Category Archives: Parenting

Lessons I Want My Children to Learn: Patriotism

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This post originally ran last year, but I think it’s appropriate as we celebrate our nation’s birthday this week.

Happy Independence Day, y’all! I hope you have a safe and fun weekend. Please pray for our troops who defend our freedoms, and for their families who support them from home!

Do you know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day? Other than one is in May and one is in November, I mean. 🙂

When I was teaching high school history, I always made it a point to teach the origins behind these important days.

Memorial Day, as the name suggests, is the US national holiday in which we remember and honor those who have fallen in service to our great nation.

It began during the Civil War as Decoration Day, when women would decorate the graves of the fallen soldiers with flowers and other mementos. As the years went on and the US was involved in more wars, the holiday adapted and in the late 1960’s, was officially assigned to the last Monday in May when the nation would remember all service members who had died in any war in our nation’s history.

Veteran’s Day, as the name suggests, honors all active and retired veterans of all wars in our history. This date came about from Armistice Day of WWI, (November 11, 1918, 11 am) when an armistice (cease-fire) was declared, eventually leading to the end of the war in 1919.

As time goes on, it seems that the reasons behind Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veteran’s Day have become somewhat mashed together and given Americans a reason to have a day off of work and a cookout.

I’m okay with that. I love cookouts. I love the American tradition of hotdogs and hamburgers by the pool. It’s fun. It’s America.

I’m even mostly okay with the confusion between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, because both honor those who have served.

I am not okay with the general public not knowing the history behind our Independence Day celebrations of July 4th. You might be surprised how many people do not have a basic understanding of this momentous day. Yeah, it’s actually different from the other two, but I’ll save that history for another post.

One of the lessons I want to instill into my children is patriotism.

I don’t believe enough people in America actually appreciate America anymore. Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our understanding of exactly what it means to be free. We’ve lost our sense of duty–we’ve lost our sense of honor.

There was a time when young men stood up, eager to serve. Most of the teens I taught were petrified of serving in the military– the idea was laughable.

Several times I had to combat the idea that serving in the military was only for “stupid” people who couldn’t get into college.

“Do stupid people win wars?” I’d ask.

As a military brat, I have to admit, it was difficult for me to keep my cool in the classroom when this subject came up–more often than I’d like to acknowledge. (I’d like to believe people are smarter than to think the military is only for “dummies”, but alas, many are not.)

I was raised in a military home, with a tradition of military service and the idea that serving our nation was honorable, desirable, and respected.

Although my husband is not military, I want my children to grow up with this same belief.

My husband actually teaches middle school, which is another position to be greatly respected. 🙂 He definitely serves his nation, folks.

My son’s great-grandfathers served in WWII. Their grandfather (my dad) served in Desert Storm. Their uncle (my brother) is currently serving his country.

The idea that standing up for the values that America was built on, what our forefathers believed in when they drafted the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, is something to be admired.

While politics seem to continue to make a mess of the values that bore this nation, I want my sons to have an understanding of where we’ve come from, our history, our traditions, and what it really means to be an American.

I want them to believe that America is great. I want them to know it. I want them to be proud of all those who came before us, establishing this great nation. I want them to be proud to be an American.

So yes, we will be cooking out hamburgers and making s’mores this 4th of July.

But we’ll also be talking about what it means to serve our country. We’ll talk about military service, an option that will be their choice someday, and we will talk about how even at their young ages, we can pray for our leaders, pray for our nation, and pray for those who have served, are serving, and for the families who love them.

Share with me: What’s your favorite thing about being an American?

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Why I Won’t Be One of the Boys

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My two oldest boys, off on a mission to save the world!

I’m surrounded by testosterone. I’m living in a house with 4 men (okay, one man and three little boys who will one day be men…)

My life is full of trains and race cars, superheroes and bikes, mud and dirt and noise and bumps and bruises, sports, sports, and more sports. How many hours straight can a dude watch ESPN before his brain explodes?

It would be easy for me to become what they are. It would be easy for me to be just “one of the boys.”

I love superhero movies. I have learned more about trains in the past seven years than I ever thought I would know. I can kick a soccer ball and play catch with my sons. I enjoy watching football. I can play “shoot ’em up” and I’ve dusted off my Super Mario skills to keep up with the boys on the Wii.

But I’m not a boy, and I think it is vitally important that my sons know it.

While I love them and I love being involved in their lives, they need to realize that beyond the biological differences God created between boys and girls, I am a lady and I expect to be treated as such.

Why do I expect this? Because I live like a lady and I am preparing them to go out into the world as gentlemen. You’re welcome, future daughters-in-law.

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My boys constantly hear the words, “This is how a gentleman treats a lady.”

I want sons who are as rough-and-tumble as the next group of boys, but I want my sons to respect women. I want them to protect women. I want them to show compassion to their future wives and develop habits that are respectable, cultured, and refined.

