What to teach our kids before leaving home (that they aren’t taught in school)

In this world of entitlement and technology, I struggle with how to “train up” my children in the way they should go. It is almost a constant battle given the plethora of social media outlets, our privileged society, the rising divorce rate, and many other elements that lead our children into cluelessness. We have abandoned the very foundation of our educational system: The family.

Each birthday that passes I muddle through memories and wish time would slow down. There is just too much to teach them! We can’t rely on schools, churches, social media, friends, etc. to show them the do’s and don’ts, the wrongs and rights, the ins and outs of this life. Not if we want them to have our perspective, that is, and as a parent I think we have the right to inform our children of our thoughts and how we came to be at the place we are. Let’s face it, our wrongs will teach them as much as they taught us and our accomplishments will inspire them, possibly (hopefully), to attain a standard higher than they could have dreamed.

One day while starting to prepare dinner my oldest son asked me how I learned to cook. It certainly was not in school – Gag!  Do you remember those “government lunches?” That’s what I had termed them – government cheese and cardboard pizza. And Pinterest, well that was not even an idea at that time. Nope, I relied on Dorothy Johnson (RIP) and Karen J. Lord. Those two women taught me everything I needed to know to get started.  I had a knack for cooking, and after I was married I bought cook books and tried and tested many entrees after getting the basics down. However, I never did ask my protégés about anything else – balancing a checkbook, how to clean a toilet (Mom did that. Why did I need to know?), having kids (NEVER!), or the hundreds of other things you have to do as an adult. When do you exactly become an adult? When I googled “define adult,” I was faced with a pretty clear answer, right?

 A-dult: A person who is fully grown or developed.

I laughed for a moment thinking about that definition. Then I contemplated when exactly I became an adult. I mean, that definition is fairly vague, don’t you think?  I remember telling my boss one day that I would never marry and I would never have kids. I know some of you were there too? A year later I was married and I needed answers, and after we had kids I needed even more answers. Guess I was an adult at that point, but there was still a lot I did not know! From my experience, there are many things parents should teach their children before they leave the nest. These are just a few of the things I wish my parent’s had talked about with me and those that I will hopefully get to discuss with my miniature humans.

1) Residual Income: Who doesn’t want money coming in without much work? Keep in mind I said “much work.” We need to be clear that things still need to be tended to. Sure, there will be upfront costs to get started accumulating passive income, but if you don’t even know what it is how the heck are you going to gain from it? We need to teach our children about royalties and building assets, and the difference between active and passive income. Here’s the thing, had I known more about real estate as an asset when I was younger, I probably would have purchased a house to rent out and who knows where that would have led me.

2) How to put gas in the car: Case in point…just watch the video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xx-C03NdIU

3) Philanthropy: I am utterly amazed at the amount of nonprofits and other organizations that depend upon donors and volunteers in order to assist in their endeavors. I also had no idea the many types of civic organizations that one can be involved with. There are causes in the world…let me rephrase that…there is probably a cause in this world for anything you can think up. Get the kids involved early. Visit the elderly, tell them about Rotary and Ruritan, encourage them to volunteer in a field of study they enjoy, and lead by example.

4) Financial security: This could incorporate a wide variety of lessons and I believe the key is to start young. Lessons can be taught on buying groceries vs eating out, buying that first home, renting an apartment, buying vs renting a vehicle, and the list goes on. Utilize teachable moments to discuss financial stability and money management. You can search the web for “teaching kids about money” and obtain thousands of webpages. A few are below:

5) How to be domestic: This is important. One day your son or daughter is going to find a significant other, a roommate, or they may even wind up staying at home (Oh No!) and you know the old saying “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  Cleanliness brings a feeling of satisfaction, being physically and mentally well (IMO). Teach your child(ren) to wash their clothes (fold and put them away), clean the toilet, cook, make the bed and other task that seem so menial but go a long way in giving responsibility and confidence.

And to conclude, I have devised a list of skills that require walking the line very carefully when talking with a young “adult.”  These topics can make the most solid parent/child relationship fragile but I think are necessities before they venture out in the “real” world.

Finding their moral compass, choosing a good partner/spouse, choosing good friends, when to say “yes” and “no,” and lastly, how to change a tire (oh, arguments can ensue over this!).

I will leave you with this quote from Ann Landers:

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

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You have a Conscience 

Heh.  Lately my conscience has been on overdrive.

 


I like to think that God has provided the path of free will to us as a means to know him better. And He is not a dictator.  He is a loving God, one who gave us a choice to love him or not. When we choose to make a decision that is not in line with his path (because if we believe the Bible we know his path is the right way), we have to live with the consequences of our choice.  Rick Warren says, “While you’re free to choose anything you want to do in life, you’re not free from the consequences. The consequences are part of the choice.”  Doesn’t free will seem like, not free then? It’s a double edge sword.

I’m going to be very real for a few moments.  When it comes to this conscience and morality stuff…guess I should define that too:


I have it on good authority that I know right from wrong.  I have good moral character.  Some might have said too good when I was young.  I knew who was leading me, so it didn’t matter to me what others thought.  As I have aged and had to make decisions (they get harder as you grow up), things have become unclear in my conscience. Not the right or wrong – well maybe a little – but who is making the decision.

