Who’s Your Favorite?

 

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Who’s Your Favorite?

Who’s your favorite? As a parent of five children and grandparent to four children, that is a question I have answered with “they are all my favorites”. I try to not get into picking favorites. I want my children, grandchildren and daughters-in-law to know that I love each of them. We have a story in the Bible about picking favorites. Isaac and Rebecca had favorites. Isaac favored Esau and Rebecca favored Jacob. Each knew whose favorite they were. They knew who would say, “yes”. These parents set the stage for bitterness between their twins by playing favorites. Rivalry ended up not only between Jacob and Esau but also Isaac and Rebekah.

As parents and grandparents, we need to try to keep down favorites. Our grandchildren needed to always feel like we love each of them the same. It is easy to so love the excitement of a new baby that we make the older grandchildren feel like they are not special.  During this time, we may need to show our interest also in the older grandchildren. We can give them special treatment like fixing their favorite food or talking to them about their game. We need to make every effort to show our children that we want to treat each of their children special. At times, we may be confronted with our children or their spouses pushing for their children to be treated as the favorite. This is an issue we may have to talk about to insure the self-esteem of all the grandchildren is maintained. Self-esteem of children is an easy thing to damage and a hard part to repair.

Favoritism is a part of every families life. How we deal with it can be very important. Dr. Ellen Libby says we can deal with favoritism in two ways. One is by fluid favoritism. We may favor a grandchild when they have similar interests as us.  We may have grandchildren that live with us for a time so of course we will be with them more during this time. We can also favor a stage they are in like infant. Another way is by fixed favoritism. Fixed favoritism is when our fluid favoritism is an always. The Grandfather always wants to be around Johnny. The Grandmother always wants to have time and spend money with Susan and not necessarily Jane. A grandparent only buys backpacks and shoes for the start of school for one grandchild when there are others. What may be blind to us can be obvious to others.

The key to favoritism is to be aware of the damage it can cause in a family and guard against it. Ask yourself questions periodically. Do each of my grandchildren know that I love them? Do I do something special for each of them from time to time? Does the money I spend show favoritism? Do my children feel like their children are loved? Am I more critical with some grandchildren than others? Many of the questions as a parent we asked our self to make sure we do not pick favorites apply to our grandchildren.

Favoritism can not only hurt our relationship with grandchildren that we are trying to build but it can hurt our relationship with children and spouses. The relationship between children and their families can become tense and embittered when favoritism is seen. Building relationships within families is a constant struggle. Anything can creep in and cause division. Favoritism can come in when we least expect it. We need to try to be aware of biases we may have. We should try to spread time and money as equal as we can. Let’s just say, being a Mom of five and Grandma to four I have dealt with this one more than once. Even when I try hard to not play favorites, other family members can sense it and call me out on it. Perception is huge in relationships. When people sense favoritism, deal with it and move on. Family members within the family can play favorites so try to communicate that every person in the family is equally important. With successes and failures on favoritism, always, always take this to the Lord in prayer for guidance. We can think we are doing everything right and get blindsided so He is our wisdom over every family issue we have. As we attempt to grow relationships in our families, let’s make every effort to keep favoritism out.

 

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Five New Year’s Resolutions with Your Grandchildren by Lynn Autry

Five New Year’s Resolutions with Your Grandchildren

As you may still be reminiscing about last year, let look to this one. It’s that time of the year for many of us to make New Year’s Resolutions. Sometimes we write them down and sometimes we keep them just in our thoughts. If we do not write them down, it is not as painful if we break them right? We make resolutions to have more money, lose weight, exercise more and so on. In January the gym membership goes way up. We start diets. Organize everything in the house. Sadly, over half the people that make resolutions do not keep them till June. There are resolutions that we can actually keep with our grandchildren.

We can love our grandchildren unconditionally. When we keep, spend time or live with our grandchildren, it is important to always love them unconditionally. This means there are no strings attached to that love. Your grandchildren do not have to be perfect without any medical or physical issues. We love them just the way they are. Grandchildren grow in all different sizes. They may not look like the magazine cover. We love them whether they are good and smile a lot. We love them when they scream, yell and kick us. We love them any way they are.

If at all possible spend time with them alone. The time you spend with your grandchildren is a precious time. They grow up so fast. Many of you are like I was for many years and did not live close to my grandchildren. For many years my children did not live close to their grandparents. Try to think of creative way to spend time with them. At times we would drive over before a birthday party and pick up our grandchildren and then bring them back for the party. This allowed time for parents to get the house ready for the party without the children. Plan phone calls or outings with your grandchildren. Grandparents need to work on building the relationship with the grandchildren by spending time with them.

