The Spelling Bee

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scheicher / stock.xchng

One of the 25 questions from the Haphazard Hop sparked a childhood memory…

 

It was second grade, Mrs. Palmeri’s classroom and it was time for us to compete in a spelling bee. The rules were simple, the entire class lined up at the front of the classroom. When it was our turn we got our word and spelled it. If we got it wrong we sat down. If we spelled our word correctly, we went to the back of the line to spell another round.

 

I would like to blame my tender age for my problem that day, but I cannot. It was pure curiosity and stubbornness. I also blame the chalkboard tray and my mother.

 

Not long before that particular day my mom had mentioned that Tums were basically a chalk for indigestion. (Can you see where this is going?)

 

With my innocence, when I heard my mom refer to Tums as chalk, I immediately associated the fruity-flavored antacid tablets with the chalk Mrs. Palmeri used every day to try to pound knowledge into my brain.

 

While my normal activity around the classroom did not bring me into close contact with the chalkboard, the spelling bee – that was a different story.

 

I clearly remember going several rounds of the spelling bee trying to decide if I had the gumption to take a bite of the chalk sitting innocently in the chalkboard tray. I was certain the white chalk stick would taste like peppermint – or perhaps spearmint.

 

Should I try to nibble on the chalk inside the nifty metal container? Or eat and entire small chunk of loose chalk along the board? Would I get in trouble? What if Mrs. Palmeri liked to eat her chalk, too, and she noticed I’d snagged her snack?

 

There were about four students left in front of the chalkboard in the spelling bee when I realized it was do or die time. Fellow students were dropping like flies and all those kids sitting in their miniature desks and chairs would notice me munching on something if I didn’t move quickly.

 

So… I jumped on it. I grasped a small chunk of chalk in my sweaty hand.

 

I spelled my word correctly and went to the end of the line.

 

I smooshed the chalk into my mouth and chomped as quickly, thoroughly, as possible.

 

It did not taste like peppermint.

 

Not even a little bit. What a mean trick to play on a kid!

 

My disappointment was audible; I missed the next spelling word and sat down at my desk with my head hung low and my mouth foaming. I couldn’t ask for a drink of water because then I would have to admit to Mrs. Palmeri what I had done.

 

It was rough, my friends. Rough. Such a sad day.

 

I’m pretty sure this is why I still have trouble spelling “their” and “weird.”Or maybe I just never really embraced the whole “i after e except after c and in 63 other exceptions to the rule.”

 

What’s the strangest thing you ate as a kid?

 

This post was originally published March 15, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Crazy Courageous

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I spent the morning teaching facts about Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Confucius, and Eastern Asia to a classroom of wiggly preschoolers.

 

We set our facts to music and sang our hearts out. Right about the time I committed to some, “ooo, ooo, ooo’s,” waving my arms in the air, I caught sight of one of the parents giving me the look. 

 

That parent wasn’t trying to embarrass me or derail me in any way. It was just a look they had that said, “I’m so glad that’s her, not me!”
My commitment and courage wilted. My internalized criticism took flight! I felt dumb. I wanted to stop the class right then and there.

 

I needed to get over it.

 

It’s easy to feel foolish and stop moving toward your calling because peers think you’re strange.

 

Even middle-aged parents succumb to peer pressure! Yet even more powerful than peer pressure is the dialogue in our heads

 

Consider Henri Nouwen’s words:

“I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection… When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.”… Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

 

We all know the mantra about “being yourself.” Today I’m asking you to embrace that idea and courageously stand up as a leader. I bet you’re pluckier than you think!

 

Question: Are you courageous? Are you willing to face the obstacles and move forward in spite of the fear that may try to well up within you? Be courageous and you will succeed!

 

This post was originally published October 26, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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3 Things I’ve Learned from My Dad

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doriana_s / stock.xchng

I’ve been able to share a few things about my mom that were practical and insightful. Today I’ll share some wit and wisdom I learned from my dad.

