The 5 P’s for Family Meetings

“That’s it!  Family Meeting RIGHT NOW!”  This is how our Family Meetings used to come about.  They were mainly a we-can’t-take-this-anymore type of meeting where we basically ripped them a new one.  Our Family Meetings used to be more out of desperation for control in the chaos than anything else.  Now they are more intentional.

Over the past few years, as we have developed the Teamwork Parenting Approach, we have been implementing The Family Meeting Tool by having regularly scheduled Family Meetings.  Every Monday night after dinner, bath, and pajamas, we gather around the kitchen table for a little snack and our weekly team meeting.

They have been so helpful and powerful–especially with the 4 P’s we focus on each time to help our team…our family…be stronger…

  1. PRAISE:  It’s so important for any strong team to focus on what they’re doing well.  This is simply a time to focus on the positive things about our family.  We all take turns sharing what we’ve enjoyed doing together, what we feel has been going smoothly, or any ways we have improved as a family over the past week.
  2. PLAN:  Strong teams take time to plan ahead.  Families who know what’s coming up in their week can work better to get the things done that need to get done.  We share any events, birthdays, special occasions, school outings, or activities. We also make a point to have one special family time on the calendar. I truly believe that the key to a strong family is spending time together.  Oh and we also share with our kids when we have a date night coming up too.  It’s so important for our kids to know that we invest in our marriage and make it a priority.
  3. PRACTICE:  All great teams need practice.  Our families need practice too. I keep a Family Meeting Agenda sheet on our refrigerator so that any family member can jot things down that our family needs to practice.  Some recent items on our agenda? Respecting the “No”, Things I Can and Can’t Control, Listening and Obeying, What To Do and NOT Do While We Are on the Phone, What To Do Instead of Losing Your Cool, etc.  It’s been incredibly helpful to give our kids these tools in advance during calm times instead of feeling out of control and resorting to anger and yelling during the crazy times.  It’s really about being more proactive instead of reactive.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to keep my cool and say: “Remember what we practiced at our Family Meeting. How can you Respect her ‘No’?”  And then they remember that they have the tools to Respect her ‘No’ by saying “Ok, I’m disappointed you’re not going to play.  If you change your mind, I will be in the basement playing something else” because we’ve practiced it together in advance!  How awesome is that?  Giving kids the tools they will need to resolve conflict, stand up for themselves, solve problems, and respect others will help them in our family teams, but will also help them in life!
  4. PRAY:  A family who prays together…stays together. I love it when my team…my family…holds hands around the table and prays over our week.  We take time to pray over the skills we practiced, over any requests the kids have, and we always pray that the Leeb family would be God’s love and light in this world.
  5. PLAY: I also believe strongly that a family who PLAYS together…stays together. After each family meeting, we play a game together. It’s a great way to end our meeting–laughing and having fun together.

After our meeting is over, we always huddle together, put our hands in the middle and say: “Go Leebs!”  Then we do a big team hug.

Our meetings aren’t perfect.  Sometimes we’ve had to end them early and send the kids to bed and try again the next night, but we keep going.  We keep meeting.  We keep gathering together as a team each and every week.

If you’d like to get started on your own Family Meetings, here are a few quick tips:

  • Let your kids know that these meetings are a chance to make your family a better and stronger team.
  • Start small–especially while your kids are small. You can start with just 3 P’s–Praise, Pray, and Play and build from there.
  • Assure your older kids that they will have a chance to share what concerns they have too.
  • Set up clear and firm expectations and consequences for behavior at the meetings in advance.
  • Keep the meeting on the same day and time each week if possible.
  • Keep it short, light-hearted, and as encouraging as possible.
  • Always have a snack.  LOL!

Lord, Your word reminds us that where two or more are gathered together in Your name, You are with them. (Matthew 18:20) Provide the opportunity for our families to gather in Your name and unite, talk, share, laugh, learn, and grow to be all that You created them to be.

Here’s to building better families together–

Christine

Respecting the “No”

The Phrase Tool is an important tool in parenting. Using the same short phrases over and over to teach a character trait can help us be able to be more effective in our parenting. Instead of reaching for the right words to say or instead of using long lectures, we can just use the same words and phrases over and over and then take time to practice what they mean.

  • “Gentle hands, please.”
  • “Use kind words, please.”
  • “Work as a team, please.”

