Archive for the ‘children’ Category

3 POWERFUL Back to School Traditions

Friday, September 9th, 2016

It is back to school season. Your kids or grandkids might be enjoying the fun of grandkids-back-to-schoolnew school supplies, cool new backpacks, lunch boxes and water bottles or maybe feeling the thrill of that fun new back to school outfit or uniform. But you, as parents, might be excited for back to school time for an entirely different reason!

 

In our books for parents (10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex, Got Teens? and Raising a Modern Day Princess) we encourage parents to leave their TradeMark  [TM] o their kids and grandkids with

Traditions: Those yearly look forward to moments or activities

Memories: Those once in a lifetime experiences or Rites of Passages

Here are 3 powerful  ideas to consider and implement as your kiddos head back to school:

  1. Create Character: Our Back to School tradition was the yearly “Learner and Leader” Day. It was a day we set aside to negotiate privileges and responsibilities for each child. We also selected ONEtm-sons-10bp character quality to focus on for each child, each year and selected a verse to pray over that child connected to that leadership trait we would be reinforcing all year. You can read more about our “Learn, Leaders who Love God” parenting plan in our book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make. Our goal with Learner & Leader Day was to create a system for solidly placing the baton of faith, values and character to the next generation. (It is fun to now watch our grown children create their own version of Learn and Leader Day and their own Back to School Traditions. (Download a copy of the Learner and Leader chart for your child, or pick up a copy of 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and get the list of “What Chores Kids Can Do at Each Age and Stage”)

For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:13)

 

If you asked us the three best choices we made in raising our kids, it will include:

(A) Faith – Pray for your kids and teach them how to have their OWN relationship with God.

(B) Family Create a family identity by using traditions like Learner and Leader Day, Rites of Passage, and shared meals, and memory making experieinces etc.

(C) Fun– Weave activities your kids love into all of this. Reward church attendance with paying for them to go to an enjoyable youth camp; Make family devotions a creative hands-on experience; Schedule fun memory making activities. (Yes, let the kids pick and plan some of these!)

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well. (Psalms 139:14)

 

  1. Prepare the Plan: Our friends Deanna and Jon Ramsey take a night out with their children and host a goal setting session. Deanna shares, “I love seeing them dream and plan and look forward with anticipation of a great year to come!”

After the children are done with writing their individual goals, the family then has a conversation about how they can help each other achieve those goals.

ramsay-kids-goals-back-to-school-learner-leader

You might recognize Deanna and Jon because they have also been the musicians at some of our marriage events, and they are frequent hosts at Forest Home Family and marriage camps. Deanna is also a popular speaker  and musician for women’s conferences as she shares with hope and humor how their family kept making the next brave and right choice when husband, Jon, was stricken with a life threatening illness.

The Ramsay’s thrived during this difficult season because they maintained routines, rhythms, and faith traditions despite the hardship.  Deanna’s parents held a similar goal-setting night for their children while growing up, now Deanna and Jon are building on that foundation of faith with their children. At the goal-setting night, the Ramsey’s also created and shared with the kids,  a “So You Have Free Time?” –a list of healthy, quality activities for kids other than being on media. And a “So You Wanna Make Some Money?” –A list of chores kids can do to earn extra money.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,  when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalms 139:15)

 

  1. Celebrate Their Uniqueness: Our friends, Tammy and Chris Morgan are the leaders for Fellowship of Christian Athletes at University of Louisville. When their daughters head back to school, they celebrate theback-to-school-morgan-cake day with baking a cake, and it often reflects a love of that girl. In our years serving in youth ministry and our own parenting experience, we observed that celebrating a child’s unique talents, strengths and loves gives them a strong sense of understanding who God made them to become and what God what God would be calling them to do. A cake is a simple and affordable celebration and because it is a rare treat to have sugar in a family that is very athletic, healthy and eats clean, it is rare, so it makes the celebration uniquely special too.

 

Your eyes saw my unformed body;  all the days ordained for me were written in your book, before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God!  How vast is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:16-17)

 

Find (or create) traditions that resonate with you or your family– then live and love them year after happy year!

 

pam-bill-red-umbrella-rebecca-closePam and Bill Farrel are international speakers, Co-directors of Love-Wise and authors of 45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti 

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Passing the Baton

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

 

brock speak forest homeRecently I got to team teach with my son, Brock, for Forest Home’s Mother/Son retreat. Brock is a football coach but he has helped plant a couple churches, and he is active as a coach in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is impacting his world on the high school campus by being a man of integrity and role model to young men in a society where nearly half do not have a father in the home.