 

My dad is kind, intelligent and possesses a great sense of humor. Even though he is of a generation where the women weren’t regularly in leadership, he has always been my sister and my greatest advocate and spur us on to excellence in whatever we do.

 

He’s from Georgia and I can’t think of him talking without hearing his southern drawl, so add a little southern comfort to your thoughts as you’re reading just three of the many things he’s taught me over the years.

 

1. Fertilizer in your shoes won’t make you grow. When I was about seven years old I had a friend spend the night who was small in stature. We were teasing her about it over breakfast and my dad told her she should put fertilizer in her shoes to help her grow. The kids weren’t clear on the definition of fertilizer so he explained that rabbit manure was a type of fertilizer. Later that morning I found my friend filling her shoes with bunny berries. Life lesson learned – even if there’s a reasonable explanation… if it’s literal or figurative poop, you don’t want to wallow in it.

 

2. The Dreaded Oak Disease… Isn’t. One day I was playing on a fallen oak tree and ended up with a rash. I ran to my dad and uncle to show them my problem and they told me, in seriousness, that I had The Dreaded Oak Disease and would die from it within a few minutes. They told me to go apologize to my mom for anything I’d done wrong and tell my sister I loved her. It was a troubling experience – and a complete spoof. Two realities from that story? Most of us assume The Dreaded Oak Disease in the midst of life problems but usually someone’s spoofing or over-reacting; disaster is not the only outcome. Also, take the time to always mend your fences and tell people you love them – our lives are fragile and could end in the next few minutes!

 

3. Candy corn and driving fix everything. When I was a child my dad had an excavation business so we often took drives to get a load of gravel in his dump truck. We’d rumble along in the huge tuck and my dad would reach over to offer me forbidden treats – candy corn! – while we talked about life. Sometimes being able to sit side-by-side and talk (or not talk) and just BE is a special treat. Sweetness helps, too.

 

Are there any special life lessons you’ve learned from your dad?

 

This post was originally published March 17, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Chuck Right Up

Kracker Images / compfight.com

I just stepped in dog vomit with my bare foot.

 

I know it belonged to a poodle, but I’m not sure which one. The truth is, if it belonged to the Great Dane I would have been in vomit up to my knee, rather than just hopping around in disgust because I have a small amount of regurgitated dog chow stuck to my arch.

 

It’s one of those moments where I wonder if owning a dog has any value, whatsoever.

 

But, in honor of the nastiness of my most recent experience, I’d like to invite you to the knowledgable underbelly of burping solids. With no further ado, some little-known facts about… puke:

 

1. Dog puke made it’s way into the Bible. Yes, it’s true. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11) And, yes, this is a phrase my mom shared with me as a kid, warning me not to play boomerang romance. If I broke up with someone once, and then got back together with them, in her opinion I was as smart as a dog eating it’s leftover stomach chunks. Powerful imaging that has served me well over the years.

 

2. When in danger, the sea cucumber may eject its entire digestive tract. (The animal is able to re-grow another one.) I’m not sure of the benefit of this as a survival technique. Is the predator suddenly frightened of the mess? “Oh, no, that’s one messed up sea cucumber… I’ll leave that one for a carp.” I don’t know. But I remain pleased my children can only eject the contents of their digestive track on command, rather than their entire fleshy organ.

 

3. In ancient Roman times, houses contained “vomitoriums.” Yep. A whole room of the home designed to allow your guests to feast until they puked, then they’d feast some more. Why wasn’t Rome built in a day? Because they needed space to blow chunks, and that… that’s a true art form that takes time to digest.

 

4. On New Year’s Eve, 1998, vomit vigilantes (euphemistically called “Clean Teams”) were dispatched throughout New York City’s Grand Central Station. They were supposed to thrust a bag under the chin of anyone who seemed to be ready to throw up. Who volunteers for this kind of community service? Seriously?! You can choose to, oh, spend time reading to the elderly in a nursing home, or — hey! better yet! — prowl the public transportation depot looking for someone getting ready to yak. Hm… hard choice, Alex, but I guess I’ll take bile.