“Respect the ‘No'” is a phrase we have had to use a lot lately in our home.

Why is “No” such a tough word for our kids to hear? Sometimes when I say “No” to my kids, you would think that I told them that I was going to pluck every hair off of every square inch of their bodies with tweezers.

Why is “No” so difficult for kids and how can we help them respect it more without melting down and losing their minds…and making us lose ours?

Here are 5 ways to use the Teamwork Parenting Approach to teach our kids to “Respect the ‘No'”:

  1. Use “No’s” Sparingly:  I’m certainly not a “Yes” parent, but I do watch how often I say “No”, and I also make sure that I’m not just saying “No” because it’s an inconvenient or annoying request.  Sometimes I will go out of my way to say “Yes” more often even if it is just in saying:  “Yes, in a little while…” instead of “No, not right now.”  See what I did there?
  2. Respect their “No”:  When we respect our kids “No’s” and their own personal boundaries, they will be more likely to respect ours.  When they ask us kindly to stop doing something, we should stop.  In fact, we can also say:  “You’re right.  I’m going to Respect your ‘No’.” What a great example we can set!
  3. Help kids recognize the different kinds of “No’s”.  The two phrases we use to teach our kids the different kinds of “No’s”are: “Never No’s” and the “Not-Right-Now No’s”.  A “Never No” can be more difficult to overcome, because what they are asking for will most likely never happen and that can be devastating to a child…even when their request is to run out into the street naked.    A “Not-Right-Now No”, however, is a great “No” to get because our kids will be able to do what they’ve asked to do…eventually.  Learning the difference will help them discover that they actually receive more “Not-Right-Now No’s” than they do “Never No’s.”
  4. Teach coping strategies:  With a “Never No”, you can empathize with them and teach them strategies to cope:  taking deep breaths, asking for a hug, getting some space in their room, washing their face, getting a drink of water, etc.  With a “Not-Right-Now No”, focus on the wonderful opportunity they have to exercise the skill of patience.  We even keep a Patience List  with some ideas of constructive things they can do with their time while they’re waiting.  We even say: “Thank you for Choosing Patience (another phrase we use often).  What did you choose to do with your time while you waited?”
  5. Teach them what to say:  Time and time again, “Respecting the ‘No'” is on our weekly Family Meeting agenda because our kids need constant practice in what to say when they hear a “No”.  We will give them this example:  “You ask your brother to play and he says ‘No’.  How can you Respect his ‘No’?”  We listen to their ideas and lead them to say something like:  “Ok, I’m disappointed.  I’m going to play something else.  Let me know if you change your mind.”

No matter what kind of “No” our kids receive from us, from others, or from this world, let’s equip them with some powerful strategies to handle to be able to “Respect the No.”

Lord, you ask us to wait often.  We don’t always get what we want when we want it and neither should our children. Remind us that we are not only teaching our kids about living in this world when we teach them to Respect the “No’s”, but we are also teaching them about living a life of faith.  We are not just teaching them to live under our loving authority, but we are teaching them to live under Yours—respecting Your “Never No’s” and “Not-Right-Now No’s” too. 

Here’s to building better families together-

Christine

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers

Spills, homework errors, unmade beds, forgotten backpacks, lost sweatshirts, classroom warnings, and sassy tones.  These are just a few ways my kids have messed up this week alone!

Kids make mistakes!  Heck, we make mistakes too.

It’s hard for this perfectionist to admit, but EVERYONE makes mistakes.  And it’s so important that we teach our kids how to deal with them because they have, do, and always will make them.

3 Ways to Help Our Kids Be Good Mistake-Makers…
1.  Keep a calm voice:  Don’t lose our cool.  As much as we want to yell (and I have made that mistake many times), let’s try to take a deep breath and stay calm.  Sometimes just our reaction alone can create fear and anxiety over mistakes.  They may even try to hide them from us if we go all crazy on them.  Mistakes help them learn.  Mistakes are simply teachable moments.  Let’s repeat that to ourselves over and over.  It certainly helps me!

2.  Use teamwork:  What if they forget their backpack?  Do we rush it to school for them? No. We let them forget it and ask:  “I noticed you forgot your backpack today.  How did you solve that problem?  And how can you solve that problem for tomorrow?  Can I be helpful in any way?”  This puts the problem-solving power on them but also lets them know that you are there to help if they need you!  Kids must learn to figure out how to fix their own mistakes.  Teach them.  Don’t punish them.  Empower them.  Don’t embarrass them.  Oh and my favorite checklists are perfect for helping with forgetfulness by the way.

