Monthly Archives: September 2015

Obedience- the Big O in Parenting


She paraded down the steps in her glamorous attire, all ready to go to church in the fancy dress that she had searched so diligently to find.  Not to mention the matching shoes to add to the fashion spectacle.  “Mommy, I knew that there were clothes in the bag that would fit me now.”, she proudly trilled over the other children’s voices.  Everyone turned and stared, including Mommy.  Yet, Mommy’s face wasn’t smiling.  Not one bit.  Not one itty, bit. Why, you may ask?  It was because her daughter had just pulled her entire outfit out of a bag of clothes that she had been purposefully told multiple times not to open.  The bag would be opened later on in the fall, not NOW.

When Mommy confronted her daughter about what she had done, her daughter froze up and said nothing.  She would not admit her wrong-doing.  She remained in her state of rebellion, refusing to apologize to her mother.  Daughter’s punishment was to miss going to her grandmothers for that day and to miss dessert for the evening.

Another scenario: It was the end of the day and he was tired on his feet.  He began picking on his brother.  When mom began to reprimand, he retorted with,”I  want to shoot you in the butt with my nerf-pellets!”.  Immediately mom raised her hand pointing up to his room.  He silently went up to the bathroom, pulled down his pants, waiting for a spanking, and then went straight to his bed and slept for 2 hours.

These are stories that I have recently heard relating to obedience.  I have hundreds of them that I could retell after teaching for 25 years and  being a mother and a grandmother. The bottom line is that children are going to test the limits- push against the boundaries and see how far they can go.  Each school year with each new class I had to set down the rules with the input of the students the very first week, so the kids would know what they could and could not do.  There would always be a percentage of kids who would be obedient from the get-go.  Then there would be another group who would test the limits and once they saw how far I would let them go, they would stay within those limits and obey.  Finally there would be another group who would constantly challenge my authority.

To obey or disobey, which decision are children going to make?  Well- the answer is multi- faceted.  First of all:

  1. We are all born sinners with the compulsion to want to do things the way we want to do them.  You can see the tendency to sin in a 2 year old who says NO when you ask them to stop playing with the electric outlet.
  2. The Bible tells children to Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord God is giving you.”  Exodus 20:12  The Scripture also  tells parents in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.” So God is making a point to children and parents about the importance of children honoring their parents, and parents training or teaching their children in the correct way to go.
  3. How do the Scriptures translate to our times?  The dictionary defines HONORas for high respect as for worth, merit, or rank; to be held in great honor .  Therefore a child is to show high respect for his or her parents because of who they are to them.  Parents are their caretakers, their protectors, the ones who brought them into this world, or who lovingly adopted them into their family.  The parents know what is best for their children and children need to respect their parents for that fact alone. As a child learns respect for his parents, he learns respect for others.  He learns boundaries.  He learns to value other’s needs and wants as well as his own.  This helps the child know how to live happily with others as he or she grows into a man or a woman.
  4. What is the definition of TRAIN? -to develop or form the habits, thoughts, or behavior of a child by discipline and instructionTherefore, a parent is to develop and form the habits and behaviors of a child by using discipline and instruction so that as a child gets older he or she will continue to live a disciplined life and not turn away from it.
  5. One rule that was the paramount rule in my teaching and bringing up my sons was Matthew 7:12 “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  This was called The Golden Rule.  It is plain and simple- Treat others like you want to be treated.  Therefore if you don’t want your brother to hit you, you won’t hit your brother.  If you don’t want your sister to tattletale on you, you won’t tattletale on her.  If you want to have a chance to speak at the family dinner time, you will give your sister a chance to speak.
  6. Consequently for a child to obey or disobey, a decision is made within the child as to which way he or she will go.  The parenting that has been in place makes a big difference as to what decision the child will make.  Every child will make mistakes, because every child is a sinner.  Every parent will make mistakes, because every parent is a sinner.  There is no one who gets it perfect.  No straight A students in parenting.  That is not the purpose.  It is o.k. for kids to make mistakes and to make them with you, because you can show them the right way to go after their mistake.  There is so much learning and loving after mistakes in families.  That is what it is all about.
  7. Styles of parenting. I am going to mention 3 styles of parenting. (There are many more.)
    1.   Hands-off Parenting–  This is parenting where the parents give the child free reign.  The child is allowed to do whatever he or she wants to do.  The child calls all the shots.  There are very few boundaries or limits.  When this child goes to school he has a very difficult time adjusting to listening and following directions, because he has not had to do that before.  He has always been able to do whatever he has wanted to do when he has wanted to do it, so he has difficulty in doing the work the teacher asks him to do, because he wants to play instead of working.  This trend continues as the child grows older. He has difficulty making friends, because he always wants to play what he wants to play and won’t play the games that other friends want to play, so he feels left out.  He starts being a bully on the playground to get his way.                                                              
    2.   Critical Parenting–  This kind of parenting sets up boundaries and limits right away.  The parents want to make sure that they are doing it right.  They want to make sure that they are training their children correctly and that their children are honoring their parents.  Whenever a child makes a mistake the child is yelled at and criticized for not doing it right.  There is no conversation, just harping about following the rules to a tee. Children raised under critical parenting usually end up having a poor self-image of themselves, feeling as if they can never get it right.  They feel deflated and are often afraid to try new things because they “know” in their minds that they will not succeed.  There is a cloud of negativity that permeates the household that seems to grow with each failure that happens.       
    3.  Parenting Positively For these parents they set up boundaries and limits right away.  They want to make sure that they are doing the right thing in bringing up their children.  But, they start off with love and positivity as their guides.  For example, when their 2 year old is going towards the electric socket, they distract her with a toy so that they won’t have a conflict situation.  When they see their 3 year old grabbing their brother’s favorite toy, they gently take it away and say,” Oh this is Johnny’s.  Here is your favorite doll.”  They use strategies to prevent conflict.  As the children get older these parents continually use their voices to give praise when their children are being obedient.  Such as:  “I am so proud of Eli for being the first one to be dressed this morning!” or ” Thank you Laura for putting your trash in the garbage can.”, or “I was so proud of you Ben when you chose not to get into the fight with Sam.  You were so brave!”  These positive affirmations do wonders for teaching kids the right behaviors.  Then when a child misbehaves a positive parent makes it a teachable moment by asking the child what other choices he could have made.  There are still consequences for a punishment, but the child learns from his mistakes.

