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This is an article I read on http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/behavioral/teaching-children-to-be-grateful/
It’s very important that we teach our children to be grateful. Grateful people are happy people. They re respectful & kind. Teaching it and demonstrating it to our children at a young age can make a big difference in their life. I hope you enjoy the article. It is simple and helpful.
Teaching Gratitude in the Early Years
When Do Kids Get It?
Toddlers are by definition completely egocentric. Still, children as young as 15 to 18 months can begin to grasp concepts that lead to gratitude, says Lewis. “They start to understand that they are dependent; that Mom and Dad do things for them,” she says. In other words, toddlers comprehend that they are separate human beings from their parents, and that Mom and Dad often perform actions to make them happy (from playing peekaboo to handing out cookies) — even if kids that age can’t articulate their appreciation.
By age 2 or 3, children can talk about being thankful for specific objects, pets, and people, says Ryan. “When my daughter Annie was 2, our family would go around the dinner table each night and say one thing we were thankful for,” she says. “Annie wasn’t particularly verbal, but when it was her turn, she would point her finger at every person — she was grateful for us!”
By age 4, children can understand being thankful not only for material things like toys but for acts of kindness, love, and caring.
How to Teach It
Children model their parents in every way, so make sure you use “please” and “thank you” when you talk to them. (“Thanks for that hug — it made me feel great!”) Insist on their using the words, too. After all, “good manners and gratitude overlap,” says New York City etiquette consultant Melissa Leonard, a mother of two young daughters.
- Work gratitude into your daily conversation. Lately, we’ve been trying to weave appreciation for mundane things into our everyday talk — with A.J., his big sister, Mathilda, 10, and especially with our 2-year-old, Mary Elena. (“We’re so lucky to have a good cat like Sam!” “Aren’t the colors in the sunset amazing?” “I’m so happy when you listen!”) When you reinforce an idea frequently, it’s more likely to stick. One way to turn up the gratitude in your house is to pick a “thanking” part of the day. Two old-fashioned, tried-and-true ideas: Make saying what good things happened today part of the dinnertime conversation or make bedtime prayers part of your nightly routine.
- Have kids help. It happens to all of us: You give your child a chore, but it’s too agonizing watching him a) take forever to clear the table or b) make a huge mess mixing the pancake batter. The temptation is always to step in and do it yourself. But the more you do for them, the less they appreciate your efforts. (Don’t you feel more empathy for people who work outside on cold days when you’ve just been out shoveling snow yourself?) By participating in simple household chores like feeding the dog or stacking dirty dishes on the counter, kids realize that all these things take effort.
- Find a goodwill project. That doesn’t mean you need to drag your toddler off to a soup kitchen every week, says Lewis. Instead, figure out some way he can actively participate in helping someone else, even if it’s as simple as making cupcakes for a sick neighbor. “As you’re stirring the batter or adding sprinkles,” she says, “talk about how you’re making them for a special person, and how happy the recipient will be.”
- Encourage generosity. “We frequently donate toys and clothes to less fortunate kids,” says Hulya Migliorino, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey. “When my daughters see me giving to others, it inspires them to go through their own closets and give something special to those in need, as well.”
- Insist on thank-you notes. Paula Goodnight, of Maineville, Ohio, always makes her girls (Rachel, 10, Amelia, 6, and Isabella, 3) write thank-yous for gifts. “When they were toddlers, the cards were just scribbles with my own thank-you attached,” she says. “As they grew, they became drawings, then longer letters.” Younger children can even dictate the letter while you write, says Lewis. “Just the act of saying out loud why he loved the gift will make him feel more grateful,” she says.
- Practice saying no. Of course kids ask for toys, video games, and candy — sometimes on an hourly basis. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to feel grateful when your every whim is granted. Saying no a lot makes saying yes that much sweeter.
- Be patient. You can’t expect gratitude to develop overnight — it requires weeks, months, even years of reinforcement. But trust me, you will be rewarded. Four years after the robotic dog fiasco, I can now report that A.J. is a grateful, cheerful boy who delights in making other people happy. Sure, he asked for lots of gifts this Christmas, but he was just as excited about requesting gifts for his sisters. “They’ve both been good girls and deserve something special,” he wrote in his letter to Santa. Now I’m the one feeling grateful.
