If I could go back and give advice to my engaged self… (#4 of 4)

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

My little sister is getting married this Summer and it has got me thinking back to when I was preparing for my own wedding seven years ago. The excitement and the unknowns of it all. The first couple years of figuring out what marriage is all about.

The truth is, we’re still figuring out what this thing called marriage is all about, but if I could go back in time and share with my young(er) self my advice after seven years of marriage, I think I’d share four main things.

Today, I’d like to share the forth and final thing.

The trials you face will be some of the best things that happen-4

#4 Keep having fun together!

One of the best ways to feel connected is to have a good laugh together. It’s so easy fall into the routines and responsibilities of life and forget to make time to have a little fun. I’ve definitely noticed that our marriage feels strongest when we are laughing and being goofy together.

Here’s three simple ways to make it happen…

#1 Make time to just hang out

It seems simple, but it can be so easy in the busyness of life to let the days go by without making time to spend together. When my husband and I just hang out together, no matter what we are doing, we connect a lot through laughter and having fun together.

I will tell you this, these little people that call you mom and dad require a lot of your time and attention. Do what you’ve gotta do, get creative, but find time to be together, be intentional and have fun. We try to make use of the small pockets of time we do have – after the kids go to bed, in the car on the way to run errands, working around the house together, etc. You can’t have fun together if you’re never intentional about actually being together!

#2 Be silly together

I think one of the best things about marriage is that you have someone you can just be 100% you with. You can relax, let down your guard, and just be downright goofy.

Maybe it’s just the kids keeping us young, but we’ve got a lot of silliness going on in this house. Dancing to loud music, making weird faces, watching funny television shows, laughing with the kids, and yes, even some bathroom humor (lets face it, I’m outnumbered by boys!). My husband is great at this – he is one of the goofiest people I know. There’s good feelings all around when the whole family is laughing.

#3 When things go crazy – you’ve gotta laugh

A few months ago we took the whole family to one of our favorite pizza places for dinner. It is definitely fancy for a pizza joint, but the food is delicious so we had to stop when we were in town for a visit.

On the way there K, our four year old, starting complaining of a belly ache. We didn’t think much of it, because this is a common complaint for him, usually ending up being nothing. We figured he was probably just hungry.

As we got to the restaurant, settled into our table, and started making our orders it became more and more obvious that K was really not feeling well. We suffered through appetizers as K began to make more and more of a fuss. (Never mind you, one year old J was also pulling his usual restaurant shenanigans.)

I took K out to the car and he fell asleep, only to wake back up and continue his (loud) lamenting. After a brief argument over whether this was really a serious ailment or if he was just milking it, I finally insisted we get the rest of the food to go.

Then…as my husband finishes up our order and communicates to the waiter that we need our food to go… K vomits all over him.

The waiter took it all in stride (thank goodness we were seated outside!), we cleaned up a bit, and made our way home.

It was terrible. But in the end – all we could do was laugh. Because it was stressful and huge bummer, but it was also ridiculous. So, instead of continuing the tension and frustration, we just had to laugh.

Let’s face it, life can be absolutely crazy. There are a lot of good days, but there are also a lot of rough days too. Whether it’s just the busyness of life, or you are treading through difficult waters, sometimes a little fun and a good laugh goes a long way towards brightening your outlook on life.

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self-4

How do you bring laugher, silliness, and fun into your marriage?

 

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self… (#3 of 4)

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

My little sister is getting married this Summer and it has got me thinking back to when I was preparing for my own wedding seven years ago. The excitement and the unknowns of it all. The first couple years of figuring out what marriage is all about.

The truth is, we’re still figuring out what this thing called marriage is all about, but if I could go back in time and share with my young(er) self my advice after seven years of marriage, I think I’d share four main things.

Today, I’d like to share the third thing.

 The trials you face will be some of the best things that happen-3

#3 The trials you face will be some of the best things that happen to you.

I covered this a little bit under my second post of this series, but I think it bears digging into further.

