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Heavenly Treasures for Squirrely Hands

Posted on Apr 6, 2021 1:00:00 PM by Joy Daughtry

       I sat parked in my car near the lake, watching the water while trying to shut down thoughts about the “problem of the day.” I didn’t want anything or any power to distract me from missing what God had for me in the present moment. And then I saw him. At first there were two and I had been watching them play without REALLY noticing them, without REALLY seeing them. He was just a little squirrel, plump and playful, in the leaves. Squirrels love to find treasures. They will work very hard to reach their treasure only to bury it and forget it. Yet God cares for that forgetful little creature.

       How squirrel- like I can be at times? I run in five different directions trying to store up all that I think my children will need... only to bury it. We buy that game, but we bury it because we don’t have time to play it. 

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We see our child’s talent, but we bury it because we don’t know how to support it. We give our children all the right tools, but they too end up buried. Simply because we don’t know how to teach our kids how to build the Godly character they will need to use those tools, without the support of a community. We work hard to get all the right material items and sign up for all the right activities. Still we aren’t perfect parents and we don’t always feel like we have the time or support needed to do all of the things we think our children need, and we bury it. I thought about how God cared for that little squirrel and Matthew 6 came to me:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” 

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Suddenly I could hear the birds chirping and I felt embraced by God’s promises.  Why then do I worry about storing up riches? Why do I squirm around like a squirrel burying treasures for my children that we will soon forget?  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my children’s inheritance in my squirrel-like hands. No much better that they, like their inheritance, are in God’s hands. Of course I want to give my children good gifts, but I don’t need to worry about what they will lack or who they will lean on. I don’t have to worry about them having the best clothes or a trust fund to draw from. The Lord goes with them. He will provide for them. I’m grateful that God sees my squirrel-like hands and looks on them with love. He takes them in His powerful hands and whispers “You can trust me to take care of your children, for I made them and loved them before they were born.”

      Through faith in the hands of God, I can give my children the gift of learning to trust Him. Learning To Lean on Him.  So, I can loosen my squirrel-like grip on the buried treasures of  the top ten summer camp sign ups, posh playdates, and world class vacations. 

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 I can shift my gaze to the One who made my children and thank Him for teaching them His word through their Christian  education. I can store up the treasures of hearing my children speak about the Lord’s plan for their life with confidence. I can store up the treasures of hearing my children pray through their problems and love others like Jesus. These treasures are stored in the eternal home of my children’s hearts. And that heavenly treasure won’t be lost among the squirrel treasures here on earth. Every moment of time I invest in pointing my children toward Jesus is stored up, and I am so glad I don’t have to do it on my own. The Lord works through his people in the Christian community and Christian education to help me when my squirrely hands need a helping hand. 

Encourage Your Teachers (and Here's Why...)

Posted on Mar 8, 2021 9:30:00 AM by Ardena Henderson

The men and women at Liberty Christian School who are called to the ministry of education, need our support. With little to no notice, they were catapulted from classroom educators, to virtual reality stars. The dual roles of teaching in the hybrid environment are nothing short of exceptional. 

As believers, we should support, uplift, pray for and encourage one another. Speaking into the lives of God’s children, is an awesome responsibility. We must keep in mind that teachers have families and lives of their own. More often than not, they’re teaching our children, as their own children are learning at home. 

Here are a few ways to offer encouragement to your teacher: 

Send a dojo message or email to brighten their day!! ((Or go the extra step and send in a hand written card!))

Keep the lines of communication open to ensure a collaborative approach to your child’s education. 

Promptly pick up and drop off materials. 

Lastly, extend the grace and love of Christ, that you expect in return.

Ardena Henderson

Mother of Current LCS 1st Grade Student

3 Ways To Help Your Child With Anxiety & Stress

Posted on Nov 14, 2017 3:30:00 PM by Laurel Robinson

According the the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million adults in America suffer with a form of anxiety. Children are not immune to anxiety, although they may have a hard time labeling what they are feeling.  

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Is your child stressed out or anxious? Do they dread going to certain places? Do they procrastinate, or have nervous habits, or get stomachaches?  Do they resist activities by acting up? Do they focus only on the negative and what might go wrong? These are all signs of anxiety.

How can we as parents help our children through this?

First, be compassionate. If you have ever felt nervous about something you can identify with what your child is feeling.  Even though our kids’ anxiety sometimes comes up in the most inconvenient ways (nausea, avoidance behavior, last minute crises), we need to take a step back and remember that parents are the protectors of children. We also, in a sense, represent the Lord to our kids.  We are their first mentors and disciplers. So, even if we are worried about getting to work late, having a mess on our hands, or embarrassment, we also need to consider the experience that our child is having in this moment. We must pray for wisdom: does this child need “tough love” right now to push through -- or a timeout and a listening ear?  Most likely they need our reassurance, but we should not dismiss their fears.  It can be a tricky balance.