THAT GIRL! It’s a term most women use or think frequently. We make statements to ourselves and others such as: “I wish I was like ‘that girl'” or “I’d never be like ‘that girl'”. Some of what we think cannot be changed especially when it comes to inherent physical attributes, but when it concerns character issues, actions and weight we may become like “that girl” positively or negatively.
When we see people do something we think we would never do, the thought comes to our mind that we would never do that. In spite of the fact that we think this is a positive thought, in actuality, it is negative. It’s negative because the image we are giving ourselves at that moment is a negative one. When we say or think we do not want to be like “that”, the picture we paint in the mind is being “that” way. In order to become what we we do not want to be like, we must think about what we want to be like. Whatever we meditate on is what we see ourselves doing. The principle of meditation found in God’s word is in place no matter what we are thinking about. The image we want to have is the image God has painted in his word concerning who we are in Christ.
Another principle concerning not wanting to be like “that girl” is found in Romans 2:1 –
Rom. 2:1 ¶ No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. (God’s Word)
I like the way the Message paraphrases it:
Rom. 2:1 Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.
Ouch! Our criticism of others is a way of escaping from dealing with our own faults. It ends up becoming a judgment of them. This means we have to watch out because we are becoming what we are judging others about. It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine. Nipping the thought when it first comes eliminates it from becoming a big one. Continual thoughts become how we think and act. We cannot control the thoughts that come, but we can control which ones remain.
According to Romans 2:1, we see the fault in a person and become critical of them because we should be looking at our own faults and dealing with them using God’s word. This doesn’t mean that we do not acknowledge character issues in people’s lives. It means we know it’s there, pray for them and realize we could go in that direction, too. All flesh is the same. We are all vulnerable and must remain humble by acknowledging we have died with Christ and live through him.
In order to change, it takes meditation on where we want to be. The Bible is filled with God’s proclamation of who he made us to be in Christ. He sent Jesus because of our fallibility. We aren’t perfect. We never will be, but in Christ we are. (Heb.10:14) As we think about this, our actions follow. Joshua 1:8 says as we meditate on God’s word we see ourselves doing it. No matter what it is, we always see ourselves doing something before we do it.
I encourage you to take time to think about who God made you in Christ. This will stop you from criticizing yourself, others and keep you growing in the Lord. You are his child if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life. He lives in you and through you. You are THAT GIRL (the one you’d like to be).
At the beginning of 2014 I began meditating on God’s love. I realized I do not believe what I say I do. We sing songs from the bible that say, “God’s love is better than life” or “A day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else.” If I truly believed this, then I wouldn’t get so upset when things don’t go my way in a relationship, because my relationship with God would mean more to me than anything. It’s been quite eye-opening. I am growing in the knowledge of God’s love for me and know I will throughout eternity because God is love and He is eternal. I’ve come to a new place of revelation that was eye-opening.
Over the years I have allowed the rejections I experienced from being in the ministry to get to me. It paralyzed me in many ways. I would fight with myself about reaching out to others because I did not want to experience another rejection. I knew the right things to tell myself, but wasn’t believing it in my heart. This was causing a downward spiral that was getting the best of me. I knew the right things to do, but wasn’t acting on it the way I should. It takes a lot of diligence to move forward when you want to go upstream, but the river is taking you downstream.
Last year I did Dr. Caroline Leaf’s brain detox. It gave me the practical tools to do what I needed to. Each day as I did the program, the Holy Spirit would minister different scriptures to me to help bring healing. Scriptures concerning God’s love for me flooded my mind. I began to meditate on them. Some of them were scriptures I pondered on years ago, but wasn’t using them the way I did in the past. The truth of God’s word really does set us free. Throughout the year I continued to meditate on these scriptures.
Although I may experience some unpleasantness in relationships, knowing God’s love for me in a deeper way has helped me tremendously. I feel like I have new life and I do because he gives us life abundantly!!! God’s mercies are new every morning! Great is his faithfulness!