During the visits with your grandchildren, don’t worry about the little things. let some of the cleaning go and enjoy the snuggles. I loved to plan those special things that they enjoy doing. Some of those are free like going to the beach. If you are as involved in church as I am, there may be times you have to let someone else take over or take them with you. Mother Theresa said, “We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love.”  There are many small things we can do with our grandchildren with our love. Enjoy those visits.

Do not let issues you may have with the parents affect how you respond or love your grandchildren. Many of us have at times had conflict with one or both of the parents of your grandchildren. The grandchildren are not responsible for how your adult children or in-laws respond to you. We have to separate our relationship with the grandchild from our relationship with the parent. I know this can be hard. As divorced parents use children as a pawn in a divorce so also parents will use grandchildren to hurt grandparents. Let your love for the grandchildren so take priority over  the conflict with the parents.

Be your grandchildren’s number one prayer partner. Many of the things you prayed for your children, you also need to pray for your grandchildren. From birth we have prayed for our children to marry a spouse that has a relationship with God, we need to pray the same for our grandchildren. We want to pray that our grandchildren will accept Christ as Savior early in life. Each day we want God to protect them physically, emotionally  but also mentally. We want God to shield them from believing lies from the evil one. We want God to surround them with Godly teachers, leaders and friends. We want to pray that our grandchildren choose the right kind of friends. When they sin, we pray that they will not get away with it. We need to consistently pray for children and grandchildren.

These five resolutions are ones you can keep throughout this year. These resolutions can help you build a relationship with your grandchildren. The five resolutions can give you an awesome year with your grandchildren with incredible experiences to enjoy.

 

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10 Creative Ideas for Long-Distance Grandparents by Sharon Lovejoy

10 Creative Ideas for Long-Distance Grandparents by Sharon Lovejoy

A Grandma’s Bag of Tricks

The simplest conversations, letters, and traditions can keep the intimate bond between grandparents and children flourishing across the miles. Your time together may be limited to holidays or a summer visit, but as a long-distance grandparent, you can still play an important part in the life of your grandchildren. My book, Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars, offers these proven ideas.

Help Them Make Letters Fun and Frequent

When grandchildren sit in front of a sheet of stationery, they feel daunted by the prospect of filling the entire page. Go to the local arts-and-crafts store and buy blank watercolor postcards. They’re the perfect size, and they are great for the kids’ paintings or drawings. Address the postcards to yourself, stamp them, and send them to your grandkids. Ask their parents to encourage them to write or draw you something every couple of weeks. Even though you are out of sight, a steady stream of letters and pictures ensure that you’ll never be out of your grandchildren’s hearts.

A Birthday Card for Every Year

Years ago, Grammy Marilyn Brewer showed me a stack of birthday cards she was mailing to her granddaughter Kara. “On every birthday, I send a card for each year of Kara’s life.” What grandchild could ever forget a grammy who flooded the mailbox with cards? They can be homemade, so the only expenses are paper, envelopes, stamps, and time.

Celebrate an Unbirthday

Long-distance grandparents can’t always make it to their grandchild’s birthday. My granddaughter Sara May’s birthday comes in midsummer — the time of year when I live in Maine. She was always disappointed to have me miss her special day, but I solved the problem by making it a tradition to celebrate her birthday a month in advance. I make it festive, just like I do for the other grandchildren: decorations, a birthday banner, a fancy cake in her favorite color, party favors, and of course her gifts. She no longer mourns my absence — two birthdays a year is exciting for any child.

Photo Ops

Send inexpensive plastic cameras to your grandchildren and include pre-addressed, stamped padded envelopes for their easy return. Equipped with a camera, a child feels important and powerful and will gladly snap photos to share with Granny. When you ask your grandchildren to show you what their lives are like by taking pictures of their friends, pets, schools, or trips, you will surely get a response. Have parents mail the cameras back to you, so that you can get the film developed and share in their lives away from you. The next time the kids visit, you can talk about the pictures together.
Continue reading at http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/long-distance-grandparents/sshow-creative-ideas-long-distance-grandparents

6 Things To Never Say To A Bereaved Parent By Angela Miller

Naomi in the book of Ruth had many tragedies and challenges. Part of the pain in her life came from the death of her two sons. I cannot understand what a mother goes through in the death of her child. We at times try to comfort hurting parents. I came across this article on what to say to parents that are suffering after the death of a child. This article gives us some insight into what to say or not to say.

 

6 Things to Never Say to a Bereaved Parent:

If you’re a bereaved parent, you can probably count on at least five hands the number of phrases you wish people would never, ever say to you.  If only there was a way for the world to learn how to speak compassionately to the brokenhearted.  What many people believe is a comforting statement, most often is not.  It usually feels more like a slap in the face or a swift punch in the gut.  Or like an uncontrollable need to vomit.  Or all three at once.  There seems to be a large gap between intention and what’s actually being communicated to those of us who are hurting.

