Posts tagged ‘children’

April 4, 2014

How to Balance Technology in the Home

Contributed by Eva Fleming

kids and technologyEach generation of parents has their own unique challenges and ours is clearly the excess of technology our children are being bombarded with. The problem is so new that the wisdom of the past generation has little to add when this highly addictive behavior is exhibited in their presence. What can we do with this monster that swallows our children’s time, creativity and energy? Instead of falling into despair or admitting defeat, let’s try to find solutions to improve our possibilities of raising healthy children that live in this reality without having to rely on cyber space to find happiness or peace.

To curve our children’s insatiable appetite for technology consumption the first thing we should do is clarify our purpose for their future. What type of people do we want our children to be as adults? My desire is that my children learn how to live a balanced life. I would like them to actively seek to develop all aspects of life: that they would have friends, that their bodies would be well taken cared of, that they would be outstanding students, that they would develop love and empathy for those around them. But a child that doesn’t know his or her world because he/she lives in an alternate reality, cannot achieve these goals. If this your problem, I suggest you become more involved in your children’s daily activities.

It’s important in our technologically driven society that children get opportunities for exercise. This can be achieved through organized sports, spontaneous play between siblings, or activities deliberately planned by a parent. A child’s body needs physical movement, no matter what season of the year it is. In my house I keep a BOSU ball so the children can jump while they watch TV. This ball comes in especially handy those days we can’t get to the park due to bad weather or difficulty in the day’s schedule. During those days, you can also help a child exercise by making them a list of items they can bring from one side of the house to the other. You can say, for example, run and get your laundry basket and bring it to the laundry room in less than two minutes.

In addition to physical activity, children should spend time doing school work and chores. During homework time, don’t allow your children to get distracted with TV or radio. Of course this is easier to achieve if they are younger in age because once they are teens, their habits have been formed and they are difficult to challenge. But while they are still young and you have control of their electronic devices, you can easily put them away during homework time. During the long summer months, or any other special vacation days when they don’t have homework, insist that they spend time reading or practicing an instrument so they don’t neglect the habit of feeding their mind. Chores should have the same importance. There’s a variety of things children can do to help them in their growth, like setting the table, picking up clothes from the floor, putting toys away, helping with gardening, etc.  I give my seven-year old a couple dollars every time he fills up a bag of weeds during the summer months. So I’m not only introducing him to gardening but also I’m teaching him the connection between work and money.

After children have gotten exercise and you know their homework and chores have been completed, then you can allow them to use their electronic devices using your judgment.

Don’t forget to include social activities in your children’s week.  Social activities can be limited to a family dinner where everyone has the opportunity to interact, table games like Monopoly, building LEGOS or playing dolls with friends, as long as the games are supervised. Social interaction is important to teach social-emotional skills. They create an emotional connection that bring personal satisfaction.

In regards to electronic games it is important that you don’t buy your children all the video games they want. You can, for example, buy them an electronic game in the summer, one during spring break, and maybe one during winter break. Limiting them to three games per year will ensure that once they have finished the cycle of each game, they are left with free time to develop other interest. The logic is to do everything with moderation; since excess is never healthy.

As parents, we should always keep in mind that we are raising adults. What kind of adults would we be raising if we allow our children to live only in a cyber world? Begin to train your children in the way they should go so when they are old they don’t depart from it. Begin to take control of the technology your children consume so they don’t become slaves of it. Think that one day they will be somebody’s husbands and wives and that a balanced life is the best gift that you can give his or her future family.

February 16, 2014

Hold on to Love

Contributed by Eva Fleming

EVERLASTINGLOVEChildren are full of hope. Every day I hear mine talk about how great their future houses, families, and careers will be. In turn, I kindle their hope by telling them that they have the power to make it so. I encourage them because I know that hope is a life sustaining force. It is like oxygen; essential to a good life. Unbeknownst to them, I cherish a big hope for them too: I hope they have everlasting love.

As a child, you were probably like my kids believing that tomorrow held a great promise. We start out with such great hopes but life hits us hard so we begin to write off love and lose hope in marriage and relationships altogether. If you’ve had a relationship that ended in a break up, or you saw how your parents ended up getting a divorce after 20 years of marriage, you may have become a skeptic. It isn’t hard to lose hope in love, when in addition to your own past failures, all you hear are your friends constantly talking about their unhappy relationships. You start piling up the reasons why it could never be and end up envisioning a society without love; children who survive without the support of their parents; life without people that bring you support. If this is how you have been feeling lately, I ask you to go back to the hopes of your youth and imagine a world where family units continue to keep the fiber of society strong; a society where children can count on their parents, and where husbands and wives love and respect each other. Imagine a society where your talents and virtues are appreciated and wanted and envision what would happen if all your friends got infused with that much hope!