3.  Admit your own mistakes:  One of the most beautiful things my kids have said to me when I’ve apologized for a mistake I made (which is often, I might add) is:  “It’s OK, Mommy.  Everyone makes mistakes.”  Adults are mistake-makers too and the more kids see how we tell the truth, apologize, and problem-solve to “fix” our mistakes with confidence and without panic, the more they will become great mistake-makers too.

Lord, you call us to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave us. (Ephesians 4:32)  As we guide our kids in making mistakes, give us grace to be kind, patience to be tenderhearted, and love to be forgiving.  And always give us the wisdom to teach.  Mistakes help us learn and grow to be more like You!

Here’s to building better families—

Christine

5 Ways to Help Our Kids Feel Important

Besides “I love you”, our kids need to hear two more things from us…

“You belong.”  
and
“You are significant.”  

For some kids saying “I love you” isn’t enough.  And you guessed it, for some kids saying “You belong” and “You are significant” just isn’t enough either.

In these cases, actions truly do speak louder than words.  As parents, how can we show our kids that we love them, that they belong, and that they are significant?

Well, I wish I could say I could give you the exact formula that every child needs, but I can’t.  What I can do is offer you just a few simple actions to get you started…

1.  Pray for them:  First and foremost, they need to know that they are children of God.  Ask Him to open their eyes to see how they are loved by Him, how they belong to Him, and how significant they are to Him–that they have a special purpose that only they can fulfill!  Ask God for wisdom for each child.  He loves them (even more than we do).  He created them and knows exactly how they are wired.  Pray for Him to guide your words and actions for what each child needs.

2.  Have Special Time:  To kids, our time means significance.  Our time means they belong…they matter…they are important.  Our time means love.  Make it a goal to not let one day go by without connecting with your child in some way. Whether it’s reading a book, asking them bedtime questions, rubbing their back, throwing a ball, etc.  Find something that works for each child and your schedule.  (And if your schedule is too busy to connect, ask yourself what you can cross off your to-do list so that you have more time to connect.)

3.  Have Monthly Dates:  One idea a mom shared with me is for the day of the month that each child was born, do a special date night with that child.  Oh my goodness do my kids LOVE this and look forward to it each month!!!

4.  Put Them Above Things:  Your kids need to know that they are more important than a broken glass, a broken toy, a stained shirt or even our phones!!  You can always replace those things but your kids are irreplaceable.  Help them clean up the mess, fix the toy, or put stainstick on their shirt.  No big deal.  And when they talk to you, put your phone down and give them the eye contact and respect they deserve (I’m preaching to myself here too!)

5.  Work as a Team:  Ask for their opinions when appropriate—meals, restaurants, vacations, movie for family movie night, etc.  Do things as a family—clean up the house together, serve the community, pray, eat meals, etc.  Work together to figure out how to solve problems in your family–too much fighting, back talk, disrespect, yelling, etc.  “Kids-this isn’t working for our family.  I would love to hear your ideas of how we can do ______________better.  Then, we will come up with a plan and work together!”

Lord, give us moments to show our kids we love them.  Give us opportunities to teach them that they belong to You and to our family.  And challenge us to put our kids above the things of this world.  Help us plant seeds that grow significance in their hearts.  

Here’s to building better families—

Christine

When Our Kids Don’t Want to Go to School–4 Tools to Try

My daughter is really struggling being away from me every day for Kindergarten.  She loves it once she gets there and gets her day going in her classroom but dropping her off is just heartbreaking.  She’s the kid screaming and crying and running back to hug me one more time and clinging to my leg.  Today, they had to have two teachers pull her down the hallway to her classroom.  She was screaming and crying the whole time.

It’s HARD!  That’s how my day starts…every day!  It totally brings me back to the days when I didn’t want to leave my mom for school either.  In fact, my mom reminded me of the time when I locked her out of the car.  Of course, she was wearing a robe and curlers in her hair in her version of the story.  School was a struggle for me, and now it’s a struggle for my little girl.

