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This week I thought I would ask my children what are the top three things they look for in a mother. In my mind, I thought something like fun to be with or cool. However, some of what they wrote down on a sheet of paper took me by surprise.

My 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, wrote:

  1. Covering – “a thing used to cover something else, typically in order to protect or conceal it.” Alicia looks to me as her protection. Come to think of it, I see her point. Especially in middle school, there are some not so kind girls on campus pestering students. Often at the end of the day, she shares her concerns and we discuss what’s her part in avoiding the drama and how to protect herself.
  2. Loving – “feeling or showing love or great care.” This topic I expected to see, because everyone wants to be loved. My parents didn’t grow up in an era of expressive emotions. As a result, they didn’t outwardly express love to me or my brother. I purposefully tell my kids I love them, hug em’ and kiss em’ frequently to ensure they know they are loved.
  3. Faithful – ” constant, loyal imply qualities of stability, dependability, and devotion.” Interestingly, she selected faithfulness as a top priority. I believe security is important to her. Perhaps it is due to her growing up in a world where terrorist attacks, school shootings, etc. are ever increasing. It must be settling to be able to come home to stability.

My 14-year-old son, Austin, wrote:

  1. Loving –  “feeling or showing love or great care.” So, for him, love is number one. There is an unique bond between son and mother. I purposely love on him and pray that he will love the women in his life.
  2. Supportive – “providing encouragement or emotional help.” As a mom, I support both of my children in all their activities such as academics, sports, friendships, etc. One thing I enjoy is helping him with his homework. It’s quiet one on one time of teaching and learning.
  3. Positive – “a good, affirmative, or constructive quality or attribute.” This characteristic surprised me. It’s a good reminder about the importance of affirmation to our children. I am purposeful to congratulate my kids on accomplishments such as good grades or basketball game, etc.

So, I’ve shared three important motherly characteristics with you. I encourage you to ask your child(ren) “What top 3 things do you want in a Mother?” If you do, and would like to share with us, please do!

 

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?

Guest Blog by Claire Brighten

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I met Claire a few years ago when she visited Kidz Korner, our community children’s clothing exchange. She is a gentle and sweet woman, wife, mom and awesome photographer! I asked her to share her thoughts on parenting. She writes about her ups and downs with infertility/motherhood.

Sprinkled throughout her post, you will see my family pictures she recently photographed at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park in Felton, California. We won her Rainbow Child Photography contest, because we too experienced the lost of a child between our son and daughter. I learned that our daughter Alicia is our Rainbow Child. What a blessing this gift was as we hadn’t taken a family portrait for ten years! Please welcome Claire Brighten!

Blessings, Rebecca

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My experience with motherhood was years in the making – first in biding my time while my husband finished college and searched for his first job, then we learned my body wasn’t ready. Over the course of three years, I had two miscarriages, with months of infertility between pregnancies. I spent months seeing specialists at a fertility clinic, then months going to acupuncture. After my second loss, I gave up and actively tried not to get pregnant. Then we bought a house and moved to a new city and unintentionally became pregnant, and somehow, by some miracle and some focused work on my part on my diet and stress management, I was able to carry my son to term.

So my path to motherhood was a journey indeed.

The loss of a child really helps to put any living children’s minor infractions into perspective. I remind myself often how important my son is, not as a way of letting him off the hook – we deal with his missteps and poor choices as best we are able – but as a way of remembering that these moments are fleeting. Life is fleeting. My son is already somehow 3 years old. I will blink and he will be 5, then 10, then 14, then a full-grown adult. These challenges are ultimately small and the larger picture is that I am grateful for his existence.

But that doesn’t mean I am not frustrated. Often. Motherhood is a task of self-study. Our reactions and interactions are shaping our relationships with our children and their relationships with the world. And we have to look at ourselves constantly – to be more attentive, to be calmer, to be more patient, to be sillier, to be firmer or more lax, to be, in general, the bigger person. And this is challenging – a challenge to ourselves to grow as our children are teaching us about ourselves. And a challenge to fight that internal battle to hold strong even when they are pushing every single button possible – and even some we didn’t know existed.

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My son is 3. The “terrible twos” did not exist for us, but the “threenager” stage is in full effect. He talks back. He yells “Stooooopppp!” when we are at the grocery store and I am reminding him to keep his hands in the cart and instead ask questions about what he sees. He wants to do everything himself and thinks he knows best. He does not want to be told what to do. This is by far the most I have been challenged as his mother.

I am on my journey of motherhood and I hear that little voice inside me, remembering how precious this being is to our lives, for the rest of our lives. Today is a challenge. Tomorrow will be a challenge. There will always be a challenge. But I have overcome many just to share in shaping this tiny person’s life – and he mine. He is 3. He gives kisses freely. He wants to hold my hand and run together. He loves to sit with me while I read him books. He finds wonder and excitement in so much of the world around him. At the end of the day, the joys outweigh the challenges. And I will forever be grateful and honored to hold the title of “Mom.”

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Miscarriage: The Loss of our Baby

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The Ultrasound Technicians slowly moved her wand through the warm gel along my lower abdomen. I watched her face desperately searching for a ray of hope. She turned off the equipment, “I’m sorry Mrs. Krusee, but your baby’s heart is no longer beating.” Water filled my eyes, What! This can’t be happening…I’m only five weeks along!

On my ride home, my mind rehearsed the devastating report. I reflected on the fact we married later in life at age 35, had our son Austin at 36, and tried for over a year to conceive this baby at age 39. My heart sunk!

I shared the crushing news with my husband Randy. We cried, knelt at our bedside and prayed for God to heal our broken hearts, and to bless us with another child.

My doctor suggested I rest my body for 30 days before trying again. I did, and to our surprise the following month, we discovered we were pregnant!

Nine months later, we welcomed our precious daughter Alicia.

Recently, a friend taught me the baby following a miscarriage is called a “Rainbow Child.” I like that analogy of something beautiful following a storm, because she definitely fills our lives with color. Also, I have hope and look forward to meeting our baby in Heaven some day.

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For those of you who have also suffered the loss of a child or struggle with fertility, I want to extend my sympathy to you. I empathize with your inexplicable pain, and pray you find comfort in the loving arms of God during your difficult time.

Blessings, Rebecca

PS

Now available in paperback!

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Resonate Blog

I wanted to share another resource for parenting and children. It is Twin Lakes Church Resonate Blog which hosts authors with diverse backgrounds and experiences who share their encouraging stories.

This week my previous guest blog author, Barbara Taylor, shared her heart-wrenching story about a time her twelve-year-old son decided he wanted to live with dad. Read more to find out what happened a dozen years later.

Motherhood Interrupted

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