 

5. Vomit looks like what you ate shortly after consumption. If it’s soupy, it’s been in your stomach for a while. That answers a question I’ve had ever since I puked beside the road while pregnant with Dos. (Remember? It’s the story of Uno and the Poopy Feast.) That production was NOT soupy. It strongly resembled the nacho cheese Doritos I’d been snacking upon on my journey. Ug. Just thinking of that makes me nauseous once more.

 

6. Many children can vomit at will, and some child psychologists say the best way to stop a child from doing this for attention is to make the child eat it afterward. Ooo-wee! Most parents won’t even publicly admit to spanking these days! I guarantee, if I made my kid eat their own vomit — even upon the recommendation of a medical professional — that would be a secret I’d take to the grave.

 

7. Hurl is green from bile rising from the intestines. Barf tastes bad because it is ½ acid and ½ partially digested food. On a related note, vomiting Tums also tastes badly.

 

8. Some species of frog will vomit up their entire stomach. Once their stomach is projecting from their mouth, they use their forelegs to ‘clean’ it and then it is reinserted. Proof frogs and sea cucumbers are somehow related. Perhaps from the genus stomachia ralphemus?

 

9. Some teenagers report having “scarf-and-barf” parties. It’s not quite like a bulimic bachelor party—where instead of a girl coming out of a cake, the cake comes out of the girl—but crazy kids get together, binge on their favorite fattening foods, and then go to the bathroom and throw it all up. I can think of better ways to bond. I mean, usually teens take advantage of this activity only after a night on the town or across the border in a small Mexican town serving 25¢ tequila shots. Or so I’ve heard.

 

10. Rats and guinea pigs can’t vomit. These rodents can’t vomit or burp because of a wall between their two stomachs and an inability to control their diaphragm muscles. If only they could sing opera… I bet they’d learn to control the diaphragm muscles if they could harness those squeaks. We had a guinea pig once. When it heard the refrigerator door open it would go berserk with wheezy howls for lettuce. I never liked that guinea pig much… but I never knew it couldn’t fling its food until now.

 

And, a joke as the grand finale: Two vomits are walking down the street. Suddenly one begins to cry. “What’s wrong?” asks the other. “Oh nothing… it’s just that this is where l was brought up.”

 

Hope you haven’t had to worship the porcelain god as a result of this post. Our carpet is in need of cleaning if you’re interested in volunteering your services. Do you have any vomit stories that would make us laugh? I’d love to hear!

 

*If you like this post, would you please share it with your “tribe” via email, facebook, twitter, etc.?*

 

This post was originally published April 20, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Octopus Testicles

Colossal Octopus by Pierre Denys de Montfort
Colossal Octopus by Pierre Denys de Montfort

I talked myself out of quitting homeschooling again today.

 

I quit homeschooling about twice a week. This is because my children do not sit obediently at little desks and look up at me with cherubic faces, begging to learn. Instead they do their work sprawled out on the sofa while bugging each other and there’s usually a younger sibling asking me for a snack, a drink, a potty time, etc. while I’m trying to explain the place value of numbers. It’s hectic!

 

When things get rough I go back to my original post about why we homeschool. Nothing has changed, but I wish this choice were easier! Since I have no compelling reason to challenge our original ideals, I love the curriculum we use with Classical Conversations, and I usually think my kids hung the moon after I’ve had a good night’s sleep, twice a week I tear up my resignation, put my big girl panties on, and stick around.

 

This week I’ve been analyzing the choice once again.

 

As you know, recently a car accident killed an acquaintance of ours and her children. Last month another family in our social circle lost their eight-year-old daughter in a boating accident.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about mortality, walking through the emotion of grief with these situations… and homeschooling came into play in my internal dialogue.

