Teachable Moments

How To Help Your Child Grow Up To Be A Successful Adult

Our children are “future adults” and we want to parent them for “future success”.   How can we influence their ability to be successful in their relationships and chosen careers as they grow up?  Research says out of all the things our children need to know as they grow that contributes directly to their career competence are their relationship skills. 

Relationship skills are both traits and behaviors that enable someone to interact well with others.  They inspire good communication and conflict resolution. They enhance positive teamwork and can predict sustainability in a job.  Relationship skills make both the one who has them and the one who receives them happier to be doing what they are doing.

  •  Relationship skills aren’t just important to career success, they are important to our faith formation. 
    • The godly way of looking at relationship skills is to see them through the lens of the “one another” verses we find in Scripture; a relationship that values “one another” is a relationship that honors God.  
    • The term “one another” is found 100 times in the New Testament and 59 times refers to how we treat one another within God’s Kingdom.
    • How we care for one another not only allows our relationships in our careers and homes to flourish, but enables us to be a witness to the world of our transforming faith. 
    • God does not suggest “one another” conduct, but demands it.  They are imperative verbs – commands, not suggestions.
    • Just a few examples of “One Another” verses that personify good relationship skills are:
      1. Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10) 
      2. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10) 
      3. Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16) 
      4. Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11) 
      5. Accept one another (Romans 15:7) 
      6. Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16) 
      7.  Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25) 
      8. Serve one another (Galatians 5:13) 
      9. Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) 
      10. Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2, 32; Colossians 3:13) 
      11. Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)

Dear Reader – consider looking up all the “One Anothers” in Scripture and put them on your refrigerator, in your car, or on the mirror in the bathroom – anywhere you and your children will see them on a regular basis.  How do we teach our children to walk by faith AND help prepare them for the future?  “One Another” living! (also known as relationship skills)

  • Relationship skills are personified  in good communication.  In John Maxwell’s book, “Everyone Communicates, Not Everyone Connects”, John proposes that we need to do more than just talk to one another, we need to connect.  Career experts would agree – many companies will look for those who can relate well with others over a college graduate who has a high GPA but doesn’t have strong relationship skills.

    What are some of the points John Maxwell makes in his book that we can pass on to our children?  Here are 5 of his principles to get you started in thinking connection, not just communication.
    • Think “One Another” always.  (Maturity is the ability to see and act on behalf of others.)
    • Connecting with others requires effort.  Connecting requires initiative (go first); clarity (prepared); patience (slow down); selflessness (give); and stamina (recharge). 
    • Work hard with enthusiasm. (Vision without passion is a picture without possibilities.)
    • Be a person of integrity. (People ask three questions about their leaders: Do they care for me? Can they help me? Can I trust them?)
    • Prepare and don’t give up.  (Preparation yields confidence and passion yields conviction.​)

Dear Reader, I have heard it said, “The days are long, the years are short” and I believe it’s true.  In the midst of parenting, it can feel exhausting and all-consuming.  But before we know it, we are sending them out into the world. Remember to keep the end goals in mind as you parent today.  Work toward who your child is becoming and invest in their ability to relate well with others.

Blessings to you this week as you parent with a purpose to equip your child for their future adult life.  

Always yours truly, Elizabeth

Teachable Moments

Extroverted Parents

It may be assumed that an Extroverted Parent has it easier than an Introverted Parent.  After all, don’t extroverts enjoy having people around all the time, have more energy and emotional capacity that would help them manage a child’s boundless exuberance and are able to navigate more swiftly the ever changing schedules of daily childhood schedules? Let’s see what research has to say.

Professor Susan Whitbourne at the University of Massachusetts along with author, Sophia Dembling, propose a variety of pros and cons for the Extroverted Parents.  Along with other research insights, the following characteristics help us better understand the joys and challenges of Extroverted Parenting.

  1.  They don’t overthink.  Extroverts tend to handle conflicts or issues head on, not allowing anger to build up or dwell on things too long.  This is one of the “pros” as being able to go with the flow and not being too worked up over life’s challenges decreases the anxiety of parenting.  They don’t overthink issues, but tend to solve and resolve things fairly quickly and then move on with little stress.
  2. They’re ready to go.  Boundless energy and people engagement tends to make extroverted parents up for anything.  Want to go play ball?  Yes!  Want to watch a movie?  Yes.  Want to work on the local PTA?  Yes!  These are the Tiggers of the world who bounce around, going to all sorts of places and engaging in all sorts of activities.  They tend to play with their children rather than apart from them.  They value connection with others as they highly value relationships.
  3. Children’s emotions can get in the way.  Extroverted parents may have a hard time seeing life from a child’s point of view.  They don’t always want to slow down to hear what is going on behind the scenes for the child.  This can make them insensitive. Getting things done can be more important than how they get things done or why they get things done.
  4. Humor shouldn’t be the highest value.  Most Extroverts can appreciate a good joke. Humor is often an appropriate distraction or can create a happy moment within the family.  But, humor has a dark side and if not careful, humor and sarcasm can take the place of insight and sincerity.
  5. They’re loud.  Most Extroverted Parents make a bit of noise and aren’t embarrassed for it.  They love cheering on their kids and can handle noise with a “kids will be kids” attitude.  This makes the uproar of children and their friends a welcome environment for Extroverts and hospitality in childhood one of their strengths.
  6. Extroverts love being Extroverts.  While Introverts are known to apologize for their personality, Extroverts tend to embrace their personality and praise themselves for it.  While they didn’t do anything to get this type of personality, they need to remember with humility that God has made all people valuable, not just them.  They need to especially remember this if God has given them an Introverted child!

BEWARE: beware the pressure that we can inadvertently put on our Extrovert Parents.

Extroverted parents can feel a lot of pressure to be the “fun” parent and to make sure everyone is always having a good time.  Extroverts can be misunderstood as some will expect them to be ready to go and ready to volunteer all the time. It is easy to pigeon-hole them and see them as one-dimensional and think because of their energy and activity level they are intellectually shallow.  None of this is fair and we need to extend opportunities for our Extroverted Parents to express deep thoughts, connect emotionally at a slower pace and to say “no” when their schedules get too full.   

Dear Reader, may we take the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 seriously when it says, Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  Appreciating the energy, vibrancy, and positivity of Extroverts means letting them know we are grateful for all they bring to a community while also allowing them to express their more vulnerable emotions and profound thoughts.  Extroverts can be natural givers, but they also need opportunities to receive. May we not grow weary in building up our Extroverted Parents!

Blessings to you whether Extrovert or Introvert!  

Your Extroverted Friend, Elizabeth

Teachable Moments, Uncategorized

Introverted Parents

Being an introverted parent is vastly different than being an extroverted parent.  They don’t think alike, dream alike, nor make the same parenting decisions. They definitely don’t have the same internal dialogues; many introverted parents think one response but wisely give another.  Here are a few examples.

“Mom, I know we’ve spent all day together but do you want to come play with me?”
INSIDE ANSWER:  “No – I don’t want to play with you.”
WHAT THEY SAY OUT LOUD:  “Yes, of course – but see what Dad is doing; I know he’d love to play with you too.”

“Dad, what are you going to ask Santa to get you for Christmas?”
INSIDE ANSWER:  “I want to have total peace and quiet that I KNOW will not be interrupted.”
WHAT THEY SAY OUT LOUD:  “I have everything I want, sweetheart; I have you.”

“Mommm!!!!!” “Daddddddd!!!”
INSIDE ANSWER:  “I SO want to change my name.”
WHAT THEY SAY OUT LOUD:  “Yes, honey?”

What is an Introvert?  Introverts are characterized with a personality that

  • Turns inward more than outward
  • Prefers low-key environments
  • Regains energy by spending time alone
  • Feels drained from social interactions
  • Prefers a few good friends more than many less-intimate friendships 
  • Focuses more on internal thoughts and moods than external situations

From a 2010 Psychology Today edition entitled, “Revenge of the Introverts”, we learn that scientists are discovering the brain of an introvert does not work like their extravert counterparts.  Introverts actually take in information from their environments and need alone-time to process what they are observing and experiencing. If they don’t have that quiet time or solitude, they will naturally feel overwhelmed.  Introvert brains tend to be very active and therefore, putting themselves in situations which add additional stimulation (i.e. crowds, high-energy, or high-sensory) are by necessity limited.

How does this God-created personality affect a parent’s relationship with their kids?  

  1.  You are not a mistake.  Realize that it is not a mistake how you are made.  Introverted parents will struggle with different things than extroverted parents do and that, my friends, is perfectly OK.
  2. Not their job.  Realize that it is not your child’s responsibility to create an environment that is comfortable to the introverted parent.  Work on not getting frustrated that the child is not meeting your personal needs – it’s not their job.
  3. Be nice.  Kids are naturally loud, inconvenient and exhausting.  Introverted parents are going to feel this more poignantly than extroverted parents; they have a higher chance of feeling anxious, depressed, and inadequate.  So, be careful. Don’t judge yourself too harshly when you really hate your lack of a schedule, the millions of interruptions to your time or the peace and quiet you so desperately need but aren’t going to get.  Bottom line, don’t expect yourself to be someone you’re not – be nice to yourself. If you can accept how God has made you, you have a chance of being a great parent just the way you are.
  4. Give yourself a break.  Figure out a way to create frequent breaks throughout the day.  If you are caring for a toddler, you may not have a long period of time to quietly sit or enjoy solitude, but if you can grab even 5 minutes here and there throughout the day, you’ll tend to do better.  Put in times to quietly think, appreciate and practice thankfulness.
  5. Measure happiness carefully.  Extraverts tend to be happy about everything, but introverts have the advantage of not worrying so much about actually being happy (they worry about other things).  While extroverts want to try everything on the buffet of life, introverts tend to savor meaningful moments. Embrace how you understand happiness and fulfillment, knowing no two parents measure it the same way.
  6. Know what you’re good at.  Introverted parents are good at assessing situations and knowing that change needs to take place.  Introverted parents are good at allowing their children to process life and tend to encourage a slower pace of life.  Introverted parents value relationship over activity and tend to accept their children how they are made more easily than an extroverted parent.  Introverted parents unite – and realize how good you are at this parenting thing.