I believe one of our main purposes in life is to give. The reason is simple. God is a giver. We celebrate Christmas because God loved the world so much he gave. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus, the seed is in you to be a giver just like God. It must be cultivated and watered in order for it to grow.
All of creation points to giving. Nothing new can be reproduced unless giving takes place. A child is born because a man and a woman give themselves to one another sexually. A seed is planted and a baby is formed and born. It is the same in the animal kingdom. Seeds are produced in plants because of pollination. The bees carry male seed to female seed in plants which creates more seed for more crops to grow.
As we give ourselves in relationships, we have relationships with people. Proverbs 18:24 tells us when we show ourselves to be friendly, we will have many friends. As we refresh others, we will be refreshed, (Pr.11:25). It’s interesting to see that those who do not give themselves to others tend to be alone as they age because they never gave.
Becoming more of a giver occurs as we meditate on who God made us to be in Christ. As Christians, it’s in our genes to be givers. The more we realize we are like Father God and Jesus the more we will look like them. What we think about will determine our actions. Children imitate their parents. They watch them and what they see becomes pictures in their mind. Some of us didn’t have very good examples in our earthly parents and even if we had good ones, they weren’t perfect. That’s why it is important for us to read and meditate on the bible because it reveals God’s loving, giving character.
We won’t become something only by thinking about it. Actions must follow. Michael Jordan did not become the world’s best basketball player by just thinking about it. He tells how he would see himself making shots, but he also practiced with the team and by himself. He never spent the same amount of time doing that with baseball and was not as good.
Not only through meditation on God’s word do we become more of a giver, but also as we watch people who are givers. Hebrews tells us to follow the example of those who imitate Christ. I have learned a lot as I watch those i know and do not know give to others. Oftentimes, the problem with real givers is we don’t always hear about what they’ve done because they aren’t bragging about it. It’s important to keep a watchful eye out for them. I like to find ideas on the internet of unique ways of giving to others.
Keep in mind that when we do not live a life of giving we dry up, become bitter, unthankful and die. Take the Dead Sea as an example. It has water flowing into it, but not out of it. That’s why it is called the Dead Sea. There are no fish or any kind of swimming, squirming creatures living in or near the water. The water in the Dead Sea is deadly to most living things. The reason is because it does not give out.
My exhortation is Live to Give, not to get something in return, but to be like God since we are like him because we are in Christ. There is no greater fulfillment in life than to imitate the one who created us and gave his son for us.
I pray you have a Merry Christmas and that you pursue a life of giving because you want to be more like your Father in heaven.
I woke up this morning thinking about what happens when thankfulness begins to wane. It’s not something we notice leave. It occurs little by little. We begin to see things we do not like about our situation, a person or even a thing. In the beginning, there is a sense of excitement and thankfulness over it. Our focus tends to be only on what is good. We definitely ignore the bad or anything that may bother us because we are so thankful for it.
When we get to be more familiar with it, our focus changes. Little thoughts creep in and if we allow them to stay, our focus changes until w get to the place where we don’t want it or don’t want to have anything to do with it. Seeing the faults in someone or something is not all bad, it’s natural. It’s what we allow those thoughts to do in our mind that makes the difference.
For example, in our relationships with people, a person can do no wrong once we give ourselves over to liking someone. Actually, our focus is what causes it to move forward. After a while of knowing someone’s idiosyncrasies and experiencing what we may perceive as hurtful experiences, thankfulness takes a back seat. We forget what that person may have done positively for us and focus on the negative. The relationship moves in a downward descent. Most relationships don’t end abruptly. Most decline over a period of time because we forget why were in it in the first place. Thankfulness for who and what the person meant in our life is no longer there. Sometimes we try to tell ourselves we are still thankful, but in truth, we are not because our focus reveals where our heart is. Then in order to exit, we find fault and vocalize it to others. Talking about or making negative comments, poisons us and those we talk to. It eventually will come back to haunt us.
Continually focusing on what we are thankful for will make for a friendly change in a relationship or situation. It will cause us to have fond memories and may allow interaction to continue without it being fake or uncomfortable.
When negative thoughts begin to creep in, my encouragement is to make up a thankful list and look over it regularly. It’ll make all the difference in relationships and cause you to be a happier person.
