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Encourage Independence

When your baby becomes a toddler, you are so excited for what comes next. Crawling. Walking. Talking. Playing independently.

But when they become pre-teens and teenagers, it becomes harder and harder to watch them become independent.

Why is that?

For me, I think some of it is fear. Fear of them getting hurt. Fear of them getting in trouble. Fear of them making wrong choices. Fear of them growing up and leaving me behind. Fear of what life will be like when they have left home. Fear that I haven’t done a good enough job as a mom.

But the problem with giving in to the fears is this: by holding on too tightly, we are actually making it harder for them to succeed as adults. As parents, we must give them the tools to grow up and become independent of us. And then we have to let them try those tools out and see how they work.

I will never forget the first time I let my kids walk to the public library without me. It is five blocks from our house. And we live in a small community. I made Anne text me when she left our house, text me again when they arrived at the library, text again when leaving the library and finally text when they returned home. I was a nervous wreck the entire time. And this was just a little over a year ago. (Overprotective much?)

I have some trouble letting go. I like my kids. I used to get a hard time from some of our friends because we would rarely get a sitter when they were younger. We just like being with our children. That is why we had children, to love on them and be a family.

But I also know that I have to let them grow and learn, which means I have to learn to let go and encourage them to step out independently. I have to be aware of where they are at and when they are ready for the next step toward independence and encourage that.

That means letting them fail sometimes. That means my heart hurts sometimes. That means beaming with pride when they rise to the occasion. That means giving them an “atta boy” or “atta girl” when they show growth in some area where previously I may have wondered if they would ever grow.

That means that I cannot hold them too tightly.

Let go. Encourage. And watch them thrive.


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Leave a Legacy

Leaving a legacy. Something that we all want to do. But what kind of legacy are we leaving? What are we teaching our children?

Are we teaching them the simple things? Like how to crochet and knit the way our moms and grandmas did?

Are we teaching them to cook healthy meals for their families?

Are we teaching them to be able to clean house, do home repair, simple car repair, and more?

Are we teaching them to love Jesus and to be His disciples?

Are we teaching them to love others as they love themselves?

Nichole Nordeman

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such ‘n ‘such, it wouldn’t matter much.
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
In the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
Blessed Your Name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy.

Not well traveled, not well read,
Not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead,
“Well Done” good and faithful one.

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me.

You can purchase this song here.


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It Takes a Village

We have all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but the question is, in this day and age, is that really happening?

I have always felt that it is imperative to raise our children in community. If my kids do something that needs to be corrected when I am not around, I am terribly hopeful that someone will care enough to correct them. And I am not scared to do the same for others children. It is important that kids learn respect for other adults, and are willing to take correction from them when needed.

It is also important for our children to learn from people whose backgrounds differ from ours; whether that be culturally, generationally, or whatever. When they are only influenced by their immediate family, they don’t get the opportunity to learn diversity and understanding.

In previous generations, this happened more readily because community was built in neighborhoods and churches. But with the busyness of life, two-income homes, sports and other things that take families away from their neighborhoods and church activities, it makes it harder to build real community.

But we have to make it happen.

We need it. Our children need it. Our world needs it.

We must battle against the individuality that shuns community. Yes, our children are individuals, but they don’t live in a vacuum. They live in a world filled with other people, whom they can learn much from, if they are taught to do so. And we weren’t created to be on our own. Rather, we were created to live with one another, to love one another, to encourage and learn from one another. And this only happens when we live together in community; when we learn what it means to deal with people who aren’t like us. And sometimes who we don’t like. But all of this works together to help us grow into the people we are meant to become.

Do yourself, your kids, and the world a favor, raise them in community. Expose them to other people who can help them grow in all areas of their lives.


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