In praying for wisdom, here’s what I’ve done, realized, said, or tried.  If you have kids struggling with school or any kind of separation anxiety, I hope these tips helps you too…

First of all, our job as parents isn’t to change our children’s emotions.  Our job isn’t to convince our kids to want to do something.  Our job isn’t to be pushy and demanding nor telling them they should feel a certain way.  “School is fun!”  “You should be happy to go!”  “You love to see your friends.”  “You always have so much fun once you get there.”  Not helpful.

Our job isn’t to make them feel shameful for how they feel “Stop it. You are the only kid crying.”  “Look at you–you’re the ONLY KID crying!”  Our job isn’t to compare them to other kids “Look–all your friends are going in without crying.”  We definitely don’t want to plant the seed of “you do something because ALL the other kids are/aren’t doing it”.  Our children are unique individuals with their own unique feelings.

We want to be a safe person who our kids can come to no matter how they feel.  I don’t like it when someone tries to change how I feel or tells me I should or shouldn’t feel a certain way.  I just want to be listened to…understood…empathized with.  Our kids need the same from us.  Our job is to empathize with them and teach them strategies for what to do when they do feel anxious.

Empathy Tool

  1. THE EMPATHY TOOL 
  • “I totally understand how you feel. Let’s talk more about why you feel that way.”
  • “I’m here to listen.  Tell me how you’re feeling.”
  • “I know how you feel.  I used to feel upset or a little nervous about going to school too. Do you want a hug?”
  • “It’s ok to be sad. Tell me more about your sad feelings.

Allowing kids to express their emotions actually helps to release their emotions (not suck them in and store them up for later). Plus, if you say these things with affection…you are helping their brains calm. Plus, empathy doesn’t create a power struggle like convincing does and it gives our kids the power to express their emotions and calm down when they’re ready…not because we are making them.

Prayer Tool

2.  THE PRAYER TOOL

“Let’s pray together.”  Remind them that God’s love and presence is always with them.   They are never alone.  He is always there to comfort them when they are sad or feel lonely.  Help them find comfort in God’s word.  Give them empowering Bible verses to memorize or write them down and put them in their backpack. The verse I used for separation anxiety was from Joshua 1:9–Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord, Your God, is with you wherever you go.

Reminding our kids that they can rely on God for comfort and peace can empower them to be confident for anything!

The Teamwork Tool

3.  THE TEAMWORK TOOL

Let’s remind our kids that, just like God, we love them and are here to work as a team to figure out a way to make going to school better.  Especially when it’s something kids have to do, we can say:  “I totally understand you don’t want to go.  You don’t have to want to go, but you are going to go to school. Let’s work as a team to help make it better.”  I used this tool with my daughter and we came up with a list of things she can do.  Remember, it’s not me forcing her not to cry, it’s me comforting her and helping her to feel strong and capable in finding a solution.

  • To help her remember that I’m always in her heart and she’s always in mine, we decided that we could give each other “heart hugs”.  I told her whenever she felt warmth in her heart, that was me giving her a “heart hug” from home and she could do the same for me.
  • To help her feel close to me, we decided she could keep a picture of me or a picture of our family in an envelope for her to look at throughout the day.

Age Tool (4)

4.  THE AGE TOOL

Every day, our kids are a day older.  And every day, we can look at that day as an opportunity to try anything again.  So, yes, even though they cried yesterday at drop-off, doesn’t mean that they will or that they have to cry today.  “You’re a day older today…how do you feel about going to school today? Do you think you’re old enough to walk to your classroom on your own?”  I’m not trying to teach her to stop crying.  Remember it’s OK for our kids to be sad…it’s OK for them to miss us.  We are in no way trying to teach them that expressing their emotions are bad.  But it’s the process of teaching them coping skills for when they do feel sad.

And my daughter absolutely can still cry and be sad, but it’s the fit-throwing and having to be dragged down the hallway by several teachers into her classroom that we are trying to help her through.  I want to teach her to be sad, but to also be brave at the same time and show self-control.  Boldness and bravery are not in the absence of sadness. They can coexist.

Kids need to know that every day, they are a day older and every day they get more and more capable, smart and confident to learn, grow, and improve.

Kids need to feel empowered that they can solve their problems and that we will be someone to comfort them, pray for them, and work as a team with them to find a solution to ease their angst.

I can’t be pushy with my daughter even though I want her to go in the school without making a scene.  Pushing her–or any strong-willed kid–before she’s ready will only make things worse.  It’s certainly not easy, but I do have peace that if I can be patient and focus on teaching her and empowering her…one day, she will stop crying at drop-off when she’s ready…and not a second sooner.  This is her journey, and I’m just here to teach her, be patient with her, and help her through it.

