Tag Archive | Family

Teaching Our Kids Responsibilities

Parenting is hard work! There are so many aspects to it, everything from discipline to helping our children make good food choices to winning their hearts! We also want to make sure we are teaching our children responsibility. We are living in a culture where more and more grown children are living at home and can’t seem to be able to move on with their own lives. God has given us the task of parenting and although we will always be our children’s parents we also want to equip our children for real life living! They are meant to go out and make lives of their own and we want them to be ready for that!

Chores can really help us in this area. I hear many moms say, “it is just easier to do it myself” or “it is not worth the complaining I will have to hear”, trust me- I HEAR you!! It is often not easy but we do our children no favors if we continue down this path because in the long run it will hurt them!

Our children can learn basic clean up rules at a very young age. I recently had a friend’s one year old son over and he was helping me pick up things, pulling his little legs to do small small chores for, I was very impressed!. Actually they usually love doing it at this age so it is the perfect time to start. Setting that precedent early helps you a great deal when they are older.

I read a lot of things about  families doing things to connect on a deeper level. Working and doing chores as a family is a wonderful way to do this! As a mother or even as a parent you may hear complaints at first but if you make chores part of the family activities irrespective of the complaints you will all work as a family. And once the chores are consistent they will adjust and great conversations can happen when you are say cooking in the kitchen together or cleaning out the kitchen! Reward yourselves after the big jobs and go out for a treat. You are teaching your children the value of hard work and they will feel pride in a job well done!

Here are some lists to get you started:

Younger children can:

Put Toys Away

Feed and water the house pets

Wipe Down Table Tops

Dust (get a duster that they will love)

Water Plants

Set the Table

Throw Trash Away

Sort Laundry (great lesson on learning colors)

As they get older they can do:

Meal Preparation – They can wash off veggies and fruit/ help you stir (If you are there of course), and get ingredients together.

Make their beds

Sweep Floors

Vacuum Floors

Collect Garbage

Rake Leaves

Pick up their Rooms

Help with Care of Baby (like making bottles and getting diapers)

Help Clean up the Yard

By the time our children become teens we want them to be able to:

Do their laundry

Cook some meals

Mow the lawn

Do basic car maintenance (like checking the oil and tires)

This is helping them be ready to go away to college, go for youth service or for when they get their first apartment or home! They will be grateful they know these tasks and often you will find more mature young people who save money and get good jobs at a younger age because of their knowledge in this area!

Remember when you are teaching your children, it won’t be perfect.

But you know what?

It absolutely important that we taught our children about their future and prepare them for life than to have the perfect made bed or swept kitchen! We are raising soon to be adults and we need  to prepare them!

Shalom

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Ways To Teach Values To Your Kids

Recently in my house something happened that made me to put up this post today. During the Christmas holiday I sent my just turned 13 year old son to get me some recharge cards to credit my phones. I told him to get me some denominations ranging from 400 Naira Mtn to 500 Naira Etisalat and I think 500 Naira Airtel.  I gave him the sum of 1. 500 Naira and he was supposed to come back with 100 Naira change abi? When he came back he told me that when the recharge card vendor gave him the change he gave him more than the 100 Naira.  My son told me that he turned back and told the vendor what happened and that the card vendor was very impressed that such a young fellow could do so in this contemporary times.  The reason I say this is that in this era values have become obsolete. We live in a consumer – driven society that broadcasts values that don’t reflect what we believe in.

Values are important and lasting principles, standards, code of behavior, moral codes, rules, code of conduct, ethics, beliefs shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Children are supposed to internalize values that their parents passed on to them. Passing  on this time tested values  is  important as they will help them to grow up as well rounded individuals ready to make generational impact.

These are some ideas that will help us as parents to impact these values on our children.

