Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Challenge Accepted! Challenge Smashed!

After 22 years, LOL the age of our oldest, my husband and I realized that we fell into the trap of commercialism. No, we knew it, we just turned our back on it and did what most of us do...kept buying. 

What brought this on? Cleaning out 1 of our children's closets and finding a Mario Kart race track, a lego set, as well as a few other must have toys that our children just "had" to have, all unopened. 

The day before, I stumbled across something called the 4 gift challenge again. I had seen it last year, but just scrolled past it because I had already begun my holiday shopping madness. This year, I didn't scroll past, I thought about it. After seeing the stack of toys, I searched for the challenge and then talked to my children about Christmas and how we have handled it so far...Shop, shop, shop, too many gifts, unwanted and untouched gifts, money down the drain. Then we talked about what it should be...family, love, our faith. 

I was a little surprised that my children all agreed. Surprised because they are typical kids, LOVE presents under a tree, and always have lists of stuff. 

They each found a spot to relax and thought, I mean seriously thought about what to put on their lists. I was touched to see that on their want list, was to have their older AF sister home for Christmas. I also realized that they took greater care when thinking up what to get or do for Daddy for his gift. 

For my husband and I, we noticed that we are not stressed in line this holiday season. I haven't had 1 minute of, "Did I get everything? Did I get enough? I spent how much!?" We have had more game nights, movie nights, and more chit chatting.

I was telling a friend about the challenge the other day and was surprised at her response, "I wish I could do that." When I asked her why she couldn't, she said that her "kids would never go for that." Speechless. I never worried whether my kids would go for it, I did wonder if I could stick with it, if I could get it through my head that more doesn't mean better. I did. 

Challenge accepted. Challenge smashed. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Would You Care?

This has nothing  to do with cancer. 
If I told you that there were students in public schools who were crying out for attention from you, their parents...Would you care?
If I told you that students as young as elementary age, were talking about and becoming sexually active...Would you care?
If I told you that students are coming in to a new grade reading well below grade level..Would you care?
If I told you that, while there are people in the school system that are only there for a paycheck, the majority of us are working hard trying to climb mountains within a school year and need your help to make it happen...would you care?
If I told you that there are students who show the toughest demeanor on the outside of straight attitudes, disrespect, fight or flight, but they really only want to be loved and made to feel that they are worthy of someone's respect and love...Would you care?
If I told you that this is not a black issue, not a white issue, this is a problem of every school in every district...Would you care?

I could not figure out why I have been feeling so heavy in my heart, feeling like the weight of a world is on my shoulders, and wondering if I am really successful at what I do, until this morning. 

Think about getting involved. Step into a school and ask to help out. Start a mentoring program in your community. When a child sits in your seat for a haircut, ask them to read to you. When they come in to shop, ask them about their future goals, their present academic performance. When they get in your car to go home, put down the phone and pick up a conversation. When you sit down for dinner, turn the tv off and talk. Instead of being a friend, be a parent and set boundaries, give them expectations and help them reach them. Think about coaching little league. Donate or set up a scholarship to pay even for just 1 child to play sports or join a program that they otherwise wouldn't do. Just please get involved. If we don't check into our child's lives, why would we think they will find importance in themselves. Please help us save our children. I promise you, the rewards of their growth, smiles, success, hugs, and respect, are COMPLETELY WORTH IT.