 

I’ve never been a “fire and brimstone” type of person – I don’t talk about life change based on the fear factor because I don’t believe we’re called to walk in fear and I also find fear to be a dirty motivator that doesn’t spawn lasting change.

 

But if, by a horrible circumstance, my children were killed in some way, I would be resentful of every moment I missed. I would hate that I didn’t see them read their first words, that I wasted the opportunity to know them in a moment-by-moment way.

 

Just this morning I was talking to Dos about Kraken, the mythological giant octopus that sailors of old used as spooky stories. We talked about fiction and myths and about the octopus of today. She thought about it and said:

“Mommy! An Octopus can be as big as the ceiling? Bigger than me?!”

“Yep, very big!” I assured her. It was a proud educational moment.

She got a look of shock on her face and said, “Oh! So I could get died from its mighty testicles?!”

“That’s tentacles, my dear,” I said. Proud moment… destroyed.

 

I will laugh about octopus testicles for the rest of my life! But if I had been rushing her out the door this morning with her lunch box and school bag… I would have missed it.

 

I believe our kids are a gift from God that are our responsibility to steward. It’s my job as a mom to satisfy their physical needs of food, housing, clothing, cleanliness. But it’s my privilege as a parent to meet their intellectual and emotional needs so that when the time comes they can be released into this world capable of functioning in a mature, well-versed and useful manner.

 

There is very little about the role of a mother that is easy. I would many times prefer to be back in my professional life because the lines aren’t so blurry and I’d work with people who already have a skill set as a functioning adult. (And don’t cry when I tell them no or ask me to wipe their behinds.)

 

But I don’t want to miss this. I don’t want to miss the octopus testicles. I want to be present at more than breakfast and bedtime, to live the process instead of witness only the end of the year performance.

 

My definition of motherhood may not work for anyone else – and that’s fine because it really only needs to fit me. But, for me, some things are more important than my preference or convenience. I choose attentiveness to those things for as long as this season lasts.

 

This post was originally published May 17, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

A Fable: The Tortoise and the Scorpion

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“The scorpion was hamstrung, his tail all aquiver;

just how would he manage to get across the river?

“The water’s so deep,” he observed with a sigh,

which pricked at the ears of the tortoise nearby.

“Well why don’t you swim?” asked the slow-moving fellow,

“unless you’re afraid. I mean, what are you, yellow?”

“It isn’t a matter of fear or of whim,”

said the scorpion, “but that I don’t know how to swim.”

“Ah, forgive me. I didn’t mean to be glib when

I said that. I figured you were an amphibian.”

“No offense taken,” the scorpion replied,

“but how about you help me to reach the far side?

You swim like a dream, and you have what I lack.

Let’s say you take me across on your back?”

“I’m really not sure that’s the best thing to do,”

said the tortoise, “now that I see that it’s you.

You’ve a less than ideal reputation preceding:

there’s talk of your victims all poisoned and bleeding.

You’re the scorpion — and how can I say this — but, well,

I just don’t feel safe with you riding my shell.”

The scorpion replied, “What would killing you prove?

We’d both drown, so tell me: how would that behoove

me to basically die at my very own hand

when all I desire is to be on dry land?”

The tortoise considered the scorpion’s defense.

When he gave it some thought, it made perfect sense.

The niggling voice in his mind he ignored,

and he swam to the bank and called out: “Climb aboard!”

But just a few moments from when they set sail,

the scorpion lashed out with his venomous tail.

The tortoise too late understood that he’d blundered

when he felt his flesh stabbed and his carapace sundered.

As he fought for his life, he said, “tell me why

you have done this! For now we will surely both die!”

“I don’t know!” cried the scorpion. “You never should trust

a creature like me because poison I must!

I’d claim some remorse or at least some compunction,

but I just can’t help it; my form is my function.