I really enjoy Thanksgiving in America. It’s a day we are supposed to reflect on being thankful. There are no gifts exchanged. People get together, eat, and enjoy one another’s company. Then the next day (or later that day) greed commences to takeover and we are at each other’s throats so we can get the best deal for a product. It is so sad.
Instead, I think it would be nice if we allowed Thanksgiving to be the springboard for giving during the Christmas season and throughout the year. Being thankful will cause us to be generous, kind and happy. Thankfulness enables us to spread a little cheer now and in the future.
Allowing thankfulness to permeate our thoughts gives us a good reason to buy a gift for someone we think we have to. Our have to turns into a get to. For example, the other day I was in a store and two employees were stocking shelves. I overheard their conversation. One girl was saying that she had to buy her boyfriend’s mother a gift because his mother bought one for her. She wasn’t very happy about it. If she had chosen to be thankful that his mom bought her something or that she had a boyfriend with a thoughtful mother, her attitude about it would have been different. Her thanksgiving would have turned into thanksliving and she would have been happy about it.
Thanksliving looks for the good in people and situations. The other day I watched an old classic Disney movie called “Pollyanna”. It’s about a girl who is an orphan and her rich aunt adopts her. Her parents were missionaries in the West Indies and they did not have much. Her Father taught her to be happy and look for the good. He called it the “Glad Game”. For example, one time they were told that someone was sending a doll for Pollyanna. They waited expectantly for it. When the parcel arrived, to their surprise it was not a doll, but crutches. Her Dad knew how disappointed she was, so they played the “Glad Game”. He asked Pollyanna what she could be happy about concerning the crutches. She replied,”Well, at least, I don’t have to use them” and they laughed.
Life is such a matter of perspective. Is the glass half full or half empty? Are we thankful we have a glass? Living a thankful life changes how we look at everything. It doesn’t mean we stick our head in the sand and pretend the negative doesn’t exist, but we make the most of negative situations that come our way. As a result, we live a thankful, giving life which makes life more beautiful for ourselves and others.
Each of us have defining moments in our lives. These times show what we really believe and set the pace for how we might react in the future. Many defining moments come as a result of a setback. Setbacks come to each one of us, but it is how we react to them that propels our life forward or backward. There is no standing still. If we think we are standing still, we are lying to ourselves.
The bible tells us that problems and persecution are going to come to steal the word that has been planted in our hearts. Oftentimes, as we grow in our faith, we get blindsided. We do not see what’s coming and get knocked down. It isn’t because we have done something wrong. it’s Satan coming to steal what we believe from our heart. As a result of the setback, we begin to question God. No matter what takes place, we must make a decision that God’s word is true and God is faithful to perform it. See who the enemy really is….It’s Satan. He’s doing what he can to get us not to trust in the Lord.
This is why we need to constantly be building on our foundation. Don’t allow God’s word to become so familiar that it is taken for granted. David did this after he became king of Israel. He had many victories on and off the battlefield throughout his life, but at one point, he began to be lax in his responsibilities. One spring when he was supposed to go out to battle, he chose to stay home. During this time he had an affair with Bathsheba and killed her husband, Uriah.
This happens to us when we exercise our faith and win the battle. Before and after the victorious times, we are diligent about building ourselves up on our faith by spending time with God, reading the bible, confessing the word, etc. Sometimes we allow distractions and our victories to get in the way of continuing down this diligent path. We listen to thoughts that are contrary to God’s word. Little negative thoughts enter unchecked and before we know it, they’ve eaten away our faith and we make the decision that we are not going to believe what the bible says about a particular area of our life.
Over the years I’ve watched how many reacted to their setback. Some have been destroyed and some move forward. Those who moved ahead have been an inspiration to me. They tell me I can do it because they did. Their actions say God’s word is true no matter what the circumstances. Hebrews 10:23 tells us to hold tightly to our confession of faith without wavering because God is faithful. Verse 24 goes on to say that as we do, it provokes others to love and good deeds. In other words it encourages them to do the same. The writer of Hebrews also urges us to follow those who are inheriting God’s promises. As we follow those who are trusting God, we will be encouraged to do the same.
