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What Does The Bible Say About Family?

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Marriage and family are a key to a society’s structure. After asking myself last week “What does the Bible say about marriage,” I asked myself “What does the Bible say about family?” As I combed through the concordance, there are many references to family. I have selected a few to share with you.

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1. Honor

Moses gave the Israelites 10 Commandments from God. One of them is found in Exodus 20:12

Honor your father and mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

This particular verse is interesting, because it doesn’t say to love your parents. It says to honor or respect them. Not everyone grows up in a healthy family. So, some people may not love their father or mother, however, they are admonished to esteem their folks.

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2. Compassion

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. – Psalm 103:13

I believe this verse could be misconstrued that we must be afraid of God, however, when I think of the fear of the Lord, I think of it as having reverence for a holy God.

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3. Teach

We can teach a great deal to our future generations about the lessons we’ve learned.

Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and grandsons.  – Deuteronomy 4:9

These verses are just a few I discovered on family relationships.  I encourage you to search for ones that apply to your unique family dynamics.

What principles is your family built on? I would love to hear about them.

Blessings, Rebecca

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Family Time

Does your family unplug? Recently, we’ve noticed an increased demand in screen time in our family whether it’s homework, emails or social media. So, to combat the gravitational pull, we’ve decided to simplify our family time. Here are some basics we are returning to:

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Board Games

I visited our local mall to purchase a board game we played several times at our friend’s house called Aggravation. To my surprise, the stores didn’t carry it. So, I went on line and ordered it. It just arrived and we can’t wait to play it. It’s a simple marble game of chance using dice to get your pods home first. We also like timeless games of cards, Monopoly, Life, etc.

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Walking/Hiking

We enjoy hiking in our majestic Santa Cruz mountains. We are blessed to work on two beautiful campuses surrounded by a variety of trees, paths and water features. Above is a picture of Randy, Austin, Alicia and my brother Greg (back left) and sister-in-law Connie (front left). On Christmas Eve we hiked around Mount Hermon Conference Center. We showed them the zip line canopy tours, the lodges/cabins, and Ferndale Falls. They are pictured above at Redwood Camp’s suspension bridge. Good times!

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Exploring

We love to explore our surroundings. During Thanksgiving weekend, we took the long coastal route of Highway 1 north to visit family versus taking a straight shot of Highway 101. We saw the sun reflecting off the Pacific Ocean, a large variety of wildlife on the ground and in the air, and gorgeous rolling hills/farmland. Sometimes, we stop at a vista point and sometimes we just marvel from our car.

It is easy to get caught up in life’s busyness. We’ve decided to be intentional about slowing down, resting and playing together as a family to maintain a balanced life.

What do you do as a family that’s special?

Blessings, Rebecca

Family Camp 2017

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How is your summer going? We are enjoying Family Camp this week. So far, we have soaked up some sun during outside recreational activities, ate delicious food prepared by the dining crew and attended inspirational worship/sermon services/classes.

Yesterday, we had a blast at the ranch playing on the slip n slide, listening to blue grass music, testing out the archery range and shooting BB rifle targets.

Today, it’s beach day and the kids are excited to go the Boardwalk with their youth group.

Tomorrow, we will attend their old fashioned carnival games and Fourth of July parade. I can’t wait!

Do you do things together to refresh as a family? I would love to hear about it!

My Goliath

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Ever felt like your back was up against the wall? This week, I’d like to share a time with you when I just had to let go and give it to God.

My Goliath

My feet dangled off the examination table. My heart pounded rapidly as I anticipated the results. What’s going on with my body?

My doctor knocked on the door and entered.

“Well, Rebecca the reason why you are finding clumps of hair in your brush is because you have Alopecia. Its a type of hair loss which in your case is caused by stress. Also, the erratic breathing episode you experienced is an anxiety attack.”

“I wish there was more I could do to help. Get some rest and enjoy the rest of your day.”

Me too. Thank you.

Dazed, I reflected on my high tech management career. The past six months had been extremely challenging. I never expected my job to cause hair loss or anxiety.

In my fifteenth year at an inspection equipment manufacturer, I was assigned to a new director who was still worked an average of 60-80 per week at the age of 55. Upon his arrival, he moved his management team right next to his office. Now, a mere three feet separated my office from his.

Several times each day he would drop in unannounced requesting updates or reports which added to my already hectic schedule.

Is the Cycle Time Reduction Report done?” 

