www.upcquiz.com.

Even with Bible Quizzing as our main focus, the kids still love to do things many other kids do. Connor made the middle school basketball team this year and Colton plays Upward basketball, a christian based basketball league sponsored by a local church.
Collin started piano when he was 10 and has excelled at that. He performs multiple recitals each year and has joined the music ministry at the church, playing for the youth services as well as subbing in when needed for the main services. Collin has also become infatuated with the Rubix cube. He has spent countless hours mastering it to the point that he can now solve it in under 20 seconds average, with his best time so far being 12 seconds. Connor and Colton have recently began music lessons as well. One is learning guitar and the other drums. I play the bass, so my dream is that one day we can all play together as a family band.

I share all of this with you so that as I write on parenting in 2014 you will know that we are just a typical American family, but we are also rooted and grounded in our christian faith. We love God and we love family and our main goal as parents is to make those things the foundation upon which our kids are raised.

I look forward to writing on parenting this year. As we get deeper into the teenage years, I am realizing that we have a lot of learning to do if we are to stay on top of things and help our kids become what God has intended for them to be.

May God bless you in 2014


Parenting in 2014

This year I plan to focus my writing for this blog on parenting.

God has blessed Becky and I with 3 boys. At this moment 2 of them are teenagers and one of them will be there soon.
Collin is 15, Connor is 13, (soon to be 14) and Colton is 10.
Our kids are not prefect and Becky and I are no where near perfect parents, but to this point we believe that we have done as good of a job as we knew how at raising great kids.
Now, as they are getting older, our focus is not going to be so much on raising great kids, but raising kids to be great adults.

In the next post I hope to provide some credibility by sharing with you our story in raising our kids to this point.
Going forward I’ll be sharing both our successes and failures in parenting, with the goal of providing some value that you can take and use or learn from.

Parenting can be very rewarding, but it can also be very challenging as well, especially with teenagers.
We have been given an enormous responsibility. Our kids are the future and they will make an impact on society as adults, positively or negatively. We have the power to make this world a better place to live and it all starts with how good of a job that we do as parents.

My kids are waking up right now or need to be woke up and I need to turn my attention to them for a while, but I can’t wait to start by writing our story to share it with you.
If you have kids or even grandkids please enter your email address in the “Follow Me” link to the right.
Doing so will ensure that any future articles that I write will be delivered directly to you.
I want to learn from you as well and the best way to do that is to make this interactive in the comments section of each post.
Together we can help each other in the challenging role of parenting.

Have a very Happy New Year!


The Now, Then, Us and Them: How to Leave a Legacy

My wife and I were privileged to go see the Legacy Journey tour live this past week.
The Dave Ramsey team put on an incredible event. We had a great time and were inspired.

If you care for your family and love helping others then The Legacy Journey is for you. It’s built for those that have already been been through Financial Peace University and need some inspiration and push to take it to the next level.
It’s about leaving a Legacy for our children, their children and beyond.

The theme centered around 4 words.
Now, Then, Us and Them.

The NOW
1 Timothy 5:8. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Get educated, get as big of a shovel as you can and get out of debt.
No matter how big our heart is, we must take care of ourselves first, so that we can have the means to then care for others.
It’s not being selfish; it’s actually the opposite. We must fill our own cup before we can begin overflowing to others.

The THEN
Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no vision, the people perish.

This one is about Retirement Investing, Insurance and College Funding.
Once we have control of our finances, are debt free and have an emergency fund built up, THEN we can start putting money aside for our future and our children’s future.
We must be disciplined in planning with out money instead of just living for the moment.

The US
Proverbs 13:22. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children.

This step is about more than money.  It’s about character.
“What good is money if the person who is holding it is not a good man”.
“More money makes you more of what you are – good or bad”.
You must have a good handle on your personal life, your marriage and your kids.
Love God, go to church, build a strong marriage and teach your kids about life and giving.

THEM
Proverbs 28:27. He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

Once we have built a strong foundation for us to live on that will not crumble, then we can be in a position to reach out and help others.
We are blessed to be a blessing and giving is fun!

Let’s build a legacy?
Let’s be good managers of what God has given us.
Take care of the Now, build the Then, stabilize the Us and give to Them.

May God thoroughly Bless you!

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“Is That It?”, A Lesson from the Drive-Thru

We recently went through a drive-thru to order ice-cream for the family.
We have 5 to order for and sometimes it is difficult to have everyone’s order ready by the time you get to the window.

After placing an order for 2 vanilla ice-cream cones the drive-thru attendant says to me, “Is that it?”
I said, “No. Just a moment please.”

I then asked for 2 chocolate cones, and before I could open my mouth again the attendant says, “Is that it?”
At this point I am starting to get aggravated and said, “No, we have one more order.”
“I would like a mixed cone please and yes, that is it!”

Apparently, that guy was ready to end his shift and go home or just plainly didn’t care if they made any sales that day or not.
He was looking to do the minimum amount of work required to get the job done.

When I pulled up to the drive through to get my order, I had a gentle conversation with the guy and tried to help him out.
“You know, you will probably get more orders and have happier customers if you start asking them, ‘What else can I get for you?’ or ‘Would you like anything else?'” “You might even get complimented on and even promoted.”

I didn’t say it in a mean way. I was just attempting to teach him a lesson on how to properly serve others.

I’ve had to teach my kids the same lesson every now and then.

The other day my teenage son was helping me with some yard work.
After he completed his little part he came to me and said, “Is that it?”
Just like the drive-thru attendant, he was ready to be done and get back to his thing.
I looked at him and said, “How about asking, ‘Is there anything else that I can help you with dad?'”
I then explained the importance of thinking of others, rather than yourself and always doing more than expected.

How about you? Have you had a similar drive-thru experience, either at a restaurant or with your child?


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