i-have-a-dream

“Mom, why are the banks and post office closed today?”

“Because it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

“Who’s Martin Luther King Jr.?”

This conversation may be heard throughout the USA on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Teaching our children about the vital history which includes one of the most influential men of our history is very important. Martin Luther King Jr. paved the way for social justice and equal rights in the twentieth century.  It was during his life that “coloreds” were separated from “whites” causing great divisions to humanity.

What’s so special about Dr. King anyway? The man had a dream in his famous speech, and then the man was assassinated, ironically while he was making a speech about non-violence and social justice. But he indeed swayed the world to be more accepting of humans, regardless of their skin color. The man single-handedly started the civil right movements. He had such passion that he spoke over a couple of thousand times about it. The man lived for serving others, from being a preacher to being a community organizer. He loved his family having four children with his wife Coretta Scott King.

While civil rights were his main message he also spoke passionately about non-violent principals. He was an advocate for those in poverty, especially for those suffering from urban inequality. He found ways to talk about racism and in tearing down the walls that kept people divided.

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elliott-family

by Matthew J. Elliott

Parenting is a very powerful experience and it can teach us many wonderful life lessons that help mold us into the people we were meant to be. As parents of three children 4 and under, our lives can get pretty crazy. Each and every day there is something new we are learning about our children. Whether it be how to listen to them when they struggle through their words or how to go to the potty like the big kids do. It’s a life full of excitement, love, stress, and overall, happiness. While we do not claim to be experts by any means, we have learned a few things along the way.

Parenting is not an easy thing, it’s a life long journey for everyone involved in the family. As Christians, we receive guidance from the Bible and try to focus our parenting endeavors on teaching our children love, kindness, patience, understanding, and compassion. There are days when we don’t succeed, but we strive all the more the next day to instill these things within our children. As we grow into the parents our children can be proud of, we will cherish each new day that comes.

Children Need to Know You Care

From the Christian point of view, it is important to us to remind our children daily that we care about something bigger than all of us. We believe that our children need to know that there is more to life than simply living. In everything we do from the time they get up in the morning until the time they finally get to sleep at night, we remind them that we love them and that our savior loves them too. This view carries over into how we teach them to care for each other and for those around them. It becomes a part of the foundation we intend to build our family upon.

In the Bible there is a passage in the book of Galatians that teaches about something called ‘the fruits of the spirit.’ Basically what this passage does is sum up nine attributes of what a Christian’s life should be about, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” While we do not talk to our children about these nine attributes every day, we do try to be an example of them in every way we can. While they may not understand it all right now, our hope is that if we make it a part of their lives today, it will be a part of their lives when they are older as well.

Children Need to Know You’re There for Them

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worried-mom

It’s fairly normal to worry about our teens when it comes to alcohol and drugs. As most of us parents know, many teens end up experimenting with such substances sooner or later. We may hear about the two million teens who are struggling with substance abuse addiction and wonder if our teen will somehow become part of that number. We may see them hanging out with a friend who we think is shady, so we worry that he/she will be a bad influence.

In other words, we tend to worry more than we’d like. But how can we stop worrying about our teens? Is it possible? Well, it may not be possible to be at peace 100 percent of the time, but there are things we can do in order to keep the anxiety manageable. Read through the following tips on how you can minimize worry when it comes to your teens, alcohol, and drugs.

  1. Educate your child about alcohol and drugs

You can take opportunities throughout your child’s life to educate him or her about alcohol and drugs. Begin open and honest conversations during grade school about the negative effects of drinking and drugging. Let your child ask you questions. Point out examples of irresponsible drinking or negative consequences of drug use.

For example, if cousin Tim got arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, tell your child the truth. Don’t sweep it under the carpet, as children need to know how irresponsible drinking habits can affect people in negative ways. You can take opportunities while watching the news, seeing people out partying, and so on. You can also read your child books about the topic, and as they get older you can look at resources online when it comes to alcohol and drug abuse. The point is to regularly have a discussion about the topic so that you will know that your child understands how dangerous abusing substances can be.

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ivy-locke

by Ivy Locke

As a single mom everything is a bit harder. It’s no secret, most kids hate to go to bed. No matter if they are wide awake or have been up and running around all day and seem to be all tuckered out, they almost never just settle down and go directly to sleep. Nevertheless, there are times in which they need to. Being a child is hard work and receiving adequate rest is a must for a young, developing mind and body. Moreover, our sleep patterns as children are largely the sleep patterns we end up sticking with as adults. Moreover, bedtime struggles are often magnified when you are a single mother. While your kids certainly think of you as superwoman, they may or may not respect mommy’s position as an authoritarian. In addition to that, having two parents in the household can make it easier to put children to sleep as one parent can be the primary and the other can serve as reinforcement. Therefore, if you allow your children to have unhealthy sleeping habits now, they will likely carry on well into adulthood. We can't have that! The following is an overview of some excellent tips to help you get your kids to bed on time.

