The Life Giving Parent

In the 8 years that I’ve been a mama, I’ve read countless books on parenting and motherhood. Books teach, encourage, inspire and help me grow as a parent. A few of the parenting books I read, earn a place in my library and are  reread, sometimes as often as annually and are such an encouragement in this mothering journey.

Books by Sally Clarkson are among my favorite mothering books. Copies of The Mission of Motherhood, The Ministry of Motherhood, Own Your Life, The Life Giving Home and The Life Giving Table adorn my shelves. Books written by Sally and/or her husband Clay can also be found on my shelves. We also own copies of Educating the Wholehearted Child, Heartfelt Discipline and Our 24 Family Ways – A Family Devotional Guide. These books have been such an encouragement in our parenting journey.

Learning that Clay and Sally had written another parenting book, titled The Life Giving Parent was exciting. I couldn’t wait until my copy arrived so I could soak up more wisdom from the Clarksons. It did not disappoint, I took several pages of notes that I will refer back to and it definitely has earned a spot on my bookshelf and I know it will be loaned out and reread over the years.

Some inspiring quotes from The Life Giving Parent:

“It’s about being the kind of life giving home culture that will stand as a testimony of God’s biblical design for family to a lost world whose sandy foundations are washing away.”

“We need to distinguish between a home that is considered Christian primarily because cultural Christianity happens there and a home that is Christian because Christ is alive and present in perceptible ways.”

“Children have appetite, just like adults, but with one big difference – they do not have the disciple and discernment at their young ages to control their appetites maturely. In the same way that parents naturally guard their children’s physical appetites so their bodies will be healthy, we as believing parents must also guard our children’s spiritual appetites so their hearts and spirits will be healthy.”

“The first priority for strengthening your children’s faith as a life giving parent is … to strengthen your own faith!”

“The way children act reveals their character. And one of the most telling character qualities is diligence – responding positively to parental influence and doing without delay what needs to be done.”

The last chapter of the book ends with, “It’s simply about choosing to invest your ‘one life to give’ into the hearts of your children. If that’s what you do, then you’ll be a life giving parent and the living God will be alive in your life – and in your children’s lives.” This is what I desire. Motherhood is a calling. I am called to mother these 4 little souls God has entrusted to me. We have yielded to that call on my life and it’s why I stay home and educate our children at home. It’s not easy – in fact there are many times I’m overwhelmed with the huge responsibility that comes with raising my children. However, I can’t think of a better way to invest my ‘one life to give’ than to invest it into the lives and hearts of my children.

The Life Giving Parent will challenge, teach, inspire and encourage you in your parenting journey to help you give your child a life worth living for Christ.

*Disclaimer – I received a copy of The Life Giving Table in exchange for a review from the Tyndale Blog Network.

Helping a Spender Learn to Save

Helping a Spender Learn to Save

As our children grow, it has been such a joy watching their personalities develop. It’s amazing how children who have the same parents, live in the same home and spend almost every day together can be so different. Our boys are complete opposites, especially when it comes to money.

Paxton (6 years old) is a natural spender. If he earns or receives a money, he wants to spend it. Over the past year, he’s purchased several small Lego sets, random items at thrift stores and even vending machine stickers. Saving his money for a larger purchase is not something he’s naturally drawn to.

Our Weston (4 years old) is a natural saver. If he earns or receives money, he wants to save it. He’s such a simple boy, he has very few wants and rarely purchases anything. Most of the items he has purchased he has saved for or he has found an animal to go with his farm. Lately when he gets money, he tells us to just put it in savings (referring to his savings account) because he’s saving up to buy a farm and a tractor. He’s thinking about the future and not worried about material things in the present!

We want to raise our children to be wise when it comes to finances so they hopefully will be financially free their entire lives. And, we also know that just because a person has a natural tendency, such as the tendency to spend, it doesn’t mean that they cannot learn to change their ways.

Around Christmas, Paxton found a Star Wars Lego set that he really liked but it was way out of his spending money price range at $59.99. He talked about it for several weeks and pointed it out when we would look at toys.

We thought it would be a great item to set a savings goal for and encouraged him to save his spending money to purchase the Lego set.
Lego Savings Goal

We created a savings goal chart as a visual that we hung up in his room so he could glance at it and see how far he was progressing towards reaching his goal.

We set a goal of saving $70 to cover the Lego set and taxes. Each row on his chart represented $2 but we also allowed him to fill in half a row when he put $1 into his Lego Savings jar.

He had some Christmas money that he decided to go ahead and put towards the goal so he started out with $22 which was a great jump start towards such a lofty goal for a 6-year-old.

At the beginning, he started out slow, putting just a little bit of the money he’d earn or receive into his savings. He preferred putting more of his money into his wallet for spending. Every time he decided he wanted to spend money, we would remind him that he could use that amount of money, even if it was only $1, towards his Lego savings and get closer to his goal. Then, we’d let him make up his mind if he wanted to spend his money or not.

He chose to purchase several small things over the first few months and then he started to get more serious. He received some money from grandparents and great grandparents for Valentines Day and put all of that into his Lego savings. Then he earned some money when he, his daddy and brother helped our neighbor with some farm work and put all of that money (minus his giving) into his savings. After earning that money, he started asking about ways he could make money and we gave him some odd jobs to do to earn a little money.

As his savings grew, his spending decreased and he starting putting more and more of his money towards his savings. With his birthday money, he was able to reach his goal of $70 and he was so excited to finally be able to purchase his Lego set.

Paxton's Legos

We completed the chart and then starting looking for the best deal we could find. We knew the Lego set was $59.99 at WalMart and ToysRUs but we wanted to shop around. We first checked out Craigslist, hoping to find a used set (we always try to buy things used instead of new), then we looked on eBay. With no luck there, we saw that Amazon had the best price online at $54 (it was around $57.50 after tax).

