What You Need to Know if You’re Waiting for Rain

Out here in West Texas, we are parched.  The earth is dry and cracked.  The grass is yellow and the trees wilt for want of moisture.   Rain clouds come and go.  We watch them disappear in the endless horizon, praying that the hot wind will carry in another batch that will let loose the torrential rain that we need.  There’s no end in sight.  Yet, we pray, and we trust, and we sing “Showers of Blessing” on Sunday while the sun beats down on the church roof.

West Texas lakes are evaporating into thin air.  The once murky,  fish-filled bottoms of everyone’s favorite fishing holes and boating playgrounds are now baking in the sun like everything else.  But, this week, at the bottom of one of those lakes, a small forgotten pioneer town rose from the depths.

It was called Halsell.  People began moving in there in the 1860s, and it was officially established as a town in 1900.  People have been water skiing over the remains of the place since the mid-1960s when the 16,000 acre lake was built right over the site.

Since the drought has revealed the remnants of the little town once again, curious residents of the surrounding area have gone searching for artifacts among the ruins.  Not only have they discovered the foundation of the once two-story school house, but they found small reminders that life once flourished in this place, hidden for so many years by the dark waters of Lake Arrowhead.  All these years, a little slice of pioneer history lay buried under the water, and it took the worst drought in the past 60 years to bring these fascinating little artifacts back to the surface again.

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Water is good.  We need lots more of it.  But, when drought does come, it can make us thankful for different things, can’t it?  It can help us look out over a bleak and brown landscape and still see the beauty in a bluebird’s stark contrast to his surroundings.  It can help us appreciate the little green weeds that pop up amid the yellow grass.  It can help us savor every drop of a rain shower, no matter how quickly it passes.  And, sometimes, if we’re really lucky, it can help us rediscover a little pioneer town that has long been forgotten.

Someday it will start raining around here again, and it won’t stop.  It will rain and rain and things will turn green and flowers will bloom and our lakes will splash right back up to the docks and the grassy embankments that will be teeming with lush green foliage of all kinds.  But, even when that happens we won’t be free of times of drought.  Because sometimes drought comes into our lives in other ways.  Maybe through the death of someone we love.  A divorce.  Mental illness. Doubt.  A sick child.  Loneliness.  And, in those times of drought we cry out to God to rain His healing, love, and mercy into our lives.  He will.  But, there is value in the times of drought.

Sometimes when we are parched and weary and feel like we’re going to dry up and blow away, the drought reveals some things about us that have been long hidden.  Compassion, maybe.  Humility.  Forgiveness.  They rise out of the depths of our souls like a little forgotten pioneer town.  And, we mine them to find the goodness of God, inside us all the while, but buried and forgotten.

Some things just can’t be found in the deep waters of everything’s-fine.  But, in the dry places?  You just never know what might surface.  We can trust the One who does know.  In luscious growth and in all the parched patches, He knows what He’s doing.

A Glass of Warm Milk With a Dash of Guilt

I love my children more than my life.  I have fun with them.  I enjoy being a mother.  I don’t often yell.  I don’t ignore them all day.  I don’t wish I were someplace else when they’re around.

But, still, ever since I became a mother I end almost every day with a sense of guilt.

Why did I look at my computer so much?  Why did I make that sarcastic remark?  Why did I feed them too many sweets and not enough vegetables?  Why didn’t we go have a picnic?  Why didn’t I make them do math?  Why am I so strict?  Why am I so lenient? Why didn’t I hug them more?  Why didn’t we do crafts? Why?  Why?  Why?

If I let my own brain go unchecked at day’s end, I have a vague sense of guilt that just sits in the pit of my stomach at bedtime.  Sometimes I can’t even pick a specific thing to be guilty about, other than I generally should’ve looked into their eyes more during the day.  This, coming from a woman who spends all day and all night with her three children every single day.

So, I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with it.

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But, there is hope for mamas.  We don’t have to turn motherhood into a pit of great despair as we grieve over all we wish we had or hadn’t done during a day.  Because God fills in the gaps in our mothering.  He smooths over our rough places.  He is the God who works through our weaknesses, who uses our humility for His glory.  He loves our children far more than we do, and He is at work in our families, even if we aren’t having our best day.