You thought I’d behave like my cousin, the crab,

but unlike him, it is but my nature to stab.”

The tortoise expired with one final quiver.

And then both of them sank, swallowed up by the river.

The tortoise was wrong to ignore all his doubts —

because in the end, friends, our natures wins out.”

  As read by the author, David Rakoff, on “This American Life”, produced at WBEZ in Chicago, originally aired on 9/11/2009.

 

I assume everyone knows this fable – yet an offhand comment today made it clear no one in the room knew what I was talking about when I said, “It’s in their nature to be stinky, just like the scorpion!”

 

After getting a bunch of blank stares and having to explain myself again, I came home and decided it was time to make sure anyone reading Stealing Faith would know the story! (I find it to be an exceptionally lovely image of organizational politics. Ha!)

 

Do you have your own environment when “it’s in my nature” seems to be the best explanation for bizarre behavior?

 

This post was originally published November 2, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Life is Not an Emergency

Life is not an emergency. Even if your guts are made of slinkys. paaselland / stock.xchng
Life is not an emergency. Even if your guts are made of slinkys. paaselland / stock.xchng

They are laminated and on my wall, two printables from Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience.

 

I’m a reluctant Voskamp fan. If you’ve been reading this blog for oh, say, 10 minutes, you’ll note that our writing styles are wildly different and she is much more capable of deep thought on a regular basis than I! It’s that depth of character she has in her writing that brings me back, makes me chew on the thought, and ultimately changes my life.

 

If you haven’t read Voskamp’s book, 1,000 Gifts, I recommend you pick it up and put her suggestions into practice! This book literally changed my perspective on how to be thankful when I read it a year ago. It was through that book I found her website and the lists I have laminated and stuck to my wall above the antique secretary and below the chore chart.

 

10 Helps for Really Busy Moms and 10 Point Manifesto for Joyful Parenting. These are the two pages I will read on the days my brain isn’t clicking correctly and my temper is teetering out of control.

 

I’d like to share a few of these items with you, my take on what they look like in real life.

 

The first? Life is not an emergency. Life’s a gift. Just slow.

 

It’s incredibly difficult for me to sit still. I think I’ve always been this way – even my quiet, still times have been filled with speed-reading my way through a book.

 

This attitude tends to make me pretty productive, but it has also translated into an unhealthy habit — I get really frustrated when things don’t get done in an extremely efficient manner.

 

I view a lack of housekeeping mastery as a character flaw.

 

Being late for meetings is occasionally a cause to be frustrated to tears.

 

I’ve found myself being so task-oriented I don’t take the time to simply enjoy the simple things in life. I can be so focused on getting the next thing done I don’t stop to include the kids in the journey, leaving an exhausted, disconnected mama at the end of the day.

 

Why do I do this? Life is not an emergency.

 

Life is designed to be fully experienced. It’s not supposed to be lived with blazing red and blue lights and sirens. This daily breathing should not be a cause for stress.

 

I’m going to do my best to remember to Be Still. Breathe. Experience. Pray.

 

Do you find yourself rushing from one task to another as though it’s an emergency? What techniques do you use combat this attitude?

 

This post was originally published January 17, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

The Tired Mother’s Creed

robday / stock.xchng
robday / stock.xchng

“I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.”

 

I came across this credo about a year ago… then today as I am frantically going through my email to make sure I don’t miss anything before we leave for a Rabbit Road Trip  it popped up again. And it hit me at just the right spot so I wanted to share it with you!

 

Thank you to The Gypsy Mama, Lisa Jo Baker!

 

Repeat after me:

  1. I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.
  2. I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids
  3. I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.
  4. I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pajamas.
  5. I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.
  6. I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
  7. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.
  8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.
  9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.
  10. I shall promise to love this body that bore these three children – out loud, especially in front of my daughter.
  11. I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.
  12. I shall do my best to admit to my people my “unfine” moments.
  13. I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.
  14. I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.
  15. I shall make space in my grown up world for goofball moments with my kids.
  16. I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.
  17. I shall model kind words – to kids and grown-ups alike.
  18. I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.
  19. I shall always make time to encourage new moms.
  20. I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college.