I told him that we could go to WalMart that day and purchase the Lego set for $59.99 plus tax or we could order it on Amazon. By ordering it on Amazon, he’d have to wait 2 days but would save around $6. He decided to order online, save the money and patiently wait. We were a little surprised and very proud that he chose to delay gratification!

We placed the order together and he handed over all that cash. Then we counted up what remained and he had $12.50 that he can apply towards his next savings goal (which we’re not quite sure of at this point).

Opening Legos

Paxton was so excited while waiting for his package to arrive. The day that it arrived, the mail ran very early and we were in the middle of our lessons. That was motivation, he’s never done his math faster! He was so excited to open up his Legos and start building.

This was the biggest set that he has received or purchased and it took him a while to get it all together. I sat with him and helped him build for awhile (and he loves when I play Legos with him since his love language is quality time!)

We hope reaching this financial goal will be remembered in the years to come and that he has learned a little bit about the value of saving.

Related Posts:

Teaching Kids About Money

Teaching Preschoolers About Money

Teaching Kids About Money

Teaching Kids About Money

One of our desires for our children is for them to become financially wise. We hope by being honest about our finances and teaching them about how we manage our money that they will have a desire to stay out of debt and use their money wisely.

At 4 and 5, our boys know that we follow a budget and that our budget helps direct our spending.

We started talking about money and giving them small amounts of money at very young ages. We also try to point out how we save money by buying things used over buying them new.

Both boys were given some money for Christmas this year. We put some of it in savings but they both ended up with about $12 in their wallets. Money in their wallets is their spending money that they can spend, pretty much however they choose.

Our 5 year old, Paxton, is a spender and our 4 year old, Weston, is a saver. When Paxton has money, he starts thinking of ways he can use it. Weston prefers socking his money away in his piggy bank and lately has been telling us that he’s saving his money so he can buy a tractor when he grows up. (The saver in me LOVES this!)

On New Years Eve, while we were out eating Chinese food, our 5 year old discovered the wall of vending machines full of candy, toys and stickers. He saw that one of these machines contained NFL stickers (he loves football) and he had to have one. We explained that we thought spending $.50 for one sticker when you didn’t even know which team you were going to get seemed like a waste of money to us. Then we told him that it was his money and he could buy a sticker if he wanted to.

He chose to buy the sticker and was satisfied with the team he got.

Then, he tried to talk his brother into buying a sticker too! Weston stood firm in his resolve not to spend anything.

With money still left in his wallet, Paxton was itching to spend more so he started asking to go shopping. He finally asked, ‘can we go thrifting for jerseys?’ (I love that he appreciates thrifting!)

One afternoon this week, we went to Salvation Army and started looking for jerseys in the kids section. We found a red Georgia Nike jersey in size 6 that fit him and he liked it pretty well. We browsed around the store and came back to the kids section to double check and then Paxton spotted a black Georgia Nike jersey in size 7. He got really excited about this black jersey and we were starting to hang the red one back up when Weston asked if he could buy the red one.

We stood in line and they both purchased their jerseys, pulling their $3.20 out of their wallets, excitedly handing the money over and then proudly walking out with their jerseys that they purchased with their own money.

I was tickled that we had such good thrifting luck and they both found something they wanted.

Once we got home, I showed them that similar jerseys were selling for $40+ each online and that they could not have purchased those jerseys brand new with the amount of spending money they have.

We hope that talking with them through their spending and making wise purchases as children helps them become financially independent adults.

Georgia Jerseys

Paxton was beyond thrilled that his jersey has a Capital One Bowl game patch sewn on it!

And, it should be noted that John David and I are Tennessee fans. Paxton likes Tennessee and Georgia college football, he says ‘I was born in Tennessee and live in Georgia so I can like both.’ And, we’re not sure where Weston’s allegiance lies just yet. (Now, we’ve got to thrift a couple UT jerseys to even things up!)

Enjoying Each Season of Motherhood

Enjoying Each Season of Motherhood

“My baby is growing up.”

These words weren’t uttered for the first time when he started crawling or on his first birthday. Instead, they were said on the way home from the hospital. He was just one day old!

I spent the first few months of his life sad.

I was sad he was growing, sad he wasn’t a newborn and sad he wasn’t going to stay a baby forever.

Once I realized mourning the past was keeping me from enjoying the present, I began fervently praying about the issue.

I prayed that God would allow me to be content with the season of life I was in, that He would take away the overwhelming sadness that my baby was growing too fast and that I would have joy throughout the years as my children grew.

My heart began to change.

I enjoyed my son in each and every stage instead of looking back on those early days with such longing.

I realized how blessed I am. How selfish it was of me to not want him to grow.

I thought about mamas who have never seen their child because of a miscarriage and mamas who held their stillborn baby only once. They would give anything to watch their babies grow.

I thought about the mamas who have a child diagnosed with cancer who just pray they can see their child grow up to graduate high school or get married.

I also thought of the women dealing with the grief of infertility, praying and hoping they’ll one day be blessed with a child they can watch grow.

How can I mourn my child growing when it is such a blessing that he is growing? Why should I allow the natural and beautiful process of a child growing to bring me sadness?

God really didn’t give us our children, he’s lending them to us for awhile as they grow. We are to raise them and train them to become independent men and women.

When my second and third babies were born, I cherished the moments, knowing the newborn days pass quickly. Those days passed but they were without sadness.

I am enjoying my children just as they are each and every day. 

We cannot slow time down but we can slow down.

We can decide to live in the moment, choose to be joyful about our children growing and enjoy each season of motherhood.