Thought's On Mother's Day

Thoughts on Mother's Day
by Cheryl Redgate

As Mother’s Day approaches on Sunday, May 13th, it is our opportunity to take a moment to reflect on the women who have shaped our lives and let them know how grateful we are for their influence. These women may be our biological moms, adopted moms, our grandmothers, aunts, sisters, mentors or friends. And if we are mothers ourselves, or have had the privilege to be involved in the raising of a child, we appreciate more than ever the time, energy, patience, devotion, love and hard work it took for these “moms” to guide us and give us the confidence we now have in nurturing our own. Our task of raising strong, independent, responsible, spiritual and loving people is daunting… and yet clearly filled with many precious moments. Ask any Mom and she will say that while Mother’s Day may be officially celebrated on the second Sunday of May across the country, but it is the daily gifts of those big hugs, bedtime stories, arms that hold us tightly around our necks, lullabies, whispered secrets, shared prayers to God…and spontaneous “I love you Mom” declarations which become embedded in our hearts and remind us of the cherished moments we treasure any day of the year.
Erma Bombeck, great humorist and author, who passed away in 1996, wrote a poignant explanation of “
Why Mothers Cry”:
“Why are you crying?” he asked his Mom.
“Because I’m a mother,” she told him.
“I don’t understand,” he said.
His mom just hugged him and said, “You never will!”
Later the little boy asked his father why Mother seemed to cry for no reason.
“All mothers cry for no reason,” was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why mothers cry. So he finally put in a call to God and when God got on the phone, the man said “God, why do mothers cry so easily?”

And God said, “You see, son, when I made mothers, they had to be special. I made their shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort. I gave them an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times come from their children. I gave them a hardiness that allows them to keep going when everyone else gives up, and to take care of their families through sickness and fatigue without complaining. I gave them the sensitivity to love their children under all circumstances, even when their child has hurt them very badly. This same sensitivity helps them to make a child’s boo-boo feel better and helps them share a teenager’s anxieties and fears.”

And then God added, “I gave them a tear to shed. It’s theirs exclusively to use whenever it’s needed. It’s their only weakness. It’s a tear for mankind.”
The man’s lifelong quest for an answer to his question was finally answered…and he understood.

This May 13th, let us take time to share our appreciation for the countless gestures of unconditional love, nurturing, humor and encouragement we have been shown by the women, mothers or not, who are important to us. Whether by connecting through the telephone, a letter or card, plans of time together or, if not so fortunate to have them still, by way of a prayer of thankfulness to God, this day is one set aside to acknowledge those in our lives who have helped us become who we are. Happy Mother’s Day!

Celebrating Love

Celebrating Love

As we anticipate Valentine’s Day this month, we wanted to share with you an article from 1996, written by Joni Hilton, author of Guilt-Free Motherhood. She created a Parent’s Pyramid of Reminders which are as relevant today as they were then. She reminded each of us to reach out with love to our kids in specific actions at least once a month, 2-3 times a month, once a week and then every day. Here are some of her suggestions:
Once a Month

  • Discuss important values in your family and ways you are honoring them
  • Review house rules, adjust responsibilities and privileges
  • Plan a family field trip
  • Take time to connect with each child and have a heartfelt talk (about them!)
  • Choose a community service organization and volunteer as a family
  • Clean out closets, organize, recycle and donate
  • Celebrate a family tradition

Two to three times per month
  • Revisit your child’s personal goals and offer rewards when accomplished
  • Teach a life skill such as cooking or doing laundry
  • Talk about friends, school, family…just to “check in”
  • Find a new recipe together and make it a dinner project
  • Take pictures of your family and individual kids too
  • Visit the library together
  • Be a good role model and take some time out for yourself
  • Resist overscheduling and celebrate spontaneity
Once a week
  • Enjoy a hobby or interest with your child
  • Do an anonymous good deed with your child
  • Teach the value of money and saving through an allowance
  • Make a date with each child and enjoy an activity one-on-one
  • Schedule a family night one time a week
  • Help your child follow through on weekly chores
  • Verbalize your pride and admiration for your child
  • Make a date with your spouse

  • Read to your child or read together
  • Forgive your kids, your spouse, yourself
  • Laugh at something…and yourself
  • Check on homework
  • Be kind and teach by example
  • Give your child choices
  • Follow through
  • Listen
  • Teach self-discipline with daily routines (cleaning room, doing homework, helping with dinner, practicing instruments, etc.)
  • Say “please” and “thank you” and help your kids to remember to also
  • And tell each one you love that you do…and more than once!