Of course you know that I am a proponent of Parenting Positively.  That was how I  raised my boys and how I  taught for 25 years.  You may ask why?  As a child growing up so many of my teachers used the negative approaches.  Negativity never worked with me.  It made me close down and not think that I could succeed.  As an introvert, I became a keen observer of what I did admire.  What was I drawn to?  The effect that positivity had on children.  It amazed me as I observed the effect of love and positivity on children, and I vowed that the love of God and positivity would be the bedrock of my parenthood.   Another help for me that stayed right on my nightstand was Dr. James Dobson’s Dare to Discipline.   It was my child rearing Bible.  Dr. Dobson’s strategies were priceless.  I encourage you to pick up a copy today.  Those strategies still work!  They are timeless.

Here are some other resources that I think you’d enjoy.

Meaningful Mama

Thriving Home

Strong Willed Child

May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand,

Debra Smith

HELP! September Stress is Closing In On Me!


Oh those lazy days of summer were so calm and relaxing.   Suddenly September has befallen us and we seem to be inundated with school activities:  homework, soccer practice and games, ballet practice, tae-kwon-do lessons, church activities, on top of our normal scheduled events, such as personal exercise, quiet times, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, yard work, etc.   As the days go by, stress begins to build as we try to fit all of these activities into our already crowded schedule.  We feel as if we are on a tred-mill and we can’t get off.  We are in a state of perpetual motion at all times, with our hearts racing, our tempers getting shorter,  and our patience waning.

What’s a parent to do?  Your child has the school activities and homework which all children have.  It is your desire for your child to have the opportunities to be on athletic teams or take dance or music lessons.  Some parents believe in the importance of including their children in the training and upbringing in the church.  So, these activities are all “givens”.

I have mentioned this scripture passage in a previous post, but it has had such a significant meaning in my life.  It is Psalm 31:15  “My times are in your hands.”  I truly believe that God has given us every 24 hour day that we have.  Everyday that we have been given is a gift to us, and so every hour and minute is precious.  Once that hour or minute has passed, it can not be lived again.  Therefore it is of great importance for each of us to learn how to use our time wisely, as God would have us use it.  For you see if our times are in God’s hands, He desires to be the one to help us know how to use every minute of that time.