And, we are not meant to live a life filled with guilt or worry, but joy.  Because, as the Proverb (31) reminds us, God can help us laugh at the days to come (and the day we just had) instead of grieving over it.  When there is need to repent, we should.  When we are just nitpicking ourselves to death and comparing ourselves to what we see on Facebook and Pinterest, we should forget it.

One of my favorite quotes was given to me by a good friend after I had a day of particularly bad decision-making.  I often go back to it and let it remind me that with God, each day dawns bright with hope.  Every moment is a fresh start.  And, He makes every day another chance to glorify Him, whether it be through our strengths or our weaknesses.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Carry on, mamas.  And, remember that at the end of each day, there is only one thing to do with that guilt.  Lay it at the feet of Jesus.

And, sleep well.

What You’re Really Saying When You Say, “Don’t Judge”

Sin is hard to talk about.  It’s hard to bring up.  There were times in history when a Christian would be expected to be opposed to doing certain things, based on her belief in the Bible.  But, those days seem to have passed.  Now it seems that Christians aren’t allowed to be opposed to anything because in saying that there’s anything out there that we SHOULDN’T do, we are, by default, somehow “judging” someone who is doing those things.

I have experienced this myself in blogging.  If I write a post calling myself and my fellow Christians to refrain from engaging in behavior or thinking or attitudes that the Bible clearly says are sinful, the first objection to the post will be a comment telling me that I can’t judge.  That I must think I’m perfect.  That I have a holier-than-thou attitude.  That Jesus wouldn’t judge.  That only God can judge.  That I am turning people away from Christianity.  That this is what’s wrong with Christians.  That I should stop forcing my opinions on others.

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But, here’s the truth about the ever popular cry, “Don’t judge me.”  What you are really saying is, “Don’t look at my sin.”  It is an attempt to deflect attention from the truth of the sin problem.

When we are confronted with our sin, it hurts.  We’re embarrassed and convicted.  But, most of all, we justify our sin in our minds.  We explain to ourselves all of the reasons that what we’re doing isn’t so bad.  And, one of our favorite justifications is, “Well, they shouldn’t be judging me, anyway.  Who do they think they are?”  And, we think back on every imperfect thing we’ve ever seen them do (or if they’re a stranger, we imagine all of the imperfect things), and we make the whole thing about how this person has committed the ultimate offense of daring to talk about what anyone may be doing.

All the while, we are managing to draw attention away from the sin that we should be confronting in our own lives.

I don’t write or speak in order to judge anyone.  I do it because talking about the Bible is what Christians do.  Looking for better and more fruitful ways to live the Christian life is what we do.  Thinking through sin struggles and trust issues and a general lack of holiness is what we must do in order to grow in Christ.

Basically, though, it is really irrelevant whether one of my blog posts makes you feel judged or not.  The real question is:  is sin sin?  And, does it need to be cut out of our lives?

If you believe the Bible and want to live according to God’s standards, then you must agree that sin is bad and God hates it.  So, don’t follow the trend of using “Judge not lest you be judged” as your answer to every call to live in purity and holiness.  In doing that you are completely missing the forest for the trees.  You may be harshly judged from all sides for your choices.  Me, too.  But, we can’t refuse to hear the truth that someone may be speaking to us just because we feel judged.

After all, we all make judgments, every single day.

However, you are right in thinking that only God can really judge you.  His word does.  And, it also offers grace and mercy and love and the only remedy for our sin:  Jesus Christ.  When He lives in us, we have the power to change, to cut out those sins that keep us from knowing our Savior more.  But, not if we are so offended by the truth that we refuse to listen to it.

Sin hurts us.  It hurts others.  It hurts our relationship with God.  And, a big part of our job as Christians is to hold each other accountable to the truth of the Bible.  Call it judging if you want.  But, don’t miss the point.  Look beyond your defenses and examine yourself.  And, don’t let the “judging” messenger kill the truth of the message in your heart.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Too Cool for Ski School

Originally posted October 3, 2012.

Once I went skiing. My wonderful in-laws invited Chad and me to tag along right after Christmas one year. Chad’s sister came along, too, and I was really pumped about my first skiing adventure.

The Edgingtons skiied a lot while the kids were young. Chad and his brother and sister are all excellent skiiers. His dad is, too, of course, and even his mother, who took a lot of ribbing for stopping the ski lifts as she tried to get out of her seat every time, was good enough to go up on the mountain and enjoy herself.

