Bana and the Rainy Day

This is my Grandma. We call her Bana. When my oldest brother Julius was two she was always giving him bananas, so he would look up at her and say, “Bana.” The rest of us just started calling her that, too, so she’s our Bana.

Bana always takes us on adventures. Today is a dark, rainy day. No adventure possibilities in sight and I’m sad. Grandpa Rock is just sitting in his same old chair watching the Cardinal’s baseball game.

“Let’s have an indoor adventure today!” says Bana.

“What do you mean? Indoors is boring.” I’m confused, but my eyes light up because nothing is ever boring when Bana is around.

“Pick your favorite book from the shelf and come to the back room.” Well, I like reading, but that is certainly not the adventure I had in mind. Exploring the creek last week in the middle of the forest was really exciting.

I pick my favorite book, “Ferdinand,” and walk dejectedly to the back room that is mine when I stay with my grandparents.

“Bana, what have you done?” The quilt and sheets are all over the place. She had them stretched from one bed to the other, held down with big, thick dictionaries. She is standing there grinning, holding an old lamp in her hands.

“Come on, Bonita! Let’s go camping!”

Amazed, I watch her duck down and crawl under the quilt tent. I quickly follow and soon see that she has another quilt on the floor like the bottom of a tent. We settle in and read my favorite book. Every couple of pages Bana stops and says she hears a racoon, or says, “Wait. Did you hear that noise? Maybe it’s a deer. The forest is full of wonderful animals”

I giggle each time. I like our campground in the forest. When we finish the book I realize, “I’m hungry, Bana”

“Me, too. Let’s cook hot dogs and S’mores on our campfire.”

WHAAAT?? Outside in the rain? Silly Bana, we can’t do that. I stare at her incredulously.

“Just you wait and see, Bonita. Grab the hot dogs, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers from the kitchen and meet me in the garage.” Grandpa Rock just looks at us like we’re crazy and keeps watching the Cardinal’s baseball game on tv.

When I open the door to the garage, almost dropping the bag of marshmallows, I see two fold-out, soccer chairs around a can balanced on a metal stand sitting on the cement floor. The garage door is open. The can has an almost invisible blue flame like a strange candle. Bana even has two metal hangers straightened ready for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows!

We roast our lunch over our rainy-day-campfire in our rainy-day-forest while looking out at the rain.

“Thanks for the S’mores and the campout, Bana.”

“Thanks for going on my camping adventure today, Bonita.”

I wonder what adventure Bana will take me on next.

Bana and Bark Shed Creek

Bana is my grandma. She likes taking me on adventures. We live in Arkansas. In Arkansas there are lots of places for outdoor exploring and adventures.

“ Where are we going today, Bana?” It’s a hot, hot day in July. I came back inside after only 15 minutes of playing in the yard and climbing trees.

“Let’s see what we can see at Bark Shed, Bonita. You better wear your bathing suit.”

Yea! Swimming in different places is Bana’s favorite type of adventure, especially in the summer.

Today we drive so long I think we’ll never get there! At the end of a gravel road through a thick, green forest she says, “We’re here!” It didn’t look like much to me: a small, low, cement bridge, a small, clear creek, and lots of rocks instead of sand.

Bana tells me to keep my sneakers on because of the rock beach, even in the water! I don’t argue because I was so awfully hot and couldn’t wait to jump in the creek.

Whoosh! Yikes! I the water cold? No. Freezing? Yes! It is perfect for this yucky, hot day! It feels glorious to wade into the incredibly ice-cold creek water with it’s rock bed. The water is so clear you can see the details of every rock. You can even see every detail of your shoes under the water.

On the far side of the rock beach are ledges and cliffs and the water is a bit deeper, over my head and even Bana’s. We swim over to the nearest ledge, climb up, and jump off the lowest rock ledge. Yippee!

“Let’s try the next one up, Bana!” Higher and higher we climb and jump. Bana says her brother, my Great Uncle Loren, jumped from the very tip top where there are trees growing!

Maybe next adventure. I’m ready for my picnic lunch.

