Category Archives: Parenting

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever

When it comes to personality profiles most are familiar with Galen’s Four temperaments (Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy) or the DISC assessment (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Compliant) but my personal favorite is the four personalities as presented by Dr. Gary Smalley with each have an animal characteristic.  They are entertaining, easy to remember and even able for children to grasp. The four animals are the Lion, the Otter, the Golden Retriever and the Beaver.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty details (believe me there are MANY) let me try to give you a quick example of each personality:

The Lion –> RRRROAAAAAR!!! 

Ok you likely got it.  This personality is strong, confident, decisive and in charge. They are the movers and shakers of the world who are running the show. If you want to get something done…give it to the Lion! They can also be cold, domineering, sarcastic and cruel.

The Lion bottom line is CONTROL

The Otter –> Wheeeeeeee!

Think of an otter playing, splashing around and carefree…having a good time and you have got this personality figured out.  These personality types are outgoing, friendly, talkative and enthusiastic.  They love a party! They’ll come! They’ll bring the popcorn! (but beware if you invite them they may or may not show up based on if something more exciting came along or if they even remembered that there is a party… as they are undisciplined, unstable and a bit flakey) They can also be whiney and easily angered.

The Otter bottom line is FUN

The Golden Retriever –> “pant, pant, pant” 

Just as you picture the faithful dog, man’s best friend…this is the golden retriever personality. They are calm, easy-going, diplomatic, loyal and humorous.  They do not like conflict or confrontation and really desire everyone to just “get along”. They also can’t make a decision for the life of them and are a bit on the lazy, non productive, unmotivated side.

The Golden Retriever bottom line is PEACE

The Beaver –>

hmmmm no sound works to give you an idea of this personality so just picture the industrious beaver analyzing and calculating each move as they build a dam

Beavers are the most complex of the personalities as they often have either an artistic/musical component or the mathematic/bookkeeper side of the equation. (and sometimes both!)  Either way they are self-disciplined, industrious, organized, aesthetic and sacrificing.  They also tend to be moody, self-centered, touchy, negative, unsociable, critical and revengeful.

The Beaver bottom line: JUSTICE

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Both my husband and I have taught about personalities for years to our high school students as well as using them in pre-marital counseling sessions and sharing them with our kids. We have quite the working knowledge of both the strengths and weaknesses of each personality and can often quickly identify someones primary and secondary personality often the first time we meet them.  Our kids have picked up the art of personality predicting as well and if you came to our home you should not be surprised to hear a lot of talk about lions, otters, golden retrievers and beavers. In fact we sometimes forget when guests are over that they have no idea what we are talking about, as they get this strange look on their faces as we start calling people animals!

Ok, so now that you have had a “crash course” in the personality animals….let me tell you who recently spent 10 days together on a trip to New York and Boston  —>

 

Three Lions and a Golden Retriever 

If you think that sounds a little intense…you would be right!

Imagine three dominant, strong, confident, opinionated and take charge female lions who all want to be in control (and don’t like to be told what to do).  Yeah….that’s gonna work!

Then add to the mix a sweet golden retriever who simply wants peace and doesn’t like conflict or confusion and does not thrive in unfamiliar territory.

And to put more fuel to the fire….all four have strong secondary characteristics of a beaver which means there was a fair share of moodiness (or was that hormones?), criticism, negativity and self centeredness.  Good times!

The best thing about knowing the personality characteristics as well as we all do….is when the dust settles we can see it for what it is, just a bunch of lions roaring at each other and a golden retriever withdrawing to the corner with her tail between her legs. We even end up laughing at ourselves and one another (as well as feeling a bit of compassion for the outmatched, out numbered golden retriever who at times probably wondered what she was thinking coming on a trip with three Lions. Daddy retriever would have balanced things out a bit). Knowing and understanding all the personality types and having the knowledge of what your primary personality is, as well as your loved ones goes a long way to helping relationships resolve conflict, accept the value in differences and live together in harmony whether that is a marriage, a family, a friend, a college roommate or a teammate. Realizing what weaknesses each temperament struggles with will also help you to work on developing good “learned behavior” to overcome these liabilities as well as giving you a little more patience in dealing with others. (although watch out you lions cuz you are always  trying to control everyone elses weaknesses!) I highly recommend becoming a student and life long learner of the personalities, it will serve you well!

Just so you know….the strengths not just the weaknesses of the Lions and the Retriever were evident as well which is why we did almost more than most could accomplish during our trip and still took time to smell the roses, soak up the sunshine and relax on a few park benches.  It’s all good!

 

PS: If you missed my previous posts about out trip you can read them here, here, here and here

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

What will our children say?

