True Thankfulness – Holiday Spotlight
We are very blessed people! Many of us lead comfortable lives and our children have never been without any of their needs and most of their wants. With these blessings comes a sense of comfort and expectation that things will always be this way. Life can change quickly and the things once taken for granted can be gone in an instant. Do our children know that the luxuries many of them enjoy aren’t a given in this life?
In small ways, we pause during holiday seasons to give thanks. And in many causes, it’s just what we do, something we’ve grown accustomed to doing, and almost do it as a matter of habit. Being thankful is a quality that many equate with a big meal among family and friends. However, thankfulness is much deeper than a meal once a year. It should be an examination of the blessings that one has been given as everything in this life has been given to us by Christ Jesus.
As parents, many times when we ask our children what they are thankful for, the typical responses are family, friends and pets. While these are all wonderful answers, none are the true meaning of thanksgiving unless we express these thoughts to God. After all, He gave us everything! Thanksgiving is defined as “the expression of gratitude, especially to God.” Also, as we talk with our children about blessings, let’s help them think beyond their initial thoughts about things we all take for granted. For example, how many children have expressed that they’re thankful for clean water? While it’s not something any child in our country has to think about, but around the world, there are 2.3 billion people don’t have this “luxury.”
The holiday season is a truly a wonderful time of the year and one we should all treasure as it signifies the birth of our Savior. This holiday season, we encourage you to soak in all the fun and precious times with family and friends as well as give true thanks for all that you’ve been given. Starting this year, let’s initiate conversations about our blessings that extend beyond material items. Let’s consider what a blessing it is to have clean water, shelter, health, and even access to a Christian education. For more ideas on how to go deeper into the true meaning of thanksgiving, here’s a list of additional resources.
Celebrating Introverts – September Spotlight
There always seems to be at least one student in every class that is extremely shy, quiet, and reserved. As parents, we want to push students, encourage them to try new things. For many of us, it brings a sense of satisfaction and comfort when children strive to be involved and active with others. However, we must understand how unique each child is and those who don’t seek the spotlight may simply be introverted. An introvert is defined as someone who is more introspective and prefers solitude but also can participate in a group.
Children with introverted tendencies have several characteristics that parent may not recognize. Many find small talk tedious and inconvenient. These are the ones who can be in the middle of a crowd and be very lonely. They are not social creatures nor do they seek social outings. It is common for introverted children to be referred to as intense, almost too intense, and prefer to sit on the outer edge or back row of a group. These characteristics allow them to listen and observe without fear of being in the middle of the action.
Due to their quiet and intense nature, many introverts are deep thinkers. Their personality gives an “old soul” vibe and many are mature and intuitive beyond their years. It’s because of these traits that many people seek advice and opinions from introverts.
Do these character traits describe your child? This personality type is one to be celebrated as we are all God’s creation. Each one of us has been made in His image and without mistake. Remember! Not all children are meant to be social butterflies, leads in the school play, head cheerleader or football players. Children with introverted personalities contribute to their school and communities in their own way.
“The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child” -Marti Olsen Lang
“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a Work that Cannot Stop Talking” -Susan Cain
“Quiet Power: Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids” -Susan Cain
A Fresh Start: Getting Organized in the New School Year – August Spotlight
The start of a new school year signifies a reset for most families – a chance to regroup and get organized for the learning ahead. After many weeks of relaxed schedules and fun outings, it is important to get settled into new routines quickly. It is not too late to get started for this year!
Getting started can be overwhelming! Let us help you with a few tips. First, we encourage you to begin by evaluating the previous school year. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Did my children have adequate study and homework time?
- Did my children get in bed on time most nights?
- Were we able to sit down often and enjoy meals as a family?
- Were we satisfied with the time our family spent with God – in church, church-related activities and Bible study time?
- Did we have the chance to get away and enjoy a family vacation?
If you are not happy with your answers to the questions above, it’s time to restart and refresh. We encourage you to begin by creating a clutter-free environment. Whether your environment is your home, your office or a combination of the two, dedicate time to cleaning out the closets, drawers, countertops and even walls. Studies indicate that organized individuals are more efficient and less anxious.
Once you’ve eliminated the clutter, spend time comparing everyone’s schedule. List each family member’s activities into one calendar to see the household impact of a particular sport, extracurricular activity or even part-time job. Eliminate those things which aren’t necessary and will cause undue stress and tension in the home. Remember! Children get just as anxious and stressed as adults. A built-in break in everyone’s schedule is a must-do. If there’s not intentional down time scheduled for each family member, an activity will surely fill its place! A family calendar displayed prominently in your home or an app that allows everyone to have access to family activities is a great idea.
In addition to scheduling everyone’s activities, determine if there are any steps that you can take to improve communication with your child’s school or with your child about school activities. Being up-to-date (or even ahead) on school projects, happenings, etc. allows you the chance to schedule these items. It’s always best to schedule time to purchase needed materials, work on the project and even move around other activities to accommodate deadlines, etc. than suffer the consequences of not knowing until the last minute.
It’s never too late to hit the restart button! Simply stated, examine what works and lose what doesn’t for your family. The ultimate goal is to have happy children with the confidence to tackle school work, the social scene and whatever comes their way. Being intentional about scheduling the important things, and teaching them how to do the same, gives them the tools needed to succeed this school year and in the years to come.