Posted in Parenting

Three Ways to Build Resilience in Children Through Forgiveness


Recently I am being asked more and more to share a talk I have created on building resilience in children. The basic foundation of the workshop is intentionally teaching our children how to forgive. For any children in our lives, we need to actively find ways to eliminate brittle bitterness. Instead, we need to model and teach how forgiveness is actually a way to build resilience rather than weakness.

Forcing our children to say they are sorry is the least effective technique we can utilize. Providing opportunities to instead say “I forgive you” creates an environment of peaceful unification. Resilience creates an environment in which both setbacks and successes are treated as positive learning experiences so our children are not broken by their experiences. When we fail to teach this mindset to children we actually strengthen a spirit of fear and mistrust which weakens their spirits of resolve. We let our children down if we try to protect our children from every possible bad thing that could happen. We also let them down by not preparing them and giving them the tools they need in this life. God has never told us life would be easy. Our hope is in Him, not in what we avoid.

Resilience creates an environment in which both setbacks and successes are treated as positive learning experiences so our children are not broken by their experiences.

Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.

However, the main purpose of teaching forgiveness is the biblical commands presented and modeled to us over and over again by God. Jesus is the reason we can be forgiven and he is the reason we can forgive others. While we don’t want our children to carry an identity of sin and feel a constant need for forgiveness,  we want them to understand that we all make mistakes and because of Jesus, we are forgiven. Share that when we come to him and admit our need for his forgiveness, he responds to us with outstretched arms. Because of Jesus’ example, we know how to respond to others. We love (and forgive) because he first loved (and forgave) us.

Here are three perhaps unusual ways to build resilience in children that can lead to a gentle peaceful heart that is strengthened to weather the storms of this life through forgiveness.

  1. Three Ways: So many times when we are hurt by others or circumstances it can feel like its the worse situation that could have ever arisen. In reality, when we have enough time and space we can gain a new more positive perspective on difficult and devastating situations. Walk your child through three ways this situation could have been worse. Discuss the feelings, what it would like, and then discuss gratitude for the current situation not being the result of these three other ways.
  2. Plastic Funny Shield: Researchers have found again and again that survivors of horrific tragedies share one thing in common. A strong sense of humor. Laughter truly is the best medicine and can provide a shield of defense for everything our children are going to have to endure. Teach your children to look for the silly, the unexpected, and to laugh out loud at any opportunity. Do not disregard the power of teaching your preschoolers tongue twisters, your elementary students non-sensical punch lines, practical jokes, or your tweens and teens to laugh at jokes about the human experience.
  3. Practical Problem Solving: Somehow we have all fallen into the trap that unscheduled time brings pain and horror upon ourselves and our children. How many of us have loaded apps and games onto our devices to protect our children from <gasp>…waiting. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children to build their resilience to anything that comes their way is to make the most of what they have. Bricoleurs are always tinkering—building radios from household effects or fixing their own cars. They make the most of what they have, putting objects to unfamiliar uses. They are incredibly resourceful. Create Tinker Trays, Inventor Boxes, Loose Part Exploration to practically build this sense of resourcefulness into your children’s day to day activities rather than trying to protect them from it. These types of activities teach our children that things don’t always turn out perfectly or the way we think they should but they still have value.

By and large, build resiliency in your children through giving them a better grasp of reality at each stage of life they are in. Build their hearts and minds through humor and laughter. Don’t bubble wrap your kids now thinking they are better off in the long run.

I repeat, be strong and brave! Don’t be afraid and don’t panic, for I, the LORD your God, am with you in all you do.

Joshua 1:9

 

Advertisements
Posted in Kids, Parenting

One lie we cannot afford to keep selling to our children and 10 scriptures to help them break through


I am going to say it.

I may not have had to walk uphills both ways in the snow wearing one shoe while chewing on cornstalk for daily nutrition but I do think there is something unique about my upbringing that is lacking today.

