Archive for the ‘What My Kids Hear A Lot’ Category.

What my Kids Hear a Lot – “Not Helpful!”

Most of the time this is a way to simply remind my kids to get back on track when they are doing something like a handstand when I’ve asked them to do something else.  Other times, as in this case, it’s more serious and necessitates a teachable moment…

I was getting ready for a live radio interview via phone and reminding the kids that they needed to be completely quiet until I gave them the all clear.  One of my darlings condescendingly smacked the sibling with, “Yeah, do you think you are capable of that?!”

Definitely “NOT helpful!” 
On the contrary, it was hurtful!
I quickly reminded them that their tongues hold great power.   (Proverbs 18:21)

What were some better options? 
*If that child was concerned about the sibling being quiet, it could have been brought to my attention in a nicer way.
*That child could have encouraged the sibling by saying something like, “I know it’s really hard to be completely quiet, but we can help each other so Mom will be proud of us!”

From the topic of “Cooperation” in Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments, I found this related verse which helps turn “Not helpful!” into “Very helpful!” for this scenario.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

I can imagine my family encountering this conflicting signage
and saying in unison, “Not helpful!”

Not Helpful

Want to know what else my kids hear a lot?
Scroll through my blog series on the subject.
What do your kids hear a lot?

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I’m banishing “Practice Makes Perfect!”

As I am ever battling perfectionism, I was almost giddy when I heard my wise friend, Laura Zych, use a much improved version of “Practice makes perfect!”  It makes SO much more sense to say, “Practice makes better!”   She has no idea where she first heard it and it makes me wonder why it’s not more common of a saying.

Let’s start a new trend, folks! 
Let’s banish the notion of “perfect” and embrace “better” as the greater thing! 
Y’all with me?!

It’s helpful for me to remember that God does NOT say, “So whatever you do, do it perfectly.”
He says,

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
1 Corinthians 10:31

For more on the topic of Perfection, refer to your copy of Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

Click here to see the rest of the “What my kids hear a lot!” Series

PS – Even as I’m proofing this post, the perfectionist in me is itching to make my humble attempt at the image more perfect.  But, guess what?  I’m gonna’ let it go!  🙂




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What My Kids Hear a Lot: “Let’s thank God for what we have, not wish for what we don’t.”

There seems to be a theme of grand wishes this summer.  I’ve been hearing more than the usual sprinkling of petitions such as…
“Can we play longer?”   (Even though they’ve been playing all afternoon.)
“Can so and so spend the night?”  (Even though they are seeing each other all week at a day camp.)
“Can we go to Chick-fil-a?” (Even though we went the day before.)
And my personal favorite (read sarcastically), my son’s obsession with “Can we go to Hawaii?” (Even though we take great family vacations on the mainland.)
I cringe when the begging is followed by “Puhleeeeeeeaaaaase?!?!”

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind my children politely asking for things.  However, they must learn appropriateness of when asking is reasonable versus when it means excess.  The line was getting crossed often enough that I had to come up with a strategy to tackle it from two directions:  from the heart and from the practical side. 

From the heart –
“Let’s thank God for what we have, rather than wish for what we don’t!” has become my phrase of the season.  Depending on the situation, I change up the wording to fit.  For example, at the end of a playdate, when there is begging for the friends to come home with us, I’ll remind them, “Let’s thank God for the two hours we just spent with our friends rather than wishing for more.” 

As I was looking for verses to fit this situation, I found a gem under the “See Also” verses on the topic of “Thankfulness” in Parenting with Scripture.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.   Colossians 2:6-7

I love the phrase and imagery of “overflowing with thankfulness.”  If our hearts are brimming full with gratefulness, it’s hard to beg for more. 

From the practical side –
At first, I just tackled things from the heart.  I knew they understood the principle, but as time when on, I could tell that they needed tools to help them learn appropriateness.  Using the “heart principles” to help them understand the “why” behind these guidelines, I laid out the following…
– They may not ask for more time with friends when a playdate is over.
– There will be a limit of one sleepover a week during the summer.
– If we have already had a drive-through meal within the last week, they may not ask for it.
– We can dream of and discuss exotic vacations (who doesn’t?) but they may not ask for them.



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What My Kids Hear a Lot…”It’s a privilege.”

“It’s a privilege.”