“Itll be finished by close of business today, as promised.”

Once Randy and I started our family and moved to the outskirts of Silicon Valley, I reduced my weekly hours from 60 to 45 due to the van pool I joined.  It left my work at 5:00pm on the dot. If I missed it, I didn’t have a ride home. When it came time to leave, my director often followed me out to the van giving me further tasks to do that were often due the next morning.

“Rebecca, I purchased a laptop for you. It will allow you to generate necessary reports on your way to and from work. In fact, your ISO 9000 audit results are due by noon tomorrow.

“I’ll give it my best shot.”

That night, after we tucked our children into bed, Randy asked, “Hon, do you want to watch a movie?”

“Sorry, Love, my boss wants this report done ASAP. Can I take a rain check?”

The following Sunday, my director called my pager.

“Rebecca, I am here at the office, and wanted to confirm the system will ship on schedule tomorrow.”

“Yes, I have my team working overtime this weekend. Itll ship on time. I need to go, because our church service is starting.”

On the ride home, I shared with husband my work concerns.

“I feel like David battling Goliath.

He grabbed my hand. “Lately, Ive been finding your hair on our bathroom floor. I want you to see your doctor right away.”

When we arrived home, I scheduled a physical. That’s how my exam came about.

Two days later, I picked-up my daughter from AWANAS, a Christian play group. She told me all about her study of David and Goliath. She even handed me a completed color book picture.

Interesting. 

The next day, I hung her drawing on my office wall as a reminder the battle is His.

The following Sunday, I pickedup my son from his Bible study class.

“Mom, guess what we studied today? David and Goliath.”

Coincidence? I think not.

On our way home, my director paged me again.

“Rebecca, I know you are at church, but I need you to help the materials team count our inventory today.”

After the service ended, I drove straight to work with my children in tow. They played for a few hours in my office while I verified parts.

The next Sunday, our pastor’s sermon was on, you guessed it, David and Goliath.

Okay, Lord I see a pattern here.

That night, I knelt down and prayed “God, please help me. I can’t work like this anymore.” From that point on, I believed the Lord would either change my circumstances or give me the grace to go through it.

A couple weeks later, after an uninterrupted weekend, our vice-president of operations informed us that the new director was no longer with our group. Praise God! He slayed my Goliath. 

…For the battle is the Lord’s… (1 Samuel 17:47)

Have you experienced an interruption to your family life you had to surrender to the Lord? If so, please share with us.

Mano-a-Mano

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Do you ever date your children? In other words, do you take your kids out one on one aka mano-a-mono? This week, while my husband  and daughter attended a Dads-Daughter retreat, our son and I spent quality time together. We explored our neighboring community; San Jose, California. While, we were together, I realized there are three things we can do “date” our children.

  1. Be Purposeful – Our busy schedules challenge us to take time to play. We love to do things as a family such as camping, walking, hiking, etc.! So, for me, I must be purposeful in planning time alone time with each of my children. 20160422_182514-1
  2. Let them Pick – As a parent, it’s easy for me to plan my children’s events. This time, I asked Austin, “What would you like to do?” In my mind, I had a specific restaurant I like to frequent. However, I let him choose where we ate. Guess what? He picked the very one I love! Here we are pictured at Kianti’s Italian Restaurant in downtown Santa Cruz, California. The next day, I was thinking of taking Austin fishing at our local lake that opened up after three years of drought. However, he chose to explore my old stomping grounds in San Jose. Unlike me who grew up on a PC, he grew up on Apple products at school and owns an Iphone. He asked is we could tour the Apple campus. Here he is in front of the beautiful building located in Cupertino, California. Although, the offices were closed, to our surprise, their store out front was open. We window shopped and saw their watches, mac books, beats headphones, tv, and souvenirs. 20160423_114812_resized
  3. Be Present – Often, we can get sidetracked by phone calls, e-mails, texts, etc. Austin wanted to play put put golf. While we played, I noticed another mom working on her Ipad the entire time. The saying, “They are only little for a short time” is so true. So, I personally savored every minute with my teenager, because I know in in 5 short years he’ll be off to college! Enjoy your children, because they are a gift from God. – Psalm 127:320160423_131604_resizedDo you take your son or daughter out one on one? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to share…

