The book is packed with wisdom, delivered in an envelope of grandfatherly love. One of my favorite wisdom gems I've gleaned from this book is to train children to respond to what you say, not your reaction. In my house, I'm constantly telling my kids to pick up their toys. But they rarely respond to the first time I ask. Instead, I have to raise my volume and threaten timeout before the floor becomes clean because they're a custom to responding to my frustration- not my request. By shifting my own behavior, we’ve been able to start to break that pattern.
This goes hand in hand with another piece of advice Bill Johnson gives- to respond to our children and not react. Though it's easier said than done, taking a moment to gather thoughts and emotions before forming a response rather than reacting can help build an extraordinary bridge of trust and communications within our walls.
Lastly, you'll all be quite amused to learn that Bill Johnson gave his children ice cream every day after church if they worshiped during the service. Now some might feel like this is bribery- but Bill points to Hebrews 11:6, "God rewards those who seek him…" I’m notoriously stingy on rewards. Just ask my kids… but this notion really did shift my perspective. If we want our children to follow God and seek a relationship with Him on their own, then it’s wise to instill God’s goodness and generousness into their young hearts.
It’s worth noting that Johnson does reference spanking as a form of disciple his family used. That’s not our families personal view, but I didn’t feel that the topic was addressed in a negative way and thought the overall advice on disciple could be used and adapted to your families personal policies.
With everything being said, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Raising Giant Killers. It’s a book I know I’ll continue to reference for years to come. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
*please note that this was not a sponsored review- I picked this book up on my own :)
Focusing on What Matters the Most
Since Porter's birth, I've been really diligent about keeping our schedule as empty as possible. The weekends, especially, have remained time to relax and do nothing [except for cooking, dishes, laundry and all those other daily essentials].
But Monday morning hits like a semi-truck.
I try to do that thing that I've read about where you wake up before your kids for some "me" time before the circus starts... but mostly that looks like me brushing my teeth before a stamped of hungry animals meets me in my bathroom.
Then we jump into breakfast time and school work, cooking, dishes, second child's lessons, cooking lunch... and nursing a newborn on demand...I found myself utterly out of breathe from racing through activity after activity, trying to do as much as humanly possible before the next time the baby wakes up.
But then I picked up my newborn, I realized I was doing it all wrong.
It’s all too easy to let the demands of motherhood, and the unrelenting dictatorship of our own expectations govern the day. I know what I should be doing… but my little guy hasn’t entered that world yet. So instead of having him be a by-stander to my responsibilities, I’m going to join him in a world of peace, rest, and nourishment.
The dishes and laundry will still be waiting later- and letting my kids watch a t.v. show won't ruin their educational career... So this mama is going to sit in my comfy chair with a blanket and my favorite little baby and soak up some relaxation.
I hope you get the chance to do the same this week [maybe minus the baby if you're not swimming through this season ;)]!
Balance after Babies
The postpartum period begins right after birth and stretches through the following six weeks. It's a beautiful time of recovery and bonding with your new little one...
And sometimes it's not.
When I look back to my first postpartum period six years ago, it seems like a beautiful dream of snuggles, bonding and adjusting to motherhood, but I also remember the unexpected physical pains and feeling so overwhelmed.
This time around with baby number 4, it's been a roller coaster of emotions and struggles- cloaked in that perfect newborn baby smell.
I started my postpartum time with 2 weeks of bed rest. Porter made a really quick entrance into the world. My water broke, and he came, all in one shot which left my with more physical challenges than the past.
After the first week, it was clear that my healing was going wonderfully and I was looking forward to the following week when I could hop out of bed and jump back into my old life.
Well my hips don't lie, and they told me to lay the heck back down.
I felt so discouraged and was longing to get back to normalcy... not to mention the fact that it was almost Christmas and I had gotten very little done.
My parents arrived from Florida on my first day off bed rest- and the Christmas festivities began. It was a joyful time of introducing Porter to the world and celebrating Jesus's birth, but I still struggled with wanting to do more.
THAT has been the conundrum of my postpartum life and my mom life in general. Every morning, I wake up with new ideas, inspiration, and desire to create… and every day gets swallowed up in a plethora of nursing sessions, homeschool lessons, diaper changes, and dishes.
One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Proverbs 13:12:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
When my dreams fall victim to the business of my life, I feel my heart drift into sadness and defeat. To avoid that pit, I find myself creating the smallest of goals… little things that I actually can accomplish during my busy week. For instance, one of my goals this year is to see one of my children’s books picked up by a prestigious publisher. The manuscript has sat on my desk for over a year, and my query letter is ready to go- so my simple goal for the next two weeks is to compile a list of agents (week one), and submit at least 30 query letters (week 2).
By taking small steps and stewarding breaks well, I can continue my pursuit of goals outside of finding that missing pink boot.
Until next week,
Potty Training Trials
When I had two kids, I felt like I knew what I was doing with this parenting thing. I even wore clothing that matched, and occasionally put some make-up on.
+2 more kids and I realized I don't actually have a clue...
Take potty training for example. My son was potty trained by 2 and a half and my daughter was trained before her second birthday. That kiddo never even had an accident. Now, we've been trying to potty train my third for months and it looks a lot like scrubbing the carpet and cleaning up messes.
With her 3rd birthday only 3 months away, I've been trying to figure out what we could possibly be doing wrong as it seems like she has no awareness of when she needs the bathroom- but if we remind her to use it every hour, she does perfectly!
I spent some one-on-one time talking to her about listening to her body to understand when she needed to use the toilet. So this sweet girl tilts her ear to her shoulder to "listen" to what her body is saying. After asking her shoulder, she decided that she needed to use the bathroom.
I thought this cute interpretation of my wise words just might have been successful... until she had two more accidents that afternoon.
We pulled out the diapers again... which she hates... because let's be real, after wearing undies no one wants a diaper.
And guess what?
She hasn't had any more accidents! Go figure...
The moral of the story is that every stage of life is different for each one of us. Some things come easy for one and hard for another.
As parents, it can feel like we're failing, when we're really not. But it's hard to tell because there really is no "end result" to judge our efforts by. Or if there is, it's a distant goal.
But at the end of the day, what's important is that we do our best and "just keep swimming" (as Dory the fish one said ;).
is a writer & tired homeschooling mom of five.