Chad and I went to a used sporting goods place to stock up on clothes and supplies. I pictured myself turning out like the women you see on TV in their tight little black ski pants and coordinated jacket, gloves, hats, and cool goggles. How I ended up looking was something akin to Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story–puffy. As in, three times my normal size. Not at all coordinated. Not even remotely cool. It turned out that uncoordinated was a pretty consistent theme of the skiing trip. But, at this point I was still naively confident that skiing would make me look cool, regardless of my lame apparel.

Our first day “on the slopes” (see how I picked up cool skiing lingo) was my introduction to ski school. I learned how to put my skis on. They showed me how to snowplow and (theoretically) stop myself when I needed to. The very first time they put me at the top of a tiny incline I skiied directly into a crowd of by-standers, completely powerless to stop or change direction.

I probably should’ve taken off my skis then, headed for the lodge, and enjoyed a view of the mountain with some hot chocolate. But, I was determined to be a good sport and I really wanted to show Chad that I can be athletic. (By the way, I can’t be athletic.) So, I pressed on, through several more rounds of plowing into strangers, through being literally skiied around by four and five year olds in ski school. I would’ve shaken my fist like an old lady and hollered at them to slow down, except that would’ve definitely caused me to fall on my face.

Finally they let us just go up and down the bunny slopes on our own, and I started really enjoying myself. The surroundings were beautiful. I could go at my own pace. I could snowplow my way all over those tiny slopes.

Then came lunch. I met up with the whole family at the lodge, and they suggested, now that I had mastered ski school, that we should all go up on the mountain together. You know, a real bonding moment. Ignorant as I was, and still eager to be a good sport, I agreed, and we went and got on a lift.

This lift was nothing like the one I had been taking all morning. This one was really, really tall. As we started moving, my stomach got all knotted up. I realized that we were going way up the mountain where things are steep. Where there are trees. I pictured myself falling, rolling, taking out half the skiiers on the mountain with me as I tumbled all the way to the bottom.

Another issue was the speed of the lift. I knew without any doubt that when I was supposed to stand up out of that seat and ski forward, I was going to fall, big, with injuries and a shut down of the whole place. My fall off of this lift was going to make Chad’s mom look like an Olympic skiier. I was completely panicked by the time our “stop” approached, and Chad was frantically trying to coach me on how to get off of this lift. The ground came up to meet us, my stomach dropped to my knees, and I somehow awkwardly managed to get into an upright position without causing too much commotion.

But, that was just the first ten feet.

I looked around me and realized that I couldn’t see the bottom of this mountain. I couldn’t see anything but lots of snowy death traps that were supposed to lead me back to safety, to a lodge with a fireplace, hot chocolate, laughing children, kittens, musicals, happiness, and all the things I thought I would never see again after I perished somewhere on this huge snow-covered rock.

We started out, the whole family gathered around me as if they could help, but we all knew that skiing is like birthing a baby. It’s just something you’ve gotta do yourself. They watched me fall. They tried to coach me. They knowingly glanced at each other over my head as my rear hit the snow. I literally got up, skiied two feet, fell, got up, skiied two feet, fell. Everyone on the mountain was watching me. Thank goodness no one had smart phones back then or I would have definitely ended up on Youtube.

Finally, this blessed angel of a woman who was patroling the mountain told my mother-in-law that if they didn’t get me off the mountain I would never want to ski again. (“Too late,” I thought.) She walkie-talkied some very compassionate people who came and picked me up and literally carried me, little puffy me, with skis in hand, back to the lift, which they put me on and sent me back down the mountain.

I refer to this part of the story as “The Ride of Shame.” The really humiliating part about riding DOWN the lift is that you have to pass all the people who are riding UP it. So, here I was, meeting all these skiiers eye to eye. Tight black pant wearing, coordinated skiiers. Easily one of the most uncool moments of my life. I didn’t start tearing up until they started shouting out encouragement.

“Bless your heart!”

“It’s alright, honey.”

“You poor thing.”

Some just pointed and laughed. But, you know what? All I cared about was that I made it to the bottom of the mountain SOMEHOW. In one, teary, puffy, non-broken, non-dead piece.

It took a little time before I developed a sense of humor about the whole experience. I recall possibly asking Chad and his dad if something was funny when they giggled about it at the end of the day. They were wise enough/scared enough/kind enough to stop laughing and help me get my ski boots off.

