The Princess & The Kiss

The Princess & The KissYears ago, my family was introduced to a wonderful book. It was girlie, it was cute, and it helped instill the value of keeping oneself pure.

The Princess & The Kiss is a delightful book which has entertained my girls ever since we were given this beautiful gift and it continues to minister to them even today.

The Princess & The Kiss tells the story of a young princess who is courted by many men. Each seeks to show her how wonderful he is, only to prove how unworthy a suitor stands before her.

With each passing man, the princess reaffirms her kiss be saved. Through much prayer and seeking, the princess finally finds the man who is deserving of her kiss and in the most  unlikely of places!

There is so much I appreciate about this lovely story. I respect the author’s careful observation of those men who were wrong for the princess and what specifically she should look for. I valued the constant reminders that her kiss was of utmost value and should be saved. I was thankful the princess and her parents had such a close bond; a loving relationship was showed and appreciated.

My girls enjoy having their pop read this story to them. He is hilarious when he does voices for each character. He makes it a fun read, while keeping the focus where it belongs.

When my girls were very little, we were content with merely reading the story. I think it must have been read at least once a night for the first few months and, even now, it is pulled down from its place on the shelf to delight us again and again.

Now that a few of my girls are maturing into young ladies, I think we are ready for the next step. The Princess & The Kiss has a life lessons booklet which accompanies the story; guiding both mother and daughter in helpful conversations which reaffirm the foundational principle of purity.

I am excited to be able to share this time with my daughters, helping them better understand why they should respect themselves and the gift of their first “kiss”. I am excited to share with them the blessings of a rightly chosen spouse and a Godly marriage.

While being courted and thinking about marriage might seem a long way off, it is never too early to start teaching the principle of purity. Even the littlest of girls can begin by knowing which characteristics make a good man and which should be shunned.

How in-depth we choose to take the conversation will depend on the Lord’s leading and each child’s maturity, but on some level each child can still be taught the foundations.

I admire how one group of ladies took the idea of life lessons and created a Princess & The Kiss club! Each young lady was accompanied by her mother. In group, they discussed various topics about how the Lord wanted them to view not only their bodies, but the idea of marriage.

Upon completion of the life lessons, each young lady was presented with a certificate and necklace, complete with charm box. In each box was a diamond, given by her parents. The diamond represented her kiss. The ideal was for her to keep her diamond sealed in the charm box until she should become engaged. Then, and only then, would the diamond be removed from the necklace and given to her fiance to be used in her wedding ring.

Isn’t that a beautiful idea?! Not only will that little lady remember her special time with her mother, but be given a special gift which is a visual reminder of her lessons.

I think I will begin these lessons with my oldest girl this summer and see how things progress. I look forward to the time we will spend together and the lessons we will share.

At what age did you start discussing purity with your children?

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I Love It!

Pop and SonHave you ever noticed that kids sometimes have a habit of using the words “like” and “love” interchangeably?

I want my children to very clearly distinguish between what is worthy of love and what is not. I also want them to be careful about throwing around the usage of “love”, like it is an interchangeable phrase with “like”.

 For instance, my kids received items for Christmas and upon opening them exclaimed, “I Love It!” While I appreciate the fact that my children really did enjoy the blessings put before them, it was a good occasion to remind them of  one very important fact….

We don’t “love” things, we “love” people!

It is okay to really like something, in fact we enjoy seeing them appreciate the blessings around them. However, loving things is not something we recommend.

Loving something means having a deep attachment or affection. Expressing “love” for something ought to be reserved for those things of greatest importance. “Love” should be about relationship, not about a tangible thing you can hold in your hand.

If we continue to use the word “love” for everyday use (I “love” pizza; I “love” my car), then when does the word “love” have real significance?

I believe that we should reserve the word “love” for those who have meaning in our lives. It shows them how truly important they are to us and the attachment we feel towards our relationship.

I “love” my God, my family and my friends. I “like” pizza, ice cream, and chocolate. (Okay, maybe I “really like” chocolate.)

How do you feel about the word “love”?

The Dating Dilemma

My Guy and MeI find it increasingly disconcerting that quite a few of my oldest daughter’s books want to talk about love and relationships. She is, after all, only eleven!!

Given the increasing popularity of this topic, it does bring up the issue of dating and relationships. When will I find it acceptable for my children to focus on a relationship? How do I help my children to recognize who is “worthy” to be dated and who isn’t?

I firmly believe that there is a difference between dating and courtship. Dating, even by definition, is informal and meant for an appointed time. Courtship is a long, drawn-out process by which we become better acquainted with someone, with the end goal being marriage.

Very often young people are encouraged to date and “test the waters”. After all, if they don’t date, how will they know who to marry? I wonder if this is wise though. What if dating only encourages our kids to take their relationships less seriously?

I wonder what would happen if we encouraged our children not to date, but instead to become the best people they can be. That they should give their lives over to God and live solely for Him. Then, when the Lord feels they are ready, He would bring the right person along. What if we put our trust in Him and didn’t worry about trying out the dating world?

