Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Because I Said So...

I have been thinking alot lately about parenting. Good thing since I have four children to my credit! I was 29 before I had our first--so it would be true to say that I have never been a "young mom"--I was old when I started! So in those twenty something years, while longing to be married to the one and only Carl Lopez, I had plenty of opportunity to observe the parenting skills of others. And I have got to say that I had GREAT parents--they were not perfect for sure (in fact the older I get the more I think we really were dysFUNctional) again, not perfect, but they were really really good.
How do you know what you are suppose to do? I mean there is not a vo-tech or community college you go to that has Parenting 101 or anything. I didn't have a fat clue what I was doing when we brought that little chubby cheeked dark haired blue eyed cutie home--none!! And almost 14 years and three more kiddos later--pretty much I still don't--perhaps a skinny clue but for sure not a fat clue. So here is Parenting 101 according to Denise Lopez (whoopie!) for whatever it is worth. Most (if not all) wisdom is not original with me--just so you know.

1. Dottie Myatt--now there's a mom for you! What a great mom. She and Mr. Sam I am raised three INCREDIBLE kids! Who I feel so fortunate that I got to be a part of their lives. Bill and Lily were in my youth group and little Janie just liked to hang around alot. I asked Dottie once, "Ok what's your secret?" This was way before I had kids and I tucked it away for safe keeping. She told me three things:
A) Pray (duh--sorry Dottie)
B) Be consistent Hard to do--but worth it. Funny things at 3 are NOT funny at 12!
C) Never take the road of least resistance (wow--pretty good advice--which I have tried to put into practice in the Lopez home).

2. My friend Lana (who is my true blue should have been a sister friend) told me to:
Pray they get caught. "Denise," she would say in her Mary Jo from Designing Women voice. "They are going to mess up, they are, they are! So you just need to pray that every time they do they get caught." My kids hate that I pray that!!

3. Another thing I pray scripture for my kids. Here are a few passages that I pray for the A's:
A) Genesis 6:9,22 They would be righteous, walk with God, and do everything that God tells them to do.
B) Numbers 14:24 They would be a servant, have a different spirit about them, and that they would follow God wholeheartedly.
C) Luke 1:13-16 That they would be a joy to Carl and I, they would be great in the eyes of God, never drink wine or beer, be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that many will be saved because of their lives.
D) John 1:5 They would be a shining light to their schools, friends, and generation. That they would never be overcome with darkness.
E) Ephesians 4:32 (This is actually the first verse we had our children memorize) That they would be kind to others, forgive others, and know the forgiveness of God.

4. No matter how inconvenient it is:
A) Always address deliberate disobedience (preferably in private--when we could we would pull --and a time or two yank them over to the side to discipline them).
B) Keep your word. When you say, "if you do that one more time you are going to get XYZ punishment."; be sure that you XY and Z.

5) I read a book How to be a Hero to Your Kids by Josh McDowell years ago when I was a youth minister and put it in to practice with teenagers and now make it a "policy" with my own. The whole book was written around the premise of Rules without Relationship equals Rebellion. We have major perimeters, boundaries, RULES whatever you want to call them--at our house. But I can also tell you we spend alot of time pouring into our kids and developing a strong relationship with each of them. I am counting on Josh's equation to be true.

6) Let the little things be little things. We have really good friends that shared a great story with us about their son Kevin, who is like a member of our family. Kev was leaving his shoes in the living room, on the stairs, etc etc. Finally Wanda had it and really got on to him and wouldn't let it go. Les said to Wanda, "When the shoes are gone the boy will be gone." I am sure there will come a day that I would love for tennis shoes or flip flops to be left lying around.

7) Eat together as a family! This is a non-negotiable at our house. We eat together almost every night. There are very few nights that we do not eat together. Sometimes it is at Taco Bueno at 8:30 at night. I can hear some of you already, we don't have time. I dare say I would put my calendar up against yours any day of the week. We are BUSY, but we will always make time to be together as a family for dinner. I really believe this has made a HUGE difference for our children. TV off at the table all together. My mother made this a priority in our home growing up and it is one thing for sure that I have made it one in mine.

8) I read recently on Beth Moore's blog that one thing she would change about raising her kids, is that she would have let them take a friend on vacation with them less and make them depend on each other to have fun with. Aside from the fact that we have 4 and could not afford to take 4 extras, and preferring not to drive a people mover around, we could not transport them!!--I thought this was great advice. I hear all the time people saying, we let each of our kids take a friend--ok once in a while but not every family vacation. Good advice Beth--I agree! I love when I hear my kids in the car on a trip laughing with one another or catch them really enjoying being together on the beach or boat or wherever. I pray for my children to be friends.

Well this turned out to be a whole lot longer than I thought. I really could go on and on--I love being a mom. I would love to hear your bits and pieces of parenting advice. Again sorry so long--I am just wordy! But come on what do you expect when I only blog once a week.

For an added surprise guess what...I have learned to add pictures!!!!!! Look out! EveryDay with Denise will never be the same! Here is a pick of my four A's on Beaver Lake this past weekend. Nothing like having to hang on to your little sister going 3.5 miles per hour on the water!


Jeannette said...

I love the pic! Great advice too. You'll have to show me how you did the cute background. I plan to have a blog someday!


jennifermills921 said...

Wow, what great advice D-lo! :) As always...thanks!

Beam Family said...

Ok, very impressed with picture. Great advise, do you want to join our community group? We all could use your mature parenting skills. =)

Anonymous said...

D that is great advice and insight. thanks for posting. i'm going to use some of these simple thoughts with the parents of my ministry this summer. great to see ya blogging...haven't spoken with you in a LONG LONG time. blessings sis

Jed & Carrie Sowell said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom. I have to say that looking back, my parents weren't perfect either, but now that we're grown, my mom is my BEST FRIEND and my siblings and I are closer now than we ever were!

twingirlsmom said...

You blog just like you talk--I love it! :) Great advice! Some great advice I received from great friends with GREAT teenagers is to 'be into whatever your kids are into; get into their world and make family activities out of their interests'.

Flea said...

Sounds like you're a great mom and had a pretty good one yourself. :)

I've latched on to the bit about not being their friends as they've gotten older. I really enjoyed my kids when they were little, but now, as teens, I find the need to be mom, not friend, is huge. And difficult.

Alecia said...

Great advice! All of the amazing motherly mentors paid off b/c since I've known're a mom I want to be around before and after I have kids.
That was a fun post.

Leigh Ann said...

it is always nice to get some encouragement on the things we know is right, but so hard to do.