The issue for us is how do we find out how God wants us to use our time?  First of all we go to Him in prayer at the beginning of each day and ask Him how He would have us spend our day.  We can take  Him our plans – the kids going to school, our going to work, taking the kids to ball practice, doing the laundry, doing homework, etc, and then ask Him if there is anything else that He would like for us to do during the day.  As we are praying, the thought might come into our head to call a friend who is sick.  That is God speaking.  Or the thought might be to skip the laundry and spend extra time with one child who has been withdrawn.  That is God speaking.   Maybe after having your quiet time with God during your day, your plans might get interrupted by an emergency that a co-worker has.  God knew that was going to happen.  You run with the flow and help your co-worker.  God has planned your day, not you.  Remember your times are in God’s hands and if you don’t get “your plans” done that is o.k.  God’s plans are what are important.  You see, God’s desire is that we  give ourselves to Him each and everyday so that we can be used according to His purposes.  At the end of the day we can have a peace in knowing that our day went along with God’s intentions for our day.  If our plans were not all fulfilled, then they were not supposed to be.  We can be content that our day was just as it was meant to be.

After we have had our time with the Lord each morning,(There are some night owl moms who do better having their time with the Lord at night and preparing for the day ahead at that time.)then we can begin our routine.  For some moms it may be breakfast and getting her kiddos out of bed.  For others it may be exercise time.  Then it is getting the kids ready for school and onto the school bus or the car- pool.  Moms and dads that work outside the home are then off to the races.  One help for a lot of parents is buddying up with neighbors for car-pools or for standing with kids at the bus stop, or walking kids to school.

After school in the afternoons before dinner can be hectic.  I used to call the hours from 4:00-6:00 the “Witching Hours”, because that was when my kids would be fussy as little ones.  It can be just as unsettling for school-aged children, because they can be tired and cranky after a full day of school.  Nevertheless, this is the time that we often have to do homework.  So, parents, take in a deep breath, get yourself a nice tall glass of iced tea, and get your kids their favorite snacks to eat before beginning the homework.  If you know that you have other evening activities plan ahead with your dinner schedule so that you are fixing something quick to cook, serve, and clean-up.  Get the kids involved with helping you set the table and clean-up as part of their chores.

While the kids are cleaning up this is the perfect time to have some one-on-one time with one of your kids, or spend some extra time with homework with one of them.   Then it is off to a practice or a game, or some extra play time.  If you know other kids on the same team it gives you an opportunity to car-pool and that can save some of your running around.

I really believe in the importance of reading to your children every day.  For some children this may be at bedtime, for others it is in the morning.   After the practice, game, or playtime, it will be bedtime.  During the school year, it is important that children get a good night’s rest.  Kid’s need 10 hrs. of sleep a night.  I know that some kids struggle in going to sleep at bedtime.  You could try incentives, let them read in their beds until they fall asleep, try playing soft music, or give them a warm bath before bed.

After the kid’s bedtime some parents try to get chores done.   Yet, some are completely wiped out.  Moms and dads working together on household duties really helps at these times.  Some duties may need to be pushed to another day, if one day’s duties have been overwhelming.

Tips that can be helpful for a busy week:

  1. Plan your menu for the week.  On Saturday or Sunday you can put together some of your meals ahead of time and put them in the freezer, so that on busy days all that you have to do is micro-wave and serve.  You can also plan Crockpot meals that can be ready when you get home at 5:00.  Make meals simple when you have hectic weeks. This can be such a time saver!
  2. Go to the grocery store once a week, so that you’re not making many trips during the week.
  3. Prioritize your “to-do” list- Ask God to be in charge of your day and help you see what are the most important items that you need to focus on for your day.
  4. Get the family involved in helping at home with the chores, with the meal, etc.
  5. Take time to be with your children and husband each and every day.  Maybe that quality time is talking in the car with your son as you drive to soccer practice. Maybe that time with your husband isn’t until bedtime.  Maybe that special time with your daughter is when you read her a story in the wee hours of the morning after she just woke up.  Maybe that quality time with another child is when you are braiding her hair or when she is helping you prepare dinner.
  6. Make time just for you during the day, even if it is just to sit for a moment with a cup of tea and relax on the porch.  Everybody needs their own “down time” during the day.
  7. Remember that it is not always going to be so hectic.   These crazy days will slow down.

I have just been reading the most marvelous book, Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford. It is an amazing book about parenting that you would love.  I would like to share a poem that Rachel wrote:

Keeping Track of Life Manifesto

Not the digits on the scale

Not the numbers in my salary

Not the speed at which I respond to a text message.

