Brown Spots and Underwear

About a year ago the mom of a 5 year old boy shared her frustrations to myself and another grandparent. Her son was finishing up pre-school and would be heading to kindergarten in the fall which caused her concern.

“I want him to wipe himself, but he is not very good at it. If he does take care of himself, then I have to wash out the brown spot on his underwear and I need to bathe him every evening. I am caught between treating him like a baby or having to deal with the consequences.” Continue reading Brown Spots and Underwear

Learning from Plain People

The Amish, and other Strict Order Mennonites, known as “Plain People” appear odd to us. Here in Pennsylvania the last two winters have been above normal snow totals, yet you will see the Plain People in their buggies or on their bikes. I admit, I have wondered on occasion “Are they crazy?”

But this morning on a drive through Lancaster County something really struck me. While the Plain People are a clear minority they were the only children who were outside playing. Continue reading Learning from Plain People

10 Statements That Will Destroy Your Child

10 statements that will destroy your child:

  1. If you love me, you will obey
  2. Why did you do that?
  3. Can’t you do anything right?
  4. You should be more like your sibling.
  5. Why can’t you behave just once?
  6. What is wrong with you?
  7. You are such a burden.
  8. Don’t tell me you are in trouble again.
  9. I hate when you do that.
  10. Leave me alone, I don’t want you in my presence.

grandson_2-2The sad truth is that I have either said these, or have heard every one of these statements spoken to children. The statements themselves will not necessarily destroy your child, as children are amazingly resilient. It is the attitude behind these statements that will destroy.

So what is the problem attitude? Continue reading 10 Statements That Will Destroy Your Child

Is Mothering Toddlers a Temporary “Step Down?”

This first appeared many years ago. I thought it would be good to re-run this as its message is so important.

When our children were very young, my wife would sometimes look deep into my eyes and say “I think I am losing it!  I need to speak to adults and remember how to hold a normal adult conversation.”

No wonder she would question her sanity.  She was in hand to hand combat all day with two toddlers and an infant.  Just a few short years before she was working in operating rooms.  Compared to her present day to day tasks her previous job seemed to be far more important.  As a requested surgical technologist she was highly regarded by the doctors.  Her ability to learn quickly, anticipate and discern individual doctor’s needs earned their respect and appreciation.  But now she found herself “oohing” and “aahing” at pictures no one could decipher, praising a little human being for doing his “duty” in the potty and submitting to the demands of the feeding schedule of the baby.  “What happened?” she would ask herself, “how did I fall so far?”

Moms, I know that when you compare your career with that of your daily mothering duties it seems like a demotion.  Perhaps you were an educator, or in the service industry, in the corporate sector or some other segment of society highly respected and accomplished.  Many of you are college educated and before children you thought picking up cheerios and wiping snot off of walls was beneath you.  The present nature of many of your “mom” duties may lead you to believe you have been demoted.  But nothing can be further from the truth.

DSC_1730Though it may not be apparent to the casual observer, motherhood is far more important than any other job you could ever do!  The daily grind of tending the shrubs and flowers may cause a gardener to lose perspective and forget about the beauty of the garden.  So moms can lose heart from time to time.  Consider your tasks from a greater perspective.  That little one was made in the image of God.  He or she has a vast potential to be a great instrument in the hands of our Lord.  You have been chosen to pour out your love, to shape and mold this little one’s mind and heart!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit your daily example, your words, your actions, where you give praise, how you respond all come together to teach and train and bring your child closer to Christ and His ways.  You have the joy and privilege to introduce your little one to the wonders and joys of Christ and the world He had given us, to teach him or her how to love and respect Christ and His world and others.

No, you have not “fallen” from an important position, you have not digressed in your career. The truth – you have temporarily been elevated to an even higher calling.

I pray God’s grace and strength will help you to fulfill this great calling.

“Educate a man and you have done a good thing.  Educate a mother and you have done a great thing!” (adapted from Fenelon)

Mark and Ellen Strohm