I have so much to tell you about my recent 10 day trip to New York and Boston.  Hopefully I will have the chance to share some tidbits here and there over the upcoming weeks before it all fades into a distant memory without the life lessons I gleaned from this trip being etched deeper into my being through the process of writing about them.

Real quick though, before I share this first tidbit, I have to tell you about some of the Lord’s gracious provisions for us while we were traveling “by faith”. (For an explanation of what I mean to travel by faith and if you missed my post the day we left, you can read it here –> “How do you do what you do?”)

  1. A dear friend provided a gift to my girls of a Broadway show! What an amazing blessing to not only have provision for our needs but even some of our “wants”!
  2. While we were picking up one of my daughters, who arrived on day three of our trip, a lady at the airport tapped us on the shoulder and asked if we wanted her seven-day metro pass with four days left on it. We enthusiastically said “yes! we would love it!”.  A providential gift from God as we had exactly four more days in New York and were able to save the money we would have spent on the Subway.
  3. My name was picked from the lottery for tickets to see “Wicked”.  Me, who rarely ever gets picked from any random drawing was the third name drawn of just over a dozen people to receive front row tickets to the show.  We all squealed with delight at this blessing! God is so very good!
  4. As we were walking to church on Sunday night we spotted a resteraunt that I had received a gift card for two years ago to an establishment in our city that closed it’s doors just weeks after I had been given that card.  I had been carrying it around in my wallet ever since hoping to be able to “someday” use it!  Voila…the perfect timing arrived in New York as we were looking for the Lord to provide every step of the way…we got a free dinner out on the town!  Don’t you just love the way God works?

Ok so back to one of the thought provoking life lessons I gleaned on this adventure.  As we walked into the cemetery next to Park Church in Boston the first thing that caught our eye was a large monument in the center of the cemetery that read FRANKLIN.

Of course I immediately thought…”that must be Benjamin Franklin’s grave” (my apologies to you history buffs who of course know that he was buried in Philadelphia).  Upon closer inspection I saw that it was actually the grave of Ben Franklin’s parents – Josiah and Abiah Franklin – and that the monument had been erected  and inscription written by their youngest son, Ben Franklin.  As I got up close to the monument and read the words that Ben Franklin had written about his parents I was both touched and inspired by them. 

Josiah Franklin,
and
Abiah his wife,
lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together in wedlock
Fifty-five years.
Without an estate, or any gainful employment,
By constant labor and industry,
with God’s blessing,
They maintained a large family
comfortably,
and brought up thirteen children
and seven grandchildren
reputably.
From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent man;
She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
their youngest son,
In filial regard to their memory,
places this stone.
J.F. born 1655, died 1744, 89
A.F. born 1667, died 1752, 85

I read those words over and over again thinking about the things that Ben Franklin valued in his parents

  • That they had a loving and life long marriage
  • That they were not “privileged” (ie – no estate or profitable employment), they were simple hard workers
  • They knew that as they worked hard they could trust in God’s blessing to provide for their large family. (Ben Franklin was the youngest of 13 children)
  • They were committed to the bringing up and training of both their children and grandchildren to be highly esteemed and respected by others
  • Mr Franklin was a man of devotion to God (pious)and was wise and judicious (prudent).  Mrs Franklin had discernment in her action and speech (discreet) and was morally excellent and righteous (virtuous)

I was so impressed and struck by this 88 word description of his parents and the vast array of accolades that he gave them to be remembered by, not only he and his relatives but by those of us hundreds of years later who get to read that inscription. And to top it off he had the foresight to talk to all of us reading it today by saying:

From this instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.

He was inspiring and challenging each of us to be diligent in our calling – whether that is our calling to be faithful in our marriages, hard workers in our jobs, purposeful in our parenting, dedicated to our character or devoted to our faith. He also reminds us to trust the providential hand of God in our lives.

It got me thinking about what our children would say about my husband and my life after we are gone?  Would they admire our marriage?  Do they see us as hard workers who also trust God to bring the blessings?  Would they know from first hand experience that we were purposeful in raising our children and our grandchildren?  And what character qualities would they admire most in us? 

I am sure that we would all love to know that we are leaving a legacy like Mr & Mrs Franklin have accomplished.  And Ben Franklin has certainly inspired me through this monument inscription to be diligent in my calling as a wife, a mother, a “worker” and a Christian.  And while I know I have a long way to go to merit such an inscription and I hope that I will live long enough to gain some ground, I was blessed to receive a little glimpse of my legacy this last week in the form of a text message from my daughter after I spoke a message to her college peers:

“Mom, I didn’t have a chance to say it because everyone else was telling you…today was awesome! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us. I am so honored to have you as my mom, mentor and supporter.  I love you.”

Between that text and Ben Franklin’s inscription I am encouraged, inspired and have renewed my commitment to be diligent to my calling and to trust in God’s providence! Will you join me?

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Filed under Faith, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Making a Difference, Marriage, Parenting

“Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops”

Not only did he have to ask me but…

  • he had to ask my Lord…
  • and he had to ask my Daddy…
  • and he had to ask “my kids” (also known as my youth group at Lakeview Assembly)…

Yes, the young man who decided to ask for my hand in marriage on March 18, 1986…25 years ago today…had more than a few “hoops to jump through” before slipping that ring on my finger. And isn’t that just how it should be?

You can read our whole love story and engagement here – My God Inspired Love Story 

Now that we are the parents of seven daughters we definitely think that any young man worthy enough of our precious daughters ought to be willing and able to “jump through a few hoops” to win the prize of her hand in marriage. In fact,  in many ways I believe our current culture has made it much too easy on guys to “get the girl”  (in another era it would be  – the gentlemen to win the heart of a fair lady)  Often young men no longer have to:

  • pursue a woman (since there are an abundance of women ready & willing to pursue them!)
  • courageously win a woman’s heart & hand in marriage (remember the English proverb – “faint heart never won fair lady”)
  • pay a price for their bride (hmmm perhaps there was some wisdom in this  after all the bible says – “where your money is so will your heart be also”)
  • wait for loving sexual intimacy until they are married (many enjoy the pleasure of sex, a clean house, home cooked meals & even a second income without ever having to pursue a womans heart, jump through any hoops or  make the commitment of marriage)

While some may think these cultural changes are good for both men and women, I would beg to differ.

Women want to be pursued.  It is how God made them.  They desire to be wanted, loved and greatly desired. In our culture women no longer need to wait to be pursued as they have society’s “permission” to be the pursuer.  And pursue they do.  The biggest problem in this shows up long after they are married when they still desire to be pursued (wooed, admired, desired, wanted & loved) and men who never have had to pursue a woman’s heart are woefully inadequate in meeting these needs. 

Women want a “Knight in Shining Armor”. A man who is  brave and courageous and who can save and protect them.  Requiring men to “jump through a few hoops” – is certainly great exercise for them to build their courage and strength. By requiring the young men who may be interested in our daughters to ask their father for permission and to declare their intentions and commit to high relationship standards should be happening in every home that values their daughters.  Women no longer under their parents roof would do well to require potential suitors to do the same. I often tell my girls…if a young man is not willing to simply call and get your dads permission to pursue your heart…then he has no courage and it is obvious that his desire for you is anemic.  Do you really want that kind of man? (and on a side note if your Dad says “no” or “not now” and the young man perseveres in his desire for you, not giving up, even if it means “winning over” your dad first….would that not just melt your heart and prove his love, strength & fortitude?)

Women want to feel valuable…while we will not require a “bride price” (well…maybe not), there is something to say for the way this would make a woman feel. In Jewish culture the groom had to pay a price…no modest token…the price was set so that the new bride would be a costly item – that was the idea. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl of his choice.  We want our daughters to feel “priceless” and valuable (because they are are our greatest riches and the most valuable part of our lives) so therefore we will not let them go to just any ole’ guy. Yes, they will have to “pay a price”…though it may not be monetary…it will require sacrifice.

Women want commitment with their sexual intimacy.  Alas our society denies this and even many girls would probably say they do not care about commitment (at least of the marriage kind), and yet I still believe that women truly do not want to give their bodies in an intimate way to someone they are not also connected with spiritually, emotionally and mentally as well as with someone who will “be there” for them through all of life’s ups & downs.  Men who are willing to wait for that commitment before becoming one with a woman have proven themselves to be self-controlled, faithful, godly, patient, persevering, wise and hold women in great high esteem, honor and respect.  That is a man who has “jumped through the hoops” and is worthy of my daughter’s hand.

Today as I celebrate the anniversary of our engagement I am thankful for my husband…a man of God…who was willing to jump through some hoops to ask for my hand in marriage –

  • by pursuing my heart and taking a leap of faith without doing it the “normal” culturally accepted  and percieved “safe” way of dating before engagement
  • by praying, seeking and hearing from the Lord that I was the woman he should marry
  • by asking my Dad for my hand in marriage (even after listening to my brother drone on & on about what a hard time he was going to get)
  • by asking my youth group kids for their permission to marry their youth pastor (it takes courage to propose in front of 100 teens)
  • by paying a price to marry a gal called to full time ministry (he left a very lucrative management position in alcoholic beverages to join me in full time youth ministry – in fact his income has never reached the annual level he made in 1985 – I know this thanks to the yearly social security report I receive)
  • by practicing self control, patience, godliness and wisdom by saving intimacy for the commitment of marriage

He is still my knight in shining armor and I would say yes all over again…as these 25 years together have been amazing and wonderful! 

I pray that my precious & very valuable daughters will find godly men that will “jump through some hoops” to win their hearts and ask for their hand in marriage. I pray as well for you my dear readers who are parents…for your daughters & granddaughters. And for my single young lady friends & relatives who read my blog (I know there are a few of you out there – Hi Kate, Beth, Janessa, Chrisann, Tiffana, Rachael, Marlene, Cait – to name a few – along with all my high school girls at JECHS )…I pray that you would patiently wait to be pursued by a godly courageous, brave young man who is willing to pay the price and jump through the hoops to win your heart….because you are so worth it!

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Filed under Courtship, Life Lessons, Marriage, Parenting, Raising Girls

Cultivating Culture at Christmas

Last night I took a couple of the girls (the one’s who weren’t studying for finals…thumbs down to schools who are still in session even one day past December 15) and Granny to a local Christmas concert. It was a lovely evening listening to a youth chorale sing beautiful Christmas music in the majestic atmosphere of an old brick church complete with stained glass windows. As I sat there taking in the beauty all around me I realized how blessed I was to be raised in a home that appreciated culture and  I am truly grateful for this influence from both of my parents.

Experiencing and appreciating culture adds great value to our lives. I can’t begin to imagine my life without art, music, theater, literature and life long learning.

Art  is a work of creativity and God is the ultimate creator…all we need to do is look around at His creation to see the most amazing drawings, painting and sculptures. They have no rivals. When we see amazing art we are getting a glimpse of the creativity of God. When I see a thing of beauty it takes my breath away and causes my spirit to soar.

Music and poetry inspires us on so many levels…touching our heart and soul. It can cause us to rejoice and praise the Lord, dance, clap, shout, cry, laugh and sing.  I am often transformed to an amazing place of  complete joy, perfect love and glorious peace after listening  to inspiring music. It moves me in a way that nothing else does.

Literature and theater can instantly place us into someone elses story…giving us compassion, insight and even vision and motivation that can change the course of our lives.  Stories and plays can inspire and challenge me to do great things, take me on unbelievable adventures, touch my heart, teach me life lessons and bring me great joy and laughter along with tears.

Truly these things are a gift from God who is the creator of all things beautiful, awe-inspiring and good. I cannot imagine life without them.

It helped that growing up we often lived in large metropolitan cities where the cultural opportunities abounded. I,  however, have raised my family in a place not known for it’s cultural opportunities and yet because I believe that the arts add so much value to life I have chosen to actively pursue these experiences for my children.

Christmas provides the perfect time to cultivate culture in our lives and to influence and teach our children to appreciate the arts.  There are an abundance of cultural opportunities in even the smallest communities during this season. (and at this time of year there are many experiences that are free as well for those of us who have limited resources) 

Some of the ways you can take advantage of these opportunities

  • Find local Christmas concerts, ballets or church performances to attend…they are abundant
  • Check out your local museum…they often have special Christmas displays or exhibits
  • Call around to your civic theater, local high schools or colleges to see if there are any plays being performed (you can almost always find someone doing “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens)
  • Churches often have “living nativities” or special art displays (not to mention if you can find any older more traditional churches to visit the architecture, stained glass windows and sculptures are a cultural experience in themselves)
  • Christmas Home Tours are also prevalent at this time of year and are another great way to enjoy art, architecture and beauty

You can also create an atmosphere of cultivating culture in your own home.  We have been very purposeful with our children in bringing cultural experiences to them (it is also very helpful when your kids are small and may not be able to sit through a “live” performance or production)

  • Listening to classical Christmas music!  While contemporary seasonal music is the mainstay of our Christmas season we are sure to also include classics like The Boston Pops Orchestra.  Their rendition of a Christmas Festival is a staple in our home, in fact it is the first official Christmas song to be played after Thanksgiving.  I love it that my 3 year old son heard the opening strands in the car last week and enthusiastically shouted out – “Mommy! It’s Christmas!”
  • Reading Christmas Classics!  I don’t know why but it always seems so much easier to read books out loud at Christmastime.  I guess the combination of the cozy living room complete with a fire in the fireplace, twinkling Christmas lights, hot cocoa, cold weather that invites you to stay home and the extra family time without the pressure of school and work.  We have an entire box of Christmas books that we have collected over the years that only come out at Christmastime.

  • Watching Christmas Classic Movies!  Again the new Christmas movies are great for family movie night and we enjoy them immensely but there are a few “must watch” movies that are full of value and culture –  White Christmas, A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, The Nativity, Miracle on 34th Street and Little Women (ok so it’s not specifically a Christmas movie….but I have decided that it is for us). 
  • Watching Inspirational youtube videos!  Even if you can’t get out to a concert or live in a remote area without access to much culture, thanks to the Internet it can be brought right into your own home.  Every time I find an inspiring or excellent youtube I make my kids sit down and watch it. Here are some of my favorites this year:





  • Encouraging your children to put on a Christmas play of their own.  There are so many great Christmas stories to choose from or they could write their own.  Tell them that they can perform it as a Christmas gift to the family on Christmas day or other larger family get together.  Help them create costumes, gather props and any other support they need but let them create and perform. Besides adding culture and creativity to your life it will be some of the most memorable moments of their childhood.

  • Another easy way to add some art & creativity to your lives is through making homemade Christmas ornaments, Christmas cards and even decorating Christmas cookies.

  • Hosting our annual Mother Daughter Tea is one of our favorite Christmas traditions.  We have been hosting this tea for my girls friends and their mothers for 12 years.  Besides being a lot of fun for everyone it is a fabulous chance to add beauty and culture to our lives.  The fine Christmas china, setting a decorative table, dressing up, practicing etiquette and table manners are all great cultural experiences.  We also give the guests an opportunity to share their talents by singing, playing a musical instrument, reciting a poem or scripture, dramatic reading or signing to a musical selection. It is fabulous!

  • Memorizing the Christmas story from the Bible.  Most every year we take some time in the fall to memorize the story of Christ’s birth out of the book of Luke.  The younger school age children recite it on Christmas Eve.
  • Family Christmas Caroling Night, another family favorite tradition.  Each year we go out and sing Christmas carols at the doors of our friends & family members. It is a great chance to learn classic Christmas carols (and we sing all the verses…as my Mom would say…a song is like a poem and of you don’t sing all the verses you miss the entire meaning), learn to sing and a wonderful family bonding time.  If you did not want to trek all over the city singing you could simply sing around your fireplace, piano or Christmas tree or even go to a few rest homes, hospitals or children’s homes.

It’s not too late to add some culture to your Christmas this year. I would love to hear your ideas for cultivating culture both at Christmas as well as throughout the year.

PS – Tonight we will dress up and head out as a family (minus “the littles”) to a nice dinner and to see the Nutcracker Ballet compliments of my mother. (aka: Granny).  May I suggest that if you are a grandparent looking for a valuable gift to give your grandkids that will last a lifetime (rather than a few weeks or months)…give them a gift of a cultural experience!  And if you can go with them…even better yet!

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Filed under Christmas Season, Inspiration, Life at the Lambdins, Parenting

Nothing Easy About It

Last week I received an email with this title…

Character-building Made Easy!

I actually laughed out loud.  Now I am sure that this character building curriculum for home school families is an excellent resource and it may be “easy” to read or “easy”to teach but there is simply nothing easy about building character in life.  In fact don’t you think that true character is built and developed through hardships, struggles, pain and times of sacrifice?

And yet….

….we as parents who say out of our mouths that we want to raise children with outstanding character spend much of or time trying to shelter them from hardship, struggles, pain and sacrifice. Yes, it is true.  Think about it. 

We want our kids to “have it all”.  Whether it is the “stuff” of material possessions or every type of experience from trips and vacations to music lessons, art classes or sports training, we want our kids to have a “better life” than we had. We buy them things, give them all the resources and sign them up for every opportunity instead of allowing them to live without something they desire thus building character qualities of self-discipline, sacrifice, perseverance and gratitude.

We will never accept a less than perfect classroom, teacher or coach.  And if things are not exactly how we think they should be, we are the first to march right down to that school office and demand a change.  We simply will not consider the possibility that our child will actually learn more important lessons in life from an imperfect teacher, coach or classroom situation.  What a great opportunity to develop patience, kindness, acceptance, diligence, respect, self-sufficiency, forgiveness, humility, taking initiative and personal responsibility not to mention they will probably learn much about being a great leader, teacher or coach from watching a poor example and learning what not to do.

We even look for ways to make their lives “easier” by doing chores, work or assignments for them or “lightening their load” during finals week or other stressful seasons of life.  We never allow them to fail or as my parents use to say – “make their bed and then lie in it”. If we did they would develop amazing character qualities of hard work, perseverance, diligence and determination.

We make excuses for them instead of forcing them to be responsible for their attitudes and actions thus delaying that all important character qualities of  diligence, a good work ethic, honesty and personal responsibility.

And as they get older we do not require them to make their own appointments, meet their own deadlines, work out their own transportation and confront unacceptable situations thus robbing them of the opportunities to build character qualities of courage, responsibility, initiative and maturity.

Perhaps our goal as parents should not be to give our child a “perfect” life free from stress, difficulties, obstacles, pain, hurt or needs. Perhaps it should be to welcome these situations and  allow them to teach and train our children (as well as ourselves) to develop godly character qualities that will be of great gain in our lives.

Wouldn’t you love to say about your children and yourself – we are patient, responsible, ethical, grateful, self disciplined, hard-working, diligent, determined, mature, courageous, content, loving, kind, compassionate and forgiving?

If you never go without or are never in need….how do you develop gratitude?

If you are never hurt or wronged…how do you learn true forgiveness?

If you never have to wait or be put off…how do you become patient?

If you never fail….how do you learn to be diligent and an overcomer?

If you are never forced to step out of your comfort zone…how do you become courageous?

If you never experience any pain or suffering….how will you learn compassion?

Character building made easy?  Nope….there ain’t nothing easy about it!

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Parenting

Throwing a Tantrum

Temper Tantrums are something I know more than a little about.  In fact, between being the Mom to eight children and parenting for the last two decades perhaps I could say that I have earned a Master’s Degree in temper tantrums.  I have seen and experienced them all:

  • The scream in your face looking like you are going to kill someone tantrum
  • The dash down the hall yelling hysterically tantrum
  • The turn your back on Mommy and fold your arms while stomping your feet tantrum
  • The hold your breath until you pass out tantrum
  • The jumping up and down whining & crying tantrum
  • The pulling on Mommy’s arms or a leg or piece of clothing while verbally assaulting her tantrum
  • The hitting of your fists on anything or anyone close by tantrum
  • The “I may be sitting on the outside but I am standing on the inside” tantrum
  • The slam your door and turn up the music loud enough to raise the roof tantrum
  • The “whatever” said under your  breath while rolling your eyes tantrum

And my personal favorite

  • The lay on the floor in the middle of the grocery store kicking and screaming tantrum (it really is my favorite because it makes me laugh hysterically)

Whew! Just thinking about all those temper tantrums makes me weary.  Yes, tantrums are, among many other unpleasant things…exhausting.  And they all boil down to the same root cause whether the child having the tantrum is two or twelve,  it all comes down to not getting their own way.   It may be something they want to have (or not have like vegetables or vitamins), something they want to do (or not do like take a bath or go to bed) or a place they want to go (or not).  Sometimes those desires are ridiculous, unacceptable, dangerous, selfish, inappropriate, unhealthy or unaffordable. And other times they are perfectly ok but the timing, situation or circumstance is not ideal.  

Today I realized I was having a little bit of an adult tantrum as I wandered from room to room thinking about several areas of my life that I needed to get under control.  (definition of an adult temper tantrum is the same as for our kids:  I am not getting my way and I am not happy about it so I react inappropriately, inwardly or outwardly, it is just that we are usually more dignified and refined in our tantrum throwing.) As I listened to myself, talk to myself (whoa…are there three people living inside my head…I promise I am not crazy!) it was all too clear that yes, I was throwing a tantrum because I wasn’t getting my way.  True confessions – it went something like this:

 Self: You really need to get back on that exercise routine and start eating healthy again!

 Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self: Ok Beth, you are supposed to be starting a ministry here. It is time to set up regular working hours and begin actively pursuing your goals and dreams. Time to get going girl!

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t…. w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Self:  The home school kids need to be put on a daily schedule. The free for all is not working on any level for this group of students (and maybe it didn’t work for the older girls but if not they sure “faked it” well) So sit down and set up their routine and then hold their feet to the fire to be sure they stick with it.

Self throwing an adult tantrum (said with really whiny voice): W-h-y? But….I don’t….w-a-n-t  to!  Do I have to?  That’s no fun. It’s too hard.  Isn’t there an easier way?  It’s not fair…why can’t I just be like _________ who doesn’t have to deal with things like this?  I would rather lay around drinking an ice coffee and eating dark chocolate mints while reading a good book, watching a movie or bouncing around the Internet from emails or facebook to news or blogs with no responsibility and not a care in the world.

Not very pretty, eh?  I tell ya, I wouldn’t take that type of talk from my kids in a “New York minute”!

As I saw the pattern repeating it almost became amusing, even to me, that I was actually throwing a tantrum in my head.  But a few minutes later when Christiana began to throw her own screaming tantrum over not getting to play with my cell phone I did not find it amusing whatsoever. (yes,  it has already begun at 18 months)

Here is how I attempt to handle any and all temper tantrums from my kids no matter what age they are:

  1. They do not ever, under any circumstance, get their way! (did I say Never do they ever get their way? Good because that is what I meant…never, ever do they get their way…nope…never)
  2. I ignore the tantrum (unless they are harming themselves or others then I physically restrain them..since they usually only do this at fairly young ages car seats in the living room worked great)
  3. If it continues I smile and say (with sass & a bit of a drawl!) – “Is that working for you babycakes?” cause it is sure not going to work with me so you go on and have fun with that little fit you are having  (in our house the saying goes like this – “ya get what ya get and ya don’t throw a fit”)
  4. And if they are really going at it full force (and not harming anyone) I full on laugh at them in the midst of the tirade. (for some reason this is really easy for me to do because I do find kids on the floor throwing fits pretty amusing or maybe it is amusing to me that they actually think that they will win with that strategy)

So folks….I am putting my little bratty tantrum self on notice –

You are not going to get your way!   You will get up and get going in all these areas that need attention in your life. They are important and valuable and you will do what needs to be done! Let’s have at it!

Is that working for you?  That little fit you are throwing in your heart and mind? (answer…ummmm NOT!)

“Ya get what ya get (your metabolism, your body, your financial & life situation, your calling, the current ages & temperaments of your kids at home during this season of life)….and ya don’t throw a fit!”  Get over it and get on with it!

And then I am going to laugh that little tantrum thrower right out of my mind!

Anyone else out there dealing with a little tantrum today?

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Filed under Attitude, Life Lessons, Lifes Challenges, Motherhood, Parenting

What would you tell your “college age self”?

I just spent the past several days down in Southern California on a college visitation trip with two of my high school girls and their dear life long friend along with one of my closest friends and mentor to the girls.  We had a great road trip complete with long hours in the car, lots of fast food and  less sleep than we needed but lots of good times, learning and laughter too!

I found myself looking back to thirty years ago when I  was a high school senior choosing where I would attend college. I tried to remember my thought process and how I came to the decisions that I did.  I remembered  first stepping  foot on my college campus as a young and in many ways unprepared student and the many decisions I made both good and bad while I was there.  I also wondered if my decisions would have been different had I had older and wiser mentors in my life giving me advice along the way.

I do not remember much advice at all from my high school teachers or counselors other than – “go to college where you can get the best financial aide package” or “make sure they have your major”. (why? because your major will never change several times during college…ha!)  My church youth leaders gave no input.  My friends talked about having the most amount of fun (dorm  life, fraternity parties, football or basketball games, boys etc…)  and freedom (from any rules or restrictions) wherever you chose to attend college.

I am thankful for parents who gave me the following advice (aka: non negotiables):  You will go to college or you are on your own after high school.  You will go away to a four-year college and live on campus. You will not get married until you get your degree.  You will visit several colleges to find the right “fit” for you.  While these paradigms were quite valuable and more than many high school students receive, I often wish I had been given more from those older and wiser mentors around me.

In fact I began to think this weekend what exactly would I, now three decades later, tell my “college age self”?