Sometimes I question everything I do, even though I know right from wrong and so I turned to this –> Have you ever done this?  “God, I don’t know what to do so just go ahead – just make the choice for me.”  Geesh, did I just become deterministic?  In that statement I surrendered my free will!  I have, recently, asked God to make a decision for me…a decision that I think is too hard for me to make.  A decision that will have outcomes that I do not want to imagine.  If have to decide one way or another, I don’t favor any consequences.

This past weekend a crossroads was met where I needed to gain clarity and guidance.  I needed to hear God’s voice or at least get everyone else’s out of my head.  So, I left my three sweet souls at home with my husband and trudged off to the rock, as I like to call it. I believe there is energy in the earth that can be tapped into, an unyielding presence of energy that is soft and flowing if only we allow ourselves a moment to listen.  I went to the rock.

Stone Mountain Summit (The Rock)

For four hours I listened on top of that mountain: felt, opened up, prayed, sung to the heavens, sunbathed (not intentionally), watched life, and poured over my choices. I melted into the circles of hard earth.


I told myself I would not come down until I knew I was 100% ready to make a conscientious decision.  The last hour I put a couple of songs on repeat, let my body relax into the rock and praised Him.  Within that hour, I heard his voice and I felt a gentle movement. Not a rumble or a roar but a patient and kind flutter.  I suppose I did not need some earthquake to shake up my world any more. I also heard him say, “I’m not taking this Melissa.  This is your choice to make…but I will guide you.”  It was in that instant that I knew it was time to leave.  I love it when a knowing comes upon me – to actually have a clear and concise path. I then found comfort in this scripture:

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” -Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:19-20

‭‭There it is – Free Will. He gives us life and death, blessings and curses, love or no love.  And he guides us!  He simply says, “choose life” (not death).  We have a choice because he is not a dictator. He is our father and our guide. He wants us to want to love him, to want his guidance, to follow his will and to listen. He will never force us and he will never choose for us because he tells us to choose for ourselves.

That evening I left the mountain with a renewed sense of belonging.  I gained the perspective that I can’t sit back and expect God to make my choices for me, because like a parent, if we make choices for our kids all their lives…they will never fall, never grow, and never move out!  We need to teach them how to use their conscience and morals to guide them through life. We need to show them how to see the beauty and gravity in free will and then, hopefully, they will see beauty in life’s choices.

Be blessed and bless others

Life’s beauty at Stone Mountain

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You’ve Got Nothing for Me

Just reading that title makes me think.  How about you?  Sounds harsh.  Maybe it is.  The context in which it was said was powerful and at the same time, it came in with a hush and simple hum for me.  It made me think.  It has taken a couple of days for the meaning to sink in, the enormity of what Pastor Terri was conveying to the “church” that morning.

How do you look at the world and say, “You’ve got nothing for me?”  Let that sit and simmer for a moment.  The world.  The place we live in.  Our identities are in the world.  Ah, but is that where He wants them to be?  Our pleasures come from this world.  Where does He want our pleasure to come from?  Man, that is hard.  I have been letting it simmer and I am about to boil over with the sins of my worldly being – those things that seems like they are pleasing and good, when in His world they are chains and ropes tethering me to some impossible dream of that which is not for me.  Because…”You’ve got nothing for me world!”

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We go through life as believers in God and know that trials and tribulations will come, also that good times and joy will abound.  We know that there are TeMpTaTiOns around every corner, and God help if we actually have an addiction to a temptation.  How hard it is to say, “You’ve got nothing for me,” then?  And sometimes…sometimes those things in which we have no idea, not even an inkling, of it becoming a stronghold float into our lives life a soft wind and whisper to us that everything is good and it’s okay.  We love our worldly things: our cars, our boats, our houses, our pets, our food, our drinks, our spouses, oh the list can go on.  Ask any kid and they will probably say, “I love candy!”  What is concerning about that to God?  Our sin nature, which should be concerning to us as well.  We are called to BE the church.  We have to be able to look outside ourselves and the walls in which mankind has built in order to be what He set us apart to be.  We have learned to ride the sin wave with great vigor and then expect Him to bail us out.

Ponder this: what if you told the world…

You’ve got nothing for me.

“You’ve got no jealousy, no pornography, no gluttony, no alcoholism, no infidelity, no fear… – World, you’ve got NOTHING for me!”  In order to the be the church, we have to be able to say just that.  It is a continuous struggle, fighting evil.  Steven Hart said, “In the struggle against evil, there is no shame in defeat only in not fighting.”  Look at the world today and declare, “You’ve got nothing for me,” and know that you are the church.  You matter.

And lastly, I will leave you with this, on this election day of 2016 as WE are called to be the church.

“The church must be reminded that is is neither the servant nor the master of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.  It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool.  If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Monday Funny: Kids!

My posts have been kind of heavy lately and I thought we could all use a laugh.  See, I can laugh now but I certainly was not laughing then…because I have been in most of these situations.  Happy Monday!