I wasn’t allowed to quit. To be called a quitter was fightin’ words. You finished what you started. Even if it was ugly and duct taped together. Even if you didn’t like it, or it didn’t fulfill, or didn’t meet your assumptions. Whatever I had committed to do or had been committed to on my behalf, there was an expectation that some good would come of it, even if I didn’t particularly care for the assignment, project, team, or goal. It would primarily build character.

There is a fallacy we have chosen to believe that if something is too hard or has too many obstacles then it must not be in God’s will for us or our families. The reality is God’s word gives us every indication that the opposite is true. We have Old Testament proof of Job’s perseverance through extreme hardship. We have Jeremiah persevering through mistreatment from his own people doing exactly what God told him to do. Throughout the New Testament we see the example of Paul pushing through every imaginable challenge to achieve what he needed to in this life to honor and glorify God. If he relied on his earthly understanding and human ability I think he may have quit after the first stoning or maybe the first imprisonment.  I don’t know about you but I have never been stoned or imprisoned. The Bible shows us perseverance and endurance are proof of our faith and spiritual maturity. We are not an exception to the rule.

God still expects the same obedience from us today. I believe He also expects us to teach this to our children and have this as our expectation. We need to step up to the plate and teach our children that circumstances can change with hard work. We need to teach them to keep fighting through even when the odds are stacked against them. We need to expect for them to fail and make mistakes and then to learn from those challenging and disappointing circumstances. We are doing our children a disservice trying to protect them from sadness, boredom, and displeasure. We need to be our kids biggest cheerleaders but not allow them to back down when things get really tough.

I found a few scripture to equip you and for you to teach your children that hard times are just a part of living on this earth. But these scriptures also show us that God never expected us to endure and persevere alone. We need to be in community and in communion with Him to Stand Firm.

  1. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
  2. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  3. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 2 Corinthians 1:6
  4. being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, Colossians 1:11
  5. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11
  6. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3
  7. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 2 Corinthians 6:4
  8. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:8
  9. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
  10. You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming. 2 Timothy 4:6-8

michal-grosicki-221225Photo by Michał Grosicki

Posted in Thinking out loud

The Top 6 Things the Intrawebs Taught Me Today About Women In Leadership


I am not interested in the rest of the world realizing that the entire planet actually is run by women who do not have the actual titles or pay to back that up. If men are ever given the honor of carrying life I might change my mind. However, I am interested in many aspects of female leadership such as those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts.

I enjoy looking up facts and searching for trends through articles and reports. Here is a very top level reflection of what the intrawebs showed me today concerning these topics.

*Forbes reported on March 7, 2016 that almost four in ten businesses in G7 countries have no women in senior management positions.

*In 1966 there were no female U.S. Senators as compared to the 60 women in office as of 2017 according to Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University and U.S. House of Representatives.

*In the nonprofit sector, women are relatively well represented. They make up 75 percent of the nonprofit workforce but just 43 percent of the CEOs (Stillman, 2015) as reported in the AAUW report entitled Barrier and Bias: The Status of Women Leadership

*I recognized a little under half of Forbes list of  28 of the most powerful women in the world. 

*9 qualities that female leaders bring to the table are calmness, intuition, fairness, compassion, intelligence, flexibility, courage, confidence, and decisiveness

*Every list of the habits of highly successful women include writing down their goals. 

*According to a 2013 survey by Citi and LinkedIn  leading to a Report titled ‘Today’s Professional Woman Report’ when it comes to defining success, 96% of women think that they can have it all and from that percentage, 66% equate ‘having it all’ with being in a strong loving marriage. Women considered reaching the height of success in their field a factor in defining success while money ranked second in terms of how women define success. Further, 73% of women factor children into their definition of success. The number of women who say their definition of success is not linked to marriage or relationships has increased since 2012.

What facts surprised you? What are your thoughts or experiences in those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, and how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts?

rawpixel-com-310774

Photo by rawpixel.com

 

 

Posted in Thinking out loud

I don’t have anything innovative to say.


