Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.
So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.
I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.
I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.
No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?
I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!
As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.
There are some days that you would never want to live over again. Then there are those days that you relive year after year, and you absolutely wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world. This is one of those days for our family… Those “good” days…
Today is my second daughter’s birthday. She turned 10 years old today. It seems like yesterday that I was pregnant with her and experiencing some of the craziest emotions I’ve ever experienced in my life, up until that point at least. My husband, at the time, and I had just found out we were expecting again and he had also just received his first orders to deploy to Iraq within a couple of months.
I remember being scared out of my mind because not only were we in unknown territory, due to being stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and only being there for about 3 weeks before finding out we were with child, but my husband was leaving American soil and actually being sent to a foreign land where soldiers were being killed left and right. Nervous? Scared? Honestly, I think I was more petrified than anything at that point.
To make a long story short, he ended up leaving right before Thanksgiving that year and the holidays definitely were not the same without him. I ended up going to visit my family back in Illinois and the day after I got there we had a beautiful and healthy, yet tiny, 4 lb 8 oz baby girl. I had gone into labor prematurely. The doctors all said that it was due to me being stressed about my husband’s safety and now having two children, instead of just the one, to care for alone if anything were to happen to him.
I don’t know what caused me to go into labor early but I do know that this is definitely one of those days… Those good days that I will always remember and hope to never ever forget.
So, I am going to be completely transparent with you all today. I know that what I am about to say may make some people question my parenting and whether or not I am a good mother. However, I could honestly care less about those people right now. Most of my readers already understand and know who I am and what my children mean to me and how serious I take my role as a mother and role model. Either way, I do say this with great sadness but also with a peace that I did the right thing.
Before we get started, I want to pose a couple of questions to you. Feel free to answer in the comments section below or just within your own heart and mind as you read. Have you ever had to teach your children a lesson that you knew would hurt them? Did that lesson ultimately end up hurting you probably just as much, if not more, than it hurt your kids?
Yep, now you see how serious this is…
I made the decision to cancel Christmas for my children this year. By that, I mean they did not receive any presents on Christmas morning. Now, I am not one who gets particularly bent on a day because I feel like I can buy presents all year round and any day of the year can be “Christmas” however, this day is, and always has been, a BIG day for my children (and most children, and
people, if we’re totally honest about it).
I did not withhold gifts due to poor grades because my children have been doing exceptionally well when it comes to their academics. I canceled Christmas for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons being that I have
been trying to help my children understand the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it in the first place. I want them to know and forever understand that Jesus truly is the one and ONLY reason for this season, and every season.
The second reason was because I have gotten to my wits end in continuing to have to remind my children to do their chores, to the point that I am even doing many of their chores for them, and I wanted to help them understand that EVERYONE
contributes in a family. Also that everyone has a role and responsibilities within our household and that when we don’t do our “job” things just don’t function as well as they could or should. There have been other behavior issues with a couple of the kids but this is the bulk of why I chose to not have presents wrapped and under the tree on Christmas morning.
I wrestled with the idea of withholding gifts for quite a while. I had actually gone out and purchased presents for each of my children, multiple presents mind you, but at the very last minute I decided that some of their behavioral issues needed to be addressed and dealt with a little differently this year. I also did this because my children are far from babies but they are not yet teenagers so, my thinking was that if I don’t teach them now, and begin to hold them accountable for their actions, they will never truly learn and adhere to it later.
All was not lost for our Christmas. We celebrated Jesus, ate ice cream, listened to holiday music, sang to various songs, my two older girls recorded their Christmas Day YouTube vlogs and we watched an outrageous amount of classic Christmas movies. We also made our feast of a Christmas meal that we have done every year since the children were all very young. I think they may have enjoyed Christmas a little more this year, even without the gifts, but maybe that’s just the mom in me being hopeful that they actually “got it!” but who knows.
My original plan was to have a late “gift exchange” this year but I am still debating that. I am always trying to make sure that I am sending the right message to my children and I don’t know if giving them their gifts, after-the-fact, is sending them mixed messages. Y’all pray for me! 🙂
I hope everyone had a glorious Christmas and I will be chatting with you again in the New Year! Happy Holidays to you all!
What do you say to a child who has gotten their hopes up time and time again only to be let down? What do you feel, as a mother, when you know that hurt is an inevitable part of life and you see your baby hurting in ways that a child never should know? How do you explain that dad is not coming to get them, once again, because he had something “more important” come up?
This is what I stay up at night wondering about.
This is my children’s reality.
This is what I witnessed, for the umpteenth time, over this past weekend.
This is a true story that has no happy ending.
We waited for over an hour and he did not show up. No call. No email. No text. Nothing. Six o’clock came and went. Seven o’clock came and went. Finally, at 7:11pm, to be exact, the phone rings. It’s him. My oldest daughter answers the phone. We are still waiting in the vehicle at the exchange spot for him to come. He asks what the kids are doing, to which my daughter responds, “We are still waiting for you.” A moment of silence before he asks who are you all with… “Mom.” I guess he feels ashamed or does not even care because he just says, “Okay. I will call you all tomorrow morning.”
No acknowledgement of fault.
No reassurance that he still cares for them.
Tomorrow morning comes. Tomorrow morning goes. No phone call from their dad. Finally, at 3:14pm a text message is received. It reads, What r u doing? To which one of my children respond. The next text, from him, comes a few moments after he receives the text from the children. It reads, I cannot talk to you about adult stuff. Tell your mom to give me a call today or tomorrow. That’s it. He’s gone. No phone call, as he said he would do the day prior. No more texts for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend.
Now, it’s Tuesday.
No communications received from him at all since Saturday.
How do you live with yourself? is what I begin to wonder.
Many of you already know how it breaks my heart to see my children cry or suffer, in any way, and to know that there is really nothing that I can do to change their reality. Many of you also know how much I truly wish that there was some way for me to erase the past and start again with a clean slate; a blank canvas.
This is not possible.
This is reality.
This is our reality.
I cannot control the actions of my ex-husband but I can control my actions in (and beyond) their presence. I always find myself feeling like there must be something more that I can do to shield my children and guard their hearts from this unnecessary, externally inflicted pain.
Do you know?
Does anyone know?
If someone does, please reveal this long lost secret to me because I cannot begin to fathom how someone who claims to love their children – their seed, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh – can truly be so destructive in their behavior and actions toward those same children. Not to mention how they can destroy what little relationship, and trust, that they may have built.
Where trust once existed, is now a field of distrust.
Where certainty, now only doubt clouds those skies.
It’s mind-blowing to me how some men can father children only to leave them when the marriage or relationship fails. This is not adult behavior and it is not mature behavior, in the least. Why do we have so many men who want to play house but choose to skip out on their responsibilities and are nowhere to be found when the real “storms” come? Who said that it was acceptable for them to leave families shattered, homes fractured and hearts broken?
Enough is enough!
This will no longer be our reality.
Sometimes, I wonder what it will be like when my children become adults. How will they be with their own children and spouses? Will this affect their lives beyond what I can see right now? Lord, I sure hope that it will make them closer to You. I hope that this pain will reveal strengths to them that they did not even know that they had. I hope that through all of this, my children will learn to let their yes be yes and their no be no. When they are grown, successful and living out their purpose on this Earth, for all to see, I pray that they will not shun their biological father. If they do, I pray that he will understand and se
e how all of this time that he is missing contributed to their cold hearts toward him. I pray that at that time he will acknowledge his failures, apologize for his lack of affection and consider this misuse of his time. Above all, I pray that my children will understand and walk in forgiveness – to know it for themselves, to show it to others and to freely and graciously give it to their dad someday.
This will now be our reality.
“Even with all of the school shootings reported, there are still so many left unreported. So many names that we’ll probably never know, so many people we’ll never get a chance to meet, so many lives cut short, so many destinies that will never be fulfilled and so many stories with chapters left unwritten.”
On Friday, October 9, 2015, I had the opportunity to attend a training for our school district’s Evacuation Plan and Procedures. It was very eye-opening and very sad, if I can be honest with you. Eye-opening because until that day I had not really thought much about this type of thing. I guess you could say that I, like many others, have been quite immune to living in a “safe” town, where not much really happens. So, when the thought of school shootings was presented to me, it definitely opened my eyes, and mind, to what “could be” someday. No one and no school is immune to a tragedy like a school shooting. A bullet has no name on it, as they say. And still I wonder how many people truly think about this when they send their children off to school (or anywhere for that matter).
Some of the most well-known school shootings, we’ve all heard of, began this revolution of evacuation planning in our nation’s schools however, up until recently many of our school administrators, etc. have not truly done their research to ensure that our children remained safe while in their “care”. I learned that majority of our schools, in America, have this “sitting duck” mentality and approach to school evacuations. In my district however, they are changing protocol and educating the teachers, staff, students and families that if God forbid a school shooting were to occur in our district, that there needs to be multiple options for escaping with our lives. Now, instead of being sitting ducks and hiding under tables or whatnot, our children and educators are being given the choice to run with their students or have the students escape if it is safe, they are implementing an announcement protocol and have even gone so far as to implement rally points and ways that students & teachers, who cannot escape, can still possibly survive this type of tragedy.
Even with all of the planning, it is still up to us, as parents and adults, to ensure that we educate ourselves and our children on the awful and scary things of this world. We trust educators enough to send our children to school to be taught by them and “watched” by them while we work or go to school or whatever, but we need to understand that they are flawed human beings, just like we are, and they don’t have all the answers and can and will make mistakes also, even when we need them to not make those mistakes. I think it’s time for us to take a stand and reach out to our Superintendents and Politicians and join PTAs and do whatever else we must do in order to ensure that ALL of our school districts are preparing for the day that we hope – and pray – never becomes a reality.
I urge you to think about this, to speak with your families – especially your children- about this, and to truly equip yourselves with your own district’s protocol and plans for this particular thing. You may find that everything is A-okay or you may find that things need to be reevaluated and new procedures need to be put in place. Visit your local school, Regional Office of Education or contact your Representatives and let’s start a movement to make our schools safer and our educators and students better prepared for the “what if’s” of this day and age.
One of the best feelings in the world is, quite possibly, knowing that you’re supported by the people you love and are fond of. There is nothing like it! Imagine for a moment, you had another horrible day at work and you decide you are going to resign and start your own business. You get home and call a friend or speak with your significant other and during the conversation you reveal that you are planning to quit your job and move on to something that makes you happy and gives you purpose. Your friend/ significant other begins to tell you how stupid your idea is and tries to discourage you from going after your dream. Does that make you feel good? Does that make you want to continue to be friends or in a relationship with that person? Is this type of behavior and response building you up or tearing you down? My point exactly.
There are so many wonderfully creative, talented and capable people who never reached their greatest potential because they were fearful, hindered or never allowed or encouraged to go after their dreams. What a tragedy! Seriously, how sad is that? I believe that some of what keeps up from reaching our greatest potential is because we do not truly know and embrace who we are and what we are passionate about. How would it look if every one of us understood our God-given gifts and talents? Even more, how would the world be changed if every one of us followed our dreams and did something that we were passionate about? I think this type of teaching must begin in the home with parents and partners encouraging each other to make, keep and reach their goals. It seems that children, and adults alike, nowadays are being told what they cannot do rather than being encouraged to do the impossible.
There is a generation of people who feel entitled but are not motivated to change the world and serve or give back to others. This, my friends, is a serious problem. Many of us are all about numero uno and we could care less about the dreams and aspirations of others around us. Therefore, we do not generally encourage one another to excel in new things. I can remember, growing up, being very afraid to tell people what I wanted to be when I grew up because it was very unrealistic, especially in the community that I mostly grew up in. However, I had a grandmother who inspired me and encouraged me to dream big and never stop striving to make those dreams a reality. It is because of this support and love that I began to believe that I could be a writer and that my name would be known around the world. You can say that my dreams are very big, almost impossible according to most, but I know who I am now and I know the talents that God has given me and now, I graciously walk in those gifts and talents.
Encouraging our children – the next generation – is an absolute must! If we sit around – as parents, educators, society – we stand a chance of our future being stifled and our children never knowing what it means or what it looks like to dream and to have those dreams come true. What kind of legacy are we truly leaving to our children and other future generations? If we do not teach our youth now, then they will not feel obligated to teach their children and future generations will perish. The Bible tells us, in Proverbs 29:18, that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…“. This shows us that we have to be the ones who will stand and make that vision for our own homes, lives and the world in its entirety.
We have become a selfish generation and I think it’s about time for that to end. We are seeing the aftermath, everywhere, in today’s society. From women fighting and backstabbing each other on most, if not all, of this country’s reality television shows to politicians – living in their own little worlds – having no real concern about the people, the state of our economy and other world matters. There needs to be a shift in our society. Despite what many may believe, that shift can indeed start with just one person. I am that person. I will be that person. This is a call for us to stand up and support one another, fully and freely. A call to stop being so self-centered and self-absorbed that you do not realize the dying and hurting world around you. How will you contribute to this call?
“The way we spend our time defines who we are.” – Jonathan Estrin
Guilt is something that all moms may feel but I have a serious question for you. Do you think that the guilt felt is even greater for single moms? I tend to think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Maybe it can be attributed to our society or just because we feel extra pressure to be “on” ALL of the time but I know there have been times when I have wanted, very badly, to take some much needed time for myself and I have felt like I was the most awful mother in the world for feeling this way. Just the thought of wanting my children to leave me alone so that I could have a moment of silence or just to sit and relax without hearing “Mom” being yelled out every 5 seconds appeared to literally be heaven on Earth. However, for some reason, I would never fix my lips to ask for, much less take, that time. I mean, there were (and still are) times when I’d have to talk fast just to be able to pee alone! (TMI? Yeah, maybe it was.)
What do you do to not feel so guilty? And, if you don’t feel that guilt anymore, what have you done to make “mommy time” seem acceptable to you?
I know, for myself, I need just even an hour a day to recharge so that I am not so snappy with my children and/or others. I notice that I am sometimes not able to make that work, especially with children still under the age of 2 in my home, but I really try hard to get the rest that I know I need every night and to get the time, throughout my day, to just sit and relax… BY MYSELF. During my “me time” adventures, many times, I will do something that I enjoy like having lunch with a friend or reading a book or working on my writing projects, both here and elsewhere. However, there are times that I do things that just need to be done like cleaning my house, going grocery shopping (ALONE) or balancing my checkbook. I just try to make sure that I get a chance to have some ME time as often as I need it, without neglecting my children and my responsibilities as a parent, of course but still being true to who I am as a woman.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It took me a LONG time to get to this point – it definitely was not all peaches and cream – I most certainly struggled with the thought of being able to take time for myself, away from my kids, and still being seen as being a “good” mother. My struggles were mainly internal and fear-based, stemming from current circumstances and also from how I was raised, but I had to realize that not every woman or mother is the same and what works for one family may not – scratch that, WILL NOT – work for my family and that is OKAY. Honestly, once I got this internalized and deeply rooted inside of me, it allowed me the freedom to finally start taking that time I so craved and deserved but never would ask for or act upon. What I learned is that I need time to replenish my energy, especially with how active my children are and with the busy schedule that we sometimes carry. The fact of the matter is simply this, I cannot be the best mother, friend or woman (period) that I want to be, and that I know I can be, if I do not take some time to do the things that bring me joy and that make me who I am.
So, what are you struggling with today?
As moms and as women, in general, we tend to take on the burdens of this entire world and it usually leaves us drained and unable to be the best us that we can and want to be. I think that it is time for a change and time for us to brush off what society (or other people) try to say to us concerning this subject. The thought for the day is to remember that it is alright to take some time for yourself. Your kids will still be there and they will still love and respect you. Not only this, but it will teach them that everyone needs – and deserves – to have some time for themselves to just relax, do things that they enjoy and to just be free. Don’t let society or the thought of being a bad mommy scare you because those things are not true and do not define who you are, in the least.
Until next time, Word-ies! Have a very, very happy hump day! 🙂
I am on this journey of reading different devotionals and books. I had not been able to read as much as I’d like to however, lately, I have had this “extra” time on my hands and decided to fill that time with God and with reading. It has been truly refreshing. Recently, I was sent a new devotional, through my Bible app, and I decided to check it out. It was entitled “How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps”. Yeah, it was a little weird to me too as first but I promise you I am not making this up.
Usually when we think of having children and raising them, we typically don’t think of harming them and we definitely don’t entertain the thought of ruining them. However, as I was reading through this devotional, I began to understand how we really can (and do) ruin our children and make life harder for them, and ourselves, than we may realize. Obviously, this devotional is Biblically-based and, as such, often refers to passages of scripture or sin that opens the door to a parent or guardian ruining their child.
So, here’s a little history (or cheat sheet) on the 7 deadly sins, which is ultimately what is used to show how we can ruin our children. The seven deadly sins can be found in various books of the Holy Bible. Here is the breakdown:
As you can see, many of these sins are not things we would normally consider to be that bad (or that big of a deal) but God looks at these traits differently than we do. Sometimes we are operating in these things and we do not even know it. Even when someone tries to point these things out in us, many times, we will accuse that other person of being mean or insensitive or just plain wrong about us. Sometimes that may be true but what if they are right about us? Then what?
We often hear people complaining about society and how the world isn’t like it used to be and our youth are not as respectful, compassionate, thoughtful as they used to be but let me pose this question to you. Do
you understand that many of these complaints stem from the way
someone was raised?
God has given us, who are parents in any way, the responsibility to raise our children to become the adults that we want to see them become. Raising a child is more than just providing for them financially and physically but it is guiding them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is giving them opportunities to make mistakes while they are still under your guidance and care so that you can correct them and help them to understand why something is “this way” and not “that way.” I would encourage any of you that have been given the opportunity to impact the life of a child, in any way, to read this devotional. I truly believe in the saying, “when you KNOW better, you DO better.”
Why is it that there are so many different views on child support? There are those who look down on you for enforcing this LEGAL act. Then there are others who applaud you for not letting the non-custodial parent “slide”. No matter how many times I speak with someone about this subject, there is always one extreme or another. There is NEVER anyone who seems to be in the middle or even undecided on this subject, as I guess it should be. I mean, how can you really be in the “middle” about this issue and, even more so, what would that even look like?!?
The reason for this topic is because I was recently in court, with my ex, and I found out that he is working at a new job that he never reported. This job change was actually disclosed to me through others who told me that he was actually working at a new company but since he hadn’t mentioned anything to me, I didn’t really think anything of it or try to make a big deal out of it. Needless to say, I have been getting only $150/month for the 4 children we have together. This was based on his extremely part-time nightclub/bouncer job and NOT his full-time VA hospital job. Because of things like this, this is why I feel the way I do about the courts and about non-custodial parents getting off scot-free.
How can you live with yourself, as a parent (man or woman), knowing you are able and should be contributing more to the care and financial well-being of your children but you choose not to??? That makes no sense to me.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like when you have a child and the relationship between you and the other parent does not work out, you should still hold the other parent accountable for helping to provide financially for that child. Most of the time, this is the only way the non-custodial parent will still be involved in the life of the child because, from my own experience, most of the time they are not mature enough or available enough to parent the child consistently and be there emotionally and physically as well – so, in my opinion, the financial should be enforced if nothing else is. You did not lay down and make those babies by yourself and you should not have to care for them by yourself.
Now, I totally agree that child support is meant solely for the support of the children. I do not agree with parents who use the child support monies on themselves. I will never understand why some parents take what is rightfully due to their children and use it to pamper themselves with new hairdos, manicures/pedicures, new clothes, new shoes, etc. Why is that money not going towards getting your child(ren) all of those things and more??? That is also something that I will probably never totally get.
I just feel like single parents sometimes get a bad wrap, especially single mothers who pursue getting child support. Many men feel that all women are doing the same thing and that they are all just misusing the child support monies and only pursuing these payments out of revenge. My grandmother said that there is always a little bit of truth in everything so I suppose there is some truth in how these men feel as well. However, I also know that there are women who work hard to provide for their children and sometimes, there are men in (or out) of the picture who do everything in their power to avoid paying child support. Or, as in my case, they don’t report additional income in an effort to avoid paying even more, in child support, than they want to pay. Either way it goes, it is foolishness and it is a true sign, in my opinion, of a deadbeat parent.
I wish more people would support those of us who do right by our children and with the child support that we do get and stop treating us as if we are ALL the same. News flash….we are NOT all the same! And that’s my two cents….