Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teaching Our Kids to Take Responsibility Part 1

This is the first post in a two part series. I've never done a series- ha! But...I feel like I have a lot to say about this and it really comes in two parts, so here goes.

This first part is- 

Teaching Our to Take Responsibility for Their Actions

One of things that I've really been thinking about lately is how to teach my kids to take responsibility for their actions. I want them to understand that they have a choice as to how they will respond to situations, especially ones that could end up with them getting hurt or hurting someone else.

The premise is teaching our kids that when something happens to them- they can either react based on what's right, or based on the action. So.....this is obviously tough, something even adults have a hard time with. But...something I feel like would be a huge asset to them. And really- based in reality. Because at the end of the day, we are the ones footing the bill for our actions.  

I want to back this up with scripture- when I was researching, I found these- 

"So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." Romans 4:12 (NKJV)

"And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)

 "For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]." 2 Corinthians 5:10 (AMP)

These are pretty clear about the idea that we are all accountable for our own actions. I'm not an expert on the age of accountability in God's eyes, I do think our children are given a certain number of years where they aren't held totally accountable, but why would want them to grow up believing they can do whatever they want up until age such and such and then all of sudden they have to start paying for them? I would rather train them up now, knowing that we all have to give an account. 

The same is true in our country's government- If you commit a crime, you can't go to the judge and say, well so and so did this to me, that's why I murdered, that's why I stole, or lied. You would still be the one convicted for the crime and paying the consequences.  

I really want my kids to have a happy, fulfilled life and I feel like a part of that journey is taking responsibility- 100%- for your actions. Even if something wrong is done to you. Ultimately, you are responsible for how you respond. This sounds harsh- but in light of the evidence that we have to give an account- it's crucial that we learn that we do have a choice as to how we will respond.

I want to pause a minute and say that I'm not talking about situations where abuse is involved. In those cases, you would want to seek professional help, although I do think that equipping kids with that they knowledge that they have a choice as to how they can respond, could be empowering. 

So going back, how does this work out practically? Sometimes I'm better at the vague idea of something, than the actual putting it into practice, but we need to know how to bring this idea down to a level that our kids can understand when they are young. 

Here are 2 steps we can take to practically teach our kids to take responsibility for their actions- 

1. Help your child take ownership for the part they played- whether good or bad. 

Most of us can relate to this situation...when there's an argument or something, I hear- "But mom, he did this, or she said this." And I am having to stop them and say "But, you did such and such. Even IF so and so did this- you still chose a bad response." 

If we help our kids take ownership for their attitudes and behaviors, it's much easier to then correct them. It's very difficult to correct a person who blames someone else for their actions. And then you feel like you're in the middle of a conflict where you'll have to pick a side in order to get anything done. I don't think this helps anyone. But- if both parties take ownership for the part they played (ie. "yes, I did hit him...." and "yes, I did call him a name.." it's much easier to come to a resolution. 

This does not mean that we need to justify anyone's bad behavior or look past it. We can absolutely affirm that YES, this thing was done to you and that's not ok either. (And in many cases, I say something like- "I will go and talk to your brother also.")  

Now the flip side of this is helping them identify their good choices and owing those as well! This looks like us calling out situations when we do see them responding well- (ie. "Wow, you were really kind to share your game with your sister.")

Again, the goal is making a habit of helping your kids identify behavior that they chose to perform.

2. Teach your kids about God's help and forgiveness. 

Once we've identified a wrong behavior, and our child has owned up to it- we don't want them hanging onto it. The purpose of having them own bad behavior isn't to make he or she feel guilty or like they are a bad person! The goal is to have them go to God with it, ask His forgiveness, allow God to change them and move on. 1 John 1:9 is a wonderful promise- 

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 

And that is something they CAN do. They have control over owning their behavior, learning what's right and wrong, celebrating the good choices and confessing the bad ones, accepting God's grace and forgiveness when they need it.

We can also teach our kids that God is ready and willing to help them make good choices. They don't have to figure it out on their own, the Holy Spirt is given to us to help us go in the right direction. An awesome set of scriptures for this is Psalm 119:9-11-

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." 

So theses are two practical steps we can take to help our kids take responsibility for their actions. Up next??

Teaching our kids to take responsibility for their happiness :). 

Happy Wednesday,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Easy DIY Elderberry Syrup

It's that time of year- the nasty germs are flying around like a swarm of gnats on a summer day, times a million.

I've decided it's really hard to not be around anyone who's sick. And half the time- you may not know they're sick or that you're sick!

So....I decided a while back that my best defense for the kids was to boost their immune systems. I've been trying to do this a number of ways- but the main thing I've been doing is upping the amount of Vitamin C we take, and making this Elderberry Immune Boosting syrup. This awesome recipe comes from Growing Up Herbal's, Meagan. She is fantastic and has always answered my herb questions. It's a great place to start if herbs are intimidating to you (ehem. they were/are to me.) Or, you just want a good recipe. She covers all kind of stuff herbal.

I love the idea of using herbs to help supplement our diets. I've tried a number of recipes- a lot of

them having the same ingredients (echinacea, rosehips, peppermint, elderberry), just different methods. I've tried-

1. Making a tincture- which is where you use alcohol and herbs, and you let them sit for 2-6 weeks.

2. Making a glycerite- which is mixing glyerine or honey with the herbs and letting them cook in a crockpot over low heat for three days.

3. Making a syrup- which is adding the herbs to boiling water and letting them simmer for a while, and then adding raw honey or maple syrup.

My favorite by far is the syrup. It's about 5 min prep time and about 1-2 hrs. to cook.

The immune boosting syrup contains- Elderberries, bilberries, rosehips, echinacea, hibiscus flowers, fresh ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and raw honey. I'm able to find all of these at our local health food store in the bulk section. I've ordered online at the Bulk Herb Store, and I've heard Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place as well.

This last time I made it, I went with a blend from the Bulk Herb Store- it's there Double-E Immune Booster. It had most of the things from GUH's recipe. Then I just went and bought a few bulk items from Lori's to add. The great part is, I think you can whatever you're into and it will still be great. I just don't know enough about herbs to just go adding anything, lol.

Now- one of the pics shows some fresh turmeric (the orange stuff) added to our syrup. I just discovered the awesomeness of turmeric and I've been able to find it fresh at some places. So- I added it! Turmeric is primarily good for it's digestive, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. On a total side note- I also love this detox tea. It's sooooo delicious.

Now- I'm really just going to send your over to Growing Up Herbal for all the details about the herbs and to get the full recipe.

What do you use for immune boosters??