Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Am I teaching my child respect?

I was sweating like a fiend today as I helped my hubby unload the heavy pitcher's mound and other baseball equipment from the truck to trek over to the field. It was a stagnant hot with NO air movement at all and my head was drenched... I can thank my mother and grandfather for that! Crazy sweaty people! Sometimes genes are not my friend. Anyway, I was hot, and let me just tell you, I may not be the most "happy" person when I am hot, I am not always grouchy but things can really irritate me more easily at these moments. As we are setting things up getting ready for practice to start and before all the boys got there, the three of us are on the field and here comes a pre to teenage boy riding his bike right past us and onto the field where we are about to practice. Steve looks over at him and says "Don't ride your bike on the field okay, " The boy rides around then rides right past us to go out the other gate, looks at Steve with a grin and in a very sarcastic tone says "You're Welcome." Wow, I totally wanted to be that kid's mother and slap him in the face. No joke. I was so aggravated at his response to an adult asking him to not ride his bike on the field, the field we were obviously using. I look right at Paxton and said if you are ever disrespectful to an adult like that I will beat your little butt. Honestly I am not a discipline hitter, I am not, but I was so mad that this kid was so disrespectful that that is what came out of my mouth. At my own child... He proceeded to ask why since the kid said you're welcome was it being disrespectful... So we had a quick little lesson in always doing the right thing, sarcasm and responding to an adult with a "oh, I am sorry" and moving on... not a smart a.. comment like the boy gave Steve. He quickly understood what the boy did wrong. It was a good teaching experience. However, on my way home I contemplated if respect is something you teach or model? I know that we have always told Paxton to respect his elders, respect others by being kind, considerate and polite. I was really curious what the definition of respect was... so I looked it up. In every definition it talks about admiring another person because of their achievements, abilities or qualities. In a way when we talk about respecting others how does this really play into total strangers? It is hard to admire someone you don't know right? So then I questioned if I knew the meaning of admire! Hmmm... so I looked that up too! regard- (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval. Varying Levels of Respect. We live in an indifferent world. As a result, people treat each other with various levels of respect and, sometimes, total disrespect. You may have behaved respectfully or disrespectfully to others in front of your children. This in my opinion displays that respect is modeled, not taught in most cases. Our children learn from our behavior. Yes, we are human and yes, we make mistakes but we really need to be careful what message we are giving our children because they are like little sponges who absorb and want to do everything like us, because they respect and admire us... So next time you are quick to have road rage, make judgments about people, talk negatively about others in front of them or become disgruntled... remember you ARE the model, in most cases they are wanting to be. Think first what you want them to hear and see. Ephesians 4:29 ESV Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

No Picture RE-takes, just pick me UPs!

Do you have ever have one of those weeks where it just seems like all kinds of crazy stuff is going on? Where nothing seems like it is going your way? Things crumble, you aren't doing something right, you have more frustrations then you care to count, people are throwing curve balls right at your head? I know that I have and I am sure we all have at some point or another. We CANNOT always control our circumstances, but why do we have to allow our attitude and our self talk to go in a negative direction? We DON'T, but we often do. When life gives you trials, hiccups and stress, sometimes we turn to all kinds of things to "fix" our sadness, hurt, or despair. We vent to others in all directions, sometimes we are so mad we talk negative about other people, we crash our healthy eating plan with the instantly satisfying but not quite gratifying treat or beverage, maybe we whine, we cry, we go over and over in our head how we were wrong or how the situation could have been different and talk ourselves down or make