The next time someone invites me to go skiing, I will definitely go. And sit in the lodge with a good book, sipping hot chocolate by a big roaring fire. I’ll leave the skiing to the cool people.

10 Reasons to Be a Camp Sponsor This Summer

1.  To remind you how blessed you are not to be a pre-teen girl anymore.

2.   Because you never know when archery skills will come in handy.

3.  Camp food.  Sometimes delicious, sometimes a little strange, but always cooked and cleaned up by someone else.

4.  Because you don’t need coffee when you sing 40 verses of a song with motions at eight in the morning.

5.  To experience the joy of buying a chocolate bar at the Sugar Shack that you don’t have to share with anyone.

6.  So you can try out some Parent Trap-style maneuvers while campers are sleeping.

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7.  Because sleeping in a room filled with 20 hyped up ten year olds makes sleeping with your toddler’s feet in your face not seem so bad.

8.  Because where else can you get puppets, fire-eating, and potty humor in conjunction with a sermon?

9.  So you can make up cheers about how much better your church is than anyone else’s.

10. Two words:  camp t-shirt!

When God Shoves

It’s our last night at camp, and while I’m sad to see the fun end, I’m also thrilled to know that at this time tomorrow I will be in my own bed.  Today it dawned on me how fragile kids can be when I saw Sawyer come close to shedding a tear over the lack of cinnamon on his churro at dinner.  The boys loves his churros.  He drooled over it all through his dinner, just waiting to gobble it up, and then with the first bite he realized it was not up to his standards.  He was terribly disappointed.  But, I’m sure somehow a mediocre churro is a character builder.

Speaking of which, this afternoon we went out to the zip line to watch some kids conquer their fears and fly out over the west Texas dirt.  As each one of them made the shaky climb up the pole to the rickety platform, adults on the ground were shouting encouragement.  You can do it!  You’ve got this! they hollered, which seemed pretty easy to say from their firm positions on the ground.  And, each time a kid got to the top of the pole and stood looking out over the field in front of them, they wore expressions of panic.  Sometimes they would close their eyes and jump.  But, more often than not, the kind and funny fellow who was running it would say something like, Say night-night, and would gently bump them off of the platform.

It was such a perfect picture of basically everything I’ve ever done in life that was a calling from God.  I tend to get pumped about something, get right to the point of actually going through with it, and then start panicking and looking for a way to back out.  And, then God, in His gentle and wise way, gives me a push that sends me soaring, however ungracefully, into a new endeavor where I have to depend on Him during every heart-thudding moment.

I’m facing one of those times now.  I’m on the edge of the platform, and I’m leaning out there.  But, it just looks too high.  It looks like it’s going to be dangerous and terrifying and that it will defy everything that makes sense in my head, which is keeping both feet planted firmly on the ground.  But, I know that soon the bump is coming.  The gentle push that sends me plummeting into a whole new thing that God is doing.

I’m not going to lie.  I’m a little bit panicked.

But, here’s what I know. He built this platform.  He doesn’t need ropes and pulleys and safety harnesses because He is all of those things.  He can hold me up with one word from His mouth.  All of the safety and assurance and guidance I’ll ever need is in Him.  And, He is the soft place to land.

In a world where sometimes churros just don’t have enough cinnamon, it’s good to know that God still has big plans.  He knows when to push and when to catch.  And, He doesn’t just shout encouragement from the ground, either.  He never shoves us off of a platform that He hasn’t already leaped from Himself.  That’s how incredible our God is.

The jump is coming.  Or the shove.  But, either way, I land in His arms.

 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.  Hebrews 4:15

Hello from Camp

As I write this, I’m sitting on the somewhat grimy floor of a well-used room at a Christian camp.  Normally I wouldn’t be lounging on the floor in a “rented” room.  I generally feel like hotel floors are pretty disgusting, and there’s no doubt that this camp’s carpet has seen a few things.  But, I don’t know what it is.  Snuggled up here in one of those sandpaper-y wool blankets that they stash for cool nights, typing by the light of a bathroom strewn with wet clothes and dirty towels, it just feels cozy.