March Madness o Copa Mundial

Para los aficionados de baloncesto, March Madness es equivalente a la Copa Mundial de los Estados Unidos. Especialmente el primer jueves y viernes del torneo cuando se juega 32 partidos: evitamos trabajar, los quehaceres y cualquier otra cosa. Nos sentamos pegados al televisor con nuestra quiniela gritando ansiosamente a un equipo, de vez en cuando algunos que jamás hemos visto en la vida. Olemos la competencia. Tantos partidos que nos frustramos de no poder verlos todos.

Alguna gente solamente con una quiniela llenada hasta el campeón, otra gente con competencias donde sea necesario incluir quiniela cada ronda y otra gente participando en los dos ¡para doble la competencia!

No es por nada que se llama March Madness el Camino Hacia los Cuatro Finalistas: nos vuelven locos con cada partido más cuando un equipo peor posicionado vence a uno en mejor posición. También nos volvemos locos cuando nuestros equipos favoritos ganan o pierden.

Las discusiones empiezan el domingo con el programa del sorteo en la televisión: ¿Por qué invitaron a este equipo y no a ese? No creo que merezca esa posición aquel equipo sino el otro. La “conferencia” SEC es más fuerte que la del Big 10.

Al fin y al cabo March Madness representa las mejores dos semanas de baloncesto en el mundo. No se puede comparar con el torneo del NBA porque el suyo dura más de un mes y cada ronda se gana con un mini-torneo entre 2 equipos para ganar 3 de 5 partidos. Al nivel universitario del NCAA, es “ganar o salir.” Cada noche hay lágrimas, de alegría o tristeza. Con cada derrota, es el último partido en la vida de alguien que nunca pasará a ser profesional, pero ha dedicado su vida al deporte, no solamente por los 4 años de la universidad, pero muchas veces desde su niñez. Otros lloran por haber ganado en el último segundito en un partido que nunca en la vida debieron de haber ganado [NC State vs. Houston en 1983; Villanova en 1985].

Me alegra simplemente pensar en el torneo más interesante en el mundo. No existe nada similar.

Aquí estamos. ¡Empieza hoy! Tengo mis “brackets” (y planes para mis clases por la tarde que me permiten prestar atención a la locura – soy maestra). ¡En sus marcas, listos, ya!

Count Your Blessings, Part 3

Part 3:

Next day is Monday, right? So during my 5:15am devotional alone time I’m reading from 15 Minutes Alone With God by Emilie Barnes again and on page 91 is an entry named, “I’m Special Because,” which completely continues and expands on the weekend’s thoughts, lessons, and writing. Psalm 139:13-17, specifically v.14 just like in Spark at Christian Life Cathedral, is the Key Verse. Ms. Barnes says that the first time she read Psalm 139 was when she first realized that she is special because she is a child of God. “We were uniquely made as He knit us together in our mother’s womb.”

Spark children will be “Discovering who you were meant to be,” and praising God for making them special and wonderful. God does not make mistakes, he created us. He has a purpose. We have to focus on him, pray to him, and persevere in leaving our worries in his hands, trusting that everything will turn out fine. We don’t have access to the master plan nor could we understand it if we did. Trust. Faith. Contentment. Love. Joy in all situations.

The last two sections of the piece by Ms. Barnes in her book end with “Thoughts for Action” and “Additional Scripture Reading” which I would like to share here since they directly support my original article and idea of “Count Your Blessings.”

Thoughts for Action

    • Tell someone why you are special today. [positive, praising, joyful, celebrating]
    • Ask someone why he or she is special. [and help them out if they find it difficult]
    • Write a note in your journal to God and thank Him for who you are, His special child.

Additional Scripture Reading

  • Proverbs 31:29
  • Ephesians 1:4 & 11

Takeaways: Count Your Blessings, Celebrate, Pray for Strength, Think on These Things, Share your Joy, Tell Your Loved Ones Why You Love Them, Persevere (endure with patience), Assume the Best in Everyone, “even the guy who cut you off in the Starbucks line,” ~Pastor Christopher.

Count Your Blessings, Part 2

Part 2:

On the same day that I wrote the original article, I was on duty at Christian Life Cathedral checking in the elementary age children. The theme for this month is, “Individuality: Discovering who you are meant to be” based on the Bible verse Psalm 139:14, NlrV, “How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” It made me think specifically of two of my children who seem to struggle with finding their way as adults. You are wonderfully made, just do the next right thing as it comes up. Don’t worry about making mistakes – that is definitely life and to be expected.