  • TELL THEM YOUR LIFE STORIES : Teach your children through your stories. Kids love to hear stories about your childhood. Weave in some moral dilemmas and you have got great opportunities to teach values to them. It certainly beats lecturing your kids. I have used this method a lot to tell my children about events that took place and eventually shaped my life. There were some stories I told my kids that happened when I was there ages and they were shocked that their mother did so so and so thing. Believe me we had fun.
  • LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE ACCORDING TO YOUR VALUES – WALK THE TALK. Kids learn by imitating especially at a young age. They are very very adept at seeing if what you say and what you do are matching up. Don’t give them confusing signals, follow your own values every moment. Don’t say they should not do certain things and then you turn around someday to do the same thing, you are setting double standards!
  • EXPOSE THEM TO YOUR RELIGION OR FAITH: It seems especially important today to let them know that they ‘re not alone. Providing your kids with a community of faith will strengthen their values and provide some “leverage” for them. I have a 9 year old daughter at home presently, she is in primary school. She loves going with me to fellowship. By the way I attend Sisters’ Fellowship International. I am  a Vice President in one of the chapters in Abuja. My chapter meet every thursdays and so my lil angel will do her homework in school before I come to pick her. The reason she does that is so I don’t tell her that she needs to stay at home to do her homework  while I go to fellowship. My lil girl loves to help out whenever we go to fellowship. She loves to carry  offering basket to collect offering and any other  thing she feels she can do just to make the fellowship run smoothly.  She knows everything and anything about SFI. Women tell me that I am bringing her up well, that they love the fact that she is very much in tune with what is happening in God’s kingdom. I can only say to God be the glory!
  • PAY ATTENTION TO WHO ELSE MIGHT BE TEACHING VALUES TO YOUR KIDS: Get to know your child’s teachers, friends, coaches, relatives, etc. Anyone who spends time with your kids may be influencing them. Know their values and beliefs as well. You see we parents because we are busy we do not pay attention to the adults and children around our kids who in one way or the other are forming their lives. Do we create time to talk to them? Do we know their friends? Do we know what their teachers are like? The questions are endless. Recently, a newspaper carried a story of  a 13 year old boy who repeatedly raped an 8 year old girl in his school and forbade her from telling anyone. It was during investigations by the police that the parents of the boy found out that the gate man of the house where the boy lives takes the boy to watch porn movies in the nearby makeshift cinema house! Police got involved because the 8 year old girl eventually died due to some complications as a result of the rape.
  • ASK YOUR KIDS QUESTIONS THAT WILL STIMULATE DIALOGUE ABOUT VALUES: Telling them what values they should have won’t always be effective, especially when your kids get older.  Asking them “curious” questions will allow discussions that will eventually lead to values. I remembered a particular incident that happened one day I was taking my kids to school. A man cut us off from  the lane we were on because he felt every other person slowing and steadily moving were stupid. The man almost hit us in the process, some other people in the traffic abused and shouted at the man for doing that but not me. I asked my kids what they thought of the man’s actions and they told me that the did not behave well and they in turn asked me why I was not pouring insults at the man and I asked them if they would have loved Mummy to be ranting and raving at the man as if I was mad and they said NO OOO! I used that incident to teach them  that even if you are in the right and someone tramples on that right, that there are better and more dignified ways of reacting to issues.
  • TALK TO THEM ABOUT VALUES IN A RELAXED AND EASY WAY: Nothing will turn your kids off more than preaching values to them after they have screwed up! Talk to them when everyone is relaxed, and do it in a light, conversational manner. They will be much more likely to be listening rather than tuning you out.
  • INVOLVE YOUR KIDS IN ART, ACTIVITIES OR HELPING OTHERS WHILE LIMITING TELEVISION AND VIDEO GAMES: Parents of these contemporary times have lost it somewhere. We are bringing up a generation of television addicts. The values our children have are distorted values they see on television. Parents in order to justify their busyness (if there is ever a word like that) salve their consciences by providing all manner of electronic gadgets for their children. They provide all forms of entertainment to occupy their children. Let us learn to engage our children in constructive activities that will make them learn  values . Allow them to experience helping others and involve them in activities that will expand  their creativity.
  • HAVE FREQUENT CONVERSATION ABOUT VALUES IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD: This lets your kids know  that it’s important and it’s not just something you talk about when they do something wrong.
  • HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUR KID’S VALUE SYSTEMS. Kids will tend to rise to the level of expectation you have for them. Their value system will often reflects yours if the expectations are high.
  • TELL THEM FOLKTALES WHEN THEY ARE YOUNGER. I am sure we can all remember the stories we were told about the antics of Mr. Tortoise, Mr. Hare, Mr. Lion. As children we learnt a lot of things that formed the values we have as adults now. I remember one certain Christmas holiday we spent in my husband’s village. Anambra State Broadcasting Service (ASBS) Television aired a children’s programme during their family belt. The programme was aired in Igbo language and it was a folktale programme. My kids got glued to the programme because it was fun to see and hear those stories I occasionally tell them being told in Igbo language ( though I translated a bit for them).