ourselves the victim or even the cause... guess what? None of this is helping! This behavior doesn't help and it doesn't fix the situation. It was delivered to us just the way it was. We cannot change it, we cannot erase it and re-record like videos today, or pose again for the picture we didn't like so we only post the best one. I will spare you the details of the multitude of things that I have been posed with, upset about or have been thrown at me since last Friday, somethings I cannot share anyway. However, I will tell you that not a single one of them should change me as a person, except in a positive way. Not one of my frustrations defines me, not one of them is even life-changing or terminal! So then WHY in the heck am I so quick to allow them to even enter the thought closet in my head and take up space! Seriously... there are things that need to be dealt with in life but they don't need to take up anger, worry or self doubt in my mind, they just need to take up the space that offers solutions. I had a few encounters this week that have turned my negative attitude into one of total gratitude... it is my goal to always be a positive person, find the good in all situations and move forward, however sometimes this isn't the way it goes and I need to be rescued from my own destruction. I also need to remember that God has my back and he alone should be the one I turn to in faith and hope when I am feeling like I can't get my happiness levels back on track. When people are concerned that you are acting out of character you know you are in trouble... I had to ask myself if I was allowing my circumstances to offer suggestions to others that I was not living my life in the way I preach but in a way that was reflected and something negative and bitter? Totally out of character for me... and people were starting to notice! Sure sign that something must change within me to reflect the true me on the outside. The positive started to turn back on in my brain with a Tuesday morning coffee talk with a local pastor who as I spoke to him about my service to others, my goals and my fears triggered not only his positive response but my purpose restored. I had a lovely day with my Minnesota Mamas yesterday who whisked me away for a girl's day... with lunch and shopping, good vibes and even gifts... gotta love being spoiled once in awhile, especially when you love to spoil others most often, it is nice to get back when you least expect it. Good news from my son's teacher in the middle of the day that he got 100% on a reading comprehension, reading is not his strong suit and knowing how proud I felt that he was "getting it." This deserved a surprise present from me when he got home... I truly find joy in other's reactions when you give to them! It really warms my heart. I came home to a husband also bearing a gift... I have been complaining for the last 3 times I have made waffles how annoying my iron is no matter how much I spray it... it sticks, the batter sticks and the boys end up eating waffle crumbles. A brand new waffle iron. So maybe it was partially self-ish... so he could eat better waffles that stay together and not have to listen to me whine and complain about it while trying to make them... hahaha... but nonetheless thoughtful! I enjoyed a mom's dinner and some conversation with some great girlfriends last night as our boys went to youth group and was blessed with some extremely kind and motivating words from an amazing cancer survivor this morning who is an inspiration and I am truly excited to get to know better this year! I need to remember that I alone should be able to change my attitude, happiness and thoughts as those are all things in my control... but sometimes we need those pick-me-ups to get us back on track and they were delivered at the right time and for this I am grateful... what can you do today to be a positive pick-me-up for someone, and who can you turn to when you need one. Remember we ALL experience these days, weeks and periods of time where we need a pick-me-up so remember sometimes we also need to be the one to do the picking up for others! Be a joy, be a blessing, give a smile no more stressing... Harmonize and harness your energy to your advantage and you will get more of what you focus on. God's grace is immeasurable, eternal, overflowing, perfect and lavish yet free. Undeserved, enlightening, incomprehensible, glorious, and divine, yet available. It is abounding and astounding, God's grace is amazing. You must embrace it.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Ridiculous Pillows! A LOVE LESSON.

