Saturday, October 13, 2018

HMJ: School Break, October Snow and Teen Talk

It is rather scary how fast this school year is going already!  When planning out our school year I scheduled a week off for every 6 weeks of work.  Our homeschooling history dictates this to be a wise choice and rejuvenating opportunity!  Well, this was that week!  Yup, 6 weeks down and the only thing crazier is knowing, in 6 more, it will be THANKSGIVING!!!

Brooke ended up getting sick at the beginning of the week.  I felt bad for her having to spend her time off with a bad cold but appreciated her maturity when she commented to me, "At least I got sick on my week off and not during school!"  Love that girl!

Halfway through the week hubby and I celebrated TWENTY years of marriage!! 

We went out to dinner and then decided to come back home and hunker down in front of the fireplace with a date-night movie.  It was cozy and perfect.

I know, the math doesn't add up.  20 years with a 20 year old daughter and 24 year old son.  I'm planning a window of testimony on our marriage and faith this coming Wednesday. 

Speaking of planned articles, I got the curriculum review up on Thursday as promised last week!  Be sure to check it out if you or someone you know has younger kiddos since I am doing a give-away with this review. 

Snow was a big part of our week as well!
It came and went.... and came again!
I guess that is just part of Montana life!  I love it, no matter the time of year ♥️  We were going to take a trip into the mountains today to enjoy fall foliage but the snow and recovering sickies caused us to post-pone.

Brooke still had a study hangout Thursday.  She was desperate to get some friend time in despite her incessant runny nose.  She worked on her Geography Island project, chatted, and enjoyed some post-study video games with brother and sister joining in.  I feel so blessed to see my kids, even Brenden and Ashley as adults now, share such a valuable friend group.  I don't believe it is an accident...

Over the years, as the kids were growing up, we were rather guarded with the friends we allowed full-access into their lives. We limited interaction with kids whom we knew to be a bad influence and encouraged opportunities to hang-out with friends who shared values.  Along the way we have always had open discussions, assessing behaviors and influences realistically, and provoking our kiddos to think about what makes a good friend.  
  • Do they love Jesus with all their heart?
  • Do they lie?
  • Do they consistently deliberately disobey their parents?
  • Do they talk bad about family and/or siblings all the time?
  • Do they build you up or tear you down?
  • Do they ask you to do things you shouldn't?
  • Do they treat their other friends and even strangers disrespectfully?

I don't recall a time where we ever told them "NO" to having any given friend.  We didn't want to raise rebels, rather, we were aiming for thinkers and good choice makers.  Restricting them would not have taught them to think for themselves.  So, depending on the given situation, I would access one of the many questions like those listed above and ask my kids to consider.  When affirming negative answers resulted, the discussion was threaded onto how it made them feel, or others feel, around this friend and if the anxiety and negativity was really worth it.  I did have to point out once or twice that it would be better to wait friendless for the right friend to come along then to maintain a bad friendship which may ruin an opportunity for a better friendship later on.  I would also encourage prayer for God to send the right friend in HIS time and help my kiddo productively as they waited for their prayers to be answered. 

We would also consider how the Bible often discusses the importance of surrounding ourselves with like-minded believers as our core friend group.  The Bible also warns of the consequences when we choose otherwise.  
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 
If the Bible warns of these things, than, as Christians, we ought to take God's best plan for us seriously. 

I do have to digress here and articulate; when I say a "bad" friend, I don't mean a friend I personally don't like or I personally don't like their parents.  I mean, a friend who causes trouble consistently or deliberately behaves unbiblically consistently.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially young people as they learn the ropes of life, but I am talking about someone who plays in the mud of mistakes without a care.  I also wouldn't allow my kids to hang out at friends houses where a parent or sibling was abusive an alcoholic or a drug addict... NO exceptions.... not even if the friend was a good kid, if anything, I opened my home more to them to come over for a reprieve!

Having a bad friend or acquaintance didn't mean we snubbed our nose either.  It offered opportunity to discuss how to share our faith... how to be a good friend to someone who doesn't know how.  How to give grace and seek to understand; sometimes bad friends are that way because they are hailing from difficult home lives.  When our kids entertained the idea of a not-so-good friendship we simply encouraged them to choose less time in that person's company and offered alternative suggestions. When they were with that particular person, whether by choice or necessary proximity, we taught them to be more guarded so as not to be tripped into equally bad behavior.

When kids are young it is easy to distract them away from bad influences.  Doing so along with discussion and explanation grows in them a heart to seek out friends who truly have their best interests in mind.  When they become teens it is so important to keep the line of communication open.  Ask, listen and offer grace-filled council.  Not judgment or condemnation, rather, love and direction.  If they can trust you to not over-react when they share difficult situations they are facing with friends... then they will trust you to continue coming to you in all scenarios.

Raising teens isnt' easy.  It starts best by planting good seed when they are younger.  However, no matter when you find yourselves in a direction of deliberately trying to navigate the difficult waters of the teen years, breaking through IS possible with consistency and loads of prayer!  A bit of time and authentic investment in who they are and what they have going on will make this stage much more manageable. 

By the way, last year, just before my sabbatical, a reader asked me to write more on Teen issues.  I hope this can be a regular part of my Mother's Journal writing.  If you have any teen topics you would like to hear more on, let me know and I will see what I can do!

How has your week been?


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