Lord, give our kids the confidence they need in You.  Bring peace to their anxious hearts and help us to be there to pray for them, bless them with Your word, love them, and encourage them.  

Here’s to building better families—

Christine

When It’s Hard to Let Them Go

How is it possible that my daughter started kindergarten today????  It’s not the first time we’ve been down this kindergarten road, but it wasn’t any easier.  I think I’m just struggling with how fast it all went.

She didn’t do preschool so this is the first time she is going to be away from me for this long…ever!

Choosing to keep her home with me for so long, I figured I had so much time and I would be ready, but then Zip…zing…bam!   One minute she was a little baby burrito with a sleep sack that I was rocking to sleep and the next minute, she’s a big girl with a backpack that I was walking to school.  I thought I would be ready, but I wasn’t.

My heart was pounding when my husband and I took her into her classroom.  I just wanted to stay and watch her and see what she was doing and learning and saying and experiencing.  With one last hug, I didn’t want to let her go…ever!

She was my little boopy, my little snuggle bug, my little shugs.

I didn’t want to walk out of the classroom.  I held back the tears until I was out in the hallway and then the flood came.  My husband and I hugged each other and we cried.   I felt so helpless.

Whether it’s to a day care provider, preschool, grade school, middle school, high school, college, work, off with friends, or on their first day of kindergarten… anytime our kids walk out the door…anytime we let them go, there is definitely a sense of powerlessness.

  • Will they make good choices?
  • Will they be safe?
  • Will they be bullied?
  • Will they stand up for themselves?
  • Will they be strong enough to stand up for someone else?
  • Will they be kind and loving?
  • Will they respect others?
  • Will they respect themselves?

The questions and worries can be overwhelming but we have to learn that no matter what phase of life our children are in, we can always trust them in the loving Hands of the One who created them.

As I walked home, leaving my little girl in that big school…all I could do was pray (and cry).

Prayer—a powerful act all of us parents can do for our kids all day…every day…and especially in moments of powerlessness.

Have you prayed for your child today? 

Let me share a prayer I pray every day over my kids…

Lord, bless them.  Keep them safe and healthy.  Watch over them and guide them.  Help them to make kind and loving choices for themselves and for others. And may they know that they have a very special purpose in this world and so does everyone else.  Remind them that they are Your love and light!

Here’s to building better families—
Christine

12 Ways to Teach Kids to Fail Well

Tired of being walked too many times in Little League, my son decided that he was going to swing the bat.

He learned very quickly that swinging…although it can result in getting a hit…can also result in getting an out.  And that…he didn’t like so much.

I watched him make a great hit only for it to get caught…out.  Then, the next time he was up to bat, he got another great hit only to get caught again…out.

I wish I could tell you that he took it well, but he didn’t.  Every time he got an out, he came out of the dugout, with his hat over his eyes, and sobbed in my arms.  “I wish I didn’t even swing the bat!” he grumbled.

Oh dear.

I am more of a “get over it kid” kind of mom, but this time, I just hugged him and let him cry and be upset.  In his world, I knew this was important and I just needed to be there for him…not lecture him like I wanted to.

Then, after the game (the slaughter) was over and it was time for his team to walk through the line of high fives with the other team, I watched as my son refused to give them high fives.  I was mortified as we have always taught him to be a good sport and no matter what–whether you win or lose–you always, always, always shake the other team’s hands and say “good game.”  And HE DIDN’T DO IT!

Well, let me tell you, I wanted to run out there and drag him over to the other team and make him shake their hands..no, hug them all and embarrass the crap out of him, but I didn’t.  Maybe I should have.

I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t angry at him, but I can’t.  I was angry. I was disappointed and I felt like I hadn’t done my job as a parent.  I felt like somehow I had failed.  But then I realized…yes, I have worked with him on losing…yes, I have worked with him on being a good sport…but I just simply needed to review.  More teaching…more training…more praying. That’s all.  It wasn’t failure on either of our parts.

At bedtime that night, we reviewed my son’s value beyond the hits, catches, pitches…beyond the strikes, balls, errors, and outs.  We reassured him that what mattered more than any of those things was what was in his heart.  God lives in his heart and makes him special and loves him no matter what…and so did we!  We also informed him that he would be writing an apology letter to the other team as well as to his own team for showing poor sportsmanship.  And we added “Failing Well” for our next family meeting’s agenda.