Then the lesson for the sermon by Pastor Christopher was “Think On These Things: Fill Your Mind With the Best and Do That,” based on Philippians 4 (Msg), (yes, I had just read Phil 4:4 earlier that morning), with three main points:

  1. Don’t waver
  2. Stay on Track
  3. Steady in God.

Our preacher began with: “…Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi where he encourages them to enjoy their life, to have a good time, to celebrate.” St. Paul says in v.11-13: “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength”

These were Pastor Christopher’s main points with additional support from several recent readings of mine as well because the Lord obviously had a message for Ellen Rainey:

    • To stop worrying, train your mind to think on good things. You can. It’s real.
    • Assume people’s intentions are always for the best.
    • Celebrate for no reason at all, just because you can.
    • Celebrate God all day, every day. Thank Him for your blessings. [Just did in Part 1 of blog post]
    • Tell the people you love how happy you are, celebrate the good; show Jesus’ love.
        • Say: “I love you so much; you fill me with joy and pride.”
        • Talk about what is best in them; they will focus on this. Let them see what you see in them. [I am reminded to do this often for my grown children.]
    • Manage your mind or it will manage you.
    • You mind is a great slave, but a terrible master.
    • Focus on the solution, not the problem.
    • Lord, fill my heart with peace. Lord, stretch me bigger than my problems.
      • As opposed to, “Lord, make this go away.”
      • “I am able to do far beyond all that you ask or imagine. Come to Me with positive expectations, knowing that there is no limit to what I can accomplish.” [p.7, January 6 entry of “Jesus is Calling” by Sarah Young.]
    • Christ displaces worry.
      • “Worry is most often a prideful way of thinking that you have more control over life and its circumstances than you actually do.” ~June Hunt

It seemed like my readings, writings, lessons, and thoughts were all going towards thinking positively and focusing on God. While I’m not a negative thinker I do tend to let my mind wander with dreams which can draw my focus away from my blessings. I have a good life and am surrounded by good people. I try to focus on God every morning, but today’s lessons reminded me I need to refocus and train my brain to “Stay on Track.”

Count Your Blessings

It’s a saying I’m sure you’ve heard and also a song from my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. “If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep, and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”

The inference is that we have so many blessings that we can’t possibly stay awake all night counting them. Have you ever actually done this? Mentally or on paper? Or on a blog? I think I will. You don’t even have to read the rest, just go make your own blessings list!

