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TRADITIONS

By Cheryl Kilgore on October 26, 2018

The leaves are changing color, the heat has been turned on and November is just around the corner.

The Holiday Season is upon us again!! How does that happen so quickly?

What comes to your mind when you think about the holidays? Are there certain things you do year after year? Harvest parties? School plays? Hand print turkeys? Christmas shopping? Packages hidden where no one can find them? The tree? The lights? The nativity calendar?

Traditions make holidays extra special. We anticipate spending time with family and friends. We look forward to baking pumpkin pie, holiday cookies and the perfect stuffing from the old family recipe.

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We all enjoy traditions, but children can't be beat in their level of excitement. For the rest of their lives, children remember the joy they felt spending time doing all kinds of fun things with their families.

My children are now 25 and 29 years old, but do you think they'll let us get away with buying an artificial tree? Even though I've delegated the hunting for the perfect one, the dragging it in and setting it in the stand... and EVEN putting the lights on... I thought for sure I'd get them with that one. Nope, they're happy to do it all to recreate the memory.

They still enjoy getting the one Christmas Eve present, even though they know it's going to be pajamas!

Given their ages you wouldn't think I would still feel the need to number the packages under the tree. But I do. I began that system years ago, so that they didn't know which gifts were for them.

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Be sure you spend time and energy on holiday traditions. You don't have to come up with elaborate plans. Kids don't mind if you use a kit to make the gingerbread house. You don't have to host a huge holiday party; much of the time simple truly is better.

I would suggest a couple of things to include: Be sure you teach your kids what the holiday is really about, whether that is the history of Thanksgiving or the story of Christ's birth. Secondly, find a way to show your child that not everyone is as fortunate as them - maybe by taking them to your local food pantry and donating some of your favorite foods to benefit the less fortunate.

And remember, the holidays can be the worst time of year for many. Some people are lonely, some are grieving, some are homeless, some are hungry and many need to meet Jesus.

In the midst of your joy, ask God to help you see the people around you the way He sees them.

AND, don't forget to gift yourself something special... some quiet moments... just for you!

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EVERY DAY COUNTS

By Cheryl Kilgore on October 4, 2018

Do you remember those busy days when your children were growing up?

Depending on their ages you were either changing diapers, charting successful trips to the "potty", finding ways to keep them busy when no friends were around to play, chauffeuring them from place to place... all day long!

How about the milestones in their lives; first day of school, first sleepover, driving lessons... that was a scary one! High school. College applications. Leaving for college. Graduations, etc....

It all seemed to happen so quickly! You hoped and prayed they were ready for life's changes and challenges. As you watched them head off into the world, you prayed God would guide them and protect them. Other than that prayer, there was little you could do for them now.

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Are you living those days right now?

Rewind to the awesomeness of bringing your new baby home. You've looked forward to this day for a long time; what happens now?

Love them. Cuddle them. Talk to them. Read to them. Introduce them to age-appropriate music; especially Christian music. Even if they're not aware, those Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs will be in the background of their minds.

Now they're toddlers... they're walking and talking. What happens next? Love them. Cuddle them. Talk to them as you would like to be spoken to... with respect and love, because that will be the way they speak... forever. Read to them; if you read to them now, they will become readers for life, and that is a huge gift to give.

Now is also the time to get them into the habit of looking to God - praying and learning about Him. There are numerous children's Bibles available today, as well as children's devotionals. The toddler and preschool age is a great time to get your child into the habit of spending time with God each day. Obviously you need age-appropriate materials and a good idea of your child's attention span; five minutes at breakfast is a perfect way to start.

School age is when you start sharing your child with the rest of the world. Your child will be exploring: New voices, new activities, new things to learn. Be sure that you are a big part of your child's education. Continue what you began at birth. Love them. Hug them (for as long as they'll let you). Speak to them. Ask about their day; talk to them about their feelings and concerns. Get to know their friends and their friend's families.

Teenagers. Where did they come from? All the investments that you've made up to this point are still a part of them, but your child is trying to figure out how they fit into their lives now. Sometimes this is a struggle, but not for every child. Be patient. Be available; you never know when they're going to let you into their world. Be interested in what they're interested in. Remember to be respectful to them and they need to be respectful to you. If you've made this a part of your families' tapestry, it will be especially helpful now.

College bound is a whole new thing. Even if they aren’t going very far, they are starting to live life on their own. Don't let them fool you, as hard as they may try. They still need you. They're learning to trust God in their own way, and they're scared. Love them. Hug them. Always be ready to speak to them or listen to them when the moment arises. Be interested in what they're interested in.

The most important part? Continue to pray for them.

Don't worry if you don't accomplish all these things. None of us are perfect parents. If you can only do one thing, be sure to pray for them... always.

God knows them even better than you do. He has a plan for their life, and He will see it through.


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It's that Time Again!!

By Cheryl Kilgore on August 20, 2018

When my children were still preschoolers, I was talking to my older sister, mentioning that I couldn't believe how fast my kids were growing.  I remember her saying, "just wait until they start going to school, the time just flies by."

She was so right!

Even though my kids are adults now, I still feel that back to school feeling in the air come August.

I was never happy to see my kids go; not that there weren't days when I wished I could go somewhere.

Are your kids headed back to school soon?  Don't just drop them at the door; handing them off to the professionals.  No one knows your child better than you do.  No one loves your child as much as you do.

Even the best of teachers need parents to continue teaching their child at home; whether that means helping with homework, helping them sort through that playground altercation or taking the time to attend a field trip.

Be sure you know your child's teacher; be a support and helper to her/him, and show, by your presence, that you are an active participant in your child's education.  Most teachers want to do the very best for your child, and they are professionals.  Teachers know a lot of things you don't, or, at least, things that you don't remember.

Teachers don't just sit at their desk for those eight hours a day.  In addition to teaching, they are also interacting with your child and watching how your child interacts with others.  Teachers today have even more responsibilities than when I was a teacher; I never had to prepare for or experience a lock-down drill, where they are trained to put themselves between your child and someone with a gun.  I never had to deal with restraining orders that told me not to allow a child to go home with a certain family member.  I also, while still not paid a great deal, didn't have to spend hundreds of my own dollars so that the children in my classroom would have necessary supplies.  Teachers are dedicated!

What are my credentials?  Well, I'm a mom.  I was a teacher.  My daughter is a teacher.  At various times, my children have been in public school, private school and home schooled.  When I'm asked by parents of school-aged children how best to guide their child through the school years, I suggest they look at each child each year and decide what's best for her/him.

As Christian parents, we have the added directive to teach our children about God and help them learn how to use the Bible as their most important textbook.  Because even when we can't be with our children, God is always with them; knowing that truth gives your child a confidence that no other person or book can teach.

From personal experience let me tell you that parenting does not stop after high school or even college.  Not to be a downer, but your children's problems get bigger and there's less you can do for them.  But you can always pray for them, you can always be a listening ear for them and you can always remind them about what the Bible says to do in any given situation.  Remember, God loves your child even more than you do; there is tremendous peace in that truth.