Sunday, May 24, 2015

Parenting Tip - Forgiveness

I'm writing a blog post about something I don't really know too much about, though I should.  It's about forgiveness, and the reason why I'm writing it is because I feel compelled to.  In the past weeks I've  bumped into this word--forgiveness--twice, and both times it made an impact on me.

The first situation I read and heard about was Elizabeth Smart and a video and TV interview that has been released recently.  You may remember in 2002 when Elizabeth, age 14, was abducted from her home and was the recipient of wide media coverage for 9 months before she was finally found.  She faced horrendous abuse during those months and I, as a mother, could not even think about, read about or hear about her situation because it made me feel so vulnerable.  What if that happened to one of my daughters?  It is only now, 13 years later that I can read her story and hear her talk about it.

On the TV interview she said that she had forgiven her captors.  How was that possible I wondered?  Then she went on to say that what she meant was, she has gone on with her life and will not allow  them to take away her future life and happiness.  They are locked up, safe from others, and she does not dwell on them, but looks forward to what she can do to help others who have faced abuse.

The second mention I heard recently about forgiveness was on a happiness podcast.  The host was interviewing someone who said forgiveness is letting go.  It's saying, "I'm over that now.  I'm going on with my life."

That was such a different definition of forgiveness than I have heard before.  I like it.  It doesn't mean justice is not going to be served, that restitution is not going to be given, but it's an attitude.  "I will no longer consume myself with thinking about, stewing about, getting mad about, ruining my life about  ____________________.  I'm moving on.  I'm controlling my own destiny.  I give this to God, it is in His hands."

As a teenager, if I got mad at my parents for not allowing me to do something or go somewhere, I would employ the silent treatment, and I felt like I had to use the silent treatment for a long time--if not, they might not think it was as big a deal to me as they thought it was (thank goodness I had great parents who put up with me during a hard year in my life).

Forgiveness.  We need to use it daily--and give it freely daily--to our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our co workers, ourselves.  And when we do, we find unimaginable peace.  "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Thanks for reading,



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Parenting Tip - The Hands-On Approach

My husband's birthday was a couple of days ago.  He has been gone almost 4 years now, but his legacy still lives on.  One of my sons asked his daughter, who just turned 10 years old, what were some of the best things she remembered from her "decade" of living.  She immediately replied, "Going fishing with grandpa!" 

You never know what impact you make on others until later.  When I look at how my sons parent, I think of their Dad.  He taught them well.

My husband taught through a "hands-on" approach. If the oil needed changed in the cars, my husband had our boys help him.  Later they did it themselves.  If there was a plumbing problem, my husband enlisted the help of one of our sons.  They learned by doing, not just watching.  I wasn't aware of how powerful that teaching was until my husband passed away.  Then as we talked as a family, each of my sons reminisced and told stories of helping Dad fix this or that and how much they had learned from him.

All my sons are married and have children of their own.  They all live in different states from me except for one.  Jacob lives close by and it is so rewarding to watch him parent his own 3 sons.  He, too, is a hands-on Dad.  He takes them to Home Depot with him, not only for the classes, but when he goes there to buy things.   He found out about a new place downtown where you can use lathes, lasers, and other types of machinery to make your own projects for free.  That would sound like a scary, over the top kind of place to take your young children, but not for Jacob.  He took two of his boys and they loved using the tools and making things.

 A couple of weeks ago, my grandsons were so excited to tell me about the garden their Dad was making.  It turns out that my son cut up an old wooden table that my father-in-law had made years ago and built a raised garden bed out of it.  I'm sure my husband and father-in-law were beaming to know that their son/grandson had used something of theirs and had the know-how to make it into something else useful. 

One of the most important things my husband taught with his hands-on approach to learning was how to pray to the Lord and ask for blessings and thank Him for blessings given.  Last year my son invited me to go with him and his two sons to an airshow.  On the way there, we were involved in an accident on the freeway.  My two grandsons immediately began to cry, and Jacob jumped out of the car to open their door to see if they were hurt.  They weren't, so Jacob said, "Let's say a prayer to Heavenly Father telling him thank you for blessing us that we are okay."  What a thrill that was to my heart to see that immediate reaction come from my son.

We learn by seeing, by watching, but most importantly, by doing.  Be a hands-on parent.  Give the wonderful gift of independence to your children by having them work with you, clean with you, cook with you, play with you and---pray with you.


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