When a Child Changes You

As parents, we influence our children from the moment they are born. But oftentimes the tables turn and our kids affect us in meaningful, yet unexpected ways.

This week I was reminded of how my sons influenced the direction of my writing career in a surprising way. During an interview for a NASCAR blog this week, the host asked how I got interested in racing. I shared this story:

Like many preschoolers, my boys loved toy Matchbox® cars, especially ones with NASCAR paint schemes. Our kitchen floor and living room rug morphed into race tracks as the boys scooted around on hands and knees driving the little cars. Vroom, vroom!

When the boys discovered pictures of stock cars, they glued them onto corrugated cardboard and cut them out, creating sturdy “racecars.” They drew and colored their own original cars, too, writing sponsor names on the hoods. The boys spent hours racing the cars down the hallway carpeting, giving each car a single shove. The car that slid the farthest distance before stopping was the winner.

Soon the boys wanted to see real racecars, so we started watching NASCAR races on television. And do you know what happened? The boys’ mom got hooked on racing. Yep. I started watching racing as a way to bond with my sons, but became so passionate that I began writing about the sport.

My devotional book for female race fans released this year: Race Fans’ Devotions to Go.  This little book exists because my little boys passed on their love of racecars to me. What a blessing!

If you have children in your life, chances are that one of them has influenced you in a significant way. Like me, you may not realize the full impact until someone prompts you to think about it.

So … how has a child blessed and transformed your life? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Blessings,

Beth Bence Reinke

 

In Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, Beth shares observations about drivers and racing as well as stories about her experiences at the track. Each of the 31 devotions illustrates the similarities between motorsports and life and ends with a “pit stop” – an idea to make your life more fulfilling.

 

 

 

Rosie and Scamper – Middle Grade Book Review

  • Title: Rosie and Scamper
  • Author: Vicki Watson
  • Illustrated by Becky Raber
  • ISBN: 978-0-9847242-0-8
  • Genre: Fiction                                        
  • Page count 147
  • Ages 9-12 
  • SRP: $7.95
  • http://www.sonrisestable.com/

  Rating:  :) :) :) :)

Rosie and Scamper is the first book in the Sonrise Stable series. Eight-year-old Rosie loves visiting her grandma who lives on a horse ranch. When a new foal is born, they name him Scamper and Rosie gets the job of training him. Grandma’s neighbors have a new addition to their family–a foster child named Carrie who is Rosie’s age. The two become fast friends and both enjoy learning to ride and care for the horses, eventually riding them in a horse show. 

Watson does a good job of tying in spiritual truths with the things the girls learn about horses. I also liked that Rosie is a Christian and Carrie is not. Rosie uses opportunities to show God’s love to Carrie and to share her faith, giving readers a chance to see how it can be done in a natural way.

Watson gives good information about horses and the equestrian life that obviously comes from her own life experience. Kids will learn a lot about horses as they read. At the end of the book she has a page about horse safety, and an interview with a horse trainer. These special features are fascinating reads, especially for kids who may be interested in horse training as a future career. The final page is about making your own horsehair jewelry, just as Grandma did in the story.

Rosie and Scamper is a great book though I would have liked the girls to figure out more of the spiritual lessons through their own experiences rather than through stories the adults told..I would highly recommend this book to girls who love horses and want to grow in their faith..Kids will love the beautiful pencil drawings of illustrator Becky Raber. The second book in the Sonrise Stables series, Carrie and Bandit, is also available. Both books can be bought at http://www.sonrisestable.com/horse-books-purchase.php or on Amazon at
http://www.amazon.com/Sonrise-Stable-Scamper-Vicki-Watson/dp/0984724206/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332044542&sr=1-4.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

Not My Child

[Note: Part 2 of 2 parts on the Sexualization of Our Children: The Internet]
For Part I, see (It’s Not Such) A Brave New World  This content may be shocking, but it’s necessary for us to know!

Not my child. Is that what you’re thinking? Not my child. Not my grandchild.

But it is your child. Your grandchild. Your niece and nephew. Your next-door neighbor. The little girl in your Sunday School program. The little boy in your child’s kindergarten class. Our children are being sexualized.

Our culture is sexualizing our children. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines sexualization as when:

–  the value of a person comes from their sexual behavior and appeal

–  being physically attractive is defined in terms of being “sexy”

–  a person is seen as “sexually objectified”

–  sexuality is inappropriately imposed upon a person

 Consider the following statistics:

– Norton Symantec (the anti-virus folks) tracked 3.5 million searches by users of their children’s filtering service for six months, from February through July 2009. For an item to be included in the list of children’s top searches, it had to be submitted at least fifty times. The top six searches were:

1. YouTube
2. Google
3. Facebook
4. Sex
5. MySpace
6. Porn

Enough is Enough,an organization dedicated to making the Internet safer for children and families, notes:

  • In America, one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually molested by age 18
  • 87% of convicted molesters of girls and 77% of convicted molesters of boys admit to using pornography

 So what’s a parent or grandparent to do?

Introduce your children to Christ. Encourage them to live for Him and value the things He values…and hate the things He hates. Teach them to call sin, sin.Teach them to focus their thoughts on things that honor God (Philippians 4:8). Teach them to be discerning about the people they choose to be their friends.

