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Let them Grow Up - Issue 306
July 12, 2013
Hi there! ....

This week is our local Agricultural Show. Those of you who either know us, or who have followed this newsletter or blog for a while will know that the Ag.Show is an important part of our year. One of the things I like is that we don’t even think about whether we’ll go or not – we just do. It is a part of our family life. For many years our kids have exhibited their creative projects in the pavilion and have done very well. This year, they have less to show, as their time is divided in many different ways, but they still have done well. Another thing I like about the Ag.Show is that we become especially aware that we belong to a community – and we like that! I am very thankful to this community, though it changes every year as we live in a transient town, but still it manages to maintain a community spirit, and create a safe place to bring up our kids. Today is day two and it is all about competitions with horses, dogs, cattle and yes, playing Olympic sports with watermelons! It will be a long, fun day.

Live life with your kids!

If you are a new Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.

Let them Grow Up

This week, one of my children asked me if they could do something and I said yes. They were surprised, because according to them, I have said no in the past. They thought about it and came back to me and asked another question: Does that mean, every year I can do more? And the answer was yes. It was a good time to talk about growing up, maturing, becoming responsible.

As our children grow older we have to say yes to more and more things. We have to give them the freedom to make choices. We have to allow them to make mistakes. We have to let them grow up.

Growing up is a tricky thing – on the one hand you can do nothing about it, and on the other hand it is up to you to let it happen. Our children will grow up – they start as newborns, and before you know it they are a toddler, then they are at school and then they are teens and then leaving home. It happens. How you handle it is what will matter.

Unfortunately our society seems to celebrate the growing up of the newborn and the toddler. The joy of new parents when their baby sleeps through the night, rolls, sits, stands, walk and says their first word. These are natural developments and every little progress is marked and shared with our friends. But as our kids get older we seem to want to put the skids on more than we celebrate – they want to choose their own music, spend time with friends, stay up later and watch different movies. These are indicators of growing up – just like the toddler is learning to stand and walk, the pre-teen/teen is also learning to stand on their own, and walk their life. We should be celebrating.

I think the reason we don’t celebrate is that we see the toddler walking towards us and we wonder if the teen is walking away from us.

I’ve asked myself the question – Just because my child likes different music than I do, have I lost their heart? Of course not. We are two individuals – we will have different tastes. This idea of having different tastes has been strong in our thinking over the last few years as our kids enter the teen years. What music we listen to, what movies we watch, what books we read, how we spend our time doesn’t define our relationship – it may shape us but not define us. Our relationship is defined by

  1. God placed us in a family – we are the Letchfords
  2. I am committed to unconditional love

Now, I have not walked the path where my child has intentionally chose to walk away from a relationship with God, but I have watched families who have and I know that the standard that I want to guide my heart and actions, should we ever be in that situation, is one of unconditional love.

But the thing that is on my heart, as I write today, is not the teenager who has decided to walk a different path, but instead the teenager who is simply making choices different than yours. Before we react we need to ask ourselves, is this really a bad choice, or is it just a different choice. We need to allow our kids to be different than we are. They may all come from the same gene pool but God, in His creativity, has still made each person different.

My kids differ in so many ways – not just in their talents and learning styles, but also in the passions of their heart, their likes and dislikes, their taste in music, food and clothing, how they process choices and how they come to decisions, how they build friendships and maintain them. They are different: different from each other, different from Peter, and different from me.

Of course, our kids’ choices reflect their heart – and we may well be concerned about what is in the heart, but I have found that more often than not, should I sit and talk about what I think is going on, often I am mistaken. More often than not, my teens have welcomed a guiding hand so they can express the things on their heart, to live out the things that they really believe.

They want to know why I choose certain music, movies and clothes. They want to know how I handle certain types of friendships and what do I do in awkward moments. They want to know what I think about the things they read, see or talk about with their friends. Just like a toddler, when she is learning to walk, reaches up looking for a stabilizing hand, so too are our teens. How sad, that often they get reactions instead, presuming they are pushing our hand away, where they are really waiting for it.

How do you see your preteen-teen? Are they stretching their wings, pushing boundaries? Are you reacting or are you walking along side of them? It isn’t necessarily a rosey path – there have been times that I have come along side one of my children, we’ve talked, and yet they still make another choice – sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t they’ve come to me and apologised because in walking through something that didn’t go well, they’ve seen what I’ve tried to say. Of course, I’m not always right either! We both need to walk in humility and forgiveness.

Sometimes what is on our kids’ heart gets muddled up in the translation to words, actions and attitudes. Let’s be slow to judge – instead spend time with them, help them and guide them, to find the true expression of what is inside. Over this weekend, consider – have you presumed they are walking away from you? Just because they are different? Have you reacted? Ask God for wisdom so that you can have a different response. A response that will help each of your kids be the person He made them be.

During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I've shared: This week I posted Collaboration for the Homeschool Family over at Aussie Homeschool Blog - looking at how our kids can learn by working with other people.

Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

Check out other homeschool and parenting issues over at my website, Lifestyle Homeschool

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

The newsletter will also keep you updated with all additions to Lifestyle-Homeschool

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