Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

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I heard Kristen Welch on a podcast once. She and her family run a nonprofit called Mercy House that helps pregnant girls in Africa and provides jobs for these women through their Fair Trade Friday program. She has also written a few books. I recently read Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. Kristen wrote this book with her thoughts about how she is trying to do this with her three teenageers and has some great thoughts.

The most convicting thing I read was probably this:

“As uncomfortable as it sounds, parents who want less entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by living more grateful lives.”

My kids aren’t going to learn to be thankful from watching tv or hanging out with their friends. They are going to learn it (or not learn it) from me. I need to get back to my blessings jar or thankfulness journal and help Clarissa do something similar.

She quotes Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane, “The only thing a child is really entitled to is his parents’ love. Not to keep up with the Joneses. Not a brand new bike or iPad. Just love. Every child deserves to be loved by his or her parents. If a child has your unconditional love, he has the greatest asset in the world. If we as parents can realize that it’s love that our children need most, and not things, we will stop trying to buy our children’s happiness with possessions.”

We all want to give our kids good things. The struggle for me as a mom is figuring out how much is too much. I want to bless my children, but I don’t want them to be spoiled brats either. I want them to be thankful for what they have and want to help others.

Some of my other favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “All children need to be bored… Because that’s when they will discover they don’t need stuff to fill their time. They don’t need a plan for entertainment. They can create their own.”
  • “I believe one of the ways children learn submission to God and doing what He says is by being taught to submit to the authority of their parents. So yes, require it, but do so with love and grace because deep down, I think our kids want rules and guidance and the structure obedience brings.”
  • “The bottom line is this : All the right from wrong teaching, character building, faith instilling, intentional parenting that you’ve made a priority in your home is producing children who do not fit into the mold our society has deemed normal. And it leaves us with children who sometimes feel left out, different, alienated, and even alone. But this doesn’t mean we have failed them. It’s through this kind of struggle that their own faith is forged and deepens and their relationship with us – – bumpy days included– grows. But mostly, it makes them aware of the costs of following Jesus.”

M. O. M. – Master Organizer of Mayhem book review

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M.O.M. Master Organizer of Mayhem can be a quick and easy read. I was on the launch team and got behind so I read the whole thing over a weekend. It’s doable and there are some great suggestions in here. But, I don’t recommend reading it this way. Each chapter has an action step. When you breeze through the book, you don’t have time to do all of the action steps that will really help you organize things for your family. I recommend taking your time to get through this book so it is more beneficial. She gives great suggestions on decluttering, organizing, meal planning, laundry, and getting kids to do chores.

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Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “Being organized does not mean we have to have the perfect home, sterile and clean, at all times. Clean is good, but dust bunnies, crumbs, and spilled milk happen…organization is about increasing the efficiency in our home so that we can maximize our time with our family and for other priorities.”
  • You can’t have everything perfect all the time. Ask your husband what things are important to him. Focus on those things. (I need to ask Tim this again.)
  • Keep a master list of projects room by room to refer to instead of just reacting to problems you come across. Pray for God to give you a vision for each room.
  • “Creating efficiency in our home is all about finding the right rhythm so that our family can productively perform the tasks, chores, and routines that need to be done regularly.”
  • “The basic principle for toy management is that every toy in the house needs a home – and your child needs to know where that home is.”

 

Sheet Music book review

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One of my dear friends and I had lunch together at our favorite Mexican restaurant the day before I got married. We talked about all things married life and she recommended the book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage. A few other people recommended it as well so I bought it. It has survived the move to two different cities in Korea and I finally got around to reading it this fall, nine years later…

I’ve heard Dr Kevin Leman speak several times on the Focus on the Family Broadcast so I figured I would enjoy his book. It wasn’t quite a conversational tone. But much like Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women, it was very relatable and sometimes funny. He spent some time talking about the needs and desires of men verses the needs and desires of women in a marriage. I had to laugh so many times, just realizing that Tim and I are completely normal. Dr Leman seems to describe Tim very well when he talks about men and me when he talks about women. So that was a comforting thing and I do feel like our marriage is in a great place right now anyway. He does talk about different positions but most of this book is about the why and not the technical details of sex.

Some of my favorite thoughts and ideas from the book:

  • “Remember, you weren’t put together on overtime at a factory in New Jersey. You were designed, crafted, molded, and sculpted by no less a designer than God himself. And when he birthed you, he sat back, smiled, and said, ‘This is good'” (234).
  • “Try to begin listening to the man who loves you rather than all the men who want to sell you something (talking about the marketing on TV or in magazines)” (233).
  • “Great marital sex is about learning to love someone else the way he or she wants to be loved” (33).
  • “The beauty of married sexuality is that you have your whole lives to grow and explore and enjoy each other” (115).
  • “A sexually fulfilled man will normally be a better father and a better employee. A sexually fulfilled woman will have less stress and more joy in her life. Sex is vitally important to a healthy marriage” (45).