What about knowing who is “right” for them? Here is a revolutionary thought; what if we as parents, simply lived out good relationships for our children to see? They would know what a good husband looks like. They would know what a good wife looks like. If we encourage our children to study their Bibles and focus on serving the Lord with their lives, then they too will know what to look for in a spouse.

If we encouraged our children to not date, but instead be surrounded by like-minded friends, our children would have a greater opportunity to meet people who are real. They won’t have to worry about “putting on a good front” or discovering who the person is; they will see them for who they are right from the start.

By being friends first, our children will have an opportunity to get to know each other and see where their friends’ hearts really lie. Then when a romantic attachment is formed, there are fewer things to learn and less surprises. When we are friends first, our relationships have a more solid foundation; especially when that friendship is mutually founded upon Christ.

My husband and I were friends for about three years. We never considered marrying each other; he was older than I and neither of us ever considered the relationship a possibility. One day, out of the blue, our relationship became something more. (Literally, it happened in one day!) Because we already knew each other, because we were already friends, there was very little we needed to learn about each other. It came as no surprise to either of us, that on that very first “date”, we decided to get married. Three months after our first “date”, we got engaged and four months after that, got married.

Now, I am not saying that all relationships should go as quickly as ours did, but why not? If we had already known each other for three years and knew so much about each other, why not go ahead and just get married? The only other things we needed to learn were the details… how many kids we wanted, what our life plan was after having kids, and things of that nature. Because our relationship was centered on our beliefs and because we were such good friends, it seemed only natural that we would move on to the next step and to do so quickly. (I will also note, this is a good plan so as not to become tempted by desire, as Christians believe in remaining pure until marriage.)

In raising and homeschooling our children, we have a greater opportunity to show our children what a good marriage looks like. We can show them not only the good, but how to work through the hard. We can show them the qualities to admire and the little things that we need to look past. I can train my daughters how to keep their homes and my husband can teach our son how to provide and protect his family. We an emphasize the importance of being responsible, diligent, and patient.

Since our children were young, courtship is something that we have engrained in their minds. The idea of being friends and getting to know people before becoming romantically involved. The idea of preparing yourself, before you go looking for a spouse. The idea of waiting on the Lord to bring the right person, instead of searching out the desires of your own heart, which can often lead you astray.

Thankfully, my daughter seems to skip right over the books that center on this topic and if she reads a book that happens to have a relationship involved, she usually gives it little thought. However, when the topic does come up, it is nice to know that we can have an open discussion about our faith and our personal beliefs, using this topic to help our children make the best decisions for the future.

Are any of your children old enough to date? How do you teach them about choosing the right spouse?

No Kiss Me, No Kiss Me!

T and Mommy

My oldest girl when she was just a few months old.

When I was a very little girl, it seems I had an extremely close relationship with my father. He would snatch me up, tickle me with his mustache, and try to give me kisses. In response, I would giggle endlessly and scream out, “No kiss me, no kiss me!” Little did I know that my father would walk out of my life when I was only four years old, never to kiss me again.

Growing up, my mother did her best to be affectionate with my brother and I. We held hands while walking, we hugged, and we would occasionally sleep all together in one bed. As we got older though, the affection seemed less and further between on all our parts. Life became busy and we focused on other things.

Through junior high and high school, I began to look for an outlet; a place where my desire for affection would be gratified. While I can say that I remained pure during all of my schooling, that doesn’t mean I was completely innocent.

I liked being around guys who were willing to pay attention to me. I looked for excuses to give hugs and be close to someone. I wanted to know that I truly mattered to someone, that I was worthy of their time and effort.

Little Man and Mommy

My son when he was about a year old.

Jump to now… I am still a very affectionate person (much to my husband’s delight). I love to be held, hugged, and touched. I have found a guy who loves to show me how much he cares and in turns loves for me to show him.

Now, how does this at all relate to my kids? Simply this… I have known a great deal of women (and men) who have lacked affection in their lives; either from their parents or their spouses! The interesting factor is that generally the lack of affection stems from one place; CHILDHOOD!

It caused my husband and I to think. Would our children go looking for affection, if our home was filled with it? Would they feel the need to date at such a young age, if they were constantly being hugged and kissed?

While my mother was very affectionate with us as children, we were not as affectionate as teenagers (which is not entirely my mother’s fault; we probably didn’t initiate either). Why is it we often forget that teenagers need hugs too? Why do we allow them to pull away from us, instead of pursuing our children’s hearts?

All the GirlsI want to be purposeful about gaining the affection of my children. So, while they are young, I snatch them up and cuddle them. I find ways to tickle them, kiss them, rub their arms, pat their heads, gently tug their braids, sit cheek to cheek, and other lovely things of that nature.