A while back at Life Group, a couple of the moms were sharing how their young girls (Kinder and 1st Grade) agreed to request needed items for a children’s hospital in lieu of birthday presents.  We all enjoyed hearing how the birthday girls delivered the collected items to the hospital, took a tour, and learned about the needs they were meeting with their gifts.  We moms discussed how our children already have so much and how birthday parties seem to just add to the excess.  The question was posed about how to “encourage” this generous aspect of a birthday party.  Ok, I’ll fess up…I was the one that asked that.  I’ve tried to nudge my children in this direction in the past.  However, they are stuck on the tradition of how b-day parties “are supposed to be.”  So, what tips did these two moms have for moms like me?  One mom pointed out that the birthday girls still received surprises and items from their personal wish list as gifts from family members.  But then she took it deeper.  She added that on a regular basis, even with the basics, she and her husband remind their children that “it’s a privilege” to have these things.  “It’s a privilege to have these shoes, toys, this car, etc.”

The principle of “it’s a privilege” stuck in my mind.  How aware were my children that even the basics are privileges, let alone the extras?  Soon after was back-to-school shopping and that particular day we bought some necessities as well as a few fluff things because of a sale and coupon.  As we were heading out the door of the store, the kids were complaining about shopping.  Ah ha!  A teachable moment!  We got to the car and I reminded them that some families don’t have the money to do back to school shopping.  Here we were able to buy the things they truly needed as well as some fun things…and they were complaining?!   That was the beginning of my children hearing “it’s a privilege” in varying circumstances.

Later the same day, it came to my attention one of my children wasn’t taking care of a certain daily responsibility even though I had been reminding the child.  What a great opportunity to reinforce the earlier lesson of “it’s a privilege” with the idea that if we can’t take care of what we have, we certainly don’t need more!  Back into the bag went one of those “fluff” items to be returned to the store.  The child’s eyes got wide.  Nothing like an example that hits home to make the point and help the concept stick!

Understanding that the blessings in our lives are privileges can’t help but be tied to the topics of thankfulness and contentment.  So when I use the phrase, “It’s a privilege” I try to pull in one of those topical verses to the teachable moment.  Here are a few that are helpful…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 13:5a  – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.”

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”


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What My Kids Hear a Lot…”We don’t say that!”

I began thinking about this blog a couple of weeks ago as we were watching tv and a character used a phrase that my children aren’t allowed to say. Even though my kids know what words/phrases are wrong by this point, I still feel compelled to say, “We don’t say that!” whenever I hear them used on tv, movies, radio, etc.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached on the power of our words.  I realized that the next time I found myself using that phrase, it could be a “teachable moment” for deeper discussion regarding our mouths.

These are the nuggets from the sermon that I found helpful:

*Rather than always listing what we can’t say, let’s focus on what we can say!
*Words can be life-giving or death-like.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
*Particularly for my son, I like the imagery of wielding our words like a sword.  We can either cut with them or fight the good fight with them.   “Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18
*Our tongues are not tamable, but they are transformable.  See James 3:1-12.
*God made our mouths and He gave them power. Again, Proverbs 18:21 – “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
*”Because words have power, you reset the climate every time you speak.” – Gary Thomas from The Beautiful Fight.  Ephesians 4:29 sums this up well…”Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”


More helpful passages on the power of words:
Proverbs 16:23-24 – A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.  Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 12:25 – An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
Proverbs 21:23 – He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

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What my kids hear a lot…”Try Again!”

“Try again!”

No, this is not my simplified version of  “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
It’s most used when my children spout disrespectful talk or tone.
“Try again” offers them an opportunity to start over with a more appropriate tone or choice of words.

And truth be told, there are often times I should tell myself “try again!”

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   Psalm 19:14


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What my kids hear a lot! “Obey right away, all the way, & in a happy way.”

“Obey right away, all the way, and in a happy way.”
Not sure where this quote originated, but I heard it from a couple of moms a church before I even had children.
Pure brilliance in summing up obedience issues.

As I was searching for an image to add to this blog, I stumbled upon some fun ideas.  This site gives a number of fabulous, hands-on ideas for learning or reinforcing the following verse.   Make sure you scroll down far enough to get to the “Obey Sunday School Song” and you’ll have your chuckle for the day!

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:1-3


I thought of this series when I was blogging the entries for “Mom said it and now I’m saying it!”
These posts, sprinkled throughout the rest of the summer, will be things I say often that I bet my children will be repeating to their children.
I’d love to hear some of yours!  Please share!

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