How many times have you gotten irritated at your spouse for doing something that just isn't what you expect? Or you don't feel like they did it "right" or the way that you would have done it if you just did it yourself? You asked them to do something to help you out, lighten your load or make you feel better! I know that I have and I guarantee Steve has gotten irritated with me on numerous occasions when I have been asked to help out and it doesn't go exactly as planned or I do something in a different way then he would, likewise when I ask him for something I am easily irritated if it gets done but not "right"! What is "right" you may ask yourself? If we are so concerned as to whether it goes the way we want or turns out like we planned... why are we relying on the other person to carry it out or complete it as we would? Why are we placing the expectations we would otherwise place on our-self, on our significant other? Honestly the only way to guarantee something is done my way, is to do it myself- If I want to delegate and have other people help, I have to be willing to accept their way of getting it done. Not everyone accomplishes the same thing in the same manner, with the same attitude or outcome. After all we are attracted to that person because they complete us, not necessarily because they think like us... and if they thought, acted and did everything just as we would I think I would be pretty bored pretty quick. I had a great conversation with a friend who made me reflect on thinking deeper why sometimes there is a deeper why than we give credit for. A friend of mine who is pregnant confided in me that she was really frustrated with her pillows and couldn't get comfortable or sleep so she asked her hubby if he could stop on his way home from work and get some new pillows. He did just that... he brought them home happily ready to make her happy and she hated them! Not exactly what she was hoping for and no more comfortable then the ones she didn't like they already had, not what she was hoping for and a little disappointed in his choice, in fact she had found a pillow she previously had that she thought they all hated and used that and slept all night! Go figure right! The most hilarious part of the whole thing is not only her not liking the pillows knowing that he probably (knowing guys) stood in the BBB aisle for at least 30 minutes or more trying to find the most perfect one, and it wasn't! ( I know that my husband isn't often the most romantic person and that is ok, but that whenever I receive a card from him it always makes me cry because not only are the words perfect on the card he picks out but I know he probably read 30 before he picked one, so that it was just right, it would be easy to get irritated that he spends $6-$8 on a card sometimes however it isn't about the price to him but that he is expressing in the card what he might not be able to say-that is love.) When she later shared with me that he spent... get this, $300 on pillows... yes 2 pillows for $300! I know you are probably like WHAT? That is absurd... her thoughts exactly... but it wasn't the $300 he spent on 2 pillows that is the LOVE lesson learned here. It was the LOVE that he had for her and her comfort that was top priority in his mind that made him think the more expensive the more comfortable and happy his pregnant wife would be. Isn't that what love is all about? Putting the other person's needs before your own, even if the outcome isn't what you hoped for. I think we are often to quick to get irritated, upset or frustrated with our spouse for an idea, decision or choice that is not our own, without looking deeper into the WHY! Sometimes no matter how absurd, outrageous or silly something can seem to our senses... it really reflects much more! Take the time to know the WHY, be grateful for it, praise it and embrace that we are all usually putting forth the effort to LOVE, support and encourage one another through love... and even though the outcome isn't what we want or expect... the WHY means so much more! So next time you are quick to get frustrated or upset at something you asked your spouse to do that they didn't do "right", stop, reflect on the WHY and say thank you for their thoughtfulness... that doesn't mean you still can't return the ridiculously expensive pillows. Love bears all things, believes all things hopes all things and endures all things. First Corinthians 13:7

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My biggest Fear!

Have you ever been asked what your biggest fear is? A lot of people fear dying. I am comfortable enough in my faith that I don't fear dying, myself, I fear other people dying. Oh, don't get me wrong, I am completely on board that everyone has a time that they are to be called, everyone has a purpose here on earth and even a mission that once fulfilled they are able to cross over to Heaven and receive their eternal reward, whether it be a few short hours or a hundred years. Why do some people live longer than others? Why do some people have to suffer and others go peacefully in their sleep or die instantly from an accident or injury? I really don't know, and I really don't have the time or energy to figure it out... I just trust that there is a reason. I have had friends and loved ones die after suffering, I have had them die in their sleep with no warning, and tragic accidents. Is my fear selfish? Yes, it probably is... as a human left here on Earth the concept of that person no longer here with me to talk to, bounce ideas off of, laugh