I’ve always loved Christian camp.  Baptists are quite the campers, and our camps just always seemed awesome to me.  I grew up going to the oldest Christian youth camp in the world (no kidding) in Lueders, Texas.   And, I don’t know if it was the archery or the canoeing or the fact that there always seemed to be a snake sighting,  or maybe it was the puppets or the funny songs or the skits, but I thought the whole thing was wonderful.

Everything about camp this week, where I am sitting in what smells like a decade’s worth of mildew, feels familiar.

As a kid you come to these camps and you’re faced with a truckload of truth, which is genially sandwiched between the most fun stuff you’ve ever done in your life.  You hear the truth of your sin problem and the good news of Jesus, and then you head outside where the heat hits you like a sweaty punch to the gut but you don’t care because you want to be first in line at the snack shack.  You buy a giant pickle and three candy bars and whatever else your mom would never let you have, and you enjoy it while getting in a few rounds of tetherball.  I mean, it’s just the perfect combination of eternally significant truth and pure enjoyment.

And, even though it’s hard to sleep at night on a camp bed and it’s unbearably hot all day, I am still just a little bit giddy about the prospect of getting up tomorrow morning and eating a big all-the-fixins breakfast in the dining hall, singing some crazy songs with plenty of dance moves, and maybe playing a little laser tag before lunch.  And, all of this is happening because kids need to know that they need Jesus.  Somehow the Holy Spirit works here, in the midst of the great fun and the mosquitoes as big as Texas itself.  And, I feel blessed to know what Christian camp is like, and to really love it.

Maybe that alone is just grace from God.  Because, y’all, my kids are little, and I’ll be camping for many, many more years to come.  Better brush up on my archery skills tomorrow!

In the Grip of Fear, In the Hand of God

Tonight this world is spinning along its usual path in a universe so gigantic that we can’t even really conceive of its magnificence.  Earth is just one small dot on a grid of millions of heavenly bodies of different kinds.  Yet, here we are, special creation, made in the image of God, bent under the weight of incredible sin, grieving over wars that are raging as I write, powerless to control what cannot be controlled.  Worried.  Terrified.  Wondering how it all turns out okay in the end.

And, where is God?

We wonder what He is doing.  We question whether He is good.  The bad news just keeps coming.  And it seems like there’s a hole in our faith bucket.  We read the stories that seem to point to the end of the world as we know it, and we tremble inside.  We wish that we could see what God’s ultimate plan is.  We wish that we could understand what is really happening when it looks like everything is chaos and craziness.

But, we don’t have to know every aspect of God’s plans or His will or His interesting way of accomplishing things.  We don’t even have to like what we see Him doing.  We don’t have to approve of His methods or be happy about every twist and turn that He has built into our road ahead.

But, even when we are heartbroken, when we are discouraged to the point of despair, when we are crippled by the fear of what is to come, when we are angry at God, when we feel abandoned, when we feel anxiety coming over us in waves, when we don’t even know who we are anymore, the Truth is still true.

Our feelings about the Truth don’t change it.  They don’t weaken its power.  They don’t deny us access to it.  The Truth is always completely real, even when we are feeling around in the pitch black of our own fear just trying to lay hold of one tiny corner of it.  It is there.

The Truth is that everything is going to be okay.

If we are in Christ and He is in us, if God has us held tight in His hand, nothing can snatch us out of it, not even our fear. So, in the light of Truth we can imagine our worst fears, things we are too afraid to even give words to, images and terrors that reside in our minds that seek us out as we lie in bed at night.  Fears borne in irrational thinking or fears based on what we have already experienced–it doesn’t matter.  We can imagine that our very worst fear comes true, and we can face it because we have the hope of Jesus Christ.

A friend revealed that she had a crippling fear that someone would break into her house and murder her family.  The Truth came back to her in the echos of Scripture she had memorized as a child:  The Lord is good and His word endures forever. . .Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. . .Fear not, for I am with you. . .I sought the Lord and He answered me and delivered me from my fears. . .If we are faithless, He remains faithful.  She agonized over this fear for quite some time before she finally embraced the Truth that even if her very worst fear came true, everything would still be okay.

Because God is in the business of making things right.  He is good and trustworthy, and His Truth remains, even when we are having a hard time remembering it.

Maybe you have already faced your worst fears.  Maybe you are angry with God.  Maybe you are so heartsick that you don’t believe you will ever recover.  And maybe you won’t, in this life.  But, God is working.  Please believe it.  His Truth stands, despite our circumstances.  We can trust Him.  And, at the end of it all, which is really only the beginning, everything really will be okay, if we know Him.  Rest in His hand, my sweet, tired friends.  He is good.