You are going to go through some tough stuff. However, you’re not going to want to change a thing. Here’s three reasons why…

#1 It will force you to lean on each other

Going through these difficulties will really spur you on to develop a mindset of tackling problems together. This mindset will continue to help build and strengthen your marriage when you face problems both big and small later on down the road.

With the right attitude, the problems you face will do an amazing job of bringing you closer together. Sometimes one of you may have to do more of the heavy lifting, and sometimes there might be tension to wade through, but if you stick together you’ll make it through.

One more added benefit to this is that, in the future, when you are struggling with the big decisions of life, you will know that whatever path you take you will be able to make it through it if you’re in it together.

#2 It will build your character

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2-4

I hate to break it to you, but at the age of 21 you still have a lot of growing up to do. Just like our muscles don’t grow stronger when they aren’t used, that maturing is not going to happen unless your character is put to the test.

Both you and your husband will be stretched and molded by God through all these trials. Seven years later you will still be learning and growing every day, but by the grace of God, you will be much further along than when you started.

#3 It will draw you closer to God

Much like you must rely on each other to get through your struggles, you must even more so rely on God. You will learn that there are hurts and trials that only the Lord can be the strength to get you through.

Your faith and love for Him will be refined through the trials you face. He will truly become your Rock during these times.

Not only this, but looking back over your life, you will be able to greater realize God’s perfect plan for your life. So many things will not go the way you would have planned. Though you may grieve the loss of some of these plans, the joy brought from God’s will for your life will far outweigh that.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self-3

What lessons have you learned through the trials in your life and marriage?

Stay tuned next week for the final installment in this series!

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self… (#2 of 4)

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

My little sister is getting married this Summer and it has got me thinking back to when I was preparing for my own wedding seven years ago. The excitement and the unknowns of it all. The first couple years of figuring out what marriage is all about.

The truth is, we’re still figuring out what this thing called marriage is all about, but if I could go back in time and share with my young(er) self my advice after seven years of marriage, I think I’d share four main things.

Today, I’d like to share the second thing.

Your attitude will affect more than you know

#2 Your attitude will affect more than you know

As a single person, your life has pretty much revolved around you. I don’t say that to mean you are a selfish, egotistical, brat – just that, especially the last three years, the main person your attitude and outlook on life has affected is you. 

Now that you are getting married, that’s about to change. 

Your attitude will affect not only how you see things, it will affect your husband, and someday your children. In the last seven years of marriage I’ve found that attitude is everything. Especially in these three areas…

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self

#1 Your Attitude in the Bedroom

I’m just going to come right out and say it – this area of marriage is going to be a lot easier for your husband than it is for you. I don’t know why, but this seems to be a common occurrence in marriage.

Your attitude can make or break this important aspect of your marriage. So, learn and grow and keep an open mind. I promise that the times that you decided to have a good attitude about it made marriage as a whole just that much better.

(If you are having difficulty in this area, I highly recommend the site To Love, Honor, and Vacuum)

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self

#2 Your Attitude when Facing Difficulties in Life

You are going to go through a lot in your first few years of marriage. Lots of moving, lots of craziness, and lots of busyness. There will be hardships and sickness, and yet also new life.

There will be some very hard moments.

The most important thing you can do is have the attitude of using these times to grow closer to God and closer to your husband.

Put away the “woe is me” attitude and tackle these problems together. Cling to God to be your strength. Do this and you will find that God used these times to refine your individual character and grow your marriage bond even stronger.

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self

#3 Your Attitude when Going about the Day to Day

You’d think that it would be these big trials of life that would cause the most stress on your marriage. However, you’ll come to see that’s not necessarily true.

Sometimes it’s easier to rally together to tackle the big problems. You know you’ll need to depend on each other, so that helps to drive you together. It’s when you have seemingly clear skies ahead that you’ll see you need to be on the lookout for problematic attitudes.

The day to day, mundane activities of normal life. The laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming, and did I mention the laundry? It’s when you settle into the comfortable routines of life and stop intentionally building your relationship. It’s in these ruts that we can so easily develop destructive thought patterns…

Why doesn’t he see I need help?