My exhortation is “Don’t give up. Continue to trust God. Watch him work in your life. He loves you more that you’ll ever know.”
Heb. 10:23 ¶ Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Heb. 10:24 Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.
For a couple of years now, I have been telling our grandson, Roscoe, that he is a winner because God loves him. Recently he and his mum were playing a game and he lost. He said to his mum, “God must not love me.” I realized a 3 year old mind cannot comprehend what Romans 8:37 means. As I thought about it, I don’t think most of us understand. The verse says, “We are more than conquerors because of God’s love for us.” This does not mean that in every endeavor and outcome of our lives that we win. It doesn’t mean that bad things will not come our way. It means when we allow God’s love to control our attitudes, motives, and actions that we win. Nothing can get somebody down who allows love to control them.
Jesus said in John 14 that when we obey God’s commands we love. (John 14:15) Love is allowing God’s word to be the guide in our lives. It’s not about just being nice to others, although there is plenty of exhortations to do that in the bible. It’s about being obedient to God’s word. Jesus was completely obedient to the will of his Father and yet everyone was not happy with him. He didn’t please all the people, but he pleased his Father.
Love is about trusting God. It’s about believing he had our best interest in mind when the scriptures were written. It’s funny how we balk at doing what he wants us to do. Mostly it’s the little things that we balk at. For example….be nice to someone we don’t like; witness to people; be obedient and respectful to authority; do what we do because we love God, not to get someone’s attention; doing our best at work and school…The list goes on.
Love needs to be our motivation to do what we do. Keep in mind that because God is love that means he is our motivation. We do what we do because we want to act like him, just like small children imitate their parents. As we trust what his word says, we have a greater understanding of who God is and what love is. Giving ourselves more to him day by day causes us to allow his love to control us. When love controls us, we win because we act like him no matter what the outcome.
Always remember – We are overwhelmingly victorious because of God’s love for us.
Being in meetings where the Word of God is being taught should change us. I realized for myself that we do not get revelation or change unless we purpose to listen and get something out of it. This week is our annual conference. It dawned on me to sincerely press in and ask the Lord to change me and to reveal things that have been hidden to me, my blindspots.
So this morning he showed me some things. It wasn’t pretty, but together He & I can make a difference. My job is to submit to HIm and be thankful for what He reveals to me about me. It’s nice to know the true reason why I react the wrong way to people some times. It is something I teach, but in some areas I haven’t seen what I teach about me.
I have been rude to some people. I kept telling myself that it was something I couldn’t have victory over & I justified it. I blamed it on the people I was being rude to and others. I did not realize I was taking up an offense for someone else, or that the true root of my unkindness was the failures in my own life. You see, when it looks like people I have invested my life into are making wrong decisions, I blame me. I think to myself that I could have done more, or perhaps I focus on the mistakes I might have made with a person. The more I focus on what I could’ve, should’ve done, the more I spiral downward and my actions, or should I say attitudes do not exemplify Christ. That’s when I give people dirty looks or they get the cold shoulder from me or I keep them at arm’s length…..I justify myself in doing so, but I am completely wrong.
The bottom line is that I am not believing the Word of God about myself. I am allowing what I think my failures are to dictate my feelings. The truth it is that it was a blindspot. I did not realize it. I walk around as if I am this wonderful person when inside I am not. I can be kind to some, but not all. God has called me to be kind to all.
Oftentimes, we blame ourselves when something goes wrong in someone else’s life. Their failure becomes our failure. It affects our lives and how we react to others. Examples of this might be: blaming yourself for your parent’s divorce, for a spouse’s unfaithfulness, for your children’s wrong choices, for a person you have been ministering to wrong choices….Whether it’s something we have done wrong, or something someone else has done and we want to blame ourselves for it, we have to choose to believe what God says about who we are in Christ.
So…if you are having a difficult time with your attitude, with being rude to someone, being unkind for any reason, examine yourself. See if you are in faith about you. Realize you are holy & unblameable in God’s sight. Repent, change your thinking. It will take time and discipline, but it will payoff. We react the way we do because of what we think about ourselves.
I am on the road to recovery in this area of my life. My prayer is that I continually move forward and that you will too.