Bathing

In addition to the fact that bathing is a highly soothing action that promotes relaxation and helps them become settled, studies have shown that having a night routine, in general, is one of the best ways to get your kids to bed in a timely fashion. This is due to the fact that as humans, we are all subject to becoming comfortable with routine. By teaching your kids to get to bed on time and to always get enough rest early in life, you are setting them up for a lifelong of positive sleeping habits.

Cool Night Lights/ Sound Machines

For those of us who like to try things that are a bit more unconventional, buying your kids a fancy nightlight can be a great way to get them to sleep on time. For instance, there are some night lights displays that project pictures of stars and constellations and some even provide narration, so your kids can explore space as they drift off into dream world. There are also light displays that play nature sounds, soothing music, and much more. On the flip side, there are also radios and other sound machines that can allow your child to listen to soothing sounds and/or music as they drift off to sleep. A great way to distract your kids as they meet Mr. Sandman, purchase a night light that is in line with your child’s interests and they may actually begin to get excited for bed time (a mom can dream, can’t she?).

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ireland-cork

Visiting Ireland with your kids is guaranteed to be a family vacation of a lifetime and great example of a “travel that teaches” vacation.

Ireland is a majestic land of wonder, filled with folklore, tales of fairies and leprechaun's in search of that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Rain or shine, Ireland is brimming with family friendly learning adventures like exploring the multitude of medieval castle ruins and other ancient landmarks that, unlike other countries, are there to be explored by inquisitive minds of all ages. Visiting Ireland with kids isn't just about historical landmarks either – there are caves to explore, seemingly endless miles of captivating beaches and breathtaking landscapes. From horseback riding on the beach to surfing, to riding bikes cross country, time spent in Ireland with your family will be an experience that all will remember forever. Keeping a camera (or smart phone) handy and letting the kids take pictures along the way is a great idea because once you get back home, you can relive the experience together and see who can remember where the photos were taken.

Following are just a few examples of noteworthy things to do in Ireland.

Stay the Night in a Castle
As children, we've all dreamed of living in a castle. In Ireland, you can make it come true for you and your family. Talk about a cool learning adventure! There are a number of castles that can be booked for your stay, also putting you in reach of legendary things to do because Ireland is filled with opportunities for adventure. For example, if you decided to spend the night (or days) the West Cork area, you'll be able to explore its breathtaking rugged coastline. If you choose to stay in Dingle, you and the kids will have the opportunity to meet the resident dolphin Fungi, who calls Dingle bay home and is always eager to greet visitors. You'll also be able to enjoy many family outings amongst the many coves nestled along the beaches.

Visit Dublin
When in Ireland, you definitely need to visit Dublin, an area that can be easily enjoyed via bike (rentals are readily available) or on foot. The city is home to a wealth of treasured sites to see and exciting learning opportunities. A few of Dublin’s main attractions include the Book of Kells exhibit at Trinity College, the Kilmainham Gaol, and St. Stephen's Green. Be sure to visit Dublin's legendary Grafton Street to enjoy a bit of shopping and check out the mimes and busters doing their magic.

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boy-watching-news

by Angie Shiflett

September 11th, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the current complications associated with ISIS make terrorism and other forms of violence at the forefront of scary news headlines in front of our kids – on the radio, on television, on the internet, and other media outlets. Parents are responsible for explaining these terrible acts of violence to the children of the world. While considered to be exceptionally difficult, these conversations are considered to be imperative. It is not at all to find yourself, as a parent, awkwardly stumbling through explanations while fielding various questions from your kids. It is your responsibility to equip your children with the truth, but, in doing so, you must also ensure that your kids continue to feel secure. Here are a few steps on how to achieve success in helping kids cope with scary news.

Limit Screen Time

The first and most important step that you may take to help kids cope with scary news is to limit their exposure to the news stories that are currently in circulation. Naturally, children are likely to hear stories of what is happening in the world from friends, relatives, and neighbors; however, if a child spends a lot of time in front of a screen, whether it is a smartphone screen, a computer screen, or a television screen, they will, inevitably, be exposed