One of the highlights of my weekend team teaching was to sit under Brock’s teaching as he encouraged moms to honor sons by effectively training then releasing their sons, and sons to honor moms by obeying them so they could learn to obey God.

One of the verses we have used as inner motivation for our parenting and our ministry is Psalms 145:3-4: Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

It is a call to proactively pass the baton. That weekend I thought of all the tools we have used and we use to equip other parents to train up their children:

The Inner GPS Question

gps best

Compass for the Future!  We have three parts to our family compass:

The Family Mission– a vision paragraph for your family

Ours hangs in our house and is in 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make sons 10 best parent

and 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make  books

The Family Motto– a sentence or phrase that summarizes your vision

Ours is “Those who Honor God, God Honors”- 1 Sam. 2:30

The Family Moniker– a logo or piece of art that pictures your family vision

crest farrel color[Read a detailed article on How to  Create Your Own Family Compass]

Simplify!: See Love-Wise blog for simple way to create your own family moniker or crest.

Contract the Future!

To get everyone on the same page, and to lessen arguments and raise family unity, we found a serious of contracts helpful to use with our children as they grew:

The Learner and Leader contract– start this one as early as age 4.

The Teen Relationship Contract– start this one as early as age 11tm sons 10bp

The media contract– start this one as early as age 8

The Education Contract and The Driving Contract  (these are in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make and are useful in jr high, high school and college)

The Freshman Foundation Dinner and Discussion Questions– this is a series of five sets of questions on the five vital areas a college student must handle to succeed in higher education and launch successfully into his or her own life.

Create a Future!

For those special needs, strong willed or children who lack a strong self-identity, we created a Treasure Map so he or she could see themselves closer to how God views them. This is a powerful tool to help any and evtreasure chestery child sense their God given potential and discover their unique talents, strengths and giftedness.

 

To prepare a son or daughter to own his or her decisions, choices and life responsibilities, we recommend  Rite of Passages, like our “walk into manhood” for our sons and Raising a Modern Day Princess celebration for those with daughters.

We believe in placing God’s Trademark ™ on your kids with traditions and memories.  TM means:

Traditions-

Things you do year after year, like our annual Leader and Leader Day that we held before school starts. We enjoy a fun family activity then negotiate privileges and responsibilities. Another  yearly tradition are father/son trips where Bill passes along what it means to be a man.

Memories

Those once in a lifetime or a few times, like the Rites of Passage- Walk into Manhood.  These are personalized, Brock was a QB so his was held on a football field, Zach loved his truck so his was held at a racetrack; Caleb is an outdoors man so his was held at a lake. We invited their mentors to come speak into their lives then enbill caleb harding helmetjoy a meal together. Memories also included  the “team parties” where each of our sons invited their high school sports teams to our home for a pizza party and then they shared video of Christian athletes, played some games then our sons each gave their personal testimony of their faith and gave their friends an opportunity to come to know Christ personally.

 

All these proactive choices, laid out in our books 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make , 10 Best Decisions a Grad Can Make, 10 Questions Kids Ask About Sex,  and Got Teens? , — these all go back to that same camp– Forest Home. Years ago, when  Bill and I were a young couple, expecting a baby, we were at a couple’s conference (much like the one we are scheduled to speak at in the fall of 2015 at Forest Home). The speaker was very good, but it was just the husband. Bill and I went into the same small chapel that Billy Graham prayed in when He placed his stake in the ground declaring he would always preach God’s Word as the Only Truth. That day we knelt and prayed, “Lord, it seems that in marriage and family training it might be more effective if couples would teach together so both the husband and wife share. If that is something you think we would be able to do to help people find a relationship with You and improve their marriages and families, then Lord, we pray like Isiah, “Here am I Lord, send me” .

And God answered.

Later, when our baby was just a newborn, we prayed again, “Lord, it seems that some kids soar at 18. Help our kids soar into their calling, and help us help others also soar into the God-given potential and calling.”

And God answered.

And now the baton is passing and our own sons are carrying the mantle in their own ways. All three love and serve Jesus, they all married godly wives with hearts to reach and equip others too.  And one day,  our grandchildren will pick up the baton of faith and run the race that is marked off for them too.  God wants to help you and your family pass the baton of faith too. Simply pray in faith, Lord, help us be proactive parents”

And God will answer.