This post is not about me but about giving our kids what will help them to overcome this very challenging and complex world ours. I used myself as an example so that we parents will see that our children growing up and showing positive difference in their behavior depends a great lot on what we pass on to them. Please understand that I am not the best  parent, each day I make my mistake concerning parenting my kids so does my husband. When we err, we retrace our footsteps and forge on. I believe a lot of parents out there are like us. So much is happening in and around us, should we keep compounding issues by not preparing the future generation on the best practices in everything? This is a wake up call.  Shallom!

Let Our Children Be.

Research of every kind has shown that media, constantly being indoors, over entertainment, trying to manage children into little adults, too much exposure to sexual material and immoral values at an early age, is destroying the soul of children. They are being pulled,  pushed  and dragged from one place to another, endless activities, lessons that are supposedly “good” for them, and forced to fit into time boxes convenient to adults. This stress is wreaking havoc and creating terrible results on a generation of children who are growing up with emotional adult illnesses at early ages, lower vocabulary, more depression, vastly growing obesity as a childhood disease and so much more. Premature addiction to sexual images and news stories and acting out  adult values is damaging to their souls. Innocence and purity of mind  is healthy to becoming healthy adults.

Our children are starving for real life and drowning in the midst of an empty one.

But the old fashioned way of raising children seems to be the healthiest way  to raise emotionally, intellectually, physically resilient children. Children are natural imitators and so we must fill their lives and minds with worthy people, ideas  and heroes to pretend and to imitate – to practice what they will be when they grow up.

May they not grow up to imitate addiction to computer. May they not learn and display passivity from adults ignoring their needs while paying too much attention to facebook, twitter, blogs, cell phones. May they not copy the habit of observing parents dwelling hour after hour in front of interpersonal machines! while neglecting to honor and invest in real time relationships.

Children need protection and nurturing. Their brains are being robbed of intellectual exercise because they are not doing the things that children have done through out history. Children need a lot of time to have alone-time- imagination-to synthesize all that they are learning and thinking about in their worlds. Children need to read, to be read to and to have their brains filled with moral strength, values and stories that inspire!

When our children are constantly entertained by media, their brains actually become retarded – clinically slowed down, because  they are overstimulated  and their undeveloped eyes and brain capacity cannot deal with all of the visual stimulation, so that the brain actually shuts down in areas. Because they are deprived of what their bodies are designed to have- rest, play, imagination, curiosity, interaction with real people and real experiences, problems to solve, there is a diminishing of long term emotional, spiritual and mental health. Unfortunately, most children are not free to exercise life choices in the oxygen of creative play and have forgotten how to exist without constant entertainment, which prohibits intellectual growth.

Children need to be outdoors (including mine). They need time to be bored so that they will have to figure out how to occupy their time creatively. Innocence and purity of mind is healthy to becoming healthy adults.

They need to be around books and have lots and lots of imaginative stories read to them and then have them pretend the stories. They need lots of time with adults most preferably their parents not aunts, uncles and nannies so that they can pattern their values, manner and relationships after mature people rather than always being in the company of  immature children and media images which display violence, foolishness and questionable values.

Children will reflect naturally what their environment has produced. If one wants excellence and creativity, it comes out of a life well planned and ordered-  intentional living out what is real, acceptable, true and good. It does not come out of media or constant external entertainment or happen- chance where children becomes morally addicted to cultural values as displayed on the internet, television and the movies.

May our children be blessed with the gift of play, imagination, free time and the space to be outdoors to explore (if the security of say my country Nigeria will allow it).May they wonder at the marvels of God’s creation. May they have the treasure of real human beings who hold their hands while exploring the world, or who rock them to sleep and sing them real songs or scratch their backs at bedtime and tell them their own love stories. And may they daily hear the words of their creator God and marvel at His excellence and grow to love Him with all their heart.

Safeguarding Your Family On The Internet 1

What I will share today is a challenge that I have been wondering on how I will overcome . As if by the Holy Spirit leading recently  I saw how to solve it, how ? I subscribe to a lot of sites, blogs etc, and once in a while, somebody writes on something that is and has been an issue to me and to a lot of mothers, women and  sisters and immediately like this particular case I decided to share.