with, share things and love... I ache in my soul for them. My mom lost my dad at the early age of 45, 2 of my friends closer to my age (I am 38 btw) lost their spouses early and almost instantly... no chance to say goodbye, left with children to raise on their own. No one ever expects to lose their life partner at an early age and to be left to pick up the pieces, cope, move on with life and expect to be happy and fulfilled. God has a plan that isn't always our plan... no matter how much we try to prevent things, live a good life or control our circumstances... we just CAN'T. A few days ago I experienced all the emotions, fears and worry of the thought of losing my spouse. A little trip in the backyard on a piece of pipe sticking up created a fall, a stuck toe, a twisted ankle, a dislocated bone below the knee, anxiety, sweat and finally an unforeseen bout of passing out, when I left the room for less than 60 seconds to fill up a requested glass of water to come back and find him on the bathroom floor hunched over snoring as loud as could be... thoughts raced through my head at an uncontrollable speed, "how did he get from sitting on the edge of the tub to the floor, did he hit his head, was he is a coma, how did a dislocated and scraped knee turn into an unconscious hump on my bathroom floor"... emergency panic mode set in... I shook him to no avail. He wouldn't come to... 'what was I to do?' I ran to my phone in the kitchen, yelled for Paxton who was in his room, tried to calmly (which I sure tried, but sounded like crazy scared mom inside my head coming out) asked Paxton to get on his bike ride to the neighbors and have him come right away, he started to panic, I told him that dad would be fine (while inside I had absolutely no idea if this was true) and that he should pray the whole way to the neighbors. I dialed 911... while going back into the bathroom finding my husband still unconscious, continuing to shake him, call his name yell at him, whatever it took to bring him back to me and give me the relief that I needed that we could go forward with the plan I had for our life. While talking to at least 3 different people who couldn't understand my address I went from snoring Steve to Steve grasping for a breath and stopping breathing for a split second which seemed like 20 years in my mind. I was getting ready to lay him down on the floor to see if I needed to give him CPR when he started to shake slightly, again thoughts raced through my mind... "is he having a stroke, is he having a seizure?" I had no idea. I was a CNA for a short period of time so I have a little medical knowledge but when it is a loved one I think sometimes all your knowledge goes out of your head, and I was still in the middle of yelling at 911 who couldn't figure out my address... "don't phones have GPS location these days! GEEZ." My husband can look at products on Amazon on his desktop computer and somehow they pop up as ads on my cell phone through Facebook or when I google something for crying out loud... how does that happen and 911 can't figure out where I am! I NEEDED them to just know where I was and come STAT! As he was shaking I realized his shaking was bringing him back to me not setting him further out of my grasp. (for those of you concerned, passing out is some people's body's way of coping with trauma or shock.) I had never had someone pass out on me before, especially since I left the room briefly I had no idea what I was experiencing, all I knew as it didn't look good. I didn't feel good, but I needed to stay calm and sane. I was relieved and scared all wrapped up into one package. In hindsight I got the fact that him passed out made him snore and having sleep apnea caused the deep loud scary snore and moments of him not breathing. He woke knowing where he was, what day it was and what happened to him... he also said he was dreaming... Geez dreaming, he was experiencing LALA land as I was freaking out! WHAT?! But racing through my mind was the immediate fear and thoughts of an accidental trip and fall in our backyard would lead to some complication or the worst fear I have someone else's death. I am not ready for that, I am not prepared to go through this at this stage in my life, but who is? Not my mother at 45, not my 2 friends who lost their spouses in their 30's with children to raise. I have experienced a lot of death in my life, I have come to terms with losing a best girlfriend to cancer when I was 10, my father, grandfather and godfather when I was 14 all within 4 months of each other, friends, all my grandparents and my mom... I am no stranger to death but I also never seem ready for it. Never prepared and always the fear lingers in the back on my mind what happens next. So yes, that is my greatest fear.... loosing my loved ones. It is amazing how a small little trip and fall can turn into having such a huge milestone in my life one to make me love and appreciate this man so much more. To be grateful for even the hard times, the annoying attributes, the differences we have as well as the love we share, the friendship we have, the understanding, the commitment and the ability to remember to make it fun, enjoy the small things, take the time each day to touch each other in a loving way, give compliments, laugh at your mistakes hug longer, don't be in such a rush, don't let the little things bother you and choose to be happy! Enjoy the people you love as if it is the last you will see them... it just might be. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Who killed Fuzzy?