  1. My parents who have always done everything for me and my siblings, from discipline to independence, from providing a safe home to a love of travel; a belief in Christ, a love of reading, love, support, acceptance, opinions, respect.
  2. My husband whom I love and enjoy spending time with. We’re ready for an empty nest, but truly enjoyed raising our children together and look forward to becoming grandparents.
  3. My children who are all so wonderful and so incredibly different. While that makes parenting more challenging, it also is quite interesting. I love who you are deep down in your soul! The sweet memories of each of you since birth are an additional blessing to the present blessing you are to me as an adult.
  4. My in-laws beginning with Carl and Icie Rainey. Strong, loving, patient, strict, Christ-centered, accepting. I have always felt a natural part of the family and loved as a Rainey – through everything. My sisters-in-law are a blessing through love, support, prayers, get-togethers, and truthfulness. My brothers-in-law in different avenues of support, love for family, prayers, and honesty. I’m proud to be a Rainey.
  5. My grandparents who could not be more different in every way but one: they loved their families and prioritized them. The Engelers were retired from the family farm in Indiana, he a lawyer and business owner, she always at the art pavilion at the County Fair [random-specific memories]. Gampa, Squire, no nonsense patriarch. Mimi, blood-red nails, “The Movies” by the Statler Brothers, butterscotch candies, chocolate milk with ½ cup of sugar, Cowgirl Hall of Fame. The Wallaces were from Stone County but moved to Kansas City during the depression; retired to Arkansas in 1971. Grandpa had an enormous garden, played the fiddle, skinned a squirrel he killed pilfering said garden, hurt his back lifting Atlantica Jeffrey’s tombstone off me, no-frills, honey & butter with bread to clean his plate after dinner, strict. Grandma was apple butter, fanny wacker, Bible Memory verses, made real cinnamon rolls and apple pies, cooking said squirrel, “There are flowers of many colors in His garden,” love and support of my marriage and her great-grandchildren, Rose.
  6. My home, which is currently in a woeful state of disrepair. I feel like I’ve spat on this particular blessing, but I’ll work on that this summer, perhaps. Additionally I could add to the home list: my fireplace, books, bookshelves, bed, Keurig, couch, Mimi’s writing desk, laptop, candles, family pictures.
  7. My best friend Kristen who makes me be her friend (because I’m horrible at being a friend to others), do things with her, and chastises me when I take things for granted. She’s there for me, my family, and especially my children. She did actually cry when she found out Julius and Nicole were expecting – twice.
  8. Tennis, staying active, tennis amigas, being healthy, gastric bypass surgery, the insurance that made it possible, Dr. Roller, Carolyn Nutter, my sister for getting me into tennis and supporting my journey.
  9. My siblings who always tell me the truth but are supremely non-judgemental. We get along so well, especially as a trio. We love books, family, canoeing, and swimming and the outdoors. We are such obvious products of our parents!
  10. My amazing nieces and nephews: Zelda Mars and Charles Wallace on the Engeler side and…I’ll try to name all the Raineys in order of your parents’ birth order: Andre, Marcus, LScott, Dominique (& Robbie and Zariyah), Ariel, Malik, Shambree (& Freddy and Tre), Milwin, William (& Carmen and Xavier), Jala, Tesha (& Jerome and Malcolm and Cerenity), Melissa (& John Q), Alaina (& Cody), Justin, Maria, Marlee, Caleb, David, Andrew, Matthew, Perry, Charis, SofiEden.
  11. Nicole Haynes Rainey for loving Julius and being a part of our family for the past decade. You are a kind, loving, honest, strong young woman.
  12. Snow days – special blessings from God specifically for Teachers and Seniors.
  13. Beginning of an unending list: Lake Norfork. Bark Shed. Boating, skiing, camping, hiking, exploring with family when I was young. Quiet time in the morning, alone. Teaching career. Har-Ber High School. Rose Peterson. Irene Dacus. Xalapa y los Navarro. Saltillo y Mary, Guillermo, Arturo, Susy Cook, Jesus, Edmundo, Rosa Elba, Margarita, José Antonio. Real de Catorce. Salamanca. Sevilla. Trip to Boston and New Brunswick with Kim to visit Aunt Nancy’s family. Tascosa High School. Mountain Home childhood – the pond, Indian Creek, riding bikes, sledding, building snowmen, forts in our bedroom. First swim meet at age 4. Gym rat in college. Meeting Fred at the HPER at UofA. Having lots of blank books and notebooks to write in. Thick, curly hair.

The list could go on forever. People, places, things, experiences. Have you tried it? It’s so refreshing and uplifting. Even if your life is filled with strife, take the time to find the blessings in your life, past, present, and future. Count your blessings.

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things.”

¡Somos abuelos!

Como cuando fui madre por primera vez, me siento como si fuera la primera persona en el mundo pasar la experiencia y que cuando las demás “abuelas” me dicen con orgullo y perspectiva que tan maravilloso es, no quiero oírlo. NO es posible que su situación pueda ser similar. Soy única y especial, ¿no?

Mi hijo y mi nuera son creativos y volaron de Florida en secreto para sorprendernos con las buenas noticias. Los viernes siempre celebramos “La Noche de Pizza” en nuestra familia y tocaron a la puerta listos con las cajas para la familia. Nos dijo, “La caja por arriba es para ti y papá, mamá.”Pues, ok, y seguimos hablando y visitando. “En serio, necesitan ver la pizza que elegimos.” Mi esposo y yo abrimos la caja y..¡no era una pizza! Adentro habían puesto las fotos de su ultrasonido y escribieron “Razón #24” refiriéndose a una broma que empezaron durante la Navidad: razones que Alfredo y yo debemos mudarnos a la Florida.

Gritamos, saltamos y reímos pero no lloramos. Fue puro alegría para nosotros. Mi hijo mayor y su esposa son perfectos (pues, tanto que puedan ser como humanos); planean por todo y trabajan como equipo. Están listos para el camino como padres.