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Inspiring Transformation: A Model You Can Follow

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Last post, I introduced you to our son, Zach, who has a
Masters in Exercise Science and is a coach at a prestious university. While an undergrad, he also was the captain of the Universty’s co-ed cheer team and they won the National title each year he was captain. So Zach is more than a challenging drill instructor type, he also cheered this mom to victory in her wellness journey. I was fortunate to have many “cheerleaders” who believed I could and would hang tough til the finish line. Here are a few more questions and answers—and a pretty inspiring story from Zach’s life to cheer you on today too:

Q: You have encouraged us to cross train (vary our workouts)- why?
A: In-terms of cross training, I think that it is very important to increase activity in general. Resistance training will increase your ability to accomplish everyday activities. Cardiovascular training will be a great solution of you are unable to resistance train, have high blood pressure, or have a low understanding of how to resistance train. The ultimate goal should be to decrease fat mass and increase lean body mass.

Q: Why is interval training is so helpful in dropping pounds ?
A: Interval training allows for higher quality work at higher intensities. It will also increase the ability to burn calories of fat at resting after you are done working out. The ultimate goal of working out is to increase your ability to utilize fuel at rest and during activity. With the interval work you can do double the work I less time. Example: Running a mile vs. Interval Bike Sprints- 10 minutes to run a mile (low intensity, BORING!) vs. 10 Minutes 30 Seconds All out Sprint/ 30 Seconds Recovery Cycle can increase the amount of work being done, Increase heart rate, increase body and core temperature, and Increase fat burning at rest.
Examples to use – All on the Bike/Treadmill/ Track/ Resistance Training/ Body Weight Exercises
All 5-10 minutes 1-2 sets of each.
15 Seconds All out – 45 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 40 Seconds Recovery
30 Seconds All out – 30 Seconds Recovery
15 Seconds All out – 15 Seconds Recovery
20 Seconds All out – 10 Seconds Recovery (Much Harder)
(Note: Zach’s introduction of interval training produced twice the benefit in half the time, so if you are a busy leader, consider learning some circuit training and interval work outs to make the most of you precious work out time).

Q: Zach, You had your own fitness journey your freshman year of high school. What do you think took you from chubby kid to a top competitive all star athlete?
A. I would call what I went through the end of my Freshman year in high school more of a Body Transformation not a Fitness journey. I was 160 lbs at 5’6″ tall probably over 20% BF (high for a male athlete). My older brother decided that it was time for me to start weightlifting with the varsity football team. I started out as a short chubby kid who had no idea what he was doing in the weight room to being a lean, aggressive, strong, Varsity caliber football player all within 6 months. I decided that I was not ok with being 3rd/4th string anymore. I made a decision and set a goal for myself. I wanted to play varsity football with my older brother. I asked the head football coach, “What do I need to do to be on Varsity?” He gave me an answer that was direct and led me to make the decision to spend the next six months dedicated to changing my body and work ethic. Every day after school, I went straight to the weight room and said “Coach, what is today’s workout?” Monday through Friday for 2-3 hours after school I went and did something that would get me in better shape. Weight Lifting, Plyometrics, Conditioning, whatever it was– I did it and did not complain. I wanted more and more because I knew that what I was doing wasn’t enough for me. I had set my mind on a goal and did not want to stop until I achieved it. I knew that if I did not accomplish this goal I would not be the person today that I am. I thank God, my parents, and my older brother for pushing me and allowing me to never give up. I was unable to drive to school so it was my dad’s job to take me every morning at 6:30 am for early “optional” practice, which wasn’t optional in my mind. I had a strong direction in what I wanted, that came from my walk with God, my parents guiding me and never allowing me to “quit” when things got tough. It was hard, I was exhausted but I saw results not within a week, but within 6,12,18 weeks. The biggest thing that I did was– I made a lifestyle change. I made my life revolve around my goals and what I needed to do to make those accomplishments.

Back then, it was easy, I was in High School. Well, the answer is the same now! I am a full-time employee at a Division 1 University working 70+ hours per week (12-14 hrs a day) and I make time to get my training in. I don’t just train, I am also a competitive Weightlifter (http://farrelweightlifting.blogspot.com/) you can see what I do and how I have made the decision to keep this a part of my life. I have goals, I have people around me who will help me get to the gym to train, and I have a drive that allows me to go when I don’t want to.