Guest Blog by Claire McGarry

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Claire McGarry is a mom of three young children, and the founder of MOSAIC of Faith: a ministry through which she offers evening retreats and monthly faith sharing groups for moms, a children’s service project group, and a weekly mommy-and-me program. She posts weekly at “Shifting My Perspective,” where she writes about how Scripture always challenges her to grow and learn from the issues in her motherhood, and life in general, so she can see the gifts in their hands. You can visit her blog at www.shiftingmyperspective.com. Please welcome Claire!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Rehearsing The Right Response

All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

My nine year old son Mason had his first speaking role ever in our church’s Christmas pageant this year. He played Joseph, and had quite a few lines. Having done theatre in college, I know that nervousness can cause your mind to go blank while performing. I explained to Mason that he needed to know his lines forwards and backwards, so no matter how nervous he got, he’d remember what to say and when.

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It occurred to me that I parent my kids the same way I coached Mason for the pageant: making them rehearse the right response to each situation over and over again. Every time any one of them loses their cool, breaks a rule, or is unkind, I have them take some time away to calm down. Then we have a little chat.

First, I ask them to tell me (and not vice versa) what they did wrong. Kids are smart. They know when they’ve misbehaved. My kids don’t need me to point out the error of their ways. Instead, having them put their mistakes into words forces them to take ownership of their actions.

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Second, I have them tell me what an appropriate response would have been. Occasionally I do have to help them brainstorm the different options. But most times they know what the right responses are, sometimes they just choose not to make them. Having them verbalize the different options they could have taken not only reminds them that there are numerous ways to solve any given problem, it also gives them an opportunity to redeem themselves. Not only do they get to rewrite the script of what just happened, they get to see how the new ending plays out so much better than the first.

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Third, not only do they have to apologize to me, but they have to apologize to whomever they hurt in the process. It is important they own their mistakes. However, apologizing is how they make things right.

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Lastly, I have them rehearse the right response. I literally have my kids role-play the scenario leading up to the problem, but then act out the right response instead. They say “practice makes perfect.” It is this process that imprints the right choice on their brains so that, hopefully the next time, when their emotions are running high, they remember what they rehearsed and follow through with a good choice. If I skip this part of the process, my kids are inclined to remember the punishment, not the problem solving and feeling of empowerment that I want them to remember.

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Fortunately Mason was well rehearsed and delivered every one of his lines perfectly. And with each passing year that my kids rehearse the right response, there is less and less fighting in my household, and more overall good behavior. They are so proud of their own practice and progress, and without a doubt, so am I!

How do you teach your child(ren) how to respond to life’s mishaps?

A New Year

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

Staircase at Manresa Beach, California

It’s a New Year! May it be a happy one! It’s a time of reflection of 2015 and to plan for 2016.

I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions; never have. Is that weird? Altough, this year, I’ve decided to give it a try. I am resolved to explore and play more with my family.

During our holiday break, we took the kids to visit some local attractions for which I’ve shared some photos today. For instance, the staircase at Manresa Beach (above) is only 30 minutes from our home, but I haven’t walked them since I was a little girl. It was fun to visit with my now thirteen-year-old son and eleven-year-old daughter, and share some of my childhood experiences with them.

Just a few miles down the road, the topography changes rocky cliffs to sandy dunes at Sunset Beach (below) where we walked one mile + to gather sand dollars and seashells. Simple pleasures!

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

Walkway at Sunset Beach, California

The stairs are a visual reminder that life is like a path; sometimes steep, sometimes leading upwards and sometimes down. Although, we don’t always see where it may lead, our walk is filled with adventures along the way.

Through it all, the journey is worth every step when you get a glimpse of God’s gifts in your life such as the approaching sunset (below).

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I love the Bible verse in Isaiah 43:19 – See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

My hope is that our family’s exploration and yours this year will create lasting memories…

Blessings, Rebecca

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions you’d like to share with us? If so, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment below.

Guest Blog by Tracey Clayton

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As we wrap up 2015, I’d like to wish you and yours happiness in the New Year!

This week, my guest blog writer is Tracey Clayton. She is a full-time mom of three girls. Tracey loves to cook, bake, sew and spend quality time with her daughters. She’s passionate  about writing, and her motto is “Live the life you love, love the life you live.” You can follow her on Facebook. Please welcome Tracey!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Things that the kids can learn from their surroundings

The child’s environment plays an important role in his/her education. Parents should make every effort to ensure that this environment does not bring negative effects to the child, and they must make a great effort to guide their child to the right track.