It is unfortunate but the world we all live in now is a wretched and sinful one. we are constantly bombarded with things we have to protect our children from. We live in the time of smartphones (Blackberries, Iphones, Ipads, Play station portable PSP etc ). Most of us parents buy these phones for our children for status sake and we do not stop to wonder on the kind of pornography and vivid images our children and husbands are exposed to daily. As a woman with a blackberry and an Ipad, I know the kind of information I get and I shudder when I think about such information getting into the hands of juveniles. For blackberries? goodness! the kind of videos and pictures I get from friends all in the name of fun and rebroadcasting, you will not believe it. On Valentine day, February 14th, this year. I got some obscene videos and pictures and I had to calmly explain to the senders to desist from sending such to me whether as on I need to know basis on otherwise.

Now according to what I read, I will share some of the protective ways I learnt to protect my family. In my house I am the only one, me (MOM) who is always a step ahead in the I.T world. I know the password to everybody’s email after I created them including my husband’s. If any game is to be installed, I do the installing, any site is to be visited, I am told about it and I check the site before giving the go ahead. My husband put me in charge because he saw that I can pull my weight where  computers and the internet is concerned

Now lets get down to some serious business on how you can protect your family from pornography. I will try, the list is not exhaustive  but it will get you started.

1. Install safety soft ware

I remembered when I was working in a government office, the I. T unit blocked some sites in the office so that staff will not have access to those sites while working. Those include porn sites, and some of the social media. Management of my office felt staff were using office hours to entertain themselves. I also know for certain that this is the case in other government offices including banking sector. Now since I left working for the government and on my own, I am  virtually on line for one thing or the other, with the help of my husband (bank rolling the expenses) and a dear friend who is an expert in these matters we got the soft wares and blocked some sites I felt my children might have access to on days I am not on my guard. As a parent ask around and you will get these soft wares- it is worth the money you will buy it. It lets you do a bunch of things- like put block and allow specific website for our children. I can allow them to log on for a certain time of the day, for only a specific amount of time, or all kinds of other parameters. My tween who is 12 going on 13 can log in with his own password, at home, and can go onto approved websites that I have specifically allowed. NO social media or chat rooms or any website that contain certain searches. Let me tell you the story behind my taking this particular step. Some 3- 4 years ago, my 2 boys an daughter were really small. Every day I picked them from school, they will tell me about cartoon network and the games they could play online. Each day it was the same story and I said okay, lets do this, I got my modem and installed it in their desktop and clicked on the website address they gave me, Sisters you will not believe it, as the page was half way open, a porn site came up and if not that I was the one checking this out I would have sworn my children opened that page deliberately. Before the cartoon page open up fully about 2 different porn sites came up and to add to my dismay, when the page was up, there on one of the games listed for my children to click was a full blown porn site! all it needed was for kids my to click and VOILA!. Fortunately my kids were not around me as I was checking this thing out, there were in the sitting room watching their beloved cartoon while I was in their room doing this.

2. Computers or laptops or Ipads in common areas

Like I said my kids’ computer is in their room and I am constantly there, there room is an extension of mine, and we operate an open door policy. So at any time I can pop in to know what they are up to. No Ipads are allowed, my Ipad and their dad’s is locked with a password and we keep changing the password and of course they are no go areas. They are not allowed to go to others friends’ homes where they have internet access or cable/satellite TV in their rooms most especially where the decoders are controlled by the children. I don’t care if it offends those people but hey I got a family to protect!

3. NO internet on phones 

I am not opposed to kids having a cell phone, but to own a blackberry or phones with internet? Come On! My children have had phones for as long as they could say Hello? It is easier for me to always know how they are when I am not at home. The phones my kids have even my tween boy is the one without internet, so the possibility of installing apps is not there. Texting has no picture sharing. Him and his siblings can only text family members, Shikenah! For the most part, my kids rarely text but then again it is for my piece of mind jare!. I t enables me know know what they are up to at any time. Parents buying all these Iphones, Ipads, Blackbery for their kids, hmmm? when jungle matures I wonder who you will blame ooo. Do you know how many kids including husbands that are hooked on pornography already? Recently in one of the south south states of my country, a story broke of 2 teenage boys that raped their younger step sister to death! Stay tuned to the concluding part shortly.