(Note: It is nice when your “cheering your child” to his fitness goal boomerangs back to bless you, as Zach now cheers me on to my wellness and health goals! Moms and Dads, what you sow into your kids “WILL reap a harvest if you do not give up!” Our ideas on cheering on your child is in 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make)

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary (Gal 6:9)

Ready to get inspired- watch this:

(Follow Zach’s weightlift blog at:
http://farrelweightlifting.blogspot.com/)

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My Wellness Journey: Does Anyone Challenge You?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

 

 

Today’s (and tomorrow’s) blog is by the person who inspires and CHALLENGES me the most- my son, Zach. Zach is a Performance Coach at a Large Div 1 University and trains athletes who compete on the national and even international (Olympic) level.  His athletes WIN championships- much in part because he and the other strength coaches challenge players OFF the field and prepare them when there are no spectators.  One of my favorite quotes ach often repeats to athletes that I love is, “Do today what others will not do so you can do tomorrow what others cannot do”.  In short, Practice Pays in Performance.

Here are a few questions and answers that might challenge you to take the next step in your wellness journey:

 

Q: Zach, you work with top athletes, what advice do you give them on exercise that the average person should keep in mind?

A: When exercising it is important to understand two things:

 

1. Training age – By training age I am referring to how many years you have been training. For example: If you have been consistently exercising for 1 year- your training age is 1. I have been training (exercising) consistently since I was 15 years old; my training age is now 13 years.

2. Knowledge- By that, I am referring to your personal exercise library. What exercises do you know how to do? Do you only know how to run? Do you like to resistance train? Increasing your exercise library will increase your ability to stay in the gym. Albert Einstein defined Stupid as, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. If you only know how to do one thing in the gym you will only see one result. How long can you only do that one thing? After a while you will get tired of only doing that one thing!

(Note: This is why each time I see Zach I ask him to teach his dad and I one new exercise).

 

Q: How can the average person avoid injuries as they are trying to get back in
shape?

A: When taking that step to get back to the gym you must answer a few questions about yourself.

  1. Previous Injury: Do you  have any previous injuries? Research has shown that one of the leading  causes of injury is a previous injury.
  2. Do you know how to   structure a workout? Warm up, Resistance training/Cardiovascular Exercise/  Cool down?
  3. Resistance Training – How  to structure/ Upper Body/ Lower Body/ Pulling Exercises vs. Pushing Exercises.
  4. Posture- Do you know  what proper posture looks like?
  5. Do you quit when things  get hard? Do you like to” talk about” or “be about” doing the exercise?
  6. Do you have a training  partner? You need to have an accountability partner for when you don’t  want to go– they will make you!
  7. Goals- Do you have goals  set? Short term/Long term? If not set them and place them around so you  know what you are working for.

(Note: Good reason to get a personal trainer- See previous blog for finding one near
you)

 

Q: What credentials should someone look for when looking for a quality qualified trainer in their city?

A: Finding a qualified training is a must if you are just getting into exercising. What to look for: Certified Personal Trainers, if you ask them they should have no problem telling you what they have accomplished. I would also look into getting a Functional Movement Screen done to fully know how your body works.

http://www.functionalmovement.com/experts – Is a website that you can locate a certified movement specialist to take you through the screening process to find movement compensatory patterns.

(Note: This assessment is very helpful as a marker for your wellness and it will spot problem areas so you can avoid injuries as you get back in shape)

For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul
(Proverbs 2:10)

PS- Stay tuned, more from Zach tomorrow!

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Why Would We Want To “Save Our Girls”?

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One might wonder why a mom of three SONS would co-author a book called Raising a Modern Day Princess.
(Focus on the Family, co-authored with Doreen Hanna). Or ask you to join her to “save our girls”.

Well, I have spent a lifetime mentoring, discipling and equipping women and girls.

Hundreds of them.

And each year, I get more and more concerned about the world they face. Some days it is just HARD to be a woman of integrity, let
alone a girl pursuing goodness. They need our help.  (And God has asked us to mentor our girls: see 2 Tim.2:2, Titus 2:3-5)

Your daughters, the girls of the next generation, need YOU! They need me! Why?  Because their crown
is slipping! Consider these startling statistics from our book, Raising a Modern Day Princess:

  • One in three girls becomes pregnant before age 20.3
  • One in four will contract a STD (sexually transmitted disease)
  • Forty percent of girls at a contraceptive clinic are there without their parents’ knowledge.
  • One third of all teen pregnancies will end in an abortion.
  • Nearly one-third of all juvenile arrests are girls, and one-third of all property crimes are perpetrated by girls.
  • About one-quarter of all aggravated assaults are committed by girls.
  • Girls are more likely to be violent at home, and the victim more than any other is her mother.