Parents are the role models

As the child’s immediate environment is the family, it is inevitable that the child takes the characteristics of his/her parents. Therefore, parents should be careful about how they treat their children; it is not strange if children become mean or very aggressive if parents show identical behavior in front of them. Parents need to have a healthy attitude towards a situation that presents itself. If a problem occurs, for example, they must be able to show the resolve or at least seem to have courage to overcome it. As parents are the role models for their children, kids often simply copy the look and behavior.

Peer pressure

Apart from education provided by the parents, the children also receive education in their immediate environment, the most important thing being school. The relationship with teachers and peers has an effect on children’s education. Children often tend to follow what their friends do.

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The importance of games

Play is essential to the child especially in early years. Combining learning and entertainment is an interesting concept involving the game. Through play, the children are not subjected to any pressure and progress at their own pace. It contributes significantly to the motor development in the simplest possible way. This is also a way to develop communication between children and parents. When they play pretend, children understand the world by trying things they have learned and they have seen, and reflecting their impressions. Just looking at my girls play, I could learn a lot about what they feel and think.

Games with rules

At about time they start school, children start to play games governed by rules, which they must comply. This encourages them to use strategies, logic and their moral judgment. Board games, card games and team sports all involve rules. They help children to learn to play in turn, negotiate, solve problems and get along with others.

Useful toys

Toys are an essential part of education, proper development and education in a child’s life. Apart from getting my kids toys that are appropriate for their age and stimulate learning, I also allowed them to play with different household items such as pots and magnets, and I even got them a Zado rug, with alphabet, so that they could subconsciously learn while playing.

The influence of technology

It is certain that the development of technology significantly changed the role of parents. It was really hard for me to comprehend that something that was not part of my growing up, is now an integral part of childhood for my children. However, regardless of all the technological wonders that surround us – the kids are still kids! That is, while kids acquire certain skills through games, mobile phones and computers as they grow up, playing with a ball, riding a bike, and other small, everyday activities, precisely at the appropriate age and in an appropriate manner – will not be able to get compensation later. Your participation as a parent is of paramount importance, much to the benefit and satisfaction of both you and your child.

The positive education demands patience because the child does not adhere very quickly to change. Parents must accompany the children and encourage them, providing everything necessary for the proper development while taking care of children’s immediate surroundings.

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Tumbleweeds

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Christmas 1978 (Me, Mom and my brother Greg)

As Christmas approaches, I’m so excited to participate in the  Christmas Blog Tour hosted by Blogs by Christian Women (BCW). If you’d like to follow along, the next stop on our tour is at Niki Roberts blog on 12/7.

Blessings, Rebecca

Tumbleweeds

Family traditions were important to my Mother. She was one of nine children who grew up in a family steeped in rituals. She hoped to create her own family traditions which she did despite my parents divorce when I was six-years-old.

At times, she held two jobs or sold catalog products to make ends meet. We had a roof over our heads, food in our bellies and clothes on our backs. For that  I am forever grateful.

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My Mom, Georgia

The first year was especially tough. I remember going to the grocery store to purchase groceries with food stamps. I pondered in my heart why we didn’t use cash like other families.

Next to Easter, my Mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas. She loved the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus and wrapping presents.

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We lived in an apartment complex. One day, while walking past my neighbor’s door, their tree lights shimmered and the scent of fresh pine filled the air. I ran home, “When can we get a tree, Mom?”

“Next weekend,” she said.

I was so excited that I could barely contain myself.

That Saturday, we jumped in our Plymouth Belvedere and drove to nearby railroad tracks. We hopped out and started walking, “Where are we going?”

“We’re hunting for a Christmas tree sweetheart.” She grabbed a scraggly bush, “Here’s one. Help me find two more Becky.”

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I asked her, “What’s that in your hand?”

“It’s a tumbleweed,” she replied.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew several more past me and I ran as fast as I could to catch them.

When we arrived home, she stacked one on top of the other and spray painted them gold. Sparkly!

“There, all done,” she said.

Afterwards, we popped some corn and carefully placed each kernel on a string. Before long, we had our first handmade decoration.

That night, as I laid in bed , I heard her sobbing. I crept into her room, “What’s the matter Mama?”

“Nothing Honey. I’m just a little sad; that’s all. You see, I want to get you and your brother some Christmas gifts this year, but I don’t have a lot of money.”