Not the square footage of my nome

Not the circumference of my waist

Not the number of tasks I accomplish in a day.

Not the markings on my social calendar

Not the collection of awards on my wall

Not the volume of extracurricular duties I juggle all at once.

Instead

I’m keeping track of life.

I’m making the moments count….

In the kisses

In the hugs

In the words of my loved ones that ease my cluttered mind.

I’m finding joy in the now…

In the blessings

In the do-nothing moments

In the sacred pauses of life that heal my frenzied soul.

I’m keeping track of life

By cupping it in my two tree hands

Because I don’t want to miss a childhood

a marriage

a friendship

or the moments that make life worth living.

I’m keeping track of life

Because now I see what’s important cannot be measured,

purchased, or checked off a list

It must be felt through open hands and heart of an awakened soul.

Rachel’s book helps us see the importance of the small everyday moments in our lives that make life worth living.  She gives us a new view of looking at life, despite the busyness to see what is truly the most important in our lives, and how we can claim it.

You might find these resources helpful:

 Hands Free Mama

Unglued Devotional for Moms 

Young Wife’s Guide to Managing it All

May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand,

Debra Smith

Homework- It All Begins With the Attitude


HOMEWORK!  This word will have an effect on you: either a positive one or a negative one.  It will often depend on your own personal experiences and learning styles, including the level of importance that your family gave education as you were growing up.  Nevertheless, homework is something that has to be reckoned with and accepted as a part of a child’s life from kindergarten all the way through college and perhaps graduate school.

If a child has been raised in a family that has valued education and has spent time reading to their children, practiced reading, writing, and doing math with their children, played board games and taught important learning concepts, then your child when first going to school will probably see homework as “fun work”, (as my friend Kathie used to call it).  Well, this was the notion that I had in my head when I sent my sons to school.  My sons will be excited about doing homework!  When I had taught before giving birth to my sons, this seemed to be the case.  So, of course it would be true for my sons, as well.   I had prepared my sons adequately for school, reading and writing with them;  playing learning games and teaching important concepts.  Of course, they were going to LOVE doing their homework.

The bombshell hit when the boys came home the first week of school.  They dashed up to the house from the bus and asked for a quick snack.  Then they were ready to explode with unleashed energy before they could get to the backyard to run and play.  There was no time to talk about their day at school.  It was very clear to me that this was not the time to tackle homework.  These boys needed a break from sitting in desks and working all day. Homework would need to take a backseat to a little playtime.  Two athletic, active boys needed a break before undertaking their homework assignments.  And, that ended up being our pattern.

Now, there are many other children who work differently.  They come home, have a snack and want to do their homework immediately so that they will have it completed.  Then they can have the rest of their afternoon and evening free to play and do other activities.  It all depends on you, your schedule, and your child’s make-up as to when you schedule your homework time.

Of course, thrown into all of this mix, is after school activities, such as chess class, soccer practice, piano lessons, church.  When you have afternoon or evening activities, your kids have a limitation of time and have a specific time window when homework has to be done.  That is when a schedule comes in handy.  Kids know that they are getting to go to these special activities, and so they have to get their homework completed, so there is a pay-off.  At some schools teachers help for days like these by giving homework packets that are due on Friday, so that kids can “double-up” on their homework on another night  if one evening is super busy.

One thing that is important to do to help homework time be successful is to have all of the homework supplies that will be needed handy so that the kids can easily get the items that they will need.  It is also helpful to have a workspace where your kids can do their work, where you can easily sit and supervise and help them.  It is beneficial for the parents to have a place where they can keep a copy of the teacher’s directions for weekly homework assignments.  That might be the refrigerator or a special bulletin board.  It is also necessary to have a calendar where you circle and write down when the assignments are due back at school, to make sure your child gets his or her assignments back to school on time.  You might want to start a folder that you keep for each child with assignments for the week or for the month that you and your child will check daily.

Now, as you begin the homework process, it is significant to know your child’s learning style.  There are three learning styles.  There are visual learners. There are auditory learners, and there are tactile/kinesthetic learners. 

Carrie Kitzmiller in her article “Young Child Learning Style Assessment” tells us some of the differences of each learning style.

Visual Learners- learn through seeing.  They think in pictures.  They prefer books with pictures.   They enjoy drawing and coloring and like to do jigsaw puzzles.  They notice details.  They remember people’s faces more than their names.  They like brightly colored pictures, maps, graphs, and charts.