 “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane,” Said Red from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Red was right, hope is dangerous, but it is also wonderful. It is better to be insane than to be bitter and full of regret because we refuse to pursue love. When I talk about hope and the power of love, I’m not talking about wishing upon a star or the exercise of positive thinking. I’m talking about the kind of hope that fuels our daily living so we can change the course of our lives.  Since my children’s minds go so easily to the future, I use that as fuel to encourage them to study hard, never miss school, practice their instruments, and exercise.  I tell them that hope has legs and getting through all these small, menial and daily tasks is how their wonderful future will begin to unfold. What about you? What small, menial, daily tasks can you incorporate in your daily routine to nourish hope? Is it physical exercise and healthy eating for a healthier you? Is it having a studying and reading time for a well-educated you? Is it service time for a more generous you? Do what you must but don’t give up on love, friendship, and family only because you don’t want to be driven insane by the winds of hope.

Love and hope are not tied up to a romantic relationship. You can be single and still cherish life, love and family. It is possible to be single without being alone. Hopeful singles don’t poison their emotional well being with crushed hopes and dashed dreams.  Hopeful singles are not stuck in the failures of their past. Hopeful and happy singles have taken charge of their reality and given up all envy to pursue optimism while still holding on to love. They have learned to be good stewards and refuse to live selfishly to fulfill only their own desires. They foster meaningful friendships and become part of a community. And when they are ready for a relationship, they engage in it with hope.

So whether you are a single person with many past hurts or a married person that has lost hope in their relationship, learn to rise above the failures of your past. Stop dwelling. Dwelling is the absolute opposite of hoping. Hope is rooted in your relationship with the future; dwelling focuses your thoughts in the past. Thinking about past things that could have been good or bad, rarely, if ever, compel one to act. Instead, continue to develop strategies that will help you move forward, learn to plan for difficulties, setbacks, and disappointments and give love, friendship and family another try. You can become part of the group of dreamers that work to rebuild a society that still holds on to hope. Hope has renewed my relationship with my husband during the last 22 years over and over again and hope is what I give to my children so they too can pursue everlasting love.

January 29, 2014

The War on Poverty

Contributed by Alicia E. La Hoz, Psy.D.

IStock_HispanicFamily22When I grow up, I will meet a girl I want, get married and have three children.”  Our four-year old child has a clear picture of what marriage is and already envisions that he too will be married.  Unfortunately this is not the case for many other Hispanic children born today. According to Child Trends, among women under 30, 53% of births occur outside of marriage, of which 65% are born to Hispanic mothers.  Thus, many of the children born today will not have a schema or internal framework of what marriage is. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, much attention has been drawn to marriage as one of the social indicators that holds promise for addressing poverty. Social science studies have clearly demonstrated that two-parent family homes lead to more economic stability and mobility while single parent family homes are more at risk for poverty.

Since the 1970s, the Hispanic community has grown 300%, now comprising 21% of the U.S. population under the age of 25. The impact of this expansion is reflected in the marketplace as Hispanics controlled $978 billion in spending power during 2009[1] and are expected to account for 74 percent of the increase in the nation’s labor force from 2010 to 2020.[2]   Nevertheless, this exponential growth is not without challenges to the family, education, poverty, mental health and immigration. For example, of the 6.1 million U.S. children living in poverty in 2010, 37.3 percent were Hispanic, as compared to 30.5 percent  white, and 26.6 black. [3] While the percentage of births outside of marriage increased for all ethnic groups, there is variability by race and ethnicity. Latinos and Whites account for the highest proportion of births outside of marriage, 65% Latinos and 61% Whites in comparison to 30% Blacks. In 1990, according to Child Trends, 37% of births to Latino women were non-marital in comparison to 53% in 2009.[4] Thus, the out-of-wedlock birth rate among Hispanics remains among the highest of all population groups.

 The trend is troubling since Hispanics have historically held a positive outlook on marriage and family life, emphasizing values within the traditional family. Economic strains, social isolation, immigration stress, barriers to marriage, and shifts to cultural norms have challenged the traditional family structure held closely by Hispanics. Hispanics have overcome the challenges faced through a strong work ethic, dependence on faith, and reliance on strong family values. The strong family values leading to the formation and sustenance of intact families that would otherwise protect children and their families from the ills of poverty are eroding.

 It is essential for the economic wellbeing of the country that anti-poverty policies be promoted not only by government-led initiatives but they encompass a community based approach that leverages the private sector, collaborates with the faith-based leaders, and is embraced by the community.  The problem is multi-faceted and the answers also need to be comprehensive in nature.  Promoting healthy marriage and fatherhood education programs, along with other social service programs such as job readiness and asset development, holds some promise as an effective intervention in reversing the current trends.  The Supporting Healthy Marriage Program Evaluation study of the Healthy Marriage Programs criticized by opponents of marriage and fatherhood programs had stronger effects for Hispanic and for more distressed couples.  These findings align with the local outcome studies of comprehensive programs implemented across the nation.  For example, Family Bridges, one of the largest federally-sponsored programs in the Midwest serving approximately 10,000 low-income (<100% of the federal poverty level) individuals, couples and families annually, of which 68% are Hispanics, has found in follow-up studies of low-income couples who engaged in the marriage education workshops large gains in parenting skills and a dramatic reduction in stress. In addition, follow-up outcomes conducted of those participants indicated that one-third of those relying on public aid when they took the workshops no longer needed that help two years after they completed the program.

Why have these programs worked for the Hispanic participants served by Family Bridges? Qualitative studies of interviews conducted with graduates of healthy marriage programs suggest at least three dynamics that influence change: (1) self-awareness brought about in the context of a trusting relationship; (2) a decision to change; (3) available resources that provide the needed guidance for the change process to occur. Participants served by Family Bridges either are dealing with generational or situational poverty. Generational poverty defined as having been in poverty for two generations or more is perpetuated by a cycle of hopelessness due to educational, parental and spiritual poverty. Without the hope and belief that life can be better, the motivation and energy to break the cycle is very low.  Couples and participants attending our programs gain a sense of hope as they witness others in similar distressful circumstances pull out and move forward. A renewed sense of hope, coupled with social and community supports and the needed resources, propels couples and individuals towards entering the change process.

Unless the marriage trend changes, our four-year-old will most likely enter into the school system with other Hispanic children who will not be raised with the benefits of a two-parent household. Other Hispanic children he befriends will most likely be at risk to be high school dropouts, to be teen parents, or to enter the juvenile system. These are the trajectories leading to poverty. Indeed, the marriage agenda is one of many interventions that, when implemented within a comprehensive community model, provides needed wrap-around and supportive services such as job skill development and is a promising practice for minorities as it draws on inherent cultural values that are appreciated and endorsed by many Hispanics.


[1] Selig Center for Economic Growth, Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, July 2009.

[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

[3] Pew Hispanic Center, Childhood Poverty Among Hispanics Sets Record, September 2011.

[4] CDC/National Center for Health Statistics.
January 7, 2014

Stuck inside? Don’t lose your parenting sanity…

Contributed by Dr. Alicia La hoz

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If you have children, your patience may be tested as you enter into a second day of school closings due to the weather – not to mention having them for the holiday break.  And even if you super bundle-up your kids, it’s even too cold to take them out so they can burn off some of their energy.  Just like the enchantment of the Christmas toys have begun to loose their entertainment value, your children’s sporadic cute phrases and adorable smiles are not helping to taper off your frustration with their tantrums, boredom, and demands for you to entertain them. Besides popping in videos or letting them spend  endless hours on electronics, here are some additional ideas to entertain your kids and to keep your sanity:

  • Make edible art.  Take out your crackers, cream cheese, peanuts, carrots, jam, jellies, peanuts, etc. and let them decorate crackers making shapes, faces to their hearts desire. Then everyone can eat his or her work of art.
  • Take out the board games. Board games can be a fun way to pass a couple hours while also helping to teach your children some helpful skills: to think on their feet, to think strategically, to learn to lose.
  • Work on a challenging puzzle.Puzzles are great for the brain and they also provide endless hours of quiet entertainment. The human mind has two separate hemispheres or lobes –  right and left-brain – with each one dealing in different functions. Right brain deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically while the left-brain functions in linear fashion. When you are able to use both the sides of the brain, you will find that as you try to put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both the brain powers.
  • Listen to an audiobook.  Having a book read to you is a great pleasure and helps your children with comprehension, listening and your non-readers may even begin to appreciate books.  There are great audiobooks (many you can rent for free via your public library) that the whole family can enjoy.
  • Dance. Turn on the radio and blast on some fun music and have your kids go at it. Make sure to join them.
  • Work on an album.  For older kids or adolescents, have them help you put together an album of the holidays, birthday or season. You can even do this electronically in websites like shutterfly.com.
  • Happy Crappy App.  Download our Happy Crappy app and work on the activities suggested with your kids.  Download gloo here and check out Happy Crappy.

 Additional Parenting tips:

  • For younger children, keep a room clear of toys and have them bring one toy or activity at a time, as this helps them to focus and will play longer with their toy.
  • Help your get started on an activity child for a couple of minutes. This will help them become interested in it and they will be less demanding of you throughout the day.
  • Instead of just saying “No” to things, try to get in the habit of redirecting them to what you want them to do or how to act.

What other ways or things are you doing to survive being cooped with your children?

January 6, 2014

The Promises I WILL Keep This Year

Contributed by Jane June, PsyD

Resolutions-411x306I’ve always had mixed feelings around making New Year’s resolutions. Oftentimes, I set myself up by making resolutions that are impossible to sustain so they end up discarded by February or I let the busyness of life drown out my good intentions and forget about them along the way. Either way, I end up feeling badly about not keeping them. Can anyone relate?

So, as 2014 is quickly approaching I am faced with a dilemma. Do I make new promises or do I forgo them altogether? I have yet to decide, but I do have some thoughts on what I’d like to hold onto in the new year.

As a working mom of two little ones, I find myself hurried and overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done. Whether it’s cooking a meal, doing laundry, or shooting out a work email in between naps, playdates and preschool, I feel like the demands of life don’t slow down and neither do I! When you find yourself going grocery shopping between 11pm-midnight, there is no slowing down.

But, it’s when I step back and look at what is most precious to me, I realize that being efficient and productive is not what’s most important. It’s my children, my husband, and the people around me that I value the most and if I focus all of my energy in trying to get things done, I will miss out on what’s most important.

So, in 2014, I promise to hold onto relationships and people, and I can only hold onto this if I make myself available emotionally, mentally, and physically. This means making space in my life for people to enter and for relationships to grow. It means doing less and saying no to extra commitments, not because they aren’t worthy, but because I know it will keep me from holding onto what is most precious: my family, my friends, and a healthy me.

December 19, 2013

Bringing Joy to A Child – Christmas Spirit

Contributed by Marcus L. Radford 

Vintage Christmas JoyWhen I think about Christmas I think about celebrating the birth of Jesus as God’s gift to the world. He gave his son, the best he had so that we could be free. As the angel said in announcing Jesus’ birth “…it is for the joy of the world.” So, the spirit of Christmas is in giving and giving to bring joy. The joy here is great cheer, delight, or gladness, an emotion that emerges from deep within.

I think about the Christmases of my childhood to see what it was that I enjoyed about Christmas. When the giving is to bring joy, then it may involve a little bit of homework. It may involve observing the recipients to know what they like and desire.

In my early beginning, I don’t remember celebrating Christmas, except maybe with some fruit and singing some Christmas carols. However, after my mother died I went to live with my aunt, who became my new mother. My new family made sure I not only had fruit but pajamas, hats, coats, food, toys and a lot of laughter.

I remember my new family members working together to put up Christmas lights. The lights were a pretty sight to see, but the excitement was more in listening to each one laugh and giggle while sharing what they hoped to receive and other expectations surrounding the holiday, I.e., the food, stories, and extended family members visiting were some of the ingredients that brought the joy.

I guess in the moment it may have been the cowboy cap guns, roller-skates, or wagon. But now the things that I remember more are times being close to the people who mean so much to me, seeing their smiles, hearing their stories, and the hugs that I now desire to give to my children.

If we’re trying to bring some joy into someone’s world, we should focus more on the things that will last longer rather than going into debt representing the latest fade. Spending time together, playing games that children desire to play, cooking together, telling stories of your childhood or from Christmas past. Each night surrounding Christmas is an ideal time to share one more story. Whether there are toys or not, let your loved ones know you love them and include lots of hugs and kisses. One gift that will last a lifetime, is showing extra care and love to your spouse. It can be the main ingredient to a beautiful legacy for any child to cherish and build upon.

December 9, 2013

Sharing is Caring: Helping Those in Need

Contributed by Eva Fleming  

iStock_000022366848XSmallIn the famous book, Little Princess, we read the story of a girl named Sarah whose father, before his unexpected death, left her in a boarding school in England. The matron of the school, upon hearing of Sarah’s father’s death, sent her to live in the cold attic, stripping her of her student status and forcing her to perform the duties of a maid. In this story we experience with Sarah all the hardship, cold, and hunger she had to endure. One day while running errands for the school, she used a sixpence given to her by a stranger to buy buns from a bakery and in doing so trying to calm the loud growling noises coming from her stomach. As she was walking out the bakery with buns in hand, she saw a young girl, starving and wild, hunching by the entrance of the bakery. Sarah gave her the buns instead of keeping them to herself because according to her calculations, the child outside was hungrier than she was. Sarah’s story reminds us that if we only step outside, we will always find someone needier and hungrier than we are.

Just as Sarah’s dad taught her, we can teach our children to be compassionate even when they live a privileged life while under our care. If we don’t promote a caring attitude and a generous heart, self-centeredness will creep in – not because our children are evil or we are bad examples, but simply because we live in a selfish society. The advertisement-driven industry and the pressure of their peers are foreign influences in the business of teaching our children to be self-centered. A self-centered person does not take into consideration the needs of others. They are completely engrossed in their own lives without any thought of the people around them. If we don’t teach them to be caring, they will grow up believing the big lie the advertisement industry feeds them that the sole purpose of life is to acquire stuff and then you’ll be happy.  They will live their entire lives trying to find ways to satisfy their own wants and needs, never looking to the world that is much poorer, hungrier, and needier than they are. Those influences need to be counteracted.

In the book Diary of Anne Frank, another children’s classic, Ann said, “no one has ever become poor by giving.” So let’s teach our children by daily example and weekly service that the purpose of life is to be useful and compassionate towards others. Let’s go out and teach our children to care for the needy by sharing our resources, talents, and time. Let’s take them to that nursing home and draw pictures and sing songs for the elderly, together mow and weed the grass of the sick neighbor, pass out canned foods on Thanksgiving Week, and serve in the soup kitchens once a month. Let’s do what we can to help our children share the joy of lightening the burden of another.

We don’t have to always go beyond our walls to teach compassion. A caring heart begins at home. There are many things that you can do to show how much you care in your own home. You can start by showing your children how they can help you when you are feeling overwhelmed, how to show concern for their brothers and sisters, how to be considerate of how dad may feel after a long day at work, how to show love for the family pet by taking it out for a walk because they know it has been inside all day.  Start to show love and concern for the ones inside your own walls and see how compassion will spill into the community and maybe even into the world.

The young Sarah in our book eventually met up with the benevolent surrogate that her father had appointed for her in the event of his death, but not before living in her flesh the joy of giving kindness even when she had very little to give. Just like Sarah showed kindness and put someone else’s needs above her own, consider making giving and sharing a priority in your household.

November 18, 2013

Why You Should Not Teach Your Kids to Be Thankful

Contributed by Dr. Alicia La Hoz, PsyD  

530_X_DSC04772_thankfulCriticism, being judgmental and fault finding are all too often what prevails in the snippets of communication that occurs in many homes. Parents are often preoccupied with what should happen, what should have been said or on how much better things could have been done. This type of every day nagging tends to be awfully sour and demanding. It is human nature, after all, to find the speck in another’s eye, than to see what is on our own eye. We are consumed by the never ending demands of life, the ever-growing to-do-lists, the unfulfilled obligations waiting our attention – that there seems to be no room for being grateful for the responsibilities that are being fulfilled, for relationships that are thriving and for things that are generally going well. In a home, where parents are too busy with self-righteousness and where conversations have a critical and nagging tone, is it any wonder that children also assume an attitude of ingratitude? Could it be that children adopt an attitude that merely mirrors what they see day in and day out? If 365 days a year, parents are critical towards one another, forgetting to be thankful for even the small graces, should it really be surprising that our children often come across as entitled, that their words are often sprinkled with an air of self-righteousness?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday which makes all of us to stop in our consumerism-driven journey to evaluate what we do have and simply express our gratitude. Part of the tradition is for us to pass on the holiday-inspired gratefulness to our children. How do we teach our children to be thankful, to count all of their blessings and to trade in the otherwise attitude of entitlement or self-righteousness tends to hover over them? Of course, we can list several ideas to teach children gratitude. For example, we can encourage them to name one thing they are thankful a day from now till thanksgiving before they go to bed. That simple gesture would certainly help in steering them away from self to helping them focus on others and how richly blessed they are.

