Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When Prayer is All You Can Do and It Actually Matters

I used to think “I’ll pray for you” was such an empty phrase. A recognition that I can’t really do anything that will change this situation, but I need to say something, so I’ll say this. It sounded hollow. Self-centered almost. Definitely ineffective. I was in the camp that you must do in order to relieve suffering. And prayer seemed the opposite of doing. Read more.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

10 Strategies to Tackle Entitlement in the Home

Kay Wyma, ‘Recovering Enabler’ Now the Author of ‘Cleaning House,’ Shares Top Tips for Teaching Kids How Capable They Can Be  
A Dallas mother of five kids who worked in the White House and earned an MBA in international finance has tackled a really tough task—pushing back against the “entitlement mentality” she helped to develop in her children. In its place, Kay Wills Wyma instills competence and confidence born from helping them develop the skills and traits needed to launch from home successfully.
In her book Cleaning House A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth EntitlementKay details her yearlong effort to help her kids learn the joy of accomplishment and capability. Following are 10 strategies for parents resolving that 2013 will be the “Year Entitlement Ended” in their homes.
10. Be honest . . . with yourself and with your kids. The first step to change is admitting, “I have a problem.” Welcome to Enablers Anonymous. It might not be pretty, but we’ve all driven here on the road paved with good intentions.
9. Have a family meeting. Announce the plan and involve the participants. If everyone owns it, the seeds sprout and grow.
8. Gather like-minded friends. It’s lonely doing anything seemingly alone, especially when swimming upstream. So grab some friends and do it together.
7. Keep your eyes on the goal by looking back. George Washington at 16 was surveying Culpepper County, Va. – without his parents!; at age 12, Blaise Pascal worked out the first 23 propositions of Euclid by himself; at age 15 Louis Braille invented the Braille system; at age 14 my friend Jackie worked at her local dry cleaner—responsible for daily deposits and closing up the store. The point is . . . kids are more than capable.
6. Set the bar high. Kids, like all of us, thrive on high expectations. Seriously, who likes to work for someone who takes your stuff and does it over or steps in and completes it for you? Our kids don’t like it either.
5. Think teflon. Don’t be fooled by the whines; let the “noooooo” and “why me?!” barrage hit and slide right off. Those kids are only feigning disdain. They actually crave feeling useful and needed.
4. Pack any baggage and park it outside—forever. Whatever fears buckle a parent’s knees (“my kid will be left out,” “their feelings will be hurt,” “they will never get into college,” “they will fail if I don’t – or pay someone to – do it for them”) can and should be disregarded. Kids can do so much more than we or they think. Teach them how to do a task. Train them by getting out of the way. Then watch mountains formerly seen as obstacles morph into opportunities.
3. Welcome and keep your hands off a kid’s failure. There are few prouder moments than witnessing your child fall, get up, fall, get up, stay up and capitalize on newfound strength, determination and real self-esteem.
2. Learn to use and mean the words, “I’m happy for you.” Despite our best efforts to make it a competition, parenting isn’t about one-upping each other. It’s about loving our kids and celebrating their unique gifts and talents. It’s OK to celebrate our friends’ talents and teach our kids to do the same. More than OK . . . dare we admit, liberating.
1. Get ready to catch yourself saying: “Who knew?!” “Who knew my kids could do so much?” “Who knew they could serve their sibling?” (I mean how else can you describe a boy folding his sister’s underwear, or a girl cleaning her brother’s bathroom!) “Who knew they could be so happy?” “Who knew gaming, texting and social media could take a back seat?” “Who knew they just wanted someone to believe in them . . . and that family responsibilities were just the ticket?”

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Secret to Contentment

By Dena Dyer:
How am I ever to find contentment in a world that’s screaming “more, more, more”? In Philippians, which was written during one of Paul’s prison stays, the apostle says that he has learned the key to being content in every situation: Jesus Christ.
I’ve often heard Philippians 4:13 quoted at the beginning of a church building program or an athletic event. I’ve said it to myself when I’m trying to lose weight or finish a book deadline.
Yes, God desires to help us when we do things in his name and for his glory. However, in context, the verse takes on a new light. Paul notes that he has learned to be content in every circumstance—not through mastering his emotions on his own, but through Jesus Christ, who gives him strength.