God Schooling Review

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Since Clarissa is in kindergarten, I am very new to this homeschool mom thing. As a former public school teacher, I am used to following curriculum or a pacing guide. But learning to go at my child’s pace is pretty new to me. I enjoy it but I always wonder if I’m doing it right. So when I had the chance to review God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn by Julie Polanco, I knew I would benefit from this book. I wasn’t disappointed.

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In the first section of the book, Julie really challenged my thinking about what homeschooling should look like. She makes some great points in the first chapter about curriculum as a tool and not as an end goal, teaching character before academics, and your relationship with your children. “If we are walking closely with the Lord, He will show us exactly what to do at exactly the right time. ” So as long as I’m seeking God,  Clarissa will be fine. “He loves Clarissa too much to let ME ruin her…” So it really helps to alleviate some of the stress of am I really doing this right?! 

In the second section of the book, Julie Polanco spends some time discussing how to teach children at different ages. Research shows that “the basic character of a child is set by age 7,” but a child can learn academics at any age. So especially when a child is young, teaching character and behavior is more important than learning facts. She thinks that children don’t really need formal academics until about age 8-10, but they will learn more quickly at that age because they are developmentally ready for it. She encourages readers to focus on life experiences instead like writing letters to Grandma or learning math through daily life (cooking, playing games, counting things, etc) instead of a formal curriculum. She also says that teenagers should be able to cook, clean, mow the lawn, run errands; basically to run a household. This totally makes sense if you are going to prepare them to be independent adults.

I did like how she said not to assume that Clarissa would enjoy certain subscriptions or field trips. Ask her first. Sometimes she would rather stay home and play. I have found this to be true with my child. Several times in the book the author mentions “I have often found myself worrying about what other people think about my kids, rather than what God thinks about my kids.” I think this is probably true of most moms, myself included. It is just refreshing to hear another mom admit this. My main goal in homeschooling is for Clarissa to be who God created her to be and to be ready to walk in whatever He has called her to. So it is going to look different than what other parents are doing with their kids because their kids are probably called to something different than Clarissa.

I like many of the points that Julie Polanco makes in her book God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn. I think it would be encouraging for homeschool moms to read, just to see how another mom thinks and teaches her children. I don’t think I’m a true unschooler as I am not ready to throw away all of my curriculum. But I am learning to not demand that Clarissa completes a certain number of pages each day. I have an idea of what I want her to work on, but if she loses interest before then it’s okay. We’ll get to it eventually. She actually enjoys doing things in a set pattern or working through a book together. As she gets older I think she will have more say in what subjects we will study. For now we are going to focus on Bible stories, life skills, and learning to read.

God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn {Julie Polanco Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Women in the Bible book review

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When the Ladies Bible Study at church decided to study The Incredible, Powerful, Inspiring & Engaging Story of Women in the Bible, I decided to join. I probably would have joined regardless of the study in order to get to know the ladies at church better anyway. But I really enjoyed this study.

I have been a Christian since I was a little girl, so I know a lot of Bible stories pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised that I learned a lot that I hadn’t realized or heard before.

For example, Adam was with Eve when she tasted the apple. He was with her for the whole serpent experience. It’s in scripture that he is right there, but I guess I always thought he was somewhere else. And can you imagine being Eve pregnant or giving birth? This had never happened before. There was nothing to compare it to. I bet nine months felt like forever if she didn’t know how long she would be pregnant!

Some of my other favorite quotes and thoughts:

  • “Like Mary, there are times in a woman’s life when she needs to step back intentionally and allow the Father to lead the man in her life, as he has the God-given ability to hear, heed and walk with the Lord, just as Joseph did” (27).
  • This idea of using your influence for good and not for evil. She talked about Queen Esther saving her people (at 14 years old!) and then in the next chapter talked about how Queen Jezebel used her influence for evil.
  • Talking about the woman at the well, the author says, “Our testimony belongs to the Lord and we never know how He might wish to use it” (77). I like the idea that this woman wasn’t looking for Jesus. She wasn’t looking for a miracle. But the change in her life, changed the lives of many in her town.
  • It was also very interesting to read about Naomi and Ruth and perspective of the responsibility of a mother in law because one day I will probably be one.
  • Or to be reminded of how many times that Sarai and Abram made mistakes and God still used them to be the father of all nations.