Get involved in the lives of your children – especially in their on-line activities.

Do you know what they’re posting on-line? Many children don’t realize the danger in posting their name, location, photos, and contact information in their on-line profiles. Marian Merritt, Internet Safety Advocate for Norton Symantec, notes, “We know children, and particularly teens, are engaging in online activities their parents would be shocked to learn about.”

Pete Findley, of Giant Campus, creator of Cybercamps, said, “Kids today have never known a world without the Internet. Interacting with their peers via social networks is common practice. Unfortunately, without parents who are knowledgeable about the Internet and actively involved with what their children are doing online, kids could (most likely) learn of the dangers of the Web through a damaging experience.”

You are the most important influence in their lives. Pray for them. Model the behavior you want to see in their lives—no double standards!

And get involved!

Journaling Milestones

How much do children know about the day their grandparents, parents or they themselves were born? I sometimes wonder about mine, but our four grown children have less to wonder about their first days. When each was born, I wrote their name on a spiral notebook and recorded dates, times, situations, feelings, visitors’ names, schedules –you name it.

For years, the stack of notebooks sat on our portable dishwasher in the kitchen. Each day with my children was a joy recorded. Some days there was a lot to write, other days not so much, or nothing. Sometimes it was easy, other times difficult.

Like many mothers, I recorded the first times they rolled over, sat up, walked, talked, ate solid food, smiled for a photo, said “Mama” or “Daddy”, “ephe-funt” for elephant, ‘read’ a book, or ‘wrote’ words phonetically. I wanted to remember how they played with other children, their first innocent prayers, thoughts, ideas, discoveries, evidence of compassion or their simple expressions of faith.

The binders slowly filled with jottings, stories, lists, graphs, notations, sketches, anecdotes, methods of parenting. When I realized that my parenting methods were slipping into the picture, I began to look farther into the future. Could these journals become a tangible parenting tool for my children if and when they became parents?

The kids went off to college, found spouses and married. At this point, they began to ask for their journals. “They’re yours as soon as they’re digitized,” I said. Quietly, I typed, planned and collected. Piles of digitized pages, triple-punched, chronologically arranged, soon covered the dining room table.

For Christmas that year, each of our four children received a five-inch indexed binder packed with a personal cover letter, copies of all four journals, historical family medical information, photos and stories about their spouses, photos of parents, grandparents, and photographs of themselves—school head shots, class photos, and snap shots of highlight events in their lives.

In the coming years, they gave us eleven grandchildren. One day, my son commented on his son’s silly behavior. “Like father, like son,” his wife responded. “What do you mean?” he asked. She smiled. “You did exactly the same thing at this age.” He grinned. “How do you know?” She pointed to the binder. “It’s in THE BOOK!”

One person had read the book from cover to cover. Had others done the same? I prayed they were all being blessed, gleaning happy memories and godly wisdom from it.

That’s my prayer for you and your children too. If you aren’t already jotting or journaling your child’s momentous moments, I’d like to encourage you to begin today.

If your infant has already grown, don’t worry about having lost time. Just get started. Record today’s events and rely on memories (yours and others’) to fill in the early spaces. Record your child’s good, bad, funny, silly, beautiful milestones today. Your jottings might one day bless your family’s next generation.

Be Blessed by Your Strong-Willed Child

Being the parent of a strong-willed child isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s frustrating. It’s stressful. There are days you wonder what you did to deserve a child who fights you at every turn.

Why can’t Sally be more like her sister, Rebecca, who does everything she’s told without a fuss?

It says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb   I knew  you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV) So, as Christians, we know God had a purpose for giving Sally a spirited nature. That’s all well and good to say, but it’s not very comforting when she has pulled another of her stunts and you’re considering tying her to the ceiling by her toenails.

One thing I’ve found very helpful in dealing with my strong-willed child is to see her strong will as a blessing. I know it sounds crazy, but stick with me for a minute.

My daughter is never wrong. Just ask her. I’m wrong. Her father’s wrong. Her sister is really wrong. Annoying? Yes. But that child has some of the best self-esteem on the face of the planet. She writes notes on the refrigerator, “I am awesome!” She posts little sticky notes in my office, “I am cool.” Because in her mind, her opinion is always correct, she thinks she’s great. Honestly, not a bad place to be.

Speaking of opinions: Don’t try to battle with her on the existence of God. One classmate made the mistake of telling her God was dead and she was sure to set him straight. They were five at the time.

That leads me to another blessing created by her strong will–she has no fear of what others think of her. Her self-worth isn’t tied into how others view her. Peer-pressure? Most likely won’t be much of an issue. She has her own mind about things and that’s what she follows.

As a strong-willed child, my daughter is curious. She isn’t willing to accept something just because it has always been done that way, because she’s told to do it, or because that’s what is acceptable to everyone else. Now, this can be very dangerous if not shaped correctly, but think of some of the great people who were curious and determined enough not to accept things the way they were: Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Martin Luther King Jr. Developed with God’s guidance, strong-willed children can achieve amazing things.

In those darkest moments, when I am frustrated beyond all belief with my strong-willed child, I turn my eyes to God, and thank him for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me. I’m still praying to figure out what God’s plan is for my daughter, but I know she is one of my many blessings–strong will and all.