Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lessons I've Learned from My Toddler

Toddlers. They are full of energy and mischief, but they can teach us a lot about ourselves. Here are a few of the lessons I've learned from my toddler.

>> Play! Playing is fun! Do as much of it as possible.

>> Exercise makes you happy and it makes you sleep better. When my son gets outside and runs around, he sleeps so well during his nap and at bedtime and he is happier in general. This tends to be true for me as well.

>> You can never have enough kisses or hugs, especially when you are having a bad day.

>> Children grow and learn at their own pace. Don't get discouraged when your child doesn't seem to be learning many words or isn't hitting his milestones when you think he should. Try not to compare him to his siblings. Every child is different. Just when you start to think that he may be falling behind, he will start to surprise you with the things he is learning. Just yesterday, my 16 month old son who was worrying me because he only seems to say three or four words on a regular basis said “down there” when I asked him where his cup was and said “bird” after he pointed to one and asked me “what's that?”

>> Answer your child's questions! One of the few words/phrases that my son does say is “what's that?”. He's been saying this since he was about a year old. I always answer him! After all, this is how he will learn new words. Even if he asks me several times about the same object, I will tell him.

>> Learn to love learning. I can tell that my son loves to learn new things. I am starting to find that same joy in learning new things. For example, I have recently become a stay-at-home mom and I am learning new recipes to give my family a little more variety at dinner time. I also plan on starting a garden this spring and that will be an entirely new experience for me.

Our kids can teach us so many things. What are some things you have learned from your toddler?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What does the Bible say about love? - A review of the book Loveology by John Mark Comer

My latest book review for Book Look Bloggers is for the book Loveology by John Mark Comer.

What is the purpose of marriage? Should everyone get married? What does the Bible teach about premarital sex? What does the Bible really teach about homosexuality?
In the book Loveology, John Mark Comer uses the Bible as a context to answer these and many more questions about God, love, sex, and marriage. This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is looking for answers to these questions and to understand what the Bible has to say. There are even chapters in this book, such as the chapter on homosexuality, that I would encourage non-Christians to read so they can understand where Christians are coming from based on the Bibles teachings.

Some of the key points of this book are as follows:
- The Bible teaches that sex is to be shared by a man and a woman in the context of marriage. Any sexual act outside of marriage is considered sin, going against God's will for us. Sex is a bonding of two people at a very deep level, and to have sex outside of the marriage relationship can be very damaging indeed.
- Any sexual act outside of marriage is a sin. This means heterosexual sex and homosexual acts are sinful outside of the context of marriage. Since marriage as God intended is between a man and a woman, that is why homosexual acts are considered sinful. A person can be gay (attracted to people of the same gender as themselves) and still be a follower of Christ if they abstain from engaging in homosexual acts just as a single person can be a Christian living according to the Bible if they abstain from sex until they are married.
- Marriage was created for many reasons that John Mark Comer discusses in this book. One of these main reasons is that of the couple working together to help fulfill God's will for each of them. They have to be on the same wavelength and help each other cultivate their gifts to reach God's will for them.

I wish I understood these teachings more fully before I was in a romantic relationship, but understanding them now helps me to fully grasp how important my marriage is in fulfilling God's will for both myself and my husband as well as for our children. I am going to pass this book on to my husband and suggest that he read it. I also intend on having each of my children read this book when they reach high school age. I think it will give them a much better understanding of why they should wait. Overall, this is a great book. Five stars!

I receive these books free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook Bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, March 17, 2014

How Schools are Encouraging Bullying

My daughter has been bullied. She's only in second grade and seven years old, but she's already been bullied. Or maybe teased is a more apt term. Either way, the school she was attending turned a blind eye and even tried to make it seem as if she was having troubles socially, making friends, etc. This rang some bells for me as the same thing happened when I was in school. My parents even took me to a counselor who was teaching me how to make friends. Even at my young age, I quickly learned this was a bunch of hooey. Why was I having trouble making friends? It was simple. I was a nice person and kids were jerks.
They still are today.

I saw this story come across my news feed on Facebook. Basically this child (Grayson) brought a My Little Pony lunch sack to school because he likes the show. He was then teased and even physically bullied. Instead of addressing the bullying and trying to make it stop, the school asked Grayson not to bring the lunch sack to school because it "caused a disruption in the classroom."

This ridiculousness is what makes bullying keep getting worse and worse. What kind of message does this send to kids when they see the school respond in this manner? I'll tell you what it says to me. It says that if you are being an individual, expressing yourself, showing what you like, and some other kids don't like it, that they are in the right. It says that if kids are bullying and teasing you, that you are doing something wrong. You must be doing something wrong. There must be something wrong with you. It also says to the bullies. "Hey, go ahead and bully that kid who is different from you. The school officials will just tell them to stop being different."

This needs to stop. Now. Schools need to realize what they are doing when they make decisions like this. Do they not think these things through first? The best thing to do to get rid of bullies is to let them know that this bullying is not acceptable! How can we do this? Schools need to stop taking the bully's side! They need to realize that when a child is bullied for being different, the issue is not that the child is different. The issue is that the child was bullied. The first step is to let the parents know that the children are bullying so they can take steps to make it stop. We all know that this will not solve the problem in all cases. In fact, some parents may even encourage the bullies. If it doesn't stop the bullying, then the school needs to take further actions such as suspension or expulsion in extreme circumstances. They also need to listen to the victims and their parents and not belittle or discount what they say. My husband reported bullying brought up to him by our daughter and was told that she was "too sensitive". If a victim of bullying says they are being bullied, they are being bullied! No more of this "kids will be kids" stuff. I look at it this way. If I were at a job and I said someone was sexually harassing me, the employee relations department would look into it. Even if it was unfounded, they would still look into it. Shouldn't the schools operate in the same way with bullying? This is a huge issue and it will not be solved overnight, but the schools need to first stop blaming the victim and realize that they can't just turn a blind eye to bullies!

Speak out! If your child is bullied and the school tries to dismiss it, stand up for your kid! I know that most parents would do this without even being told, but this story is just all the more reason to do so! Don't let the schools bully you when your kid is bullied!