Dear Friend, parenting is hard enough without us trying to be someone we’re not or we’re judging ourselves harshly for who we wish we were. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)  We need to celebrate how God made us knowing that we are the parent our child needs as God is the architect of our families and builds our families by purposeful design.  Take comfort in His plan, lean on Him for wisdom and seek Him for the strength you need to endure. He is faithful to you.

May this day be a day you celebrate how God is working in you to be the person and parent He desires.  To all my introverted readers, here’s to you! Fondly yours, Elizabeth

And now…introverted thoughts that will make you smile (hopefully). 

Teachable Moments

The Dad Joke

Dads are not Moms.  They are inherently different and they were intentionally created by God that way.  Now, this does not mean we don’t find any similarities. Dads care just as much about their children and want to parent well.  But, Dad-parenting does look very differently than Mom-parenting. Research gives us the following data:

  • At a playground, Dads tend to look “out” while Moms look “in”.
  • Dads push to try new things while Moms want to protect and practice what they already know.  
  • Dads take more risks and engage in more assertive physical activities;  Moms are rather risk aversive and engage in more interpersonal activities.  
  • Kids tend to behave better when Dad is at home and talk to Dad in a more reserved tone, respecting his authority and wanting their approval (even though many men feel they carry no authority and have failed in their role).  
  • Dads teach kids about humor earlier and more often than Moms.

It’s a parent’s responsibility to ‘train up a child in the way he/she should go’ (Prov. 22:6).  Dad’s tend to take this seriously when teaching kids how to take life not TOO seriously. Is this important? You bet!  Scripture advocates laughing to get through life:

  • Job 5:22 At destruction and famine you shall laugh: Neither shall you be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
  • Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 (there is) a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance

A common way fathers teach humor is through the infamous Dad Joke!  The Dad Joke has been around since…forever. And who doesn’t enjoy (or at least groan) when you hear a Dad Joke?  In honor of all our Dads out there, here’s to you! Here’s to the sacrifice, hard work and diligence in creating, finding and telling your jokes.  Our world would be a sadder place if it weren’t for you!

In honor of all those Dads who are faithful to the raising of their children in the many big and small ways, here’s a compilation of some of the best Dad jokes out there.  For this Sunday, when you standing around the grill or throwing a frisbee, take out one of these jokes and enjoy the moment!

THE JOKES EVERY DAD HAS TOLD OR WOULD WANT TO TELL

A Mom got home from the store and found the baby crawling around with a diaper that was filled and probably weighed up to 10 pounds.  This poor child could hardly move! Mom picked up the baby and went racing around the house trying to find Dad. When she found him, she asked him why he had not changed the baby’s diaper. The Dad looked at the Mom with a surprised expression and said, “The diaper package clearly states that they are good for up to 25 pounds!

There were 2 muffins baking in the oven.  One muffin looked at the other said, “Hey – it’s pretty hot in here, don’t you think?”  The other yelled, “AAHHH!  A talking muffin!”

I just read a great book on anti-gravity!  I couldn’t put it down.

What do you call someone with no body and no nose?  Nobody knows!

Why did the invisible man turn down the job offer? He couldn’t see himself doing it.

The secret service no longer yells at the President of the United States to “Get Down”.  Instead, they yell out, “Donald, Duck!”

Have you seen the movie “Constipation”?  It’s not out yet.

Why DIDN’T the skeleton cross the road?  He didn’t have the guts for it.

5/4 of people admit that they’re bad with fractions.

Dad and Mom were going out on a date.  Mom: “How do I look?” Dad: “With your eyes.”

And in case you want to show a joke rather than tell it, text this to your children.
3 unwritten rules of life…
1.
2.
3.

Dear Dads – thanks for all you do!  May the Lord richly bless you as you train up your children in the art of a good joke.

Blessings Abundant!  Elizabeth