Teaching our kids to fail well is tough, but it’s also our job.  Training our kids to accept defeat, make mistakes, and move on should start early and never stop.  No matter how old they are, our kids are always needing introductory courses as well as refresher courses on everything–and I mean everything!  In fact, we just had to have a Hand-Washing Seminar review at our last family meeting.  🙂  So failure needs to be our focus once again.

Because in life, it’s not a matter of “will our kids fail” but “when will our kids fail.”  And we want them to grow in confidence in who they are and in who God created them to be so they will continue to not only step up to the plate, but also swing the bat.

Here are some practical ways to teach kids to fail well…

  1. playing board games or kick ball as a family so they have opportunities to win and lose.
  2. having them color outside the lines.
  3. building blocks together and knocking them over.
  4. celebrating when they at least try.
  5. encouraging them to try something new.
  6. Building something together and then making improvements on it.
  7. laughing together over silly mistakes.
  8. watching our own anger level when mistakes are made–remember to teach more and yell less.
  9. asking “What did you learn from this?”
  10. saying “Uh oh.  Let’s try again.”
  11. saying “I’m so proud of you for trying.”
  12. Asking “What can you do differently next time?”

Lord, you are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15).  Fill us with compassion and mercy when our kids make mistakes. Help us to be slow to anger and quick to teach and love.  And even when they may fail, remind us that Your love and faithfulness never does.

Here’s to building better families together-
Christine

When Our Kids Complain

My oldest complains about everything.  Seriously, we could tell him that we’re going to a park or going out for ice cream and he would find something to complain about.  It’s really frustrating.

Of course, I want my son to be able to express his opinions about how he feels.  Of course, I want him to know that it’s OK to have thoughts and feelings that are different than everyone else.  Of course, I want him to know that it’s OK to not want to do something or go somewhere.

But complaining about everything was getting exhausting.

When kids are babies, they “complain” by crying or throwing a fit when they have a need or don’t get their way, and it’s our job to teach them to use their words instead of melting down.

We guide them by giving them their “lines.”

“Mommy, could I please have more juice?” 

Not that they will get more juice, but we are at least giving them the right words to say to be kind and respectful when they make their request.

When kids can use their words as they get older, then what?  Do we still give them their lines?

Absolutely, we do!  Not only do we give them the words, we give the tone at which to say those words too, right?

The tone we use means just as much, if not more, than the words we say.  

So when my son does complain about going to get ice cream (as crazy as it is), instead of getting angry and frustrated at him like I used to, I calmly and respectfully say:

  • “Can you try to say it again in a respectful way?”  This gives him an opportunity to think about how he is sharing his opinion if he didn’t share it respectfully with his words and tone the first time.   I will happily give him his lines if he can’t think of what to say or how to say it.
  • “I understand that getting ice cream may not be your favorite thing to do right now.”  This validates his feelings.
  • “And you don’t have to want to come.”  This respects his opinion and lets him know that I’m not out to change it.
  • “But you are a member of our family and we love you, so you will be joining us but you don’t have to eat ice cream or have fun if you don’t want to.”  (Can you believe that I actually have said these words???)  This again respects his opinion not to eat ice cream.  This also reinforces our unconditional love for him and our desire to spend time with him no matter what!

We may not always understand why our kids complain about things that don’t need to complain about or why they have the opinions that they have.  And we sure can’t make our kids want to do something.

In fact, it’s not our job to change our kids’ opinions at all. It’s our job to respect their opinions and to teach them how to share their opinions in a way that respects us.

And more importantly, it’s our job to show them that we love them unconditionally and want to be with them…even if they complain and don’t want to eat ice cream with us.

Lord, thank you for the gift of our words and our ability to express them in a way that honors You.  May we always model gracious words to our children.  May they be like a honeycomb–sweet to their souls.  May they bring health to their bodies (Proverbs 16:24).  Remind us that we say matters.  Guide us in teaching our kids about the power of their own words and expressing their own opinions without complaining but with respect and with love.  

**And by the way, when I’ve learned to respect my son’s opinion and not try to change it, my son has eaten ice cream with us every single time.  🙂

Here’s to building better families–
Christine