On a different note, if you have the opportunity to attend a Bible study, I definitely recommend it. It doesn’t really matter what the study is about. You will learn scripture and grow in your relationship with God. But it also gives you the opportunity to get to know some people in your world better. You will do life with people and pray with them. They can become your lifelong friends.

God’s Girl Says Yes

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Wynter Pitts wrote a book with her husband last year about praying for your daughter called She is Yours. I loved it. She also has a new podcast that I have been listening to. So when the opportunity presented itself to be on her book launch team for her latest book, God’s Girl Says Yes, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Her last book was for parents, but this one is for girls. There are not any pictures so it will probably be a few years before Clarissa is ready to read it, but I look forward to reading this book with her one day. Wynter also has a magazine for girls that looks great!

Each of the 16 chapters in God’s Girl Says Yes has a specific message for your girl with scriptures, a prayer, and personal stories about either Wynter or a girl in elementary school. I think these stories will really help to build Clarissa’s faith and to show her that you do not have to wait until you are a grown up to do big things for God. She goes through the fruit of the spirit as a whole passage of scripture and then breaks up each individual fruit into its own chapter.

The book is very relatable. It sounds like a conversation between friends. There are several places to answer questions that will really make your girl think. Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “The Israelites’ story shows us how difficult it is to make good choices all the time. Sometimes saying yes day after day can be really hard…God loves His people and wants His people to choose Him. He entered into a relationship with Israel on purpose. He knew what was best for them, and He knows what is best for you.”
  • “As you say yes to the things God asks you to say yes to, you will have to say no to other things – to things that are unhelpful and that He doesn’t want for you. When you say yes to God and walk with Him on the path He has chosen for you, amazing things can happen. “
  • She does a good job of explaining why we have rules and learning self control.
  • “God gave us more than rules-He also gave us a relationship with him… Our life is not about rules. It’s actually about being free to live an amazing adventure with God.”
  • Chapter 15 was probably my favorite. She talks about trusting God to have a plan for your life and using your gifts and talents for him.

I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading it again with Clarissa soon.

Bee – bim-Bop!

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Clarissa has been very literal with her books lately. If it’s in a book, we have to do it. One such book is Bee – bim- Bop! by Linda Sue Park.

We got this book from the library before our Hong Kong trip to learn a little bit about Korean culture. My favorite Korean dish is probably bibimbap so I thought it would be fun to read about it. In the book a little girl and her mom go to the grocery store to buy ingredients and then come home and make bibimbap together for the family dinner that evening. At the end of the book, the author lists her family’s recipe for bibimbap, with specific instructions for children and adults.

Clarissa asked if we could make it for dinner. I assured her that we would after we returned from vacation. She would not let me forget! The day after our return she demanded to go to the commissary to buy the ingredients. She fought with Daddy one night about dinner because Tim wanted pizza and Clarissa wanted to make bibimbap.

When it was time to make the bibimbap, Clarissa was excited to help. She helped measure the rice and the water. She measured the ingredients for the marinade and mixed it up. She even helped with the eggs.

At which point, we had been working for at least 20 minutes and she was tired of helping. She went to the couch to read some books while I sautéed the meat and vegetables.

I think they should charge more for bibimbap in restaurants! It is always less than $10 and it takes a while to make. We all enjoyed our meal and plan to put it in our meal rotation. Clarissa even ate eggs and carrots with her rice. I am hopeful that she will continue to try new things and enjoy the other vegetables as well.

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Ingredients:

1 cup white rice
1 pound sirloin or other beef steak
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup mung bean sprouts (optional)
4 eggs
PAM cooking spray

Marinade:
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5 tablespoons gluten free tamari sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
1. Pour one cup of rice and two cups of water into a saucepot. Cook on high until the water boils. Then switch to low heat until the water is absorbed into the rice.
2. Mix all marinade ingredients into a large bowl.
3. Slice beef into thin slices. Place sliced beef into marinade and mix thoroughly.
4. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Spray small frying pan. Pour egg in sections into . Cook like a pancake. Slice eggs into strips. Put into small bowl for serving.
5. Spray frying pan. Saute carrots until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
6. Spray frying pan. Saute spinach until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
7. Spray frying pan. Saute mung bean sprouts until tender. Put into small bowl for serving.
8. Spray frying pan. Saute beef and marinade until beef is cooked through. Put into small bowl for serving. Pour marinade into small container for serving as well.
9. Serve with rice in bowls. Each person adds the ingredients that they want to their bowl and mix it all up.