  1. Choose carefully and wisely where you go to college.  No other time in life are you more immersed in a community and culture than during your college years.  You are living with people outside your family 24/7,  you are engaged in constant exchange of ideas both inside and outside the classroom, you are exposed to different and new ways of thinking, believing and living.  Is the college environment one that will increase your faith, solidify your values and produce growth and maturity in your life? You will likely make life choices regarding your calling and career that will affect the course of your life.  What type of college and professors do you want to influence those choices?  You will likely develop forever friendships with both students and faculty and you may even meet your spouse…look closely at the profile of students who desire to attend the college as well as why the faculty are teaching there.  Are these the people who you want to have influencing, mentoring, inspiring and challenging you throughout your life?
  2. Do what you love!  Choose a course of study in something you are passionate about regardless of anyone else’s opinion, regardless of whether it will make you rich (or even make you money at all), regardless of the job market, regardless of  if it is the “smartest” or most practical thing to do or even regardless of if you will ever do anything career related with your degree. (and if you have many passions…pursue them all!)
  3. Embrace this season of singleness. (ie: do not spend time the moment you step on campus looking for “the one”) You have spent 18+ years in your parents home and you dream of being happily married for 50+ years.  If you live an average life span that leaves less than a decade of being single.  Embrace it! Enjoy it! Don’t waste it away always looking to the future and missing the opportunities in the present.  Work on becoming the most godly, loving, giving, self-sacrificing, interesting, knowledgable and mature person you can be so that when you are married you will be the most amazing spouse and parent ever!
  4. Develop positive habits that will add value to your life.  Up to this point you have probably been “forced” to eat healthy (as much as your parents could make you), exercise regularly (thanks to PE classes & sports), balance your budget (mostly due to your lack of credit worthiness or available funds), go to class, attend church services regularly and plan ahead.  College should be a time that we build upon these positive habits not throw them out the window and live an undisciplined, out of control, “free for all”  life.  This is the time not only to learn and grow academically but to practice self-control and discipline in your life without being forced to do these things.  It is a true sign of growth and maturity and may even be a greater benefit to your life and happiness than your actual college degree.
  5. Go out of the country.  Whether you study abroad for a year, go on a summer missions trip to a third world country or participate in a “semester at _____” (you fill in the blank) you MUST take advantage of at least one opportunity for amazing growth, learning and a life changing experience.  After college you will have responsibilities to take care of, bills to pay, careers to pursue not to mention marriage and parenting that may arrive sooner than you think.  Do not say you will “do it later” because even if you are one of the rare adults who are able to pull that off – it will be harder, more complicated and you will wish you had gone during your college years. Let’s have no regrets here people!
  6. Seek out mentors.  I really wish that someone would have encouraged me to find older mentors in my life to learn from during my college years.  They could be upperclassmen, grad students, faculty members or even college pastors or adults from a local church.  I now realize that we can learn and grow so much more from other people “speaking into our lives” than we do through classes, lectures or textbooks.  While a few small private colleges encourage and promote these types of relationships, you need to decide to seek them out for yourself.  Find people of godly character, full of wisdom, passionate about their purpose and traveling in the direction that you want to go.  Then be bold and ask for their time to invest in your life. (You need not be demanding or draining to them…simply be willing to just hang out with them at their convenience or be a blessing by working alongside them) 
  7. Serve others.  The college years can often be very self-centered and self-serving. One of the best ways to grow and learn is to serve others and give of yourself.  Find ways to serve your college or community.  Become a resident or student advisor, start a prayer group or bible study, pick up trash around campus, volunteer to help in admissions or campus tours.  Get off campus and feed the homeless, volunteer at a crisis center, participate in a non-profit fund-raising campaign, serve in a church nursery.  A life lived only for your self and your own self interests is a shallow and unfulfilling existence.
  8. College is a valuable investment!  If you have to take out loans, do not stress about that.  It is a better investment of your money than your future home (that you will likely take out a very large loan to purchase) or a vehicle (that can cost you more than any loans you aquire in 4 years).  Your college education will not rust or break down or become worthless as it ages.  No one can take it from you, steal it or destroy it.  It will be one of the most valuable things you have in life (especially if you go to the right college and use the time wisely)  If you have to work several jobs to make it happen…do it!  Apply for every scholarship possible (and perhaps some that are impossible.) Ask others to invest in you. Leave no stone unturned!
  9. Appreciate every aspect of not living in the “real world”  — ok so I am sure many college student’s dislike hearing over and over that they are not living in the “real world”  but really…it is truth in many ways?  When, in your adult “real life” will most of you –
  • have someone available to cook for you at every meal (not to mention the wide variety and volume of food available in most college cafeterias – endless salad bars, soft serve ice cream, soda fountain etc..)?
  • put your  dirty dishes on a conveyor belt to watch them “magically” disappear and then reappear at the next meal clean and sparkly?
  • not have to ever clean your own toilet?
  • be able to work out at a fully equipped fitness center just steps from your living space?
  • wear whatever you want to work (aka: class) or for that matter decide when you want to attend and when you don’t want to attend work?
  • have access to social interaction and fun 24/7 (as well as 24/7 access to trouble & temptation)?
  • create your own personal hours according to your personal preference by only signing up for afternoon & evening classes (or the opposite if you are one of “those” morning people)or  not taking Friday classes and giving yourself a three-day weekend? (I can promise most of you that you will never again get to completely create your own hours)
  • and if you go to a Christian college…get to attend an inspirational worship service and listen to compelling, motivating  speakers three times a week? (my oh my what I would give to have that part of my “real” life almost every day)

   10. College is not for everyone.  While I believe that here in our culture in the United States that college may be the wisest way go for most young people, I do not think that everyone must attend college.  However, I do believe that the college age is a very important season of life for growth, education, maturity and experience.  It is not a time to be wasted or used in a frivolous way. Almost all of the things I would tell my “college self” can be applied to a young person who has decided not to attend college.  Be purposeful and productive.  Some other great options are trade school, an internship, the military or a missions trip.

What would you tell your “college age self”?

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Filed under College & Career, Goals & Dreams, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Parenting