“It’s okay Mom. We don’t need anything. Please don’t cry.”

Two weeks later, Christmas arrived. To my surprise, there were beautifully wrapped boxes under our tree. “Eeee! Did Santa bring us all these presents,” I squealed.

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“Yes, he did,” she beamed.

I gingerly opened the first one, savoring each tare of the pretty paper,  “I’ve always wanted this record!” Next, came a Shirley Temple color book and sharp new crayons. Then, a pair of rainbow colored socks. Finally, a tin of delicious Almond Roca candy.

I later discovered she worked overtime to purchase our gifts. That Christmas, my Mom taught me a valuable lesson of sacraficial love.

A few years ago, my husband and I found ourselves in a similar situation unable to buy a Christmas tree for our two young children.

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Randy, Rebecca, Austin and Alicia Christmas 2010

Two weeks before Christmas a friend from church, asked, “Did you get your Christmas tree yet?”

Sheepishly, I said, “Not yet. We can’t afford one.”

The following day, Lynda showed up at our home with a brand new six foot artificial tree. “Now, you’ll always have a tree for your kids.”

My voice cracked, “I don’t know what to say. Thank you so much.”

Christmas arrived and our children ran to see our tree just like I did when I was a child. They looked at their presents and were astonished,  “Wow! Did Santa give us all these gifts?”

“Yes, he did,” I said beaming.

Christmas is a very special holiday season. I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions. Feel free to comment below.

Guest Blog by Kathleen Crane

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Have you ever struggled getting your toddler to clean up his/her mess? This week, my guest blogger, Kathleen Crane shares her ideas on getting toddlers to clean up their toys.

Kathleen is professionally experienced in the field of home improvement. She loves to write and share her thoughts with the readers. Please welcome Kathleen!

Blessings, Rebecca

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Toy troubles: My Toddler Won’t Help Clean up

Encouraging your toddler to take part in the cleaning process requires more efforts than you can imagine. Normally, toddlers are not keen on arranging of their toys and rooms and that is why parents will meet a lot of difficulties when involving the toddlers in the basic tasks..

Surely, you need to dedicate a lot of your free time if you want to explain to toddlers why they need to clean up after themselves. Starting with the arranging of the toys is the most appropriate decision as kids spend a great part of their time playing with their favourite toys.

If you want to teach the toddlers how to preserve the immaculate condition of their toys for a longer time, you need to keep in mind certain rules. Thanks to this piece of article you will find decision to a wide range of problems that concern the involving of toddlers into some basic household duties, and especially into the activities that include the arranging of the toys.

toddlerHere are some tips from HireHouseCleaners SW9 to take into account:

Set Definite Rules 

No matter how much you want to help the toddlers, let them try to manage with the situation in their own way. If you tell them to pick up the toys and to place them in the basket, instead of leaving them spread around the room, you, make sure that they will understand your request correctly. Do not pick the toys instead of them and do not pretend that nothing has happened. Being positive is a good thing, but toddlers need to understand from an early age that it is up to them to keep their toys clean and unbroken.

Encourage The Toddlers To Help With the Cleaning of The Toys

As you can imagine, toddlers won’t be able to provide perfect cleaning of the toys but they can at least help you in this activity. Explain them that toys should be cleaned on a regular basis and that they should give you a helping hand because it comes to their own toys. Most of the toys could be effectively cleaned with a clean cloth and with a solution of warm water and some liquid soap. Demonstrate the toddlers how they can provide a simple cleaning – you will be amazed how well they will cope with the task as long as you are patient enough to explain them everything in details.

Be Ready For Compromises 

Toddlers do not like being told what to do and they will probably accept the new rules as a challenge. Unfortunately they usually try to oppose to your opinion so you need to be ready for certain compromises. For instance, in case the toddler refuses to clean the toys, you can at least teach him how to arrange the toys in the basket in a more interesting way. Take it slowly and you will see that toddlers will gradually accept most of the new rules that concern them.

Regardless of the cleaning rules that you apply, do not forget that your approach is very essential. You need to have a strong bond with the toddlers, otherwise you won’t succeed in teaching them of some basic habits. Be patient and tolerant and start with simple cleaning task. Make sure that you praise the toddlers for their efforts and that you communicate with them in a calm way. Educating children is certainly a difficult task but when you are determined to accept the challenge, you will be able to teach the kids how to be more organized and responsible towards their duties.