Prayer Journal To the Rescue

Gods Woman restingAs I look back to all my struggles to maintain a time with God, I realize that God allowed all that to happen because He knew that a time will come when I will share this with you my sistas. Let me explain better, you see all my life, scribbling things came very natural to me. Keeping a journal or diary was my thing. Sometimes when I read those things that I wrote I will wonder if truly, yours truly wrote them. I am not claiming to be Chinua Achebe but to my standard, it was something. Ehen, back to what I was saying. What changed you will ask? Something really simple. I began to journal………I began to write my prayers! Instead of saying my prayers and getting all the distractions of this world, I started writing it o. My journal began as letters to God which quickly evolved into daily conversation with God

Let me tell you how it started. One day I had a fight with a very good friend when I went to her house, you see our friendship brought our husbands together, our kids are about the same ages. The quarrel was over something silly as far as I was concerned. When I left her house I  decided to get some foodstuffs at the market and because I was angry, talking to myself and justifying my actions, I was not paying attention I hit someone’s car. The impact was more on my car and when I called my husband he did not find it funny and in some strong words made me know that. So could a day get any worse? When I got home, I was bedside myself. I needed to vent my anger. I wanted someone to hear my side of the story at least! I entered my children’s room and started putting toys, books, stockings, shoes etc in order and I remembered picking an exercise book that my daughter got from a recent birthday party of her classmate in school. I took it and an idea came to me and I went to that my natures corner and I took a pen and I started  writing a letter to God, explaining how things turned out bad that days. My sistas by the time I was through, goodness! I was relieved and most importantly I saw where I made the mistake and because I was not in control of myself, wrong actions led to other wrong actions. I should have broken the cycle. Anyways, I realized that I was always looking forward to writing my daily activities, my joy. sorrow, disappointments, my children antics, house help issues, wow the list was endless. That was how my prayer journal came to be. See sistas you might need to keep this because , the good thing about this way is that you can get a jotter or thick covered notebook that can fit into you bag. You can pull it out anywhere, office (when you are on break), at home when your children are with you, they can distract with their complaints but you can look up from your prayer journal, pen still poised  and calmly solve the ’emergency’ and pick up where you left off, (no challenge).

You see sistas, in our ever busy schedule as women, mothers, wives etc standing on Christ the solid rock is our sure bet. Putting pen to paper will slow us down, keep us focused on the person we are talking to, the ALMIGHTY GOD, who said in Psalm 50 v 15, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me (kjv). My sistas, this has worked for me over the years and I believe that if you want this wonderful God that saw my struggles to spend time with him and gave me this strategy, He will let you know how best to reach Him, He is ever faithful to fail. But if you think this will work for you by all means try it and you will be glad you did.

 

Finding my time in His Presence 1

“But when you pray, go into your (most) private room, and closing the door, pray to your

Father who is in secret, and your  Father who sees in secret will reward you in the open” Matt 6v6 AMP.

Hmm, sistas, when I tried to establish a regular quiet time with God, a lot of drama took place o. I made an announcement in my home  one day (by the way I have three kids, two boys and a girl), see sistas don’t bother about their ages but when this event took place they very little. Ahem, back to the announcement, I told my kids that I their mummy was looking for somewhere in the house I will be meeting Jesus  to pray. The reason for carrying my kids along in this search was because if a place was found and mummy goes to stay with Jesus, there will be no distractions. Eventually a little corner was  identified by my daughter in my room and she immediately called it “NATURES CORNER”. Now if you went to primary school in the 80’s like I did, you will understand what a natures corner was, my daughter was not born then but in my home  precisely in the kitchen, a small corner like that existed where I  planted beans, onions, yam, Irish potato okro etc. I gave the corner that name and my kids adopted the name, so my little corner became natures corner. Now in my natures corner, my kids helped mummy put a chair, a table, my bible and all my devotionals, my bible marker and a rug for my feet. Comfy you  will say.  My kids were running from pillar to post to make where mummy will be meeting Jesus comfortable. They also got a chair for Jesus! After all Jesus will not stand up while talking to mummy.

The first day, which was during my kids holiday as schools were out, I fed them and put cartoon on DSTV to occupy them and so thinking I got everything covered, I went into my room and closed the door. I did not lock the door because I felt my kids and I had an understanding. Closed doors are usually irresistible to small children like mine and I made the mistake of telling mine I wanted some time alone with God. My kids like yours  and every other woman’s child within the age bracket of mine then could not resist the opportunity of seeing God talking to mummy. I had barely reached my natures corner when I saw noses peeking under the door. Notes started appearing under my door for one emergency or the other. Stay tuned for the part two.