La duda es: ¿estoy lista para ser abuelita? Lo más importante es mi nombre: Mimi, Mama Rains, Grandma Rains, Abuelita, Ita, La Mejor, Bonita, Vieja. Ni idea. La realidad es que ya sabemos que el nieto mayor siempre elige el nombre para los abuelos. En mi caso, este mismo hijo mío, Julius, nombró a mi mamá “Bana.” Siempre les ofrecía bananas y él decía bana y de repente se le refería a ella como “Bana.” Así se llama y nadie hubiera elegido este nombre que ni es una palabra en inglés o español; pero es precioso y a ella le encanta porque es un nombre especial y único para ella como abuelita.

¿Cómo me llamará? No importa tanto para mí porque será mi nieto/a especial. La única decisión ahora es, ¿nos quedamos aquí o nos mudamos a la Florida?

The Many Faces of Tennis

Tennis is solitary. Intense. Finesse. Strength. Aggression. Joy. Frustration.

Tennis is also social. Strategy. Communication. Laughter. Courtesy. Manners.

All sports done right should be the best teachers of all life’s lessons. Taking turns. Respecting your opponent. Playing fair. Physical skills and fitness. Mental toughness. Emotional control. Above all, sports are humbling. Learning to fail even when you do your best is a useful experience. Tennis does this more than any other sport in my opinion. No matter how good you are or how hard you try, you will simply not prevail every time you hit the court. Just ask Roger Federer or Serena Williams, much less any recreational tennis player. There is always a person on the other side of the net of equal or higher ranking, who also wants to win, is good, and is trying their best as well. Players seem to respect the ranking rather than look down on the lower levels: She’s a really strong 3.0. We all know that if we were actually so amazing, we’d get bumped up to the next level, or USTA rating, where we would get our back side handed to us for a while. Although there are a few out there who act like a pro contract is on the line, and whose seriousness is always mocked, most adult recreational players demonstrate a healthy balance of seriousness and the ability to laugh at oneself.

I’ve lost my mind occasionally and become angry at my mistakes and my inability to beat an opponent. Me, who does not take lessons, only plays 2-3 days a week, and is 52 with the knees and feet of a 62-year-old. What was I thinking, Wakako? My teammate was equally perplexed by my ‘tude. [Laugh at self with eyes rolling back in head]

For the little ones, tennis teaches score keeping, problem solving, communication, and again fair play. Parents can and often do ruin sports for their children by being too intense, too overbearing, or demonstrating rude, unfair attitudes. The sport itself does not. Winning at all cost is not actually winning but rather a warped, negative, mental-emotional perspective that ruins true competition. For that reason kids’ tennis is great, at least while they are on the court. The players must keep score, make their own line calls, strategize, problem solve, be courteous. No coaching, no adult interference. Ideal.

We see this less and less these days, especially in the big-money team sports – loud, angry, evil yelling. Not just at opponents or the referees. Seriously. Yelling about how horrible another child is or how dumb the coach is? 99% of the sweet, young people playing are not going on to a professional or even college level – no I did not research the statistic. The parents’ attitude suggests otherwise, but they are wrong and warped. Even if it were true and their child were indeed the best athlete on the planet, why not calmly demonstrate that through fair play and kindness? No one likes a talented, rude, elitist athlete, nor the arrogant parents who raised such an unlikable snob. No one. It’s not worth being a jerk.

Everyone should play tennis for a season because it is so undeniably humbling. The sport where, when keeping score, zero is “Love.”

Know the Bent of Your Child

That is the title of the entry on page 83 in my book, 15 Minutes Alone With God by Emilie Barnes [Harvest Press, 1994]. It was my first non-fiction, prayer book ever. I was less than 10 years into my marriage and had already faced several serious marriage-threatening situations with my husband and life-threatening situations with the children. I recently picked this one up again, having finished Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and did not have another daily devotional for my silent time each morning. I am now 52 and my children are 27, 26, 25, almost 24, 23, and almost 22. My oldest is married and just announced they are pregnant and due in August. This is a different perspective from my original reading.

The quote I wrote down says that this is what our children want to say: “Please take time to know me. I am different from anyone else. My sensitivity, my likes, dislikes, tenderness of heart are different from my brothers and sisters.” The one thing I certainly learned as the mother of 6: they are all so different. The way you treat them, discipline them (P.S. please do this, in some form or fashion), listen to them, encourage them, and reward them has to be unique. But how to be fair? It’s so challenging.

