Be Bold in Family Freedom

I’ve been watching and experiencing, as you have, the trampling upon the freedom of family life.   It can make us weary, can it not?  All we need and want is to live according to our beliefs, our unique identity, and to receive respect for God-given parental authority and choice.

There is a need for a confident boldness in being, family.   What does this confidence look like?  It means being unapologetic for the choice to have children and the truth that families are the cornerstone of civilization.  Society, powers, economies, and countries cannot survive without families.  Whether it be the myth-makers who spout lies about over population, or those who denounce families for harming the environment, or accuse them of interfering with “real” progress by holding fast to archaic ways, namely those of surrounding belief and world view.

Our strength must not wane in face of government that wants to raise our children, that wants to create laws that we know to be wrong for them, that wants to recreate and define nature, and that forces an agenda that removes parental attachment.

Do not be afraid to speak your mind to others.  Do not shy away from stating your beliefs.  Participate in the political process – unite in holy and righteous causes.  Draw encouragement by gathering together with like-minded people so that you do not feel isolation in your family.  Do not self-censor your thoughts, your expression, your voice.  When you see or hear someone express the truth about family life, let them know you agree.  Stand with them.  Find a common voice with those who speak common sense.

Do not be afraid.  Trust in God Creator of family life, in Jesus who lived in a family and is close to you, and the Holy Spirit who breathes love into our homes.  Pray without ceasing that you retain family joy, peace, and are protected from the assault of the evil one.

If you might benefit from gathering a group together to hear me speak on the topic of Be Bold Families!, I am available to you.

Email : 4theresemcd@gmail.com

Attaching Hearts to Home,

Therese

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Thank you Lethbridge!

It was super joining a lovely group in Lethbridge at Free Grace Fellowship church.  It isn’t often I cover two major topics in an evening but we did it! 🙂  Parenting Without Punishments or Rewards/ How to Motivated the Unmotivated Child.  Several of you have said you would like me to return.  I would love that!  Thank you to Holly for organizing with J. and L. and to the K’s, thank you for your marvellous hospitality!

Until we meet again….

-Therese

Thank you to Jenny and James!

What a joy to visit with a group out Gibbons way this past week.  I shared my talk on First Time Obedience with a delightful mix of parents.  Thank you Jenny and James for your hospitality and for hosting me in your home.

I am available to gatherings.  Click on “TALKS” on the toolbar above to find out more about some of the available topics – glad to come to you!

Scroll down to my latest post on making ladies of our daughters. 🙂

Attaching Hearts to Home,

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Making a Lady of Your Daughter

I’ve had many occasions to host girls in my home and provided them with a tea party.  They come dressed “fancy” and once in the environment of china, soft music, sweets and dainty sandwiches, they match their behaviour with their surroundings.  They accentuate politeness, refined speech, and move with elegance.  It is part of the fun of playing the part of a lady.  What is it they love about these play dates?  Is it just about putting on an act?

I don’t think so.  I believe that each girl recognizes the beauty of feminine behaviour, even in exaggerated imaginative play.  They like to be graceful, courteous, gentle, and refined.  It is part of their design.  There was a time we heard of the “fairer sex”.  I believe that parents, in forming their girls, are at the heart of how a young lady will see herself.  It is their expectations in the home that will also show to their sons how to treat a lady.

I’m a feminist in the true sense.  I believe every girl/woman should be authentic and live in full dignity of personhood.  I do not like what the radical feminist movement has done to the identity of women.  Becoming more manlike has done nothing for women.  We now describe the sexes as living on two different planets rather than enjoying our design for complementarity and harmony.

So what can we give to our girls in their formation as young ladies?  First moms need to live a life of example.  We owe it to our girls to show them that our language is never vulgar, rude, or foul.   They should see good manners in public, at the table, and in the home.  This means a consideration of others, and the art of hospitality.  Let our nurturing and communicative gifts be grown in our girls.  Share with them how we are blessed by God to bring people together and tend to hearts. There is a special quality in every girl to raise any situation to greater heights and beauty by her words, her gentility, her behaviour, and her femininity.

This may sound old fashion but girls should be receptive to being treated like a lady – doors opened for her, help with her chair or coat….let her accept being attended to.   It takes a lady being a lady to allow a gentleman to live out his own nobility.  I think at the heart of it all, young men want to give their all to young ladies, to fall on their swords, to defend them,  provide for and respect them.  Even brothers to sisters.  Daddies to daughters.  Learning to show gratitude, how to answer a phone properly, and how to look be gracious in company – these things take practice.  Take time with the details.

I am not saying girls need to be weak or fragile beyond reality.  What I am pointing to is regaining behaviour that befits the fact that we are sons and daughters of The King.  We are royalty in His image.

I am open to your thoughts, insights and questions.

Email: 4theresemcd@gmail.com

Make a Gentleman of Your Son

Isn’t it swell when guys have good manners?  I haven’t stopped believing that boys can be real gentlemen.  The world gives a contrary message, but I don’t buy it.  Parents just need to be intentional about formation.  What does that look like?  Here, for your consideration, are some ways we’ve worked it into daily life at the McDonald home.

  1. First up, Dad models what it is to be an attentive man- how a man treats his wife is watched and imitated by his little men. Example, example, example, has the most impact.
  2.  Between brothers and sisters, there is an expectation of respectful exchange.  There is discouragement of the popular message that siblings are a pain to each other.  Children don’t discount their brothers and sisters naturally.  It is an attitude that is encouraged, with stereotypical statements that reinforce disrespect.  The “annoying” little sister, or “pest” brother, doesn’t have to exist in the home.  Instead, young gentlemen and ladies stick up for those they love.  No verbal put-downs.
  3.  Boys learn to open doors for Mommy and his sister(s).  They step up to the plate early on, starting even at three or four years old.
  4. Young fellows are asked to let a lady of any age enter a room first.  A show of the hand, gently motioning  the lady forward is something a caring young man can be shown.
  5. The example of assisting girls and ladies with carrying parcels, bags, or whatever, is something they can grow in as they grow in strength.
  6. Offering a lady a chair is becoming more of a rarity.  Lets show our boys the value of this courtesy.
  7. Offering a lady his hand or arm in escort, be it when trekking through snow, across the wet or slippery pavement, up an incline, or wherever there is call, is noble and chivalrous.  Let your son(s) be “knights” in the modern way. 🙂
  8. Learning to have polite conversation and using appropriate words, even when upset, is a cultivated skill and grace.
  9. Looking another in the eye is important.  It sometimes takes practice.
  10. Learning how to shake another man’s hand with good firmness, and to make self-introduction is one mark of a gentleman.

Knowing social graces such as ordering meal with politeness, how to push a lady’s chair in, and pouring a glass of water (or such) is very helpful.  Learning the basics of ballroom dance is a bonus. 🙂 Our boys can practice pushing a lady’s chair in and good table manners.  Helping a gal with her coat, or the many little ways to honour the opposite sex will give a young man a greater appreciation of how special is the gift of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters.  It all takes a little work, but over time can be accomplished.  This gives great pride to a young man to have these things under his belt.  It builds confidence and ease in social situations. Don’t underestimate how polished our children can become.

Of course a real gentleman is sincere and cares for those around him.  Being a man of God isn’t just about the externals.  What is fostered interiorly shines through on the outside.

In all this, it isn’t only about what a young man is, but very much also about what a young lady is.  My next article will be about the very thing – Make a Lady of Your Daughter.

🙂  It is fun, beautiful, and brings greater attachment, respect, peace, and joy to the home – let us all lift standards a bit and enjoy the results!

I welcome feedback or communication at : 4theresemcd@gmail.com

God bless you.

Therese

 

How to be Confident in Parenting

I often tell parents to be confident.  Trust that as God has called them to the task of being mother and father, He has equipped them.  It isn’t always easy to believe that you have what it takes to be a good parent.  What interferes?

Here is an incomplete list of reasons:

Perfectionism.  We can get pretty uptight worrying we don’t do everything just so.  Perfectionism robs us and our children of enjoying success.  A decision to give our best efforts and leave it at that, brings freedom.  We reach high, put our energy into what we do, and then accept the results.  God fills in the gaps and short-comings.  We learn the most when we fail – imperfection is necessary to true growth.  Rest assured.

Comparing.  Comparing hurts confidence.  We will always find someone else who seems to be doing a better job at parenting than we are.  It isn’t fair to compare anybody (yourself included), because each soul is unique to God.  Be the gift you are – do not insult the Holy One by looking elsewhere for your security.  Comparing often leads to negativity – while we compare, we lose sight of what goes well in our homes.  We miss all the good in what we do.  No more comparing.

Focusing on What you Cannot Control.  There is a lot of interference in a day.  It can bog us down as parents, taking away our confidence.  Give attention to what you can really control and let the other stuff go.  Zero in on being present in the moment with your child(ren).  Choose with intentionality how you will respond to the mess-ups.  When things go wrong, it doesn’t mean you have to be a mess.  Keep your focus.

Lack of Knowing.  Do you know who you are?  Survey yourself.  What do you believe?  What actions come out of those beliefs?  Have you anchored to your beliefs?  On paper, write statements of truth – boundaries, goals, reasons for your parenting choices, and the decisions that come out your convictions.  Husband and wife do well in looking at “identity”.  Who are we as individuals and as a family?  Make universal statements.  “In our family we believe ______________________”.   “These are our reasons for __________________”.   Plant your feet.  Be who you are.  If you face questions from others, be prepared to confidently share that “this is the best thing for our family.  I know you can respect that.”

As I said, this is an incomplete list of what interferes with our ability to be confident, but hopefully it gives you some zip and encouragement to forge ahead.

I had a great time speaking at AHEA and talking with so many about parenting.  You are good moms and dads and your vocation as parents is a gift to the world.  I thank you for your noble and beautiful marriages, your openness to life, and the profound love you have for your children.

By the way, it isn’t what they call you, it is who you answer to!

I’ve been asked about one-to-one help.  Of course, I am at your service!  What kind of fee?  I leave it to donation.  Email me if you wish to meet.

4theresemcd@gmail.com

In the Lord and attaching hearts to home,

Therese

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The Importance of Unity, Mom and Dad

Children need one message from Mom and Dad.  When it comes to attachment, children are healthiest when they see and understand Mother and Father as one.  A primary attachment is exactly that – in the singular.  When children are placed in a position where they must choose opposing or differing messages from their parents, they are put in the situation of embracing one message and rejecting the other.  This is most unsettling for the child.  It can create internal chaos, confusion, and insecurity, especially when there is a consistent pattern of disagreement and contradiction.

Pretty blunt eh?

As parents we have all made the mistake of presenting inconsistency in our message.  One says, “No, you cannot stay up later.”  The other says, “Come on, he’ll be fine, let him watch the game with me.”    One says, “You can go out and play once your chore is done.”  The other says, “Give her a break.  Her friend is waiting.”  One gives in, the other is undermined.  Mom says no, Dad says yes.  Dad says no, Mom says yes.

What happens to the child?  They will choose to attach in a greater way to one parent and lesser to the other.  Their loyalty will be given in a primary way to one and secondarily to the other.  The child will take their cues from one and lesser so from the other.  The temptation to play one parent off the other becomes a reality.

We are designed to attach, to have a numero uno love bond with both Mom and Dad.  When there is unity of purpose, message, in discipline, and in decisions – the child is free.  Contentment, clarity of expectations, peaceful understanding, and security are rendered to the child when Mom and Dad speak and act as one.

Do not misunderstand me.  I am not referring to healthy differences of opinion being expressed in front of children.  Children must learn what respectful disagreement looks like.  I speak here of parenting – when Mom and Dad give direction, act in authority, provide guidance, or come to a decision,  these must be done in unity.

If you think you’ve got an unhealthy pattern going on in your home, know you are not stuck and changes can be made.  Children heal quickly and are very resilient.  There are good ways of bringing attachment back to health.  God always gives fresh starts.

If you would like more information on this topic, are looking to heal the wounds of division, or have a comment, please email me at 4theresemcd@gmail.com

 

Authentic Praise for Our Children vs. Ambiguous Praise

I remember my father saying, “Therese, I can count on you.  When you say you’ll do something, you follow through.”  I’ve never forgotten these positive comments.  I believed him and I was renewed with a desire never to let him down because of what he said to me that day.

He praised me and it was real.  The message was specific.  Those words moved me to future action, penetrated deeply, and prompted me to rise to his perception of me.  I wanted (and want) to be the person who can be counted on and will follow through on my commitments.  Real and specific.

Other types of praise just don’t do the same thing at all.  The “good job!”, or “that’s the way”, or “I’m proud of you”, can give a boost, but there just isn’t enough there to root into.  A child may be encouraged, but the idea of having something to lock onto for life is absent.  We’re looking for something authentic and sincere – a standard, a choice made, and virtue, a sacrifice made, or a goal achieved.

“I’ve noticed that when I call you, you come right away.  When you can’t come right away, it is always for a good reason and you communicate that to me. Thank you, Jim.”   What message has Jim received?  It is the kind he’ll store and cherish and what to live up to.

“Julia, when you felt shy in the group the other day, I couldn’t help but notice how you worked up your courage to say hi to Anne.  You were brave and I know you must have made her feel good too.”

“I’ve noticed you having more patience lately.  Today I know you felt annoyed with Rob, but you chose to have self-control by saying, This isn’t worth getting upset over. I think I’ll read for awhile. You seem to be doing that sort of thing more often.  This is very mature behaviour. ”

This kind of praise is powerful in a child’s life.  It truly can be life-changing as the child absorbs the praise and sees the truth in their choices.

Do not exaggerate, keep sincere and be accurate.

When there is cause to correct.  Your child will trust you and be more likely to respond optimistically to that correction as you’ve been genuine with  your words.

I’ve appreciated the comments of those following the blog.  Keep your emails coming.  It is nice building community!

I’m looking forward to presenting my talk this Saturday on organizing your home and organizing your life, 2 – 4PM in Mundare at Chesterton House (the Old Mundare Hospital).  Email me your rsvp: 4theresemcd@gmail.com.  Child-minding is available upon request.

Attaching Hearts to Home,

Therese

 

 

Three Things to Do When Your Child Argues for Screen Time.

Parents bring freedom when they are confident in their guidance.  A child naturally wants boundaries, even if they complain about them.

A parent knows when a child is overindulging in screen time.  They know when there is too much “computer” going on, too much gaming, too many videos or movies, or too much T.V. and way too much time thinking about the next time they get it.  Mom and Dad get to the point when they are tired of their child’s deal-making, coaxing, pleading, negotiating, and even reward-bent cooperation.

Sometimes for peace-sake, and for greater compliance and performance, a parent will set up rewards and punishment around screen access.  This creates a new cycle of entitlement and conflict.  What can be done?

Allow me to focus on three effective ways of restoring sanity around screen time:

  1. Replace screen time with family time.  Create activities such as reading aloud, board gaming, camping, swimming, walking, singing, dancing…whatever brings joy or should bring joy to your family.  Make it happen.  At first there may be resistance, especially if there is a struggle with screen addiction.  Still, make it happen.   If parents are overly tied to their devices, this may take some concerted effort and discipline.  Be sure to schedule specific times for alternative activities to better guarantee it will happen with regularity.  The fruits of one-to-one , relational, time together, building the love-bond is marvellous!  Do make it happen. 🙂
  2. Screen time is a gift.  Make it a random gift.  Instead of guaranteeing computer time, for example,Saturday afternoon 1 – 3PM), don’t make any arrangements with children.  They should not earn or gain screen time of their own accord.  This creates a false attachment and anticipation of screen time.  Choose instead to surprise your child randomly with a gift of screen time.  “Alan, I’m giving you a gift this morning. Why don’t you take 1/2 hour on your favourite game?  I’ve made some popcorn too!” This creates great appreciation rather than an attitude of entitlement.  Treat screen time as similar to when you make a favourite dessert or when surprise your child with a trip to the park.  Experiencing screen opportunities as unpredictable and out-of-the blue, will enable your child to forget about it and lessen focus on access to it.
  3. Inform yourself and your child with the facts of screen time usage.  Learn about how it rewires the human brain and produces responses that are comparable to drug usage.  Share with your children the impact on health, fitness, focus, ambition, initiative, faith, etc. helps them understand and buy into a balanced life style.   Take time to educate even wee ones.  Make choices meaningful and connect them to real life.  How do we foster good self-discipline?  Why is it important to make good use of time?  How are we affected by the intrusion of screen time?  Have the discussions.  When we are real about life choices, we are more likely to be more intentional about how we make our way through our day.

You are in charge, you are the anchor, you are the source of good formation in your children and the one to set boundaries that lead to joy, a peaceful home, and freedom to live life more fully.  Unplug and make your phone, your laptop, your tablet, your TV, your screens, your slaves.  Be the master.

If you need help with this in your home.  I do offer help to families facing screen attraction/addiction.  If attachment has been affected by technology in your home and you want to restore it, I offer my service to you at: 4theresemcd@gmail.com.

All my services are by donation.

In Christ,

Therese