The things I want to teach them during these years I’ve been given to raise them are countless. I actually have a pretty extensive list, but… priorities… and they’re 3 (almost 4 but I don’t want to hear that) and if I tried to write it all down, I’d never hit publish! So here are just 10 I’d like to focus on now, because it’s just never too early to raise them in truth. These crucial things, I can’t teach them – knowledge that will only come as a result of life experiences, creating a faith community around them, and doing my best to be their example. I won’t always do it right, but this is my hope and prayer…
My precious girls, please know that:
* You are perfect and loved, not because of anything you’ve done, but because you were made that way.
* You can’t control how people treat you, but you can control how you react to it.
* You are amazing! There is no one like you. No one!
* True happiness is found in love – giving & receiving love, not things. Although, love can hurt, things will leave you empty.
* Bravery doesn’t mean doing something scary – it means standing up for yourself & for others. Listening to your own voice over your peers and doing what you feel is right, for you.
* Failure is nothing to fear. If you let it, failure can show you how resilient you are and give you the chance to star in your very own comeback story.
* Being happy or not is up to you.
* If you’re going to take a big risk and bet on anything, bet on yourself.
* Your identity isn’t found in anyone or anything – through Christ, alone, you have been made whole.
* I love you. You don’t have to do anything to deserve it – I just do, with all my heart.
Here are a few of my favorite examples from the Kraze themselves:
My absolute favorite: Sir Ken Robinson’s example: When his son was a young boy, he was in a Nativity play. When the 3 wise men came out with their gifts, the 1st boy said, “I bring you gold”, 2nd boy, “I bring you myrrh”, and the 3rd boy said, “Frank sent this”. Baahahaha! I chuckle out loud ev-er-y time I think about this!
I’m so impressed by their creativity and ability to think on their feet, that I don’t dare correct them.
– Just the other day, at breakfast, Zoe saw a mural on the wall & said, “Look at that cool fish!” After a few seconds, I could absolutely see how she saw a fish when she looked at it, but it was actually an old coffee spigot. She doesn’t know what a spigot is, so I didn’t tell her any different. What an imagination she has to look at something she’s never seen before and make out an image of something more familiar to her! – Kara Rose believes she is the best reader in the world, when in fact she has an amazing auditory memory & can recite full books (like several), word for word as she turns the pages. She might miss a word or even leave a line out sometimes, but when she looks up at me after each page, she’s going to get a smile, thumbs up or ‘way to go’ regardless… And she’ll tell you, “Reading is one of my favorite things to do… I’m so good at it!”
Now understand me here, I won’t let them call a circle a square or something red that is in fact yellow, but with these harmless instances, they’ll figure it out one day… for now, I’m more worried about maintaining their confidence & fostering that creativity than ‘getting it right all the time’.
Kids will take a chance – if they don’t know, they’ll at least try – they’re not frightened of being wrong. We stigmatize mistakes & we run our education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make… *We’re educating people out of their creative capacities. I’m not saying being wrong is the same as being creative, but if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
My brother and I were having the ‘education path’ discussion, regarding our children, although we view education for our children quite differently (and that is perfectly fine! See next to last paragraph). He goes on to tell me that his son’s school is counting their students answers wrong, even when the answer is right, only because the child didn’t get TO that answer the ‘correct’ way… since, I’ve found they’re among the majority doing this. Are you kidding me? Since when did school believe they had the right to tell children HOW to think?! America’s educational system is simply based on conformity, which is the antitheses of creativity and innovation – it’s a system that was originally created to meet the needs of industrialism, but *education is not a mechanic system, it’s a human system.Picasso said, “All children are born artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Did you know, almost all children from the ages of 3-7 test in the 90th percentile for creativity?! BUT every year after that, it dramatically declines. We focus on educating only children’s minds & really only one side. Academic ability dominates our view of intelligence. The consequence is highly talented, brilliant people think they’re not because what they were good at wasn’t valued or was completely stigmatized.
A little girl, in the 1930’s, was ‘having trouble in school’. The school wrote to her parents saying she had a learning disorder because she couldn’t be still & focus, so her mother took her to a doctor. After she spoke to him about their issues and the doctor evaluated her, he said “Gillian isn’t sick, she’s a dancer.” The mother put her in a dance school & the little girl said it was full of people just like her, people who had to move to think. In this day, someone would have put her on medication & told her to calm down. Now, you may know of her – Gillian Lynne, the choreographer of the longest running Broadway show in history, Cats.
My older brother was 3 grades ahead of me & I was practically writing his literature papers for him before I even got to high school, so he would help me with math & science. Who do you think got into an Ivy League school & who barely got into college at all because I could. not. take. a standardizeda synonym for conformity test for the life of me?! After taking a ‘gap year’, I decided to attend a fine arts college where I graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0. It wasn’t until I went to an ‘alternative college’ that I realized my own potential.
School is about to start in a couple weeks and I am so freaking excited this year because we’ve found a school, here in our new city, whose philosophies match our beliefs on education. I’ve been told more than once, “If you don’t like the system, maybe you should homeschool them. Education is standard for a reason – they can’t individualize it for every child.” Well, well, well, if we didn’t find a school that believes in individualized education as a top priority. They believe children should be children, not sitting quietly in desks for hours. They believe in self-paced learning. And believe it or not, they also aren’t so worried about every answer being 100% correct, as long as they can see that the child is processing the information and demonstrating their knowledge in a way that shows progression and understanding.