I never thought I could cry so hard over a dead caterpillar.. Seriously... what a crazy tragic event yesterday. Let me take you back. Yesterday morning Steve found this cute little caterpillar in our flower bed at our cabin. Of course Paxton couldn't wait to put him in his little bug jar and transfer him to a home complete with sticks and leaves for his enjoyment. He was super excited like a kid can get. He had a new pet, he even named him Fuzzy. He and his grandpa discussed how caterpillars spin into a cocoon and become butterflies. Paxton noted that caterpillars are kids like him and then he grows into an adult and so does a caterpillar when it becomes a butterfly. His plan was to bring him home, have him sleep in his room and then transfer him to our hibiscus plant to get ready to transfer into a butterfly. We stopped at DQ on the way home for lunch and he asked me to put Fuzzy in the front so the dogs didn't bother him. It was cloudy when we parked and I put him on the dash.... to my detriment after 20 minutes at DQ when we got back Fuzzy didn't make it... UGH! Seriously I killed the caterpillar. Paxton was so upset, poking it, moving the container trying to get it awake. He even suggested maybe he was sleeping or getting ready to make a cocoon and just not responsive... ummm... no sorry babe, Fuzzy is dead! I was so upset that I put him on the dash... Why didn't I just take him to DQ with us? Why did I put him in the window instead of on the floor? What in the heck was this mama thinking! How dumb! What an idiot... man did my inner self talk start exploding in my head and I even think said out loud how stupid I was! What a horrible trait to have and pass along to your kid.. the constant negative talk and putting myself down as if I wasn't a human being and should be perfect! Right?! How many of you have done something remotely dumb and beat yourself up over it? Paxton and I were in tears... I can't even imagine what Steve was thinking driving as he didn't really say much and just let us both cry... over a caterpillar... OMG! Paxton fell asleep and I continued to battle my issues in my head... when he woke up I asked if he was still mad at me... he said no, I didn't realize until later he was blaming himself and he was beating himself up for being a horrible pet owner... He said he has killed beetles, ants and fire flies he has caught... he was telling me he was a bad person, it was all his fault and he couldn't take care of them and keep them alive... he insisted he was an awful person... Way to go mom I thought... wonder where he learned this behavior! Wow what a check... mamas.... I know that we often feel like we should be perfect, we shouldn't make mistakes but when we do and we display how mad we are at ourselves and create these perfect expectations that we cannot always live up to, we are reflecting this behavior on to our children who are like little sponges looking up to us and wanting to be like us.. so if we are constantly negative talking to ourselves whether inner or outwardly... our child is taking note.. and you better believe is developing these same behaviors! What a crazy wake up call this was to know that my child thinks he is a killer at 7 years old... what will the next 20+ years of damage due to his self esteem! I need to take a hold now and be a better role model to him, give myself a break- be human make mistakes and move on! This was a caterpillar what if it was something a tad more serious- what would the focus be then? We can always strive to be better people everyday of our lives, but we also need to be kind to the person where it matters the most! Yourself! Paxton went to bed ( we actually argued over who killed Fuzzy ( I wanted to take the blame so my kid didn't think he was a bug murderer!)) thinking he was a horrible person... we prayed about it and he woke up this morning still sad. I reminded him that these cute little living creatures are wild an survive in an environment that is right for them. When you take something out of their normal environment and try to make it survive, sometimes it is a struggle, sometimes it doesn't work out and that is not what God intended for them. Bugs lives are short lived and Fuzzy's was a little shorter than most probably who had the chance to become a butterfly. His adaption skills were not developed enough to become a beautiful butterfly in Paxton's controlled environment! Lesson learned bugs are cute to look at, fun to catch but are not pets and we risk them dying when we take them out of their familiar environment, the one they are intended to pursue and thrive in... I am looking forward to a bible study this summer concerning this very same issue! Me, Myself and Lies.... and how to cope with our inner struggle and negative self talk that steals our self confidence and rips away our self esteem by beating ourselves up! I am sure once I read this book and follow the study for 5 weeks I will have much more insight to write about. For now, remember... be kind to yourself! It is more important than you think!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Take Time