(Watch this short video for even more on what girls face these days.  Read an excerpt of Modern Day Princess book at Focus  on the Family. )

 

So what can we do? What Can YOU do? (Pick any or all of the following):

Today’s girls need you . . can you help us “save our girls?”

Here is my heart’s motivation, my two granddaughters who I pray will be strong women of God in their generation- true Modern
Day Princesses
who walk as Daughters of our God, “The King of Kings”.

Together we can make a difference—for the girls!

October 17 @ noon

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special  possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you  out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)

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Parenting Plan Can Bless your Kids and Your Marriage!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

 

So much marital stress is caused because the husband and wife are not on the same page
in the way they deal with their children. One way our marriage has been protected is through the “Learner and Leader” day we do each fall (We do this family tradition from age 4 until our children are age 20 or get engaged for marriage- whichever comes first).

Years ago,when Bill was a youth pastor and Brock was a baby, I looked around the youth group we were running and then looked at this precious baby in my arms and prayed, “Lord, there seem to be kids that soar and succeed at 18 and others that stumble and fall” What traits, what skills, what leadership character qualities do we need to
train and pass on so that our sons can soar by age 18? Then I set about creating along list of traits and skills (the list (and many other tools) are in our book: 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make).

The list seemed so long that I was a bit overwhelmed so I showed the list to Bill and he said, “Pam, seems like there are really three main categories here. We want our kids to be:

 

  1. Learners—have a teachable attitude
  2. Leaders- be influencers in their own unique God given style instead of followers
  3. Love God—we want them to own their own faith.”

We prayed and I asked God to show a fun way to instill the values (because kids respond to fun!) So we decided to
have a Learner and Leader Day each fall and on that day we’d negotiate privileges and responsibilities for the year. (We did this for 20+ years- now we are DONE! becuse our kids are all grown and all leaders! So it works!)

We also select one trait off the list and focus on training and equipping in that area for that particular child that year. And we select a verse to pray over that child which had something to do with the trait we have selected (as the kids entered second grade we taught them how to select their own verse). Then we give a gift (because we wanted it to fee like Christmas!) The gift would be one that would build into their God given passion or calling as
the Lord was revealing their strengths year by year.

We have a set of criteria in choosing the gift:

It must be practical, something I might have to buy anyway.

It must be personal. The child should be able to tell I thought about the gift.

It must be prophetic, meaning that it speaks the truth about the uniqueness, the calling, or the strength we see God building into each child.

The Learner and Leader privileges and responsibilities chart is also in our book, along with other tools like a list of what children can be responsible for at what ages (chore ideas) , plus a teen relationship contract,
driving contract, education contract, and a set of  Freshman Foundation questions to use with college students or career age young adults. We have our children sign the contracts, and included in each are the
consequences they will receive if they do not follow through with their
commitment. As the children get older (early in elementary school),  we have them create their own consequences
ahead of time so they know exactly what their punishment will be if they drop the ball on their commitments.

By spelling everything out ahead of time, year after year, and having everyone sign off on it (both parents and the children), there is little arguing in our home and the children have never been able to “play one parent against the other” in our home, thus protecting our marital harmony as well. And because there is a built in relationship time, a fun family activity on Learner and Leader Day, the kids have always been motivated to complete the small yearly assignment (the chart), and because it also has a built in incentive plan (the Learner and Leader gift that applauds the child’s unique strengths), the child is easier to live with all year!

The less child-created stress a marriage has, the more everyone enjoys being in the family. And because we delegate work to our children as they grow, Mom and Dad actually have time to date and stay in love—which is the best gift that any set of parents can give their children. And because we are deliberately trying to help our children/ teens take on more and more responsibility year after year, by college (or for sure age 21), our children and yours have the opportunity to be leaders owning their own lives and leading others in a positive way!  Having responsible adult children is also a great blessing to your marriage! (And your future in laws will thank you too!Our daughter inlaws love us and so do their parents!)

            So this year, before you run to the store for new school clothes and pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks and
lunchboxes, take time to hold your own Learner and Leader Day.  I you have college kids, set aside 5 nights to go over the Freshan Foundation  Dinner and Dialogue questions, and maybe this year, you might even get in a few dates to stay in love!

Parentng resources:

10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make, Got Teens? Learner and Leader Chart, Freshman Foundation are all found at www.Love-Wise.com

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