~ with love from one tired mother to another.

 

This was originally printed on June 20, 2012 at LisaJoBaker.com

 

This post was originally published May 2, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Would You Rather…? 50+ Questions to Engage Your Kids

Mexican Jumping Beans
Mexican Jumping Beans

Last night we went to dinner to celebrate Father’s Day. In a restaurant. Yes, folks, we actually went into public with all of our children.

 

Since dinnertime at home typically resembles a case of Mexican Jumping Beans, I knew the smart move would be to prepare for the event. It took awhile, but I finally figured out what to do beside the traditional coloring pages:   Would you rather.

 

Yes, the game that, as college students, involved asking inappropriate, sometimes risqué questions where there’s really no good option but a choice must be made.

 

I tamed it down a bit for the youngsters and broke the questions out right after we ordered. It captured the attention of the 5-year-old and 7-year-old for the rest of the night, with the 3-year-old chiming in when she felt particularly inspired.

 

I’ve created a .pdf with more than 50 Would You Rather…? questions and you can get it right here: Would You Rather…? 50+ Questions to Engage Your Kids.   To whet your interest, Would You Rather…

  • Be forced to hop everywhere like a bunny or crawl like a slug?
  • Play Hungry, Hungry Hippos or tag as the only game for the rest of your life?
  • Put your hands in vomit or poop?
  • Be blind or deaf?
  • Be a giant hamster or tiny rhino?

 

Grab the whole list by clicking here and hitting print!

 

This post was originally published June 17, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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If you like this post, feel free to share it (with attribution).
Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

50 Ways to Invest in a Child

 

lusl / stock.xchng
lusl / stock.xchng

There are some days that are parenting slam dunks and others… well, they won’t ever be recorded in the Parenting Hall of Fame!

 

I’ve decided all families have their ups and downs and parents are truly interested in nurturing their kids in a real, effective way. Sometimes the signals just get crossed!

 

Just in case you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are 50 simple ways to invest in, love on, and play with your child:

 

1. Slow down.

2. Smile when you see them.

3. Hold hands.

4. Look for magic.

5. Listen to their dreams.

6. Put down your phone.

7. Go on a date.

8. Play a card game.

9. Hug, often.

10. Wink at them.

11. Prepare a special food as an unexpected treat.

12. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up and show them how it can become a reality.

13. Believe they’re special.

14. Take a deep breath before making a snap judgment.

15. Tell them, “no,” when necessary.

16. Refuse to be distracted when together.

17. Tell the truth, even when it’s hard.

18. Love generously.

19. Answer their questions.

20. Eat meals together.

21. Read stories together.

22. Imagine together.

23. Offer acceptance in the face of failure.

24. Give them responsibilities.

25. Hold them accountable.

26. Accept your role as an expert.

27. Build a fort.

28. Go on a treasure hunt.

29. Tell jokes.

30. Pray together.

31. Create a special ritual.

32. Tell them they make you happy.

33. Cook together.

34. Write a love note to them.

35. Embarrass them with lavish, truthful, praise.

36. Ask how their day went.

37. Find out what they think is important.

38. Apologize when you make mistakes.

39. Splash in puddles.

40. Try new things.

41. Play hookey together.

42. Learn something new.

43. Be available.

44. Run around barefoot.

45. Thank them for being individuals.

46. Remember they are not adults… yet.

47. Choose not to yell.

48. Help them look and feel their best.

49. Sit quietly beside one another.

50. Don’t give up.

What are some ways you intentionally invest in the child in your life?

 

(Want 50 suggestions for improving your marriage right now? Check them out!)

 

This post was originally published March 25, 2013 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

 

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