You may find yourself in a similar position as me. A cool thing has ended and you are waiting around for the next cool bus to jump on. Maybe it’s a project. Maybe it’s a job. Maybe it’s a calling. Maybe it’s just a feeling that something is coming down the line. I may not have anything innovative to say But I do just want to remind you of three things if you are in a holding pattern.

  1. Do something. Twiddling your thumbs may be all the energy you can pull up after this last phase of your life ended but do something. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do but don’t let that dictate your everyday existence. Do what only you can do. Write, call, create, organize, research use some brain cells during this waiting time. Learn a little something new.
  2. Don’t go to pot. Literally or figuratively. Take care of yourself. If something has ended in your life then something is definitely about to happen. We are always in preparation for the next stage. Do you need to rest more? Sit on the patio and read a book? Hold a baby? Drink more water? Eat pizza with friends? Take a social media break? Actually exercise? Cut out the sugar? Meditate? Pray? I know for me, the last few weeks have been re-connecting with friends and family to build an anchor for my soul. It’s also been important to move into disciplined and consistent exercise.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up. We have created a vicious un-loving culture centered around DOING rather than BEING. Just as you never what to get Number 2 confused with Number 1 in bathroom life Don’t get number 3 on this list confused with number 1. We have fallen for this trap that if we are doing something then we must have value. It has to be something big. Something important. Something highly instagrammable. If a season of your life has ended that took up much of your identity it is easy to fall into a pit of despair when “That Thing” is over. I know for myself I have had those stupid self-pity sessions starting with “I don’t have anything to offer that anyone would want anyway.” Thus, one of many reasons I have picked up my blog again.

There really is a time for everything. Time for waiting. Time for healing. Time for grieving. Time for dreaming. Use this time that you have to gear up for the next BIG Important Deal in your life! Let me know what’s working or not working for you.

qusai-akoud-85807

Photo by Qusai Akoud on Unsplash

 

Posted in Thinking out loud

The Coolest Thing Ever About The Hollowness of Hopelessness


I cannot bear to watch what happened at The Cross. Movies like The Passion, or last week’s episode of The Bible make me sick to my stomach. The cruelty, the torture, the shame, drive me to tears. Because frankly I’m not worth it. I can make it balance out in my head. If I had been brave enough to go to Golgotha I think I would be pleading with them that there had been some terrible mistake. This couldn’t be the plan. Jesus couldn’t be going through this nightmare for me. Knowing myself, I would have told them something like “I’ll figure out another way to make this work.” The futility of that insidious pain could not be about bringing eternal life. 

However, I think I would stayed true to form and been one of the unrealistic optimist.

Yes, Jesus may have died on the cross but that can’t be it. Ok, they are preparing Jesus for burial but that can’t be the end. He’s going to wake up at any minute and tell us the real plan. No really, I see them rolling the stone in front of the tomb but seriously, He’s the Son of God, something good is coming from all of this, I’m just sure of it. 

But when day after day of staring at the stone I think my heart would have been completely devastated. After waiting in such anticipation for goodness I think I might have been in the fetal position for a while at the foot of the tomb and then I would have started hurling rocks at the stone. I would be so angry at Him raising my hopes for better things and then abandoning me with His humaness rather than His promised holiness. The empty pit of my stomach would have risen into my heart and the hollowness of hopelessness would have crippled me forever. 

Image
Image by Matthew Seeds

But the coolest thing ever is when they least suspected it, when all others had lost hope and direction, when fear and death was ruling God’s creation,

THE STONE WAS ROLLED AWAY!!

And the hollowness of the tomb became HOPE! 

Everything God had said was true. Everything Jesus had said He would do He did. He was who He said He was. Even in death Life could begin again. 

If you have given up all hope, take some of my hope today on a stone. Better yet, let’s find our hope on what wasn’t there when the stone was rolled away.