"…And she smiles at the future." ~Proverbs 31:25

Posts tagged ‘encourage’

Teaching (and being taught by) our daughters

While going through some old paperwork I came across a little piece I’d clipped from a church bulletin some time back. I read it again and thought it worth sharing. (There was no author listed.)

We need to teach our daughters how to distinguish between

a man who flatters her and a man who compliments her,

a man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her,

a man who view her as property and a man who views her properly,

a man who lusts after her and a man who loves her,

a man who believes he is God’s gift to women and a man who remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

Hopefully our girls are seeing this in the way their dads treat their moms, but I appreciated the reminder to actively teach it as well.  And, it’s never too early!

In our house, I often feel my daughters are teaching me way more than I’m teaching them. Here are just a couple of the lessons I learned from my girls this week…

Yesterday, I woke up to this lovely sight:

A girl with a servant's heart

Our sweet Addison brought me breakfast in bed. There was no special occasion—she simply said, “I know you must be really tired from…” and proceeded to list all my current activities. The fact that she notices and appreciates my efforts is enough to warm this mom’s heart, and her attempt to do something for me in return was even more touching.

I learned from Addy that expressing appreciation for what others do makes them feel good, and makes them want to keep doing what they’re doing. I’m going to put out more effort to encourage others this week, especially those who just might be tempted to give up.

Then, there was the lesson I learned from my newly-three-year-old daughter, Remington. Her favorite activity these days is playing teacher. Her “lessons” go on and on and on and on…

Little teacher

But what she doesn’t realize is that our everyday interactions are actually teaching me a lot. This latest lesson came from a conversation we had when she found a bag of items I was planning to return for a refund.

Me: No, Remi, don’t open those. We’re going to take them back to the store.

Remi: But why? Why don’t we just keep them?

Me: Because we got too many. We don’t need them.

Remi: But why do we have to take them back?

Me: Because if we give them back to the store, they’ll give us some money instead.

Remi: But we already HAVE some money. Why do we need more?

Me: Ahem…

This sweet little one’s words have sure stuck with me. What a great reminder that we have enough. No matter what we have, it is enough, and I’m thankful I had the innocence of a little child to point that out to me. I am going to work on being content this week—not just with what I have, but with the situations I find myself in and the work I need to do.

So, here’s my encouragement for you today:

1. Teach your daughters, your sons, and your grandchildren what to look for AND give in relationships.

2. Look for ways to encourage the endeavors of those around you. Make an effort to notice. Let them know you see and appreciate.

3. Be content. Focus on what you already have, and find a way to share it with others.

4. Learn from those around you—even your little ones. They can make you a better person just by watching and listening to them.

Who’s up for the challenge?

Thanks for stopping by!


Helping our wee helpers (Tiny Tots Week, Day 1)

I often lament the fact that children have the strongest desire to help when they are least able to actually be helpful (read: toddlers)…and then, when they are old enough to be capable of truly helping out, that desire has all but vanished. (I think this is especially noticeable in a household containing both toddler and teenagers.) Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to make it easier for our toddler to “help” out around the house, and thought I’d share a couple of those ideas with you here.

For example, it seems all little ones have that burning desire to help water…well, everything.

But water is heavy, watering cans are unwieldy for small hands, and most of the water ends up on everything but the plants.

My solution? Use two pitchers instead.

I fill one completely full of water for me to hold, and we start with hers empty. Before she waters each plant, I pour just a little water into her pitcher from mine so she can then pour it on without flooding the poor plant or dropping the full pitcher. I am constantly refilling, but she is having a blast and some of the water’s even going where it’s supposed to! (And she loves the refilling as much as the watering.)

By the way…Yes, I am aware that she’s wearing a bike helmet and a nightgown. She’d gone out for a scooter ride first thing in the morning, before even getting dressed. How I’d love to be able to wake up and hit the ground running like that. {sigh}

Side note: This system also works well for little ones who are transitioning from a sippy cup to a regular cup. I start with a full cup of milk next to me, and she has an almost-empty one. Each time she drains it, I add more. This way, she’s getting practice drinking from an open cup, the inevitable spill isn’t going to be as tragic as it would if the cup were full, and I’m not having to go to the refrigerator every two seconds so she can have a refill.

Toddlers also crave any chance to sweep. (Amazing, right?)

But as much as they love it, those big brooms are just not made to be used by people with such tiny bodies.

Just look at her face as she struggles to hold the broom upright.

However, a whisk broom is just the right size for little hands. She can actually move the dirt around this way, and even see some results. (Inside the house, we let her use our little brush and dustpan set, which she adores.  No matter who’s sweeping with the big broom, the toddler is our resident pile sweeper, and she can actually get a fair amount into the trash can this way.)

What are some simple ways you’ve found to help your little helper? Please leave a comment to let me know.

NOTE: This post is the first in a planned week-long series on helping and educating toddlers and preschoolers. For those of you who don’t have little ones in the home right now, you are more than welcome to come along anyway…If nothing else, you’ll see a really cute toddler in action. 😉   (Yes, of course I’m biased…I’m a mom!)

If not, I hope you’ll join me again next week when WhyAmySmiles goes back to its regular posting schedule. Either way, please pass along this blog address to those you know with little ones, and encourage them to join me here for the following posts this week:

Monday: Helping our wee helpers

Tuesday: Tot School fun

Wednesday:  Tot School on a shoestring

Thursday: Tot School organization

Friday: My favorite toddler resources

And, see the bonus post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Money couldn’t buy these

One of the best things about our sweet Addison is that she loves to keep us supplied with plenty of cheery little notes. Here are a  few examples from the past week alone:

This first one was for Connor after he hit his head on a wall while wrestling with his brother. In other words,  Addy had nothing to do with what happened, but she immediately started doing her thing to cheer him up. And really, how could this not make you smile?

She also gave him two others that day, including this one:

…which opened into this:

When I was sick she hand delivered this one to me:

But perhaps this one is my favorite of the week…She gave it to her daddy and now it hangs near his bathroom sink to encourage him each day:

This little girl makes me want to be an encourager, too. Her handwriting and spelling aren’t perfect but her heart is humongous and she makes everyone around her smile.

What lessons have you learned from your child(ren)? I’d love to hear about them…

Thanks for stopping by!

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