Why do so many women believe chivalry is dead? Because we, as women, no longer expect it to be alive. We’ve demanded equality and so we are receiving it. And it’s not always pretty.

I want to raise gentlemen. But raising a gentleman starts with me— I am the most important lady in their lives right now and my life must reflect that.

In this ever-changing world where women are becoming (and sometimes expected to be) more and more masculine, it’s no longer commonplace to find ladies among a sea of gentlemen. It’s a nostalgic thought, dead with the introduction of “equality” and Women’s Lib.

In my home boys and girls are not equals because we were created differently. I want my sons to realize the differences and step up to be the kind of men God created– ones who love and honor their wives and families, who make it a priority to provide, and put God and their families before everything else.

I have no shame in setting high expectations of my sons in all areas of their lives, including knowing that when there is a lady present, their inner gentleman must come out.

I’m old school like that and there’s no shame in it.

Share with me: What quality to you think is most important in a gentleman? In a lady?

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The Question that Disturbs Me the Most This Pregnancy

No, this is not my belly. I don't do pregnancy belly photos. :)

No, this is not my belly. I don’t do pregnancy belly photos. 🙂

Not too long ago I posted about what NOT to say to a pregnant woman. You know, just some friendly advice for people who mean well but really have no concept of a filter on their mouths.

This is a little addendum to that, if you will.

— Last Sunday after church we had lunch with my husband’s family. As soon as his grandmother saw me it was, “Wow, you’re getting huge! Sure you aren’t having twins?”

This is the first time during this pregnancy that someone has asked me this question, and it’s a question that women all over the world never, ever want to be asked, because the real translation of this question is : “You are gigantic.”

I know she meant well and I’ll cut her some slack because she’s family, but… still. Don’t ask a woman if she’s having twins, especially when you know she’s not.

Pregnant women are hormonal. You take your life in your hands. 🙂

When people ask if I’m having a boy or girl and I tell them we’re expecting our third boy, the follow-up question is almost always about the ages of my other children. When I reply that my sons are six and three and will be almost seven and four when the baby comes, it almost never fails that one of the following is the response– “Why did you wait so long?” “Wow. That’s a lot of years between kids.” And my personal favorite (and this came from a woman who is also currently expecting), “Oh my gosh. I could never have my kids that far apart.”

Here’s my go-to response, “Well, it wasn’t our choice to wait so long in between children, but God knows so much better than we do and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

I mean, honestly, do I have to go into my entire medical history and our fertility issues with complete strangers?

Sometimes I want to punch people right in the face. I do. I blame hormones. (But there’s part of me that wants to punch even when I’m not pregnant.) Again, I know they mean well, but c’mon folks. It’s nun-ya business how many years people wait between having children. Whether they want that age gap (some do) or they wait on God’s timing (like us), you should have nothing to say about it, k?

If you feel the words bubbling up and you absolutely have to say something, then may I suggest, “It’s great that your kids are older. They’ll be wonderful helpers when the baby comes.”

Caucasian Baby Boy In A Blue Stroller Carriage, Looking Over The Side Clipart Illustration

And now for the question that has gotten under my skin more than any other during this pregnancy. I have been asked countless (literally) times, sometimes by friends, most of the time by complete strangers… “So, are you going to try for a girl?”

The answer to that question, ladies and gents, is NO. No no no no no no no.

We have never tried for a girl or a boy. With each of our three children, we’ve prayed for a beautiful child.

I’ll tell you why I really, really, really hate that question.

1. Most of all, it implies that this precious baby boy that I’m carrying isn’t special. It implies that he’s just a number among the other boys and that he doesn’t matter. It implies that he wasn’t created specifically for our family by God as one of His greatest blessings, which I believe this little man was. He is special. He is a miracle. He is one of a kind. He is being knit together in my womb by the Creator, who already knows everything about him. And his mommy, daddy and two big brothers cannot wait to meet him.

2. It implies that my husband and I can’t feel happy and blessed without a daughter. God has designed our family specifically in his timing, with his perfection. I’m blessed beyond what I can imagine, and I would never, ever change it.

3. “Trying” for a specific gender is insane. I know that people do it. I know that there are those who want to design their families themselves, but I’m not one of them. I learned a long time ago to leave it up to God.

— May I suggest a better question, if you really must get into personal business? How about asking whether or not we plan to have more children in the future?

I can tell you now that that question remains unanswered. While we are fairly certain that this will be our last biological child, we’ve had many conversations already about our desire to love more kids. How God will bring that about is, once again, up to Him.

Just a bit of friendly advice to help you along in conversation with a woman who is expecting.

I know people mean well. I know they have good intentions. And I’ve put my foot in my mouth plenty of times, too.

Share with me: Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? Want to tell me about it?

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