Guys, I have twins. They are. not. the. same. especially when it comes to how they learn or what they’re interested in. This is where my passion for this subject matter was born! What is right for my children, may not be for yours OR crazy thought, what is right for one of your children, may not be right for the other! You are your child’s parent. Trust your instinct. Decide what matters to you most and get involved. Don’t just take things for face value. And stand up for what you believe in. Every child has a dream & our job to protect it. In fact, I think Katrina Kennison basically sums up my feelings about this: “One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced as a mother-especially in these anxious, winner-takes-all times-is the need to resist the urge to accept someone else’s definition of success and to try to figure out, instead, what really is best for my own children, what unique combination of structure and freedom, nurturing and challenge, education and exploration, each of them needs in order to grow and bloom.”
is not my beliefs about education, but my beliefs about humans… We need to use the gift of human imagination wisely. The only way we’ll flourish in the future “is by seeing our children for the hope that they are*”. Our task is to educate their WHOLE being so they can face the future – though we may not see the future, they WILL & our job is to help them make something of it.
I keep saying Easter is one of my favorite holidays, but the older I get (no doubt it has so much to do with being a mom now – realizing the importance of raising these little hearts with an eternal perspective) it’s really become my #1 favorite holiday. No, it’s not because of the bunny or egg hunts and all the other activities, which are most definitely super fun without the stress & expectations of Christmas, or that with Easter comes spring… *Oh how I instantly feel a lift in my spirits when the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and we’re (all 4) riding down the road with our arms up singing “Hands in the air like we don’t care!”…
But no, that’s not it. To me, Easter is the definition of Hope. Easter is when God’s promise was fulfilled. Just when darkness thought they won, they had been defeated in the biggest way… You know the feeling you get when you get to prove the naysayers wrong?! That’s the victory Christians felt the moment Jesus had risen again and defeated death, proving He indeed was the Messiah, our Savior!
Day 1: Epcot (half day)
*Tip: I totally recommend making a stroller sign to hang on the handle bars so you can easily spot yours in the sea of strollers.
Day 2: Animal Kingdom all day
After nap (yes, we got naps in every day!)…
Day 3 (AM): Hollywood Studios
Day 3 (PM): Magic Kingdom
Day 5 (Last Day/Half Day): Magic Kingdom:
I’ve kept myself from posting this for two reasons: (1) I felt it would be misunderstood that I thought my struggles were worse or harder than yours, so here’s your disclaimer: I’ve decided to write this, not for my own pity or selfish desires, but the pull on my heart is that someone else might need to hear read this (in fact I know this & I know some of you, what you’ve been through & my heart aches for you… know that I love you). In all honesty, I did not learn or come to this conclusion on my own, but from merely being a spectator of someone else’s struggle (which was absolutely much tougher than mine), which brings me to my second reason: (2) I’ve had to mourn the loss of this person. I celebrate the fact we knew him & he changed my life through what he called his journey, (not struggle – that’s my word), but deeply mourn the fact that the Kraze will not know him, however hope they indeed will by what I hope to carry on through my life and pass down to them.
My journey still feels too personal to share the details with you – maybe full transparency will come with time – but I’ll tell you my faith has been tested in insurmountable (to me) ways since the Kraze was born. While I’m choosing to hold tight to the specifics for now at least, I’ll share some thoughts I’ve had along the way…
During this time, Zach and I continued to watch Mack’s journey from afar and felt completely inadequate in our faith. We witnessed him never “growing weary in doing good… and not giving up”; he never wavered in his faith. We heard him say more than once, “God is not mad at me. He loves me.” Because of this witness, I’ve come to a place of thanking God for believing I’m stronger than I think I am and seeking the purpose in it all… His purpose.
Right now, I don’t know who our story will touch or how it could change lives, but my hope & prayer is that we’ll hear His calling and use it for good (hopefully to be a good example for my girls). My prayer is that I can be an example of how “hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40.
I’ve titled this ‘A TransformATION of Faith, not TransformED (past tense) because I’m still walking through this journey, one step at a time a little further down the path from Plans for Good. I still don’t have answers, I don’t understand, but I now understand it’s not about me… it’s about honoring a God that loved me (and you) first by following in Jesus’ and Mack’s footsteps of allowing God to use me to transform lives… to bring people to Him.
I should have started doing this a long time ago. They’ve been saying “Aw man!” and “No way!” since they were 18 months old; but lately, they have really been cracking us up, and when people ask what they can say now, there is nothing they can’t say! I absolutely adore them coming into their own, so I just had to write these down and save them!
For those of you who know them (or think you do), see if you know who said what!
I’m finally getting around to sharing another craft project with you. I haven’t posted one since last Easter!
First, we started the day with a super complicated 3-element St. Patty’s Day breakfast:
You may think the green eggs look unappetizing, but Sam-I-Am actually thinks they’re quite delectable and so does the Kraze!
Here’s what you’ll need for your Shamrocks:
Truth time: I did help fill in some gaps (again, they’re 2… and I’m a bit of a perfectionist (AND I needed a completed project for the pictures right?!). Does this make me a bad mom?
Zoe did ask me to do her stem for her – which was before she insisted on UN-crumpling the paper and wanted it to lay flat. She’s actually much smarter than I am, because her version was much more age-appropriate than mine – her version took half the time of my crumpled version!
*Zoe’s paper-mache version:
At the end of the day, they are so proud of themselves. Every time they look at their shamrocks, they say, “We made a craft!!”
I especially love these because they are yet another example of experiencing the two shades of the Kraze (as mentioned in my First Blog Post Ever)!