***none of these are my kids but were pulled off the net (just btdt)

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As a wise therapist once told me, some kids just can’t be left alone…for a minute.

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Desperately seeking solace

One of my favorite motivators said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”  He also said, “Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” That from Wayne Dyer, who sadly just recently passed.

I’ve been conflicted lately as there is such going on in my world, so much happening around me, so much affecting me that I don’t know what day it is – literally.

To get right to the point of my war: my husband got fired four weeks ago and my faith has been tested the last few months by a conundrum that is not mine but that I got immersed in.  Our family, in addition to the firing, is also dealing with a battle that keeps resurfacing. What to do?  Many of my friends would say grab a bottle and chug.  Well, oops, that is part of the problem. So, what do you do next?

Go on vacation!

Breaking news: Mandatory evacuation has been issued for Ocracoke.

:/ Vacation is off…for the third time.  Can’t say we didn’t give it the old college try. Insert HUGE sigh.

I’m mad. I’m broken. I’m confused. I’m tired. And I have failed to react (well, maybe I did a little).  Wayne would be proud.  I’m growing, but I’m still desperately conflicted so I guess I should watch one of his shows again. Hmmm, ugh.  Or I could just stop participating with my own self talk. I can’t change the way someone thinks about me and it honestly doesn’t mean it’s true.  Did you hear that people?  Because you think something about someone does not make it true.  Let that sink in.

What I’m learning through all these experiences lately is that I have a choice to respond or react, listen or ignore.  I really want to shout, “What is wrong with you people!” But that wouldn’t be polite and it is a reaction.  Instead I have chosen, and God has a BIG part in this, to wait and respond with grace and dignity.  Now, mind you, I have and am growing into this.  I still feel sick to my stomach at the thought of a friend being unwilling to see clarity in their situation. I feel sick about being tossed aside when I have been nothing but upfront. But, we have choices, we’re given free will and I believe what they always say…Karma is a b#$&@!

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I have NO Idea What I am Doing!

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I was reminded of this quote the other day…and yeah, yeah…I haven’t been on here since Feb!  Big flippin deal.  I have a life, kids, homeschool, responsibilities people and I have spent months trying to kill these stupid fruit flies – OMG do they ever go away?!

Back to the quote; I was reminded of the quote the other day and took, oh, a second or two to ponder it.  It’s pretty short after all. How much meaning can one get out of something that brief? <Insert sarcastic chuckle> Well, it actually has a very deep meaning and I feel like I have been wandering for years…SOOOOOO, am I Iost?  Nah, more like Broken if you will. And not only am I wandering, I’m wondering…

  • Wondering what tomorrow with bring
  • Wondering what song to sing
  • Wondering how to live my life
  • Wondering how to be “that” good wife
  • Wondering how to teach my kids
  • Wondering how to keep up the jig

How does one do it all?  There really is only one answer and I have been on my knees more than not the last few months it seems like. I’m still wondering, I mean wandering, though.  You know God had this thing about people being in the dessert desert and wandering for years?  Lord help me (simple prayer).  Then, AH HA!  My ah, ha moment – though I don’t feel much better, yet – brought clarity that I am wandering…on His path.  I am learning, crying (sobbing actually), laughing, enjoying, questioning, pondering, being frustrated (a lot!), mad, sad, alone, sick, and whatever other adjectives you can throw in there about life while I wander.  Some days I feel like I am in pieces, being ripped apart by life’s circumstances and I forget Him.  I try to fix it all, try to wade through the mud only to sink in the quick sand on the other end. UGH!  His path.  It’s hard.  Funny, I do not remember the bible saying life WILL be easy.  It may actually say it is hard (note to self: look that up).  I don’t know.  The only thing I do know is that I am NOT alone and neither are you. I may have NO idea what I doing, but He does (thank you Jesus!)

As a side note: I want to be like Miss Clara (War Room) and dance around singing his praises.  How can I help you?

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Sometimes it is so Clear

As I was doing my bible study this morning it led with this:

When He speaks, it’s in the language of our own personal lives, through a verse or passage of Scripture that just seems to leap up off the page with our name on it. Anne Graham Lotz

I have been praying and agonizing over some things for a while now.  When I say a while, I mean I asked a very trusted woman of God about this before her passing.   I wholeheartedly knew the words spoken from her were weighted with gold. She had seen the colors of heaven just days before our conversation.  As humans we have to ask several times before we listen though.  I believed Beverly but apparently just wasn’t ready to take up my cross.

As I got a couple of pages into my daily study the words that leapt off the page were uncanny. I had planned for days, being without kids or hubby, to complete my weeks study this weekend…to really devote the time to listen to God in my solitude. My ego kept telling me to do other things and I was somehow able to overcome that feeling and pick up the book first thing. 

I know God uses us for vessels in moments where it is right, so if this should ring a bell for you GREAT.  However, I am sharing this so I can be reminded physically in writing how He works and to spread His word.

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He definitely woke me up.  I’m still asking for a little clarification…because that’s what we earthly souls do…but He spoke loud and clear about some of my most intimate and recurrent conversations with Him. Geesh, that took long enough.  Or maybe I just never listened for my name.

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