Time....It is what most people complain about not having enough of... We say it over and over again,"I wish there was more time in a day; I wished I had more time to do this or that, I wished I had time to finish a project, clean the house, get prepared for an event, relax, enjoy the weather, go on a trip..." The list goes on and on. What we often don't realize or take for granted is that we do have time if we make it. We are the ones who create our schedule, make our decisions and set our own expectations of what we need, want and the activities we do. Often people overload their schedules with many things to keep them busy or the things they feel are what they need to do, not only to be happy but to fulfill some sort of lack of something or status quo. Honestly how much or how little you involve yourself in, your children in, your family in... you are deciding what is necessary and what is not. Sometimes we have enough, but we are unable to accept what enough is or to see that enough is not always attached to a number, Enough is a way of thinking. Balancing life sometimes is most important. We may want to try, experience and shove as many commitments as we can into a day, a week, a month, a year or our lifetime. But the more we do the less time we have to enjoy the things that are most important to us. Paxton really wanted to play basketball for Paladin this summer as he really enjoyed last year, he most recently made the All-Star baseball team which will be further commitments of practice and tournaments and if God willing a Championship Series in California in July (where he has never been). Basketball games overlap practices if he has the opportunity to advance in baseball. He also wants to go to some summer baseball day camps. He wanted to know why he cannot do both. I advised him that doing too much will burn him out and he will not really get to enjoy other things during his 6 week summer break. As his last day of school is June 1 and his first day of 3rd grade will be July 24... the CA trip taking us all the way to the 18th.. meaning not much time to really just relax. He agreed that baseball would be his main focus this summer. I don't want him to not do and try the things he enjoys, but I want him to enjoy the things that he does. I also have decided to lessen my commitments for next year. I have decided that with most of my 4H Cloverbud group moving up to 9 year olds and preparing and competing for Fair in 2018... Paxton will still be too young. we will take a year off from this activity and re-evaluate what and if he wants to do with 4H when he is able to prepare for fair. I have always been one to be involved in anything and everything that interests me, as far back as I can remember. I love to be busy, I love to be a part of the action, to help in anything I can and the first to volunteer. I however as I age know that life is precious and the more involved I am in everything something or someone suffers for my lack of attention to it. My house is usually always clean, but my office is a mess leaving me less organized and more likely to make mistakes, my clients are attended to a the drop of a hat, yet my truck is dirty and messy and not ready for that client who asks me to pick them up... so therefore I rush around to get these things done, accomplished and "perfected" at the last minute causing myself more stress and anxiety trying to make it all perfect. These are all examples of trying to create a slower paced lifestyle, and training people that I can no longer drop everything I do all of the time. I do have a family, I do have more than one client at a time and although I would like to make each person in my life feel they are indeed #1.. most times it is physically impossible and emotionally draining. I create it based off how I respond, but I really need to step back, focus and slow down to most effectively respond to everyone. This is my new goal ( I guess not really new but renewed), to say Yes to the things that are most important, to relax more, enjoy my family and my activities... I am definitely blessed. As I pray every morning God will continue to send me the people who need my help the most and if I tune into my inner spirituality a little more, I will recognize who I am capable of helping and who will be emotionally draining to me and cause me more harm then good. Remember it is OK to say NO and take time for yourself. This is not selfish, it is preparing you to be happier and healthier and more sane so that you are refueled to help others. The one predominant duty is to find one's work and do it. Charlotte Perkins Gilman (you don't have to do it all!) Take Time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness. Take time to dream- it is hitching your wagon to a star. Take time to love and be loved- it is the privilege of the gods. Take time to look around- it is too short a day to be selfish. Take time to laugh- it is the music of the soul. Old English Prayer

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Be a good example

