Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Freedom To Be Candid

"I can't hear you!!!"

This morning we got up and had breakfast and then it was time to head out for my first Womens' Bible Fellowship meeting.

I decided to make myself a combination for breakfast. I was channeling my Grandma Ghrist. It's funny how little things connect you and remind you of happy memories (my Grandma would always make me a combination if I asked for one... didn't matter what time of day or what she was doing... if I asked for one, she would make it... and boy were they ever good!!!).
What's a combination? Toast with Miracle Whip (has to be MW-- not mayo), fried ham, cheese, a fried egg, lettuce and tomato

I took pictures to send to Steve at work to make him jealous ;-)

I had a good breakfast and was feeling nervous about this morning. What if Gus was crying hysterically when I left? Did I really want someone else, anyone else but me to change his diaper? What if he got hurt? I had a million "what ifs" running through my head, and my stomach was in knots.
Gus enjoying my OJ

I gathered the items needed for our morning and we headed out. It took about 20 minutes to get to the church and there was NO PARKING. Hmmmmm... I was supposed to meet Christy in the parking lot near the two white buses, but there wasn't anywhere to park. Thankfully, I saw her and she said she'd wait for me and I went and parked.

We walked in together and she reassured me that it would all be okay. Leaving your child for the first time is no easy task. Thankfully, where I left him was super close, and I was reassured that if there was ANYTHING at all, they'd call me. They got all my info and gave me a card to keep with their numbers. 

As soon as we walked in, Christy told them that I was new and that it was my first time leaving Gus. The ladies were super nice and one took Gus and showed him the books and other toys. That was that. He didn't even look back to find me. He was off and having fun. I gave them his bag with his sippy, snack cup, diapers, and a change of clothes (they appreciated that I was so prepared for him).

I headed out and Christy and I went to the room where the WBF took place. Christy introduced me to Sarah (she's the co-leader) and she was SO NICE. When everyone was there and ready to start, Sarah introduced me to everyone (there were about 20 other women) and they were all so welcoming and friendly.

We watched a video that's part of the series called "Faith Based Parenting." It was very interesting. I enjoyed the video, but really enjoyed the conversations after. Our topic today was called "The Freedom To Be Candid."

Basically, you have to allow your children to speak candidly with you. There has to be a mutual respect given, and children who are allowed to share their opinions and views feel more security, love, and in turn, become more responsible, secure, and stable adults. This particular skill, is one that's not easy for most parents. There are a lot of parents who are over critical-- they are critical of their children and don't let them learn that it's okay to make mistakes. These children grow up and are usually critical of others and feel that they're not good enough.

Then there's fear-based families where the parents parent with intimidation and are VERY reactive. Instead of being calm, everything is hypercharged and children become the same way. They become nervous, easily irritated, and reactive.

The last type of family atmosphere is the lawless home. This is where the children have no rules or expectations and as a result, they "rule the roost" and are set up to be dishonest and self-absorbed. There are no clear moral convictions established and these are the kids who end up in jail or on the streets, or drug users.

What I liked most about today, was that I could see how it all fit into my life. I think I have a pretty good grasp of parenting (comes from ten years of teaching I suppose). I know that you have to give respect to get respect. I also know that there are battles to fight, and some you just don't. I know that kids don't need their parents to be their friends... they need them to be parents and to set expectations for them. 

Some of the ladies shared today and I found myself wanting to jump in, but I didn't. Some are reactive and they admitted it. Some said they allow their kids to do whatever because it's easier than fighting with them over things. One lady openly admitted that she is lazy when it comes to discipline. She KNOWS what she should do... but she just doesn't do it.

One of the take-away items that most touched me was the topic of talking to your kids about adult issues. When your child comes to you and starts talking/asking questions about sex, substance abuse, or spiritual doubts, it's easy to back into a corner and change the topic. But kids WILL talk about this to SOMEONE. It's better for them to talk to you, as their parent, than their friends.

When their hormones start kicking in (fourth grade-- age 10 or so), it's important to have open communication with them. Talking out loud about questions and concerns will foster a safe, non-judgmental environment where they CAN share their fears and concerns. The only way they'll keep coming to you with these questions and concerns is if you give them the freedom to be candid. 

It's better for them to work out their fears with us because we're the biggest influence in their lives. However... we are not their ONLY influence.

One thing that was mentioned in the video was having a "What's Your Beef?" night each week. It's a time for everyone to share any gripes, complaints, or issues they have with something that's happened during the week. The parents have to listen and when the kids are done, they have to respond with, "Please forgive us." That's it. It's over and done. 

Anyway... the class was great and I'm eager to go back in two weeks and see what's next. One more thing... apparently the current generation of kids (born between 1995-2005) is being called Generation i (like iPad, iPhone, iPod).

So class ended and when we went back to get the kids, there were several moms already there getting their kiddos. Gus was right at the door looking for me. When he saw me, he started crying. :-(  I scooped him up and he was snuggly in my arms and gripping me so tightly. It was so sweet.

The ladies said that he had a great time and was happy and playing the whole time he was there. They had to change his diaper once. They told me that he didn't cry at all until just when he saw me at the door. I was so relieved.

We signed out, grabbed his bag, and headed out to the car. I talked to Christy about Saturday (Ryan's birthday party). She said she hopes Steve will come... there are only ten other kids coming. I'm so excited for Gus to go to his first birthday party!!

We went to Wal-Mart, had lunch and came home. Gus went down for his nap and I watched Teen Mom 2 and Parenthood (it was SOOOOO good)!!

Tomorrow we're heading to SC to meet Kristen and Grace and I can't wait!!!! I'm going to go now so that I can get to bed and get some sleep before tomorrow morning. I'm hoping to be on the road by 8 so that we arrive there around 10. I can't wait to see how Gus reacts to seeing Grace after two months of being apart!!

See you tomorrow!!!


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