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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is a time to celebrate the greatest gift ever given "For unto us the Son was given" the promise of forgiveness and redemption. Which in turn gives us every reason to be joyful in our freedom from death.

This has been my first year of blogging and I am grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment.

As you celebrate during these last weeks of the year I encourage you to slow down, take a deep breath and smile. Hug your family close, drink as much water as wine, and make lasting memories. Have a very Merry Christmas. And as always Believe in Parenting!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Teach your Children the Real meaning of Christmas!

Let me start off  by saying if Christmas has become too secular for your tastes do not let it color your view; ultimately Christmas is about you and what is in your heart. Let's look at some of the traditional themes of Christmas and how you can share them with your children.

Saint  Nicholas

The real Nicholas was a Christian Bishop. He lived in the late 3rd century. He saw so much poverty and sickness he worked to help the poor and the sick  After his death the legend of Santa Claus followed his giving nature. Every country has their own customs surrounding the mythical Santa.  However, the original St. Nicholas lived when Rome was still and empire.

Candy Canes

Candy Canes were originally just white sticks of candy. A German Catholic Priest In 1647 started handing them out to children to get them through the long mass on Christmas Eve. Another person a candy maker wanted to decorate his tree with them so He curved them. The candy cane did not make it to the  US until 1847. Then it was still a white hooked candy.. Before 1900 all pictures with the treat where white. The pictures with the red and white were shown after 1900. There is no official time or person to attribute the  red and white Christmas Canes we know today. However, there is a legend in Christan circles written in the poem seen below.
Christmas Candy Cane Poem

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!
Christmas Trees

Many ancient people groups believed in sun gods. They also believed that bringinging in evergreens and other life affirming plants would help the sun god heal. This all happened around December 21 the Winter Solstice. This is the pagan beginnings.

However, Christians began to look at trees in the  late 16th century as a way to express their belief in the everliving God in the 16th century/. The country of Germany is credited with the Christmas tree. Here in the US it is said the first Christmas tree was found in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the 1830”s. Legend says it was the German Protestant Minister
Martin Luther on the way home from a sermon seeing the stars through the boughs of an evergreen tree; used a tree and candles to show his family the beauty he saw.

 Fruit Cake

Fruit cake was a way to preserve a food source. Someone could bake a bread filling it with nuts, fruit, and seeds from the harvest and then preserve it by pouring alcohol over the loaves once a month. Fruit cake will remain edible as long as it is doused every so often. They have been known to last over ten years. The cakes were served during the Victorian era as a tea cake in England. It was very popular in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century. I suspect because it is so labor intensive to make. It has gone by the wayside for many home bakers.

Nativity

We have all seen a picture of Mary and Jesus as a baby. I especially like to see the whole Nativity scene with animals, Shepards, Wisemen and all. This depiction of the Savior's birth is both heartwarming and humbling.  Luke 2 gives the full details of the story from conception to birth. Though historians and the habits of sheperds tell us that more than likely these events happened at a warmer time of year; these events somehow seem more special having taken place in winter. From my point of view the most heart tugging point of the story is that the King of Glory thought it fit to show the world His great humility by being born in a stable, while the "kingmakers" found the way to Him by following a star.


Giving

Unto us a Son is given. This verse in the Bible is found in Isaiah 9:6 and reads:
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Giving is a large part of the season. It was Luke in Acts 20:35 who told us: It is more blessed to give than to receive. I think this is a real value our children can benefit from learning. One important thing to remember is the appropriate time to approach these lessons is between five and six years of age. These lessons may include getting your big kid to gather all his baby toys to take to the local shelter or getting her involved in the planning of getting her  gift for Grandma. When teaching these lessons it is important to let the child see the results of their giving. Kids need to see the joy others get when they receive a gift.

Love is the ultimate theme of Christmas

it was Jesus who told us in John 3:16 “That God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believed in Him would receive everlasting life.” Ultimately this is the true gift of Christmas. It is impossible to separate out the myths, folklore, and questionable portions of our Christmas traditions. After all those who are Christians brought these with them into their new walk. However, placing the sacred above the folklore and trusting our Savior to take care of the rest is our responsibility. Also, teaching our children to know and recognize the differences gives them the knowledge to choose and understand how and why they celebrate.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Using Multiple Intelligence for Buying Christmas Gifts

Parents did you know there are eight forms of ntelligence. This theory is called Multiple Intelligence or MI. The most well known purveyor of this theory is Dr. Howard Gardner. I think it is very important for you to know each of your children's MI. In addition, to understanding them well enough to help them and their teachers use it in creating positive learning environments!

Here are the eight:

Linguistic-reading, audio\visual, listening
Logical/Mathematical-Thinking and figuring out how things work,Puzzles,
Spacial-Picture, artistic representation
Bodily Kinestetic- hands-on, involved in a physical manner
Interpersonal-talking or engaging with other people
Intrapersonal-getting time to think or ponder alone alone or focused on self-expression
Musical-sounds, rhythms or musical patterns
Nature-outdoors, animals, oceanic sights or sounds

Each of these eight can be a primary, secondary, or even tertiary form of intelligence. One way of discovering a child's MI is for them to take an inventory. Scholastic has a great one for children.

Why is MI important?

Each one of us learns differently. The eight ways of learning above effects the way we all see the world. However, they also effect how we learn in general.

I am a linguistic/interpersonal learner, guess what every teacher said about me in class? Yep, Barbara talks too much in class. My learning bent showed up. My second cousin Acacia was an exceptional gymnast, yet she struggled in school. Until she had a teacher who helped figure out how to get herself to engage physically in what she was learning or to do some physical activity to fire up her brain. As it turns out if a person regularly engages in things which are part of their learning bent learning becomes easier. This is why I am suggesting parents buy gifts for their children which will help them engage their MI. (I also think you should buy gifts for adults the same way.) I have created a .pdf for $0.99 which gives suggestions for things to buy for each area of MI. I hope you enjoy your holiday, while giving your loved ones the gift of brain power.

Purchase the list here..

Believe in Parenting

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Take the Time to Enjoy your Kids

One of the best things in life is getting a hug from your child. From any child really it is one of the best parts of working in early education. Adult life can get so busy especially this time of year. I want to remind you to stop and enjoy your kids.

Take the time to do some fun activities.

Make Ornaments
String Popcorn
Build a Snowman
Have Snowball fight
Go Sledding
Go Caroling
Decorate
Make Cookies and deliver them to the neighbors
See a Christmas Carol
See the Nutcracker
Throw a Party
Make your Christmas Gifts

Slow down and appreciate the time you have with them!

Believe in Parenting

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Give your Children the Gift of Giving

We are on the heels of Thanksgiving where gratitude is the hallmark of the day. The Christmas season is all about giving. Teaching children about the joys of giving will help them to be just a little less focused on getting. Though let us be honest it is also a season for getting.

Now is the time to start asking kids what they would like to give others. If they have not saved allow them to work at earning money to buy gifts. Talk to them about making gifts for friends and family. This is great for artistic children

One of the best things in life is making a plan to give something good to someone.There is an inherent joy in the planning, the anticipation of their response, and the joy we get in the joy of their getting it. We so enjoy doing this for others yet, we sometimes overlook teaching it.Take the time to hive your children the giving.

Believe in Parenting