On Sundays… we all struggle with lives so busy, that we teeter on – or fall over – the edge of Burnout. How to stay balanced? Usually, we realize we need to pay attention to physical needs (not just the family’s, but our own). So, despite the whirlwind, we must eat right, exercise, rest and sleep. But even that’s not enough. Because we have inner needs, too – like our need for time with friends (person-to-person, not just social media), for mental stimulation to get us thinking, and the needs to grow spiritually and express ourselves creatively. That’s why Parent Burnout Prevention means building routine solutions for meeting personal needs into the fabric of our week.
On Mondays… Do your children know that you are their biggest fan? Kids need warm approval as much as food, and they will be influenced all their lives by the people who praised them in childhood.
On Tuesdays… We know it’s important, but how do we encourage silent reading? Some families give their school age children an early bedtime to allow them time for reading in bed.
On Wednesdays… In my opinion, it’s important to teach children to be thankful, and that begins with simple etiquette – learning to say “please” and “thank you,” and to express appreciation by making thank you phone calls or sending thank you texts and emails.
On Thursdays…the up-and-get-going process goes smoother on school mornings if there’s a family discussion about the process first and a chore chart near the breakfast table that clearly communicates tasks and time limits. Then instead of nagging about each chore, parents can simply ask, “Have you checked off everything on your chart?”
On Fridays… How do we encourage creativity in our kids? It helps a lot to keep a table or other working surface available for projects, and then keep supplies (age appropriate, of course) handy where kids can get them. Children are more apt to start projects if they don’t have to ask us to clear workspace and get out supplies.
On Saturdays… How do you change your mental focus when you’re worried and upset? Listening to spiritual songs helps, but even better is learning the words (by singing along to favorites on audio or taking time to memorize) and then singing them without audio through the day and in the car. Thinking about the words can help move you into a better frame of mind in dark times. And your family benefits from the change in atmosphere.
© 2022 Becky Cerling Powers
Use with attribution only: www.beckypowers.com
For more parenting insights from Becky Cerling Powers see her book Sticky Fingers, Sticky Minds: quick reads for helping kids thrive
When God was getting the Garden Eden ready to share life in the same space with humans, why did He wait around so long to create Eve?
What God said was good
When God separated the seas from the land, He declared it good. And when He caused the land to produce plants and fruit bearing trees, He saw that it is good. When He placed the sun and moon in the sky to govern the day and the night, He found it good. And when he filled the skies with winged creatures and the seas with teeming life, again He declared it good. When he created livestock and wild animals and creeping creatures to fill the land, once more He found it good.
What God said was not good
And yet when God created the first earthling, the man Adam – honoring the man by creating him in His own image and placing him in a beautiful garden – for the first time, God declared that something in His new creation was not good.
“It is not good for the man to be alone,” He said. “I will make a helper suitable for him.”
After that jarring statement, anyone would expect God to get busy creating Eve. But He delayed. Instead, He gave Adam the job of naming all the animals.
Why wait to meet the need?
I believe that God is like the father of my – I realize now – incredibly fortunate childhood. Or more accurately, my father was like God in the sense that Dad saw what his children needed in the future, and then prepared us by working alongside us and building a relationship with us through shared chores and other activities, patiently helping us to develop the skills and character traits we would need for adult life.
God encouraged Adam to explore, observe, and reason
To name someone in the ancient culture of Bible times meant saying something true about their character or their nature. God could have given Adam lessons about the animals and directed him about what to notice and what to think. That is usually the way our culture teaches children about animals in school.
But God didn’t do that. Instead, He let Adam explore, observe, and figure things out for himself. So Adam observed the animals closely to give them meaningful names –descriptive names like anteater, woodpecker, grasshopper. And as Adam explored, observed, and thought about what he observed, Adam began to realize something else. Something important. Something that God also let him figure out for himself.
Adam realized that all the other creatures had a mate
He saw that God created earth’s creatures as male and female, and that when the male and the female united, they produced offspring.
So Adam used the wonderful brain God gave him to think about that. First Adam put his observations into words, then he interpreted what he noticed, and finally, he reasoned that there must be a mate for him as well. So then, as he continued his God-given project of naming the animals, he began searching for his own mate, the one created just right for him.
God prepared Adam for relationship and intimacy
When God gave Adam the job of naming the animals, He didn’t tell Adam that He was preparing Adam for his future mate – that becoming a good observer, a good communicator and a good thinker would help him to become a good mate.
Walking with God in the garden every evening, relating his thoughts and confiding his hopes to his creator also helped prepare Adam for relationship – for the comforts and the responsibilities of intimacy with his future wife.
The gift of loneliness
God allowed Adam to try to solve the mate problem for himself. Adam searched and searched, but he found no creature suitable to share his life intimately. So then, Adam experienced loneliness. His lonely feelings helped him come to recognize his own need – another kind of preparation for the challenges of an intimate relationship.
Finally, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, and while Adam slept, God took part of Adam’s side and closed the wound with flesh. Then the LORD God fashioned a woman from Adam’s side and brought her to Adam.
Waking to intimate love
After that, all of Adam’s hours and days of language development training – from naming the animals – paid off. Adam reacted with poetry, the language of romance:
“Now this! THIS is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!
She shall be called “woman,” for she was taken out of man.”
We have needs and longings, too
When God answers our prayers, sometimes He says “Yes,” sometimes He says “No” and sometimes He says “Wait.” When God says “Wait,” it may be because we are not yet ready for the responsibilities that go with the gift we long for.
Lord, help me to cooperate with You when You determine that I need to wait before You give me the desire of my heart. May I get with the program and learn the observation, communication, and other skills I need to take proper care of the gifts You want to give me. Amen.