Instead of teaching your kids to be thankful this Thanksgiving season, I encourage you to take the gratitude challenge. The gratitude challenge is more than a one-time action, but an attitude shift. Show grace to your spouse and to your child. Be less critical and judgmental of them and of others. Be less demanding and more accepting of them. Verbally recognize the little things they do for you. Praise and appreciate who they are and what they mean to you. By adopting an attitude of grace and thanksgiving in your own life, you will be modeling what thanksgiving really means. And in so doing, you can transform your life and that of your children so that you can have a lifestyle of thanksgiving that is beyond the one-day holiday.

June 4, 2013

Sibling Rivalry

Contributed by Eva Fleming  |  2013

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The Olsen twins are the most famous siblings I know. When I see them I make two observations: They like high-end fashion and complement one another like fudge on ice cream. I don’t know if this is the reality behind the camera but it is the impression that I and most outsiders get. However, not all siblings share the same genetic origin, and unfortunately for mom and dad, not all siblings have synchronized needs and wants.

After a day of school, the children under my roof are never in agreement. Fighting constantly out of jealousy and competition, they require the services of a referee to help them resolve their conflicts. As summer arrives, I will be among the many parents bracing themselves for the 24/7 squabbling and bickering that children engage in to fill their newfound free time.

There are many different opinions about what to do with sibling rivalry. The opinion that tickles me the most is the ‘don’t get involved unless there’s physical harm’ theory. I think NOT! My suggestion is exactly the opposite: Get involved! Children don’t know anything about relationships and have no idea how to compromise, communicate, negotiate, and consolidate.

The best way to approach sibling conflict is to get involved in the lives of your kids. Being present helps eliminate a sense of competition if your kids are in fact vying for YOUR attention. Your presence helps model peaceful behavior, gives your kids the parental attention they crave, and fulfills you as a parent because you know you’ve done your job. If you are busy when a conflict arises and can’t play referee at that very moment, keep one of the children next to you. I tell my 6-year old when he comes to recount an offense and I can’t deal with it at the moment: “Stay with mommy, she would never be mean to you.” He stays with me for 20 seconds before deciding that what I am doing is too boring for him, and goes back to play with his brother with the mindset that if they don’t get along he will be forced to sit with a loving but boring mommy all day. Somehow learning to get along gets exciting for him fast.

Here are two things you should never do when your children quibble:

  • Assign blame! It takes two to tango.
  • Remove your love and attention from your children.

Sibling rivalry is an element of life. Learn to deal with it rather than dread it.  Just remember to engage with your kids, play and spend as much time with them as your schedule allows. You don’t play children’s games? You don’t have time for all that nonsense? Well, in the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” So go ahead, bring out your inner parent and love your children through their sibling rivalry.

September 4, 2012

Back to School: A Teachable Heart

Contributed by Eva Fleming

The long warm days of leisure and enjoyment are over. It’s time to go back to school. Parents plan for healthy breakfasts and lunches, shop for school supplies, go back-to-school shopping, take the kids to get immunized, plan for after school care, arrange homework help, enroll in extracurricular activities, and the list goes on. It can be an exciting time, as well as a stressful one.

If you have already done all these things, you are on your way to a successful year, but there’s still much more to be done. After the excitement of the first few days of school is over, it will be time to help your children see the ultimate purpose of their education, as opposed to the immediate results. It’s time to teach them why they get up in the morning, get dressed with their new clothes, eat their healthy breakfast and walk out the door with their new school supplies. Now it’s time to help them make sense of all these rituals.

Your job is to teach your children that the purpose of education is to attain wisdom, acquire discipline, learn what’s fair, receive knowledge and direction, and apply prudence. Every night they sweat to finish their homework, they are learning discipline. The daily practice of postponing fun for the sake of a job well done, gives way to wisdom. The daily opportunities to treat friends with respect, puts them in the path to fairness. Listening to the instructions of an adult, gives them a chance to practice respect. Seeking answers when questions are difficult, teaches them to love knowledge.

The character that children can develop through their school experience is much more valuable than straight A’s and Honor Rolls (even though those are fun too). School is not only about math, reading and science; it’s about much more than that. Prudence will give a child shrewdness in a confusing world; knowledge will given them the information they need to thrive; wisdom will help them apply what they already know.  You want your children to know, to discern and to receive. You want them to study and develop a teachable heart.

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