If he really cared I wouldn’t have to ask him not to do that.

I’m too tired for that.

I think I’d rather just do my own thing.

It’s these day to day attitudes that creep in without much fanfare that you have to watch out for. They can easily build resentment and distance in a marriage. Not to mention they don’t actually do anything to solve any real problems that might be there.

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self-2

Sometimes it may seem hard to change your attitude, especially when things are in a rough patch. However, I assure you, with God’s help, you can do it. I leave you with this admonishment…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

 

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self… (#1 of 4)

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

My little sister is getting married this Summer and it has got me thinking back to when I was preparing for my own wedding seven years ago. The excitement and the unknowns of it all. The first couple years of figuring out what marriage is all about.

The truth is, we’re still figuring out what this thing called marriage is all about, but if I could go back in time and share with my young(er) self my advice after seven years of marriage, I think I’d tell myself four main things.

Today, I’d like to share the first thing…

#1He will mess up - forgive and love him anyway

#1 He will mess up – forgive and love him anyway

Have you ever heard this quote?

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
― Robert Quillen

It’s true. Really true. You may think you’ve gotten to experience what it means to have to forgive your husband-to-be, but you’ve only just begun sweetheart.

You know the common saying, “nobody’s perfect”? Well, I’m going to tell you right now – that’s the understatement of the year.

Yes, no one is perfect. However, the truth is, it’s more than just not being “perfect”. We are all fallen sinners. We bring to our marriages baggage from the past, mixed motivations, sinful attitudes, and selfish actions.

Your husband is going to hurt your feelings. He is going to frustrate you. He is going to make stupid mistakes.

You think you realize this, but the truth is you won’t really see how your husband’s sin affects your life until you are in the daily trenches of doing life together as a married couple. 

Just like you have your own sin habits and struggles that you may never fully shake this side of heaven, your husband will too.

When you remind him for the 100th time to please stop doing that thing you hate, and when he comes to you apologizing once again for that thing that’s much more serious, your response must be one of love and forgiveness.

 

Responding with Love and Forgiveness

Why must you respond with forgiveness? Well, the first and most important reason is because God first forgave you. 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant. In this parable a servant owed a great debt to the king and was to be sold into slavery because he could not pay his debt. He begged the king to have patience and give him time to pay back this debt.

The king had mercy on the servant and forgave his debt, setting him free. 

However, when the servant left, he found another servant who owed him just a small amount and, when he could not pay, the servant had him thrown in prison.

When the king found out he was not too happy. This is how the parable closes…

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
-Matthew 18:32-35

Yikes.

Bottom line – when you think of how much God has forgiven you, it makes it a lot easier to keep on forgiving your husband.

Forgiveness keeps you humble

Speaking of the sin you have been forgiven of, having to remember this and forgive your husband is going to keep you a lot more humble.

It’ll be really easy to forget about your own sin when you see your husband’s. You don’t want to go down that path.

Forgiving your husband will help to guard you against becoming like the Pharisee who prayed while pointing a finger at the “sinner” and exalting himself.

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Luke 18:11

If I could go back and give advice to my newlywed self...

Forgiveness brings freedom

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

When you hold onto your anger and your grudges instead of letting them go in forgiveness, it’s like locking yourself in jail.

When you forgive it brings freedom.

Freedom to love without wondering if he “deserves it.” Freedom to have fun and be joyful instead of being stuck with a hard heart. It gives you freedom to learn and grow alongside your spouse, moving closer together instead of farther apart.

When Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles (John 16:33), our marriages were not immune from that. However, you need to learn early on that these problems don’t have to take the wheel of your marriage.

Yes, address the problems and the sin. Yes, attack them together. Then, put those problems on the back burner and be free to love each other again – lack of perfection and all.

What advice would you give to your newlywed self?

If I Could Give Advice To My Newlywed Self

A Heart for Service Begins in the Home: 3 Areas of Service I Want to Instill in My Children

heart for serving 1

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. -Philippians 2:5-7

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul describes Christ as taking the very nature of a servant.