1)  Time heals all wounds.  

Last I checked in my journey of trekking through the unimaginable, time hasn’t been working any overtime hours “healing” me.  And even if on some far away planet time does heal all wounds, it doesn’t make it helpful or comforting to hear when suffering in a ditch.  Alone.  Without much hope or a rope.

Time can help soften and change some of the sharpness of grief, but time alone doesn’t heal.  Time + focused intention can create a current in the direction of healing, but triple underline this:  Not all wounds heal, no matter how much time passes.  Not every wound turns into a scar.  Not all suffering ends in this lifetime.  Yes, in time it might scab over, but the slightest bump or scratch can make it start to bleed all over again.  Ask any bereaved parent– he or she will tell you– child loss is a wound that won’t ever completely heal.  No matter how much time or good intention, living a life without one (or more) of your children is a wound that forever bleeds.  No matter how many band-aids cover it over time.

Try instead:  What would feel healing/helpful to you right now? ~ Is there any way I can help carry your burden? ~ What do you need most today? ~ I am with you.  Always.

2)  Let go… Move on.  You’d feel better if you let go/move on… You’re hanging onto him too much, that’s why you’re so sad…  If you’d just let go you could start living again…

Anything that implies “get over it” will only add more unnecessary pain and hurt to a bereaved parents’ already gaping, oozing wounds.  What on earth is left for grieving parents to “let go of” when they’ve already lost the most precious treasure of their entire life to death?  We’ve already been forced to let go of someone who we would’ve given our own life to keep.  The only thing we have left to hold onto is our child’s memory and our abiding love for him or her.  And in doing so we courageously move forward, but never do we move on.  Moving on implies not taking our child with us throughout the rest of our lives.  When someone tells me I need to “move on/let go”, I tell them to move on from my life because I will proudly carry my son with me everywhere I go.  If people have a problem with it, I have no problem letting them go.

Try instead:  Hold on to me.  I’ll walk with you every step of the way. ~ No matter how painful, I’ll be with you every breath you take apart from your child. ~ Tell me about your beautiful child.  What was he like?  What do you miss the most?

Read more at http://stillstandingmag.com/2014/01/6-things-never-say-bereaved-parent/

4 Life Lessons Every Grandparent Should Teach Their Grandkids by By Jennifer Kelly Geddes

Setting a good example for your grandchildren may seem like a no-brainer, but grandparents are uniquely positioned to teach some real life skills.

“Often grandparents can spend more quiet time with grandkids than parents, so this is a great opportunity to pass along a little wisdom,” suggests Karen Wrolson, M.S., a life coach and founder of Excite Ed!, an educational and motivational consultancy. Sitting, talking and really listening to your grandchildren as you share life lessons can make a big difference in how they live their lives—and often they’ll listen to you when they won’t listen to their parents. Four lessons you should teach…>>

 Lesson #1: Life isn’t always easy

What it teaches: Empathy. Tuning in to another person’s perspective is at the heart of empathy—and when taught correctly it might prevent future bullying.

How to begin: Doing a good turn for others is a classic way to explain empathy and also make a difference in your community. “Set up a regular volunteer activity so your grandchild can learn about people in need and see that he has the ability to change someone’s life for the better,” says Wrolson. Raking a neighbor’s leaves every week, helping to build a wheelchair ramp at a church or packing care bags for women and kids in a homeless shelter are just a few ways to start. As you work, share a time when you were in need of help or understanding. Your hard-earned experience on the receiving end of empathy makes the lesson real to your grandkids.

Lesson #2: Be thankful for everything

What it teaches: Gratitude. It’s more than just saying ‘thanks’ when someone hands you something. Strive to teach kids to appreciate all they have.

How to begin: “Have your grandchild thank people fully, going beyond a simple ‘thanks’, and express why they like the gift or how they’ll use it,” says Wrolson. Make a greater impact by reviving the ancient art of the thank-you note—still an important skill in the digital age—and help her to pen one. You could also make a point of expressing gratitude when you’re together, even for the smallest pleasures (green lights on the road, beautiful sunshine, a smile at the grocery store).

Read more at http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/discipline-and-behavior/life-lessons-for-kids?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl675&utm_content=html

20 Things a Mom Should Tell Her Son from awesomequotes4u.com

20 Things a mother should tell her son.

1. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.
2. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back.
3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody’s got to clean that up, you know.
4. Save money when you’re young because you’re going to need it someday.
5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.
6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.
7. Don’t ever be a bully and don’t ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.
8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.
9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it’s even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.