To my grown children: I apologize for the many parenting mistakes I made raising you. I apologize for my many faults which affected how you were raised.

Parenting is an extreme sport. It is not for the weak. It is for the adventurous, the crazy, the creative, the dedicated. Most of us set off on this path with a lot of plans: “I’m not doing this like my parents did,” or the exact opposite. The most humbling lesson was learning that my parents were nearly always right. I’m blessed that way, but as a supremely stubborn, independent person, it was also difficult to swallow. I always wanted to think I managed this all on my own; I don’t need anyone’s help or advice! Oh, and maybe with my husband’s help. The farther I get along the parenting experience timeline, the more I realize that anything positive I ever did was like my parents. My husband would probably say the same since his parents raised 15 children and still leave me quite awestruck.

As the mother of four and two step-children, the only thing I know in my heart to be true, that maybe, possibly a parent of one or, say, a parent of one boy and one girl may not know, is that truly every child is indeed different. It has nothing to do with gender necessarily. “The Birth Order” book by Kevin Leman has a lot of accurate observations and helpful advice. He is an outstanding speaker, by the way. However, while parents should listen to all the advice they can, whether to heed such information is up to us. “Know The Bent of Your Child” (not, know your child is bent, but that may also be the case): what works for one child will not work for another and can actually have negative effects.

This is where it starts getting crazy: birth order, gender, the willful child (when you were that exact willful child, who is now a willful adult), personality types, learning styles, interests, and that’s just the children. My husband and I are opposites, which mostly works for us – complementary strengths and weaknesses and all – but when faced with four to six children, we were not always on the same page. There were often eight different opinions floating around our house!

I think our biggest fault was, while trying to be fair, we treated them all the same. It’s logical, isn’t it?

Being fair on play time, curfews, when to get technology, and general rules is not the challenge. It’s what to do about it when the rules or expectations have been broken. For one child, if they ever even did accidentally break a rule (their personality would not let them), just a disappointed face from us in his or her direction was almost too harsh. The next child won’t stick to the rules to save their hide – like their mother. A disappointed face is almost a badge to this personality type. Tell me I can’t and I definitely will. And what are you going to do about it? Bless my mother. “My Bold One,” was what her friend Peggy called me and my mother often uses that term, bold, in a polite way, probably tongue-in-cheek for stubborn.

Remember that a logical brain does not develop in children until around the age of twelve – just before puberty completely blows their circuit system. By the time they recover from this electrical disaster, pride and fear of failure have reared their ugly heads to shut you out; especially from any sage advice you may have to offer.

From the perspective of this half-century-old woman who has traveled the world, worked with all ages Kindergarten through adults in education, led classes at church, and to whom many students, current and former, come to for advice on a variety of subjects, it is so logical, makes so much common sense that my children would love to sit in rapt attention to anything I wish to say. This does not happen, even when they seem marginally ok with us in general, or even proud of us (gasp!), when their friends ask us for advice and actually listen. What is wrong with them?

I know I never wanted to hear anything my parents had to say, even though my parents were both more experienced and smarter and more patient than I will ever be. I was offended by their suggestions. Do they think I’m stupid? I was actually doing stupid things, making ignorant decisions (as a teen and in college), but couldn’t they see I was smart? As an new parent I always thought: “Do they think I haven’t been paying attention? I’ve got this.”

Being a Teacher is like being a Parent: I tell my students something constantly, but when a guest speaker or other teacher says the exact same thing, we see the light bulb go off over our students’ collective head and they are so grateful SOMEONE finally said something useful. Eye roll.

We parents were once children (no, really, we were), and expect our children to act, react the same way we did. Never happens. It’s like a trick by our Maker – payback time.

That’s the Extreme Sport of it. We are not in control. We never were. The Bible verse Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” does not mean they will never makes mistakes. As a Spanish teacher, I’m excellent at interpreting, so I will interpret this for you: Do your best, what you truly think is best for your child at every possible moment, and then pray constantly, have faith, and trust a hope.

Children are humans and have been gifted with free will, not their parents’ will. So don’t freak out when they screw up along the way – at 5, 15, or even 50! (Sorry, Nellie Faye). They make their choices. They will makes mistakes just like you did, just possibly different ones. It takes a village, right? Support them, pray with and for them, love them unconditionally, and forgive them – often. And sister, pray for the village.

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