The King and Creator of the entire universe came to us as a lowly, humble servant.

Repeatedly through the Bible we are called to think of others before ourselves and to act in service to one another.

It can be tempting (at least for me) to think of serving as being these big, grand acts, like being a missionary overseas, pastoring a church, feeding the homeless, making BIG sacrifices to serve in BIG ways.

While these are most definitely amazing things, the small, daily acts of service mean just as much – routinely putting others before yourself, the ability to find joy in bringing another joy, being humble and lifting others up.

Although there are many ways to serve, there are three main areas of service I want to instill in my children as they grow up in our family.

Continue reading my contributor post over at Intentional By Grace

A Heart For Serving Begins in the Home

 

Case of the Mixed Up Timeline (New ADVENTURE DEVOTIONAL for kids eBook!)

It’s here! It’s here! 

I have been working on this project on and off for the last year and a half. Writing, testing, editing, designing, and editing some more! I wanted to make sure it was the best it could be for you and your kids.

What Is It?

The International Bible Investigators
Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

IBI Case of the Mixed Up Timeline

If you joined us for the Summer Search for God last summer, then you have already been introduced to an adventure devotional.

I created the concept of an “Adventure Devotional” because most people, especially young ones, learn best through experiences. It is the things that we do, touch, taste, and feel that really stick in our memories. My goal with adventure devotionals is to bring God’s Word off the page and into life experiences that will stick with your children for years to come. The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline is no exception.

So what is it all about?

In this devotional, a villain named “Dr. H” has traveled back in time and destroyed the Timeline of Biblical Heroes. As a special agent, your child must travel back in time to complete the case files and set the timeline straight once again.

Each Biblical Hero has an incomplete case file and your child must solve the clues to discover the information on each Hero’s story. They then use that information to put the timeline back in order. Each case file also contains a “mission” – a hands on activity to further experience the story.

Untitled design-3

Included in the eBook is the following:

  • Parent introduction
  • Log book cover page and special agent badge printable
  • Letter to “new recruits”
  • 10+ pages of printable images needed to complete the cases
  • Printable timeline
  • 23 “case files”
  • Parent files with answers, activity ideas, devotionals, and Scripture references.

 

Ready for an Old Testament Adventure?

What Will My Child Gain From This Study?

The Case of the Mixed Up Timeline will provide your child with an overview of 23 of the main stories of the Old Testament. He or she will get to learn about and experience these stories in a unique, hands on way.

Not only that, but the parent files contain everything you need to further the discussion of these stories, bringing about a deeper understanding and personal connection. 

How Do I Purchase This Awesome Devotional?

Easy! Just pop over to the shop and in just a few moments you can start printing it out! And if you act quick, as a launch week special, you can get the entire adventure devotional for 50% off! That’s only $5!

Launch Week SALE

That means for only $5 you can get all the printables, 23 devotional “case files”, and the parent files. But grab it now, because this sale is for launch week only!

Buy it now!

launch week sale copy

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids

Memorizing Scripture is a common Bible activity for children. Whether it’s through programs like Awana, by using Bible verses set to music, or even one of the lesson plans here on Steadfast Family – there are lots of recommendations and resources for Scripture memorization.

Once you’re a grown up, however, you don’t hear it talked about quite as much.

So, today I want to share four reasons I think we should jump in there and memorize right along with our kiddos!

1. To Be a Good Example

Kids are natural imitators. Monkey see, monkey do. Unfortunately you often realize this after they’ve imitated something you’d really rather them not. AmIright?  🙂

What better way to harness that imitator nature than by leading them to the power of God’s Word? 

I hope my boys have strong memories of their mama saying, singing, chanting, shouting, and whispering their memory verses right alongside them. And not only that, but also being able to recall scripture during the moments we need it. Which brings me to my next point…

2. To Be Able to Recall During Daily Moments

One of my favorite benefits of knowing and memorizing Scripture is the way the Holy Spirit will bring to mind these verses that you have hidden in your heart.