Auditory Learners- learn through listening and hearing information.  They hum and sing while performing a task or concentrating. They easily memorize song lyrics and rhymes or poetry.  They enjoy listening to a book read aloud.  They have a good sense of rhythm. They talk a lot.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners-learn by touching, moving, and doing.  They may have trouble keeping their hands to themselves.   They like pop-up books with textured pages. They enjoy building and crafting with clay and building toys. They like to take things apart and see how they work. They get impatient while listening to directions, wanting to jump right in.  They fidget, and need to get up and move when sitting for a long time.

The important thing for you to realize as you begin homework with your child is that your child has a learning style and that you have a learning style.  They may not be the same.  You may try working with your child using strategies of your learning style while he has a completely different learning style.  Pandemonium!  Homework is a disaster!

Point number 1.  You have to realize what your child’s learning style is and you have to work with him or her using strategies of his style.

Point number 2. You may have 2 or more children in the family.  They may all have different learning styles.  So, you may have to work with them separately with different learning style strategies, that may even be different from your learning style.

An example may be that I need to work with Johnny with flashcards to learn his spelling words, because he is a visual learner.  But, Sally is an auditory learner, so she needs to learn her spelling words  by putting them into rhymes or songs that she makes up to help her remember her words.   Whereas, Leon is a tactile learner so he spells the words with letter cards, moving the letter cards around to make the words that you ask him to spell.

Another thing to mention is that one child may be happy sitting down doing her homework, while her brother needs to stand up and be moving to do his homework.  Some children need breaks when doing their homework, especially if it involves writing.  They may need to tell you the sentence and then you write it down on a wipe off-board so that they can copy it.  Or you may need to write out the spelling words on note cards to help them study the words for the week.  Homework for kids means Homework for mom and dad, too.

Homework can become “fun work” when you :

  • Choose the right time to do it
  • Have all of the supplies needed
  • Have a special place to do your work
  • Know your child’s learning style and your’s as well

The very last most important point to remember.  This comes from being a teacher for 25 years. KIDS NEED TO PUT THEIR HOMEWORK PAPER IN THEIR BACKPACK RIGHT AFTER THEY HAVE COMPLETED IT. This way their work will get to their teacher the very next day and will not be late.  Parents- kids will really need your help in remembering to do this each and everyday.  Please remind them to do it.  This needs to be their responsibility.

As I think of each and every one of the students that I have taught over 25 years, I am reminded that each one of them was different.  Each one of them was special and uniquely made. God’s Word tells us in Psalm 139:1-6, 13-14

“O Lord, You have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; and perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely Lord.  You hem me in- behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain…For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful I know that full well.”

I have included some resources that you might find beneficial.

Homework Help for Success

Young Child Learning Style Assessment

Teachers Use Movement

May God keep you in the palm of His hand.

Debra Smith

Rise and Shine


“It’s a Beautiful Morning”- Oh you know the song.  You can envision a sunny day with a smiling  girl or  boy running with arms outstretched through a flowery meadow.   Well, that is not me when it is time to get up.  I am a night owl.  When I hear the alarm go off, I hit the ten minute button at least 3 times before I rise.  When I finally pull my body out of bed everyone knows not to talk to me for a while.  This trait has even been passed down to one of my sons, as well.  It’s not that I like being a night owl, but I have never been a morning person, even when my life was forced into that mold.   My husband is just the opposite of me.  He is the early bird.  So, we have found different patterns of doing things.  Because I am a night owl and don’t function as well when I first get up, I do my planning for the next day the night before.  I pack my lunch and lay out all of my clothes and have whatever items I will need for the morning close at hand.  For my husband, since he is a morning person, he does all of his planning and getting ready for his day in the morning.

Now, some of you may have found that you have children who are morning people and some kids who don’t function very well in the wee hours after dawn.  You may find that you get frustrated with your little ones who are slow moving and can’t seem to get ready for school.  It may be that they are on a different clock than you.  There are strategies that you can use to help ease their morning time.  For those children who have trouble getting up in the morning, it is easy to use anger or punishment as a tool to get the kids moving.  Nevertheless,  I have found that positive reinforcers work much more effectively.