When my children get older, there may be boundaries that they decide to set in place (“No kissing me in front of my friends, mom!”), but that will not prevent me from purposefully seeking them out. Whether they deny it or not, I think they will love being held and hugged. I think they will enjoy being cuddled, tickled, and kissed.

I pray that my children would not just know that we love them, but feel our love. I pray that my children would not feel the desire (as I did) for outside affection, but that they would gain all they need from our home.

Yes, one day my children will desire a Godly husband or wife (and they should!), but prayerfully it will be because that is the direction the Lord is leading them. It won’t be for lack of love and affection. It won’t be because their lives were missing something. It won’t be the need for attention. It will be for all the right reasons; a desire to share their lives with someone else and create a family of their own. Playing at the Beach

It occurs to me, as I type, that my brother and I are now grown and gone from my mother’s house. I wonder if she ever feels lonely or lacks affection, living by herself. I need to be more purposeful in my love for my mother; hugging and kissing more often.

Perhaps this will teach my children to remain affectionate no matter their age. So that when they are grown and gone, they will still remember to come back and hug their dear, old mom and pop. Perhaps they will one day repeat my words, but with a different meaning, “No; kiss me. No; kiss me.

Are you purposeful in your affections towards your children? How so?

Wasting Time?

Let's go!I distinctly remember my husband finding me at my computer, typing away and researching like mad, while our oldest girl was sitting in her onesie playing with some small toy. It seems I was searching for ways to spend some creative time with our daughter.

Yes, yes; looking back on it now, I clearly wasn’t seeing what was right in front of me! Instead of thinking about spending time with my daughter, I could actually be spending time with my daughter!

Years of experience have taught me that this tends to be true to every area of my life. I am a very task oriented person. By completing the myriad of items on my checklist, I somehow justify my existence. Little Man and Me

I find it very hard to justify sitting down on the floor and playing with blocks; there is a house that needs to be cleaned. I feel guilty about reading a book while the sun is still up; I could be doing yard work and baking fresh bread.

I have also come to realize, however, that there are many definitions of wasting time. I was wasting the short, fast years of my children’s childhood; I was focusing on the responsibilities and not the relationships.

I still find it hard to sit still when there are chores to be done. My fingers still itch to do just one last thing before I relax. However, I have also learned to compromise. I have found a way to balance my need to be useful and the need to be there for my kids.

Fun with KidsWhen I am in my home, I do chores while the kids are still sleeping or when they are working on a project. We have learned to do chores together, making it a fun experience for all of us; sometimes blaring music and dancing while we work. When the work is done, I plan things for us to do; we make greeting cards, play a game, watch a movie, or anything else the kids are interested in.

The easiest thing for me though, is leaving my house! I find that I am  better able to focus my attention on them, when we are out of my sphere of responsibility. So I plan a vast number of field trips (we probably take about twenty field trips a year), we attend park days, birthday parties, Keepers at Home, I date my kids, and aim for anything else that helps me build our relationships.

Slowly, but surely, I am retraining my mind to be less task oriented and more people oriented. I don’t always succeed. At times I still choose to file that paperwork or pull the weeds, when I could be playing a board game. I am learning though and with time I know it will become easier.Watch Your Fingers

Today we have a full day ahead of us. I have tackled whatever chores I could get to, while the kids happily played together. Now, it is time for me to get out of the house and joyfully start “wasting some time”!

Are you task oriented? How have you retrained your mind to focus on people and not problems?

Dating Other People

TeaI try to make sure that I date my husband as often as possible, this keeps our marriage alive and kicking. I also try to date my kids, this helps us build our relationships. On occasion though, I like to date other people.

There is sanity in friendship and there are different ways to go about maintaining those relationships. We can talk on the phone, email, or even use Facebook and Twitter. However, I prefer to go out on a “date”. Sitting down, face to face, and enjoying the other person’s company.Coffee

I have had “dates” with all sorts of different friends and family members. Sometimes we sit and just have a cup of coffee; other times we plan an activity. It doesn’t matter the venue, as long as we are spending time together and having a good time.

I am always amazed at how much I learn from our time together. I learn not only about them, but about myself. I have grown tremendously because of the wisdom and life experiences that they have shared.

TeaTableSettingAs my children grow and develop their own friendships, I want to encourage them to do the same. Whenever possible, I try to arrange for them to have “dates” with their friends. We have done small tea parties, park days, and even excursions; opportunities for them to focus on their friendships.

One fun aspect of homeschooling is that we have a generous schedule, which allows us to accommodate other people’s time limits. There are dates that occur on weekends and just as many that happen during the week.

Unfortunately they can be few and far between, but we try to make them happen as often as possible. The important thing is that my children be taught to take time for relationships and not just responsibilities. That they remember people and not just things. Coffee

I am ashamed to say, the one person I probably haven’t gone on a date with, is my mother! Her schedule is more hectic than mine! However, she has expressed a desire. I think I need to give her a call, when she gets back from her latest trip, and make her set a date!

Do you ever “date” other people? What is one activity that you like to do together?