This is not only helpful when fielding spiritual questions from my very inquisitive four year old, but is a constant source of encouragement for me personally as well.

Just today I was pondering how badly I need more contentment in my life and I was thinking to myself “I sure do wish I could ask Paul how in the world he found contentment when he was stuck in prison!” Immediately the answer popped into my head:

For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. -Philippians 4:13

3. To Exercise Our Brains

I’m not gonna lie, more days than not you will find me in the fog known as “mom brain.” With everything I have to do and keep track of, plus the constant demands of caring for small children by the end of the day my brain is mush.

Doing brain work such as memorization is like exercise for the brain. It keeps things sharp and working smoothly. I don’t know about you, but I can definitely benefit from my brain being in tip top shape.

Want to read more about the brain benefits of memorization? Check out this article on Ten Proven Brain Benefits.

4. To Meditate on God’s Word

I love studying the Bible. I love learning about historical context, original languages, and the layers of meaning. I enjoy taking notes, reading commentaries, and listening to teaching.

However, I’m also learning that sometimes I need to put away the study Bible, and just meditate on God’s Word.

Read it just to know it. Just to let the truth sink in. To get lost in the wonder and grace of it all.

Memorizing scripture provides plenty of opportunity for just that.

4 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Bible Verses Along With Your Kids-2

These are just a few reasons why memorizing scripture alongside your children is a beneficial practice. I’m sure there are many more!

What benefits can you add to this list?

 

Affiliate links included

 

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids Even When Life Gets Busy

Five Ways to Intentionally Disciple Your Kids

Life has been crazy busy for our family lately. Some of the commitments are choices we’ve made and some are out of our control – but one thing is for sure, the days are short and the to-do lists are long!

A while back I noticed that I was slipping in my intentionality when it came to discipling my son. We used to have plenty of time for fun Bible and character building crafts and activities (like Play Through The Bible and Hero Training), but lately I had been rushing through the day without giving much thought to activities like these.

I knew that this needed to change, but I also knew that life wasn’t going to be slowing down any time soon. I needed to find simple ways to be intentional about discipling my son that would fit into our current lifestyle.

I did some brainstorming, tweaked a few things, and I’m pretty happy with how things have been going lately. We haven’t been perfect, and I look forward to when life slows down a bit so we can do even more, but it has been working well.

Here’s what we’ve been doing…

1. Discipling In Moments of Discipline

Moments of discipline are some of the best times for pointing your child to the gospel. Little hearts are often tender and in tune with their own shortcomings and need for a Savior.

I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus.

2. Simplifying Bible Study Time

It is very easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that kid’s Bible time must always be fun, exciting, and special. Now, believe me, I have no problem with it being those things. In fact, I love making learning about God’s Word a fun and meaningful time for my son. However, it is okay to just keep it simple too.

Here are some ways we’ve done this:

  • Read straight from the Word – taking just a verse or two and reading it at breakfast, talking about it for a moment.
  • Use a simple devotional – I got my son this book for Easter and we have really been enjoying reading a page or two at a time.
  • Read through a children’s Bible – snuggle up on the couch and read a story or two. This is our favorite kid’s Bible

3. Listening to Christ-Centered Music

We love listening to music around here and we tend to listen to all different kinds. However, I do try to listen to Christian music often because of how my son picks up on the message. We will be listening and he will say “they are talking about Jesus!” or “that said the cross!” and he always gets so excited when he hears these familiar concepts.

The great thing too is that Christian music has come a long way since when I was a kid. There are a lot of quality options in different styles and genres. We enjoy listening to a “Toby Mac” station on Pandora that often plays Lecrae, Needtobreathe, Tenth Avenue North, Capital Kings, and of course Toby Mac.

We actually don’t listen to a ton of kid specific music, but some of our favorites that we do listen to are Steve Green and Seeds Family Worship.

Another awesome way to listen to music that I am discovering is through your Amazon Prime account. Did you know that you can stream tons of music through Prime Music? I had no idea until recently! A lot of the above listed artists can be streamed through Prime Music for free!