© Becky Cerling Powers 1995, updated 2021
Reprint with attribution only www.beckypowers.com
You can find more family stories from Becky Cerling Powers in Laura’s Children: the hidden story of a Chinese orphanage and My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from “Year of the Family” in the Bookstore
From his baby days, our son Matt was giving us clues about his learning style – the way he learned best. Back then, though, I didn’t know how to read his clues – like the way he loved to feel soft things. He used to crawl into our closet and tug on my flannel nightgown until he yanked it down. Then he’d roll around on it. Or like, while riding in his car seat, he would suck his thumb and stroke the hair of whoever was sitting next to him.
He was into everything, too, and constantly on the go. When he cracked his front tooth, his dentist nicknamed him Crash.
Not surprisingly, Matt had trouble sitting still in school until we pulled him out to home school him, and he had a frustrating time learning to read and write. But by the time Matt was a teen, he had grown to be a gifted sculptor and musician, a star athlete, and a terrible speller.
Like Matt, all young children give clues about how they learn best.
Parents who understand their children’s learning styles can work and communicate with them better, making it easier, for example, to teach chores. Like the farmer who complained to psychologist Paul Welter, “My son is disobedient.”
When Welter asked him to explain more specifically, the farmer said that his 12-year-old son did not do what he told him to do. At chore time, he gave his son three or four tasks. Sometimes the boy did a couple of them and skipped the others, and sometimes he did the tasks in reverse order.
When Welter arranged to have the boy tested, he found that the youngster had poor auditory sequential memory. This meant the boy was not deliberately choosing to “forget” his father’s directions. Rather, he was unable to store and retrieve in his memory everything he heard.
This boy was a visual learner who remembered best what he saw, not what he heard. When the farmer began posting his instructions on a bulletin board for his son to read, the boy began doing his chores the way his father wanted.
There are three main kinds of learning styles: visual, auditory, and tactile
A visual baby wants to see what is going on. One family said their baby loves to be held, but if you restrict her field of vision by putting her up on your shoulder, she arches her back and lets you know that that is not where she wants to be. She is happy and content, though, if you hold her face outward so she can see everything that you can see.
Visual learners need to see what it is they are supposed to learn.
They usually have an easier time in school than other learners because most curriculum is visual, and most classroom teachers are visual learners who tend to teach the way they themselves learn best. Visual learners are usually “bookworms” who read a lot and express themselves best through writing. They should have their eyesight tested regularly.
Good educational materials for visual children are flashcards, matching games, puzzles, instruction books, charts, pictures, posters, wall strips, and videos. They remember better what they hear if they try to visualize the material, take notes, and write down key ideas, directions and instructions. Color coding material helps them, as well as drawing pictures of new concepts and then explaining them. They may have trouble remembering spoken directions, and they are easily distracted by sounds.
If these children have social or emotional problems, they respond well to reading books about other children coping with those same situations. Parents can give them material to read and then talk about the material together.
Auditory babies like to listen and experiment with sound.
Once they learn to talk, they never seem to quit. One mother of an auditory learner told me her daughter went around the house chanting, “I am not a Chatterbox. I am not a Chatterbox.”
Good educational materials for these children are songs and rhymes (like the ABC song), rhythm instruments, podcasts, and audible books. They learn best through verbal instructions from others or themselves. They will remember math facts and spelling words better by chanting them. Reading new material out loud helps them to learn and remember it. They prepare for and perform better for tests if someone reads the test questions to them aloud.
Auditory kids literally have to hear themselves think.
Providing an environment with good music will give these youngsters a lifelong love for music. They are good prospects for music lessons and instruction in foreign languages.
Tactile or kinesthetic (touch-movement) learners are active babies like Matt
They are very busy and they seem to get into everything. They learn best by touching and manipulating things. When they get older, they like to spend their free time building or making things. They are usually the fastest in a group to learn a new physical skill.
These children tend to have the hardest time in school. They don’t focus on visual or oral presentations, so they seem distractible. Besides, if they have to sit still, as children are expected to do in traditional classrooms, it can take all their energy and concentration to learn to do that. Then they have nothing left over for learning the subject matter.
Hands-on learning is essential for these children
They need physical movement to learn and understand – touching, moving, building, drawing. They need sandpaper letters, math manipulatives, long nature walks, model kits, and textured puzzles. They will learn to write best if they get to write BIG at first, because large muscle actions wire their brains quicker and better than small, fine movements.
Kinesthetic children may manage schoolwork assignments better if they can stand, march in place, walk around, chew gum or rock in a rocking chair while working. When our son got too jittery, it helped to let him go outside and run around the house three times before resuming work.
Tracing words with a finger helps them learn to spell. Using a computer can help them reinforce what they are learning through their sense of touch. One kinesthetic college student reported that his grades improved dramatically when he taped his textbook reading assignments and then listened to the tapes while jogging.
Manipulative materials and a good phonics program can help cure reversals in tactile learners, who are the group most frequently labeled ‘dyslexic.’”
As teens and adults, kinesthetic people will often talk more readily if they are doing something active – going for a walk, driving, or working alongside a companion on a project.
Not many people learn in only one of these three ways
And some learn well in all of them. But most people lean more to one style of learning than another. As parents, it helps to figure out our children’s best way of learning and work with it instead of fighting it.
© Becky Cerling Powers 1997 updated 2022
For more parenting insights from Becky Cerling Powers check out her blogs at www.beckypowers.com and her parenting book Sticky Fingers, Sticky Minds: quick reads for helping kids thrive
For all the generations seeking God together
Activities for all ages to seek God’s presence by engaging with the Bible in simple, natural ways at home.
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“One generation shall praise Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts.”