Second, empower the child.  Anxiety is not alway as simple as “mind over matter,” but sometimes mental tools and strategies can be helpful. Encourage your child to do their best and focus on the positives.  Remind them that you will be here for them no matter what. If they are worried about their performance, walk them through what “doing your best” will look like.  For example, there is only one winner in a race, but the rest of the runners are still successful and accomplished if they have trained, practice, and persevered. They have overcome their own obstacles and perhaps beaten their own records. This is worth celebrating!  While you are giving your child this pep talk, check your own motives. Have you been pressuring your child to perform, compete, dominate?  If so, pray and surrender your child’s future to the Lord once again.

If you have techniques that help you when you are anxious, share them with your child.  Simple things like taking a deep breath, repeating a calming phrase or verse, or distracting yourself from obsessive thoughts can be helpful.  They may sound simple, but they are not necessarily things that a child would come up with on their own.  Practice them together until they can do them independently.

Third, talk to their teachers. Explain the strategies you are using, so that your teacher can reinforce them and possibly report back to you any progress or problems. This can create a positive cycle of improvement, or at least provide you with more information that you can use as you go to the next step.

If these changes in approach do not seem to bring any results, you might consider therapy. Child therapists, using play therapy or therapy animals, can get your child to reveal the troubling thoughts they haven’t mentioned to you.  Sometimes it is surprising, such as a bad dream they didn’t even want to revisit, or an experience that they didn’t want to relive. Once they speak about it, the therapist and parents can address the issue.  

Therapists can also help you identify when your child may need some further help such as medicine.  Some forms of anxiety are more deep-seated and beyond the realm of behavioral therapy.  Naturopaths might help you consider helpful modifications to your child’s diet, or ways your child get better sleep.

When you see signs of stress and anxiety in your child, do not ignore it, hoping it will go away.  Talk to other adults in their life to see what may be causing it, and be your child’s closest advocate. Having the support of family goes a long way toward healing.

 

For more helpful information see:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/renee-jain/9-things-every-parent-with-an-anxious-child-should-try_b_5651006.html

https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress

Punishment vs. Discipline

Posted on May 23, 2017 12:46:33 PM by Laurel Robinson

What is discipline? What is punishment?  As we parent our children, these terms can overlap and get blended together, but more important is how we live them out.

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The Meaning of Discipline

In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul tells children to obey their parents, “for this is right.” He reminds children that it is a commandment, not a suggestion -- and one with a promise: that it may go well with you, and you will live long in the land. In many places in the Bible the Lord tells parents to discipline their children so that they may learn to live well.  

Parents should heed the verse that follows, as well: “fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Parents are told to keep our kids in line, and it is our job to train them up in the way they should go. However, we should never boss, bully, berate, or belittle our children. We must be careful not to let our selfish desires distract us from the goal:  we are to be teaching what will ultimately manifest as self-discipline in their lives.


The Mandate of Discipline

We have a moral obligation to train our kids in good character.  Along the way we have to make them do things they don’t want to do.  This is discipline. Even if they don’t like it at first we must remain strong in enforcing standards that the Lord commands -- or simply rules that society (or safety) mandates.  

It doesn’t always come easy; we have to train them to control their tempers, their tongues, and their appetites -- things that we all continue to battle even into adulthood. Parents have to be creative in finding what motivates each child to obey. For some children a stern word will suffice. For others, a stronger deterrent is necessary.  One important (and difficult) key is consistency of rules.

When my kids were little I had to strap them into their car seats every time we got into the car.  There was no negotiating, and I did not question whether I should do it.  Because of this consistency the kids knew to expect it, and there was little balking at it. However, there were other issues I was inconsistent with enforcing. Sometimes I made them clean up all their toys when they were done playing; other times I forgot. Kids will pick up on the inconsistency and they will challenge rules that are only enforced some of the time. It’s important for parents to think through which rules and standards they really need to enforce and make a plan for doing so. Of course there is room for adjustment and reconsideration, but if the rules keep changing inexplicably no one will be happy.


The Problem of Punishment

If we were to ask a child, he/she may say that “punishment is when parents don’t like what the kids did, and they inflict pain or take away privileges.” The problem with this is his/her perception.  Try to be sure that your kids know that discipline is more than just punishment, but that it’s for the sake of their character and their future.  We discipline because we love. As the Bible says, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) Shortly before that, the author of Hebrews points out that the Lord disciplines those whom He loves.

Ultimately, parents will have to know their own motives and remain in constant prayer. Sometimes a parent will need to admit that she lost her temper or served up too much “consequence” for a particular infraction. Though this is a humbling experience, it is also a powerful lesson for our kids when we model apologizing and experience reconciliation in our relationship. If you feel that you have been too harsh, do not hesitate to humbly apologize. It will not detract from your role as the person who must train up your child; in fact, it will teach your child something very powerful about how to live.


The Role of Love languages

You might also take your child’s love language into consideration when deciding on discipline.  For example, if a child’s love language is physical touch, then she will be very sensitive to any corporal punishment or withholding of physical affection. A child who thrives on words of affirmation may wither under a verbal scolding.  What is mildly effective for one child could be devastating for another. Discerning parents who know their children well can modify discipline strategies accordingly. (For more information on love languages, and to take a free online quiz to assess your child’s primary love languages, see http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/)