Join Amazon Prime Music – The Only Music Streaming Service with Free 2-day Shipping – 30-day Free Trial

4. “On The Go” Chats

My son and I talk about pretty much everything. Even when he was a baby and toddler I would talk with him about things that were probably above his comprehension. I figured that when he was able to understand he would, so we might as well start now.

Now, as a very inquisitive four year old, the conversations continue. Because we started early making talking about God a normal part of life, I am constantly fielding questions like:

“Is God really everywhere?”

“How come I can’t see God?”

“Is Jesus going to die on the cross again?”

“Can God hear me?”

These conversations are usually short and sweet, but I love that his wheels are always turning and he feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and questions. I think these conversations are a great example of my favorite Biblical parenting advice:

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. -Deuteronomy 6:6-7

It is my goal for the Word of God to be so on my heart that we can’t help but talk about it as we go through daily life.

5. Simplify Life

I’m preaching to myself here.

Like I said, life is busy for us right now. And while some of that is just a season, I do know I need to keep looking for ways to simplify life. I don’t want to be rushing through my days, to-do list in hand, not having enough time to be intentional with the things that are priorities to our family.

If you are looking for a resource to help you live your life more intentionally, I highly recommend the eCourse IntentionalByGrace Unplugged: 10 days to live more intentionally from my friend Leigh Ann at Intentional By Grace.

IBG Unplugged

How do you find simple ways to intentionally disciple your children? I’d love to get some more ideas!

 

Affiliate links included. Thank you for using your purchases to help support Steadfast Family!

Why I’m a “Lazy” Parent

Why I'm a %22Lazy%22 Parent

I am a lazy parent.

There, I said it. It’s out in the open. I’ve confessed.

Now, when I say lazy I don’t mean…

Lazy in teaching my children God’s truth.

Lazy in building my children’s character.

Lazy in spending quality time together.

And definitely not lazy in leading them to the gospel.

Okay, okay, you got me – when I said I was lazy, it was a bit tongue in cheek. So, what do I mean?

I am way too “lazy” to do things for my kids that they are capable of doing for themselves.

I recently read this great article from Kristen of We Are THAT Family titled, “Maybe We Should Stop Coddling Our Kids So Much” and I completely agree. In our house the mantra is, “we are all part of the family, so we all help out.” I’m not going to run around doing every bit of the work when there are more than capable little helpers at my side!

Note: does this mean I never do something nice, like get my son a glass of water, even when he can do it himself? No! Of course not. Part of being a family means doing nice things for each other too!

So, today I want to share with you four things that my four year old regularly takes care of on his own (or with minimal help). Especially recently I have noticed that what used to be the “help” of a toddler has started to transform into genuine help from my little man.

The purpose of this list isn’t to say that your four year old should be doing the exact same things. Instead, it is to encourage you to take stock of your own situation and see where you might need to be a little “lazy.”

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Learning to make grilled cheese

#1 Getting ready for day and ready for bed

Every morning, sometimes before he even comes downstairs for breakfast, K takes off his pajamas, puts his pull-up in his trash can, and gets dressed for the day. Sometimes the outfits are a little wonky and he might be wearing two pairs of socks, but it works for me!

Recently, it occurred to me that there was no reason he couldn’t do this same routine in reverse for bed time. Hooray! Half of the dreaded bed time routine outsourced to the one going to bed! So, every night he knows he needs to do three things: go to the bathroom, put on a pull-up, and get his pajamas on. All that leaves for me is to brush teeth and tuck him in bed.

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Very excited to vacuum his room

#2 Putting away his laundry

This is a new responsibility that we have been working on and it is going very well!

In K’s closet he has a dresser with four drawers. One for PJ’s, one for shirts, one for shorts, and one for long sleeves, undies, and socks. On top of his dresser is pants and sweatshirts (they might swap out with the shorts drawer if it ever gets cold enough here!). The only things that are folded are what is on top of the dresser. Nice clothes are hanged, the rest (and majority) are just tossed in the drawers.