Smiling Anyway

Originally posted December 13, 2012.
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Sawyer has always been a laid back kid. “The Forgotten Child” would sit for ridiculously long stretches and entertain himself when he was smaller.  He didn’t walk until he was fifteen months old, and I’m convinced it was because he honestly didn’t have anyplace he was just dying to go.  He was pretty pleased with wherever he was at the moment.

Today I was reminded how wonderful laid back children are because it was flu shot day.

When I was a child, if my mother started driving in the direction of a doctor’s office, I got hysterical.  It didn’t matter if shots were on the agenda or not.  In my little worried mind, anytime I stepped foot in that office, a shot was a real possibility, so I went ballistic when a visit to the doctor was mentioned.

But, Sawyer sat cheerfully in the waiting room watching Disney Jr. He giggled when I told him he was getting a shot. His eyes lit up: “Do you think they’ll give me a Band-aid?” I assured him that not only would he get a Band-aid, he would probably get a sucker, too.  That knowledge pushed the whole event into the realm of a great day.  I just shook my head in amazement.

I wish I were more like that.  I would love to trust God so much that I don’t get all worked up about what’s about to happen in life.  I want to be able to turn to God when I get bad news and just giggle and say, “Well, I’m sure something good is going to come out of this!”

Or maybe I just need to stop looking at the Band-aids and the suckers of life, the small blessings, as insignificant.  Maybe I should believe that those small things really do make for a great day, instead of focusing on the bad stuff.  At the end of his day, Sawyer’s shot was completely forgotten.  But, how often do my bad experiences dictate how I feel about my whole day?

Sawyer got his shot, his Roadrunner Band-aid, and his orange sucker.  He started and ended his day with smiles.  And as far as I can tell, he didn’t worry about a thing.  Faith and joy and Band-aids and suckers.  In Sawyer’s heart, the shot was just a footnote in an otherwise lovely day.

I love that kind of faith.  I want to be like Sawyer when I grow up.

The Importance of Reminding Children That They Aren’t In Charge

Parenting these days is tough with a capital T.  It’s so difficult to find a balance between what you know is important to instill in your children and all of the other stuff that magazines and blogs tell us about raising kids.  According to the magazines, one wrong move too far toward disciplining children will surely land them in therapy where they will work through their anger issues over all of your “unreasonable demands.”  Well, I hate to be difficult, but I sometimes wonder if half of the people who write those articles even have kids.  And I certainly wonder if their kids are even remotely pleasant to be around.

Because there is one element of childhood that is really missing in lots of kids’ lives these days, and it is the undeniable, honest truth that KIDS ARE NOT IN CHARGE.

At least, they shouldn’t be.

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But, go into any restaurant or grocery store and you will see hoards of parents acting like kids rule the world.  I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of it myself.  It’s easy to slip into patterns that send the message, “Hey, kid, you’re the boss and what you say goes.  I’m only here to try and create a life that is in line with your every whim.”

Think about it.  You’ve probably done it, too.

Like when you ask your toddler if you can put her shoes on her.

Or when you let the kids choose the restaurant.

When you make three different dinners to please three different kids.

When you are afraid to tell the kids to go play when you are having an adult conversation.

The truth is that kids aren’t born expecting to get to make all the decisions and run our lives.  They actually depend on us to do that.  But, we can quickly teach them that they are in charge when we are so worried about valuing their opinions that we consider their opinions above all else.

When we instill an “I’m in charge” mentality in our kids, we’re inviting them to disrespect teachers, police officers, clergy, waiters, cashiers, and anyone else they come into contact with.  I mean, if we are always living just to please them, then they will expect everyone else to do the same.

We are actually doing our kids a great favor when we send them this message instead:  “I am going to make the decisions and take care of things.  All you have to do is sit back and enjoy being a kid.”  I think they are happier, better adjusted, and more fun to be around when they know that they aren’t in charge.

After all, you’re a grown up.  You know that being in charge isn’t usually all that fun.  Our kids are better off when we clearly show them that they aren’t the decision makers and they don’t always get their way.  In the end, I think it causes them less stress and makes them more pleasant people to be around for the rest of their lives.