There has been a lot of cases going on at my son's school regarding bullying especially in the older grades. I think this happens at any school and may or may not be a spotlight case. A lot of bullying goes undetected and not reported for some reason or another. But when it does get brought into the spotlight, victims, bullies and parents deal with it in different ways, which can cause outrage, uproars and many "side effects". His school is made up of K-8... there are "bullies" in all age groups, however I think Jr. High is one of the most critical times that you really see the impact it has on the individual victim being bullied. I have a 2nd grader and I have heard cases of kids being pushed down, choked, kicked and taunted... Most of the time these kids are acting out because of something they are witnessing going on around them, or maybe it is fear, or perhaps even low self-esteem. This is the age that it is necessary to talk to our kids about these what can be detrimental behaviors and although our children cannot control other children's behaviors, they have the choice to not engage in such activity, they have the choice to be the better person, they have the choice to walk-away and not participate no matter how hard they want to "fit in". At the older ages these kids are already starting to have changes in their life, puberty, more school pressure, fitting in or not fitting in, etc. This is why teaching the effects of bullying, having that conversation with your children and preparing them for these older critical years at a younger age is important. Not waiting until the behavior becomes a problem. I am not saying it is too late to teach your kids the right thing, I am just saying that the earlier they practice acts of kindness towards friends and even strangers and learn to accept that not everyone is created equal and that that is OK, the better they will be at accepting others differences down the road and less likely to engage in bullying behavior. Also, us a parents should be displaying the right actions and behaviors as our kids are like sponges even at a young age and want to be "like us". This is when it is critical to be cautious of what is going on around our kids. Talk to them about issues, be understanding and not critical... I was once a pre-teen and I remember... it was hard. Everyone wants to feel accepted everyone wants to fit in and sometimes this causes us to do things that may not be "right". I grew up in a small town and I had a neighbor who I would say made fun of me, (which I guess was a form of bullying). I had flat feet and wore ugly corrective shoes for years when I was in grade school, he would somehow make his way to sit behind me on the bus and several times tie my shoes together under my seat so I would trip when I got up to get off the bus. All the other boys would laugh and tease me. I will tell you that I have always been a forgiving person and one who can take a lot of harm, harsh words, rude people and somehow forgive and find the good in them, however, yes... it hurt, it lowered my self-esteem and at times I did struggle to fit in. I did become super popular in High School as I was neutral and accepting of all clicks of people, in Student Council and Dare and a class officer.... I didn't date anyone from my school and I wasn't really part of anyone click.. My Best Friend and I did a lot of co-mingling with all the groups and this I will tell you was the most rewarding experience I could have. I loved being independent but fit in a lot of different groups without judgement or judging. This boy who teased me for years and I were never friends per se, his younger brother and I were, and several years later when he discovered things about his brother that were different than him, he married and had children of his own he matured and decided it was ok to accept people who were different, he contacted me on Facebook and apologized for all the tormenting he did to me as a child. Although this bullying was rather mild in a sense it did contribute to both of our growth as individuals. Make sure your kids are involved in things that keep them busy and engaged. Hobbies are important for kids to have and exercise and engagement is key to stimulating them to do more than just sit around and degrade others. When your kids are involved in activities they are less likely to have the time to bully others. Stress the importance of being an individual, of everyone having talents, opinions and ideas that may not be the same as everyone else. This is ok... God didn't make us all the same... Avoid social comparisons of others. Learn to forgive, develop coping strategies, savor the joy's in life, increase their activities, engage yourself in something as a family. Encourage your kids to be nice and kind to those who are different or may not be like them. Being different isn't wrong and should not be punished. This doesn't mean your kid has to be friends with everyone, just accepting that people are different and shouldn't be made fun of or tormented because of this. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted by others no matter how much they are different or want to say it doesn't matter or they don't care. It is human nature. Have your kids surround themselves with positive people, be that positive role model for your kids, save your degrading conversations or complaining venting sessions about others when you are childless. Remember your kids want to be like you, act like you, they look up to you. Don't show them that it is okay to talk bad about others. Your kids did not come with a rule book, motherhood does not have an instruction manual but respecting others especially in front of your children goes an awful long way. We are all part of this world, we all have emotions, likes, dislikes, fears and joys but not all of us need to conform to someone else's idea of what "fits in". Set a good example of good works yourself, with integrity and dignity in your teaching. Titus 2:7