There are many positive reinforcers that you can use.  I have seen silly alarm clocks that make crazy noises or play babbling songs.  I saw one today that shoots out three different shapes of blocks and the child has to put the blocks in the correct puzzle space to make the alarm go off.  That may be positive or negative depending on your child.  There are moms who plan the outfits with their kids for the entire week and then label their closet or dressers with the days of the week and place the clothes accordingly with their correct label.  This not only has the child’s clothes ready in the morning, but helps teach the child the days of the week.  There are also a variety of charts that many moms use to show their children the jobs that they need to do each morning in the order that they need to be done.  These picture charts are in their rooms, with pictures of the bed for the child to make his bed. Then a picture of clothes to symbolize putting on clothes.  The next picture is a cereal bowl for breakfast and finally a toothbrush for brushing teeth.  Another strategy for auditory learners,  was for a mom to put some of her kids favorite songs on a playlist on her phone.  Then she would play the music in the morning.  The kids would know the order of the songs, and would realize if they were falling behind by where they were on the playlist.

All of these strategies are incorporating the parent putting forth effort up front by planning the strategy, but then the kids are learning to do the work themselves without the parents being that involved.  The parents may give some moral support and help as it is needed, such as tying shoes or fixing hair, etc.  But, basically the kids are independently learning the skills of getting themselves ready in the morning and doing morning chores.  They are learning to be responsible, and can be proud of their accomplishments.  This is when you can award them with positive praise or some kind of reward, such as doughnuts for breakfast on Friday, extra screen time on the t.v. or the i-pads or their toy devices, or going to get snow cones.   I have attached some articles that you may like to read about these ideas.

On the other hand, you may have kids who are the early birds.  Kids who wake up at the first ray of dawn, before you have even thought of getting up.  They are tugging at your pillow saying “Mommy it’s time to get up.”  You thought that you just closed your eyes for a good night’s rest.  All you want to do is pull the covers over your head and pretend that you didn’t hear their call.  Well, I have been told that parents who have had this kind of situation have given their kids special fluffy blankets to snuggle up in and told them to go back to bed with their snuggly blanket and read some of their books until mommy and daddy get up.  There are some parents who have installed a timer in their children’s room and have told them that they need to stay in their room and play quietly until the timer goes off.  This is when it does come in handy to have  sound machines in place.  If you have other children, and they each have a sound machine in their room, then the early risers won’t wake the others up. This thing called sleep can be a very important commodity in the household of a young family.

I will end with a funny story.  When my younger son was in kindergarten his class had a little “store” where the students could purchase items when they had good behavior.  Well, one day my little  tyke came running into the house all excited.  He came running up to me with a flushed face and a huge smile across his sweet little face.  “Mommy”, he uttered.  “I have something special that I got just for you today”.  He looked so proud of himself, as if he had just made the greatest accomplishment.  I couldn’t wait to see what small treasure  that he had grasped in his hands.  Suddenly he pushed into my lap a yellow cow’s bell!  I was startled!  I began thinking – “Where in the world did he get this?”  and “Why is it so precious to him?”  and  “Why does he want to give it to me?”  Then he quickly answered all of my questions.  He began his story by telling me that he had gotten enough good behavior points to buy something from the store at school today.  I told him how proud I was of him.  Then he continued by saying that he bought the yellow cow bell because he wanted to ring it as an alarm clock to wake me up in the mornings!!

I still have that yellow bell.  When I went back into teaching I used it as a bell in the classroom.  I always loved telling the story to my students.  They thoroughly enjoyed hearing any story that I told about my boys.   Funny thing though,  the son who gave me the bell, is the son who inherited the same sleep disposition as his mother!!  So, I guess I will need to give the bell back to him!

God has given us every day that we have as His gift to us.  Every moment is precious, and we cannot live a moment again.  Psalm 31: 15 states “My times are in your hands.”   God has given us every moment and He has already planned our day.  He desires for us to begin our days with joy, not discord. One of my favorite passages is  Zephaniah 3:17 “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  God desires to give us joy, but we must turn to Him at the beginning of each day and give our day to Him.   So, let’s pray with our kids, have a devotional with them before they leave for school.  That is a great way to start off the day on the right foot.  Then it can really be a beautiful morning!

Here are some of the strategies that I mentioned above that you can read and find out more information.

http://www.livinglocurto.com/2009/08/school-morning-routine-free-printable-cards/#sthash.v8HUP4UX.qjtu

http://www.tinyme.com/blog/10-ways-make-back-to-school-easy/#foobox-1/8/10-Ways-to-Make-Back-to-School-Easy-9.jpg

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/time-to-wake-clocksroundup-120551

May the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand,

Debra Smith