Not The House (and what comes with it) But The Home

I am now an empty nester – one of those women who carry photos of her children and grandchildren to bore others with because she is no longer overwhelmed with noisy, energetic (and sometimes cranky) children underfoot.

I cannot claim to be new to the experience of being an empty nester – mainly because I believe that every time a child leaves home an empty nester experience occurs. Yet, all of those empty nester experiences and observations of my children as adults have taught me some invaluable lessons:

•    Cherish all of the teaching moments with your children – especially the ones that come at inconvenient times. And…make an effort to create as many of them as you can.
•    In order for our teaching moments to be effective they must be backed up with our example.
•    Take time to have fun as a family…and do it often. Laughter and giggles are important!
•    Teach children responsibility and how to work (even when it’s easier to do it yourself).
•    Teach children right from wrong, morality, the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. They do not automatically absorb it.
•    Dance lessons, music lessons and sports are all wonderful and have their place but they need to have their place and not rule schedules or a family. All too often families lose the connections they should have with each other because they are spending every spare moment effort funding the lessons, traveling to practices/games, and living life on the go.
•    A parent needs to be a parent and not relegate authority over the home to the children. The angriest and most emotionally unhealthy children I have ever seen are from families where those children were allowed control of their families.
•    Daily expressions of love are invaluable to building relationships and a loving family.
•    Skip the expensive toys and electronics and encourage children to play and use their imaginations. (The best toy in the world is an appliance box!)
•    A large fancy house does not have an increased ability to make a happy family.  Many shacks have been better homes to children than mansions have.
•    Children do not learn to be successful by being coddled and indulged. They learn to be successful by learning self discipline and how to work.
•    The most important things parents can do to provide security for their children is to make their marriage a priority. Date nights are important and the courtship that initiated the family should never…ever end.
•    Don’t wait to do things with your children until your children are older. It may seem like lots of activities would be easier if you just wait until they are older but the most critical time to build relationships with them is when they are young (and those activities take the most effort).
•    A house does not make a home.
•    Building a home is not done with walls, mortar or nails. A home is built by two parents who love each other – who are committed to each other and the work and effort it takes to build a family.  A home is built with hugs, teaching, tears, a few scraped knees, kissing boo boos better, discipline, work, trips for ice cream, chores, water fights, attending church together, family dinners and more. And somehow…even when we are so exhausted that lifting a finger seems a monumental task – we must do it all with love.

Building a home out of a house is tough demanding job. The hours are grueling and there is no monetary compensation. However, “the toughest job in the world” has amazing rewards. I feel and experience those rewards every time I walk through the door of my house and sense all of the laughter, love, and memories that have been created and shared there, spend time with my sweetheart (who is still my sweetheart because we have made each other a priority), share in the successes of my children, and gather together with my loving, energetic, and sometimes mischievous family!

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The Power of Example

There is form of communication  that transcends the  power of words   Joseph B. Wirthlin

The Power of Example

Some of the world’s top squash players used to practise at the squash club where I play. I remember well the first time I saw at close hand a high-level squash game. It was the son of one of our regular group of players, who at the time was ranked number 11 in the world. He came to practice at our club with the world number 2.

We all watched in amazement. We had never seen anything like it. In fact, if that was ‘squash’, what we played should be called something else!

Watching them always raised our game. Suddenly we realized that it was possible to return practically any shot your opponent could serve you, however good they were. We saw how important it was to get back to the middle of the court after each shot. We watched how deep they hit the ball. We noticed the shots that they avoided playing.

When we went on court after that, we astonished ourselves by how well we played. Of course, we did not play anywhere near as well as them. But, inspired by their example, we played a whole lot better than usual.

During my Christian life I have found the same pattern. For example, I had the privilege of working for Sandy Millar for nineteen years. Through watching his life and hearing him preach I was always inspired by his example. Even though reaching the level of those who are examples to us might not be possible, hopefully it inspires us to raise our game.

A Christian is someone who believes in Jesus, puts their faith in him, knows him and lives ‘in Christ’. It is also someone who follows his example.

There is no greater example in human history than the example of Christ. Paul writes, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

1. Example of your life

Proverbs 20:5-14How you live affects others. You look to others for an example. Others look to you as an example. This happens whether you like it or not.

Nowhere is this more the case than with parents and children. I have noticed how many of my father’s eccentricities I seem to have picked up. Of course, parents provide examples in more serious ways too: ‘The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them’ (v.7).

Parents who live lives of integrity bring great blessings to their children. Billy Graham said, ‘Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.’

No one has ever lived a perfect life apart from Jesus: ‘Who among us can be trusted to be always diligent and honest?’ (v.9, MSG). Nevertheless, we can all seek to live a life that is a good example.

Parents need to demonstrate faithfulness to each other, treating one another with patience and respect, resolving disagreements with grace, supporting one another in hardship and not being drawn into inappropriate relationships with other people. ‘Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?’ (v.6).

Today’s inspirational articles shared from the following website: www.bibleinoneyear.org

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Leadership and Teaching: Rule With the Heart of a Servant – Serve With the Heart of a King

I am grateful for the wonderful teachers that I have been blessed with in my life. I am also grateful for those individuals that have set the example of true leadership for me.

Virtually all of them have been both a teacher and a leader. Each of them is a priceless treasure I store in my heart. Though none of them has been perfect, they each have emulated, in some way, the example of leadership and heart that the Savior shared with mankind.

We each have the opportunity to share our influence, our wisdom and our love. We never know the extent that our service, love and teaching will reach.

I think often of a friend who shared with me long ago that she didn’t remember well what she what was taught but she remembered well how a few of her most treasured leaders and teachers made her feel. That is the kind of teacher and leader I want to be!

Whether you are a school teacher, Sunday School teacher, friend, parent, or business person, etc. – our influence is felt daily by those we interact with. What we say and what we do makes a difference!

I hope you will join me in trying to be a positive influence in the world!

I also hope you enjoy today’s story! It is wonderful!

Mrs Thompson – The Teacher

Mrs. Thompson exemplifies the type of leadership we should all take notice of. She helped this little boy, Teddy, feel like he was important and changed his life. It’s amazing what kindness can do. Teachers are some of the greatest leaders there are. This is a great holiday; make you feel good, type of story. I hope it is meaningful to you in each of your leadership capacities at work, home, church or wherever.

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..’

His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’

His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself.. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume.. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’

After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck w ith it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2009/11/one-of-the-most-inspirational-teacherleadership-stories-ever-told.html

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Kindness…

Sister is feeding her little brother and he drinks milk using drinking straw, isolated over white

I believe that the world could be changed by kindness and good deeds. When I think of those moments that a stranger or friend (it doesn’t matter) has given me a pat on the back or extended a kindness or courtesy, I immediately perk up and feel better about myself and the world! I once taught a Sunday School lesson at my church. I don’t remember the topic of the lesson but I do remember asking those in attendance how much they thought we could make a difference if we just selected one store and made a point to be kind, cheerful and helpful every time we shopped in that store. When I contemplated my own question, I decided that the difference could be enormous! Since then, I have tried to be that kind of person wherever I shop. I don’t know if my attempts to be kinder have been noticed but I do know that I feel better about myself and I know that, at the very least, my efforts may help someone have a better day. I think that alone makes being kinder worth it!

 

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And They Lived Happily Ever After

I love Disney …in fact the last time my family went to Disneyland, I was right there in the middle of the pack helping my grandchildren (mostly my granddaughters) get their pictures taken with Disney Royalty. However, if there is one concern I have with Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White and their fellow princesses it is that they all have a happy ever after that seems to come magically without any effort.

Love and marriage between a man and a woman is meant to be happily ever after but in real life it only comes with deliberate effort.

I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful marriage. My husband and I have been married for over 34 years now. In celebrity years, that is almost forever!

You might think that we have just been extra lucky or that each of us has an extraordinary amount of patience.

The truth is that we have been very blessed and we ALSO have been willing to cherish our marriage, make it a priority, and work really hard at keeping our relationship strong and healthy.

For us, getting to know each other is an unending process. We both understand that our courtship and relationship building did not end with “I Do” – it is an essential daily component of our marriage.

These things have been important to the success of my marriage and I believe they are important to other successful marriages as well:

·    We are best friends
·    We set aside time for date nights and other “Just Us” activities
·    We have interests in common and we do things together
·    We are committed to working out our differences
·    We share common values and beliefs
·    We understand the importance of being unselfish
·    We know that the best gift we could ever give our children is parents who are lovingly     committed to each other
·    We have fun together
·    We recognize that every worthwhile endeavor (including our marriage) requires good old fashioned work
·    We genuinely like and respect each other
·    We are able to acknowledge and honor our differences
·    Probably most important – We make God an essential part of our marriage

My husband and I were both eye witnesses to the less than stellar marriages of our parents. Those marriages eventually ended in divorce. However, even though we have witnessed troubled marriages within our circle of family and friends, we have also been blessed to witness some really wonderful marriages. Those strong marriages have been an important example for me and my husband.

Marriage is meant to be a wonderful and fulfilling experience and when the right attitudes and priorities are in place – I know it can be all of that and more.

Although wearing crowns and dressing up in gowns and tuxedos isn’t likely to do much for our marriages – marriage really can be Happily Ever After! Happily Forever after We Give Our Best Efforts to our Marriage!

PS – For those married couples who struggle with their relationship in the bedroom – a really wonderful and sensitive book that I would highly recommend is And They Were Not Ashamed by Laura M. Brotherson.

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