Keeping a four year old’s clothes folded is not a battle I’m willing to spend time on.

So, lately, when I have a pile of clothes for him, he carries them to his room, sorts them, and puts them away. Amazing. One less part of the laundry pile I have to worry about. Occasionally he needs help with a large basket of clothes, or putting things up high, but overall he is doing great!

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Sometimes we are a little too helpful – like the time I came into the room to find him *attempting* to change his wiggly baby brother’s diaper. 

#3 Emptying his bathroom trash

Seeing that I don’t spend a lot of time in his bathroom, his small trash can would quickly begin to overflow with his nightly pull-ups and start to get… stinky.

One day, we were working on the character trait of helpful, and he decided to empty his own trash. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that sooner? A quick lesson and now he is capable of emptying his own trash can and putting in a new liner.

Why I'm a Lazy Parent (4 Responsibilities I Give My 4 Year Old)

Helping starts early – baby J loves to “help” with the laundry! 🙂

#4 Picking up his toys

I must admit, this has always been an area of struggle with us. He is so good at dragging his feet when it comes to cleaning up his toys, that eventually I would just step in and finish up for him. However, I am trying to crack down on this a bit!

Just yesterday he showed me that he is very capable of picking up after himself, I just have to be firm about him not getting out of it!

A strategy I have occasionally used is this – I set the timer for one hour. As soon as he is done picking up his toys, he can watch TV until the timer goes off. The first day he got a whopping 8 minutes of TV time (although it only took his about 5 minutes of active work to get everything cleaned up). I am looking forward to seeing some improvement in this area!

Why I'm a %22Lazy%22 Parent

What do you think of these four responsibilities? This is not an exhaustive list, there are many other things he can do, but these are the things I wanted to share with you today. 

What things are your kids responsible for? Do you agree that we coddle our kids too much?

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

Easter. Quite possibly the cutest holiday of them all.

Fluffy bunnies, baby chicks, little lambs.

Easter baskets, painted eggs, and lots of candy.

Definitely cute. Precious even!

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

This, however, is where the problem lies. Because, if we are trying to focus on the true meaning of Easter, what do we find?

Betrayal.

Pain.

Sorrow.

Death.

Yes, on Easter Sunday we celebrate resurrection and new life. But to get there we must travel the heart wrenching path that leads you to the cross. 

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

The last few years when Easter rolls around, I’ve found myself dragging my feet when it comes to covering the story with my son. Sure, we talk about the gospel routinely, but there is something about Easter and the nitty gritty aspects of the story that gives me pause.

You see…

We talk about Palm Sunday and I see myself among the crowds who don’t understand Jesus.

We talk about the disciples napping while Jesus prays and fleeing while he is bound and I am confronted with my own weakness. 

We talk about the crowds shouting for Jesus to be crucified and my own hard heart is exposed.

We talk about Jesus hanging from the cross and I am reminded that it is my own sin and rebellion that nailed him there. 

It is messy, painful, and humbling. Decidedly not cute.

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

So, what is a parent to do? Skip over the pain and death altogether? Maybe fluff it up a bit? Save the hard truth for later…for when they are more… ready?

The problem with this plan is where the fluffy version of Easter may be light and happy, the way of the cross is the way of depth and meaning. Yes, it is the way of pain, but it is also the way of ultimate joy.

The suffering of the cross is the path to the joy of Resurrection Sunday. The empty tomb. Humanity redeemed.

It is a difficult path. But it is a path forged by our Savior.

So, I face my own sin and I lead my children down that same path.

They may not understand the full depth of the betrayal, the crowds, the thorny crown, and the forsaken Savior. But their small hearts are open wide and ready to know of this God who loved them so.

The Problem With Teaching Your Kids About Easter

Looking for resources on sharing the Easter story with your children? Try Resurrection Eggs or this round up of easy last minute ideas. I also loved this post from ohAmanda on talking to kids about the hard parts of the Easter story.