Finally, perhaps you can relate to these love-filled quotes about parenting:
  • The depth of the love of parents for their children cannot be measured. It is like no other relationship. It exceeds concern for life itself. The love of a parent for a child is continuous and transcends heartbreak and disappointment.  James E. Faust
  • There really are places in the heart you don't even know exist until you love a child. Anne Lamott
  • Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Charles R. Swindoll
  • Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Elizabeth Stone
  • Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. Plato
  • My parents elected me president of the family when I was 4. We actually had an election every year, and I always won. I’m an only child, and I could count on my mother’s vote. Condoleezza Rice
  • By their innocence and goodness, by their boundless capacity for forgiveness, and by the sheer power of their faith and hope, children redeem their parents, bringing out their best selves. Cass Sunstein

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Developing the Character of Responsibility

Developing the Character of Responsibility

In our adult experience, we undoubtedly know of acquaintances, friends and family who epitomize the essence of responsibility…and those who definitely do not. Part of our role as parents is to help our children become responsible members of our family, responsible students in school and evolve into responsible citizens in our society. It is a tough job…and in order to help our kids learn these skills and demonstrate this character, it is important to reflect on what it really means to be responsible. We would probably agree that we all want our children to learn to do their best, persevere even when it is difficult to keep trying, be self-disciplined and accountable for their actions even when it is hard to admit mistakes. We want them to understand the importance of keeping their word and being dependable. We want to help our children take pride in our environment and feel a need to contribute to the betterment of our world. Importantly, teaching our children to be morally aware, making decisions which are right, just and true to our Christian values, all contribute to helping them become a responsible individual.
The job of teaching these attributes to our children is a lifelong task but one which can start very early in their lives. There are several steps we can institute within our families to help instill responsibility for our children. Undoubtedly you have already developed ways to do this but perhaps you can get some additional insight from the following suggestions:

    Learning to be responsible is a process and a challenge for us all, young and not so young. Our children learn a lot from our example and, as we demonstrate to them that they can count on us, that we will follow through on what we say we will do… and that we will be honest and forthcoming if we can’t…they will follow our lead and our lessons to become the trustworthy and responsible people we hope them to be. If we can be patient and let them learn from their mistakes, we will see that their sense of responsibility will be present in their actions, in their moral strength and as they accept personal accountability for the decisions they make.

    Life's Challenges and Strategies to Cope

    Life's Challenges and Strategies to Cope

    Sometimes life hands us challenges that may be unexpected and often unwelcome. Whether an illness, loss of a job, an accident or death, divorce, financial setback or relationship issues, these events can put us and our family into a tailspin and scrambling for direction to deal with them. If we can remember that, generally, we have the strategies to cope with most adversity, the path to surviving these unexpected “speed bumps” can be smoother and more hopeful.
    Feelings of sadness, shock and anger are normal when events happen which have not necessarily been “the plan” for ourselves or our family. It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and also to anticipate and accept periods of highs and lows. It is also normal to worry about the impact of these events on our family and how they may affect our future. While we attempt to gather information, look at options and make some choices, this anxiety will likely lessen as we move forward in a positive direction.
    And perhaps we can benefit from some reminders as we attempt to deal with these unforeseen “opportunities” and try to create a new norm for our families:
    Practice acceptance – Rather than spending an inordinate amount of time and energy on the “why me?” aspect of our unexpected situation, we need to try to focus on the situation at hand. It’s normal to go through a period of loss about what might have been but, ultimately, acceptance of what is can propel us into constructive decision making;
    Work to separate your ego from the circumstance - Worrying about how things will look to the outside world can detract from the goal of facing the challenge, reviewing our options and developing a plan of action to resolve/accept the situation;
    Ask for and accept help – It’s important that we reach out to our support network and let them know that our family is struggling and may need their time, help, energy and unconditional acceptance with what we are dealing with. And now is the time to say YES to offers of prepared meals, babysitting, transportation, grocery shopping… time offered for listening and hugs;
    Be honest and open with your kids – Although circumstances and ages of our children will perhaps dictate how much we share, we do have the ability to reduce their fears and increase their trust for us by dealing with the situation with as much honesty and straightforward information as possible. They don’t necessarily need to know some of the more sensitive details as long as we help our children to realize that they can always come to us to ask questions and have reassurance that we will be direct and open about all that we do share;
    Normalize your family as much as possible – While crises can consume lots of energy, emotions and time, seek moments to gather your family to share a meal, walk around the block, go to the park, play board games or watch a movie together. Spending time with each other can help soothe our souls and reassure our children;
    Take time for yourself – We all will need presence of mind, energy and clear thinking to face the situation at hand so make sure you look for ways to nurture yourself and regain focus. Some days may only afford a few minutes of breathing time and others longer… but time each day is critical for focus and rejuvenation;
    *Allow your family to process change - Be gentle with yourself and your children as we all need time to adapt to the new norm in our lives. It’s important to listen to our kids’ concerns, hurts, fears and questions and sometimes the best response is simply to reassure them that we also struggle with the changes…”me too” can be so comforting as they realize that we also miss the ways things were;
    *Draw on your faith – Embracing your church community, seeking direction from our minister, prayer and meditation can be extraordinary sources of strength for us and our family. In fact, it is through our faith and beliefs that we uncover the courage, compassion and power to sustain us in difficult times;
    Show Gratitude – Again, it is vital to acknowledge our initial feelings of shock, uncertainty, loss, grief or despair. However, after a while, it is also important to reach out to see what is good and positive in our life and the lives of our family members. These moments of gratitude can propel us toward healing and regaining the joy in the minutes that are filled with beauty, calmness, optimism and hope;
    Seek professional help – There are wonderful experts trained to help our family process through times of uncertainty, change and challenges. More than likely we are struggling with issues unfamiliar to all and having the support of an outside professional can add perspective and ease everyone in their journey to feel healthy again.

    While we all hope to experience and enjoy the best situations in life, challenges are inevitable. As we deal with unexpected circumstances, it is important to allow each member of our family permission to process through these changes at his/her own pace, with respect and unconditional acceptance for each other’s needs and perspectives. Resolving problems together can serve as opportunities for growth and allow us the chance to demonstrate the resiliency, the strength and the love we share as we all look forward to a brighter day.

    A Parent's Prayer

    A Parent’s Prayer

    In honor of Mother’s Day on May 14th and Father’s Day on June 18th, we wanted to share the following “Whispers of my Father – A Mother’s Prayer” written by Rachel Aldous and used as lyrics in a song dedicated to her daughter, Hannah:
    My sweet baby on loan from above. No better treasure could I more love.

    I stand here beside your bed as I pray. I lay my hand on your head and I say:
    May you grow up to serve Him all of your days
    May He lead you and guide you In all of your ways.
    May His hand bless your future with friendships that last
    May you cherish your youth and not grow up too fast.
    I stare in wonder at your tiny frame. Just to think that God knows you by name.
    He knows every hair on your beautiful head. He knows your thoughts before they are said.
    May you grow up to serve Him all of your days
    May He lead you and guide you In all of your ways.
    May His hand bless your future with friendships that last
    May you cherish your youth and not grow up too fast.

    My prayer for you…
    May God grant you peace in the midst of a storm.
    May God give you strength even when you’re forlorn.
    May you answer the door when Jesus comes knocking.
    May wisdom guide when your mouth is talking.
    May discretion protect you and keep you pure.
    May you never stumble or fall for a lure.
    May your heart remain humble to the very end.
    May uprightness and truth be what you defend.
    May the world not ensnare or change who you are.
    May the light that’s within you shine like the stars.
    May angels surround you, body, spirit, mind.
    May favor and peace be yours to find.
    May rejection and pain never reach you
    May your spirit grow bold for what you’re called to.
    As you rest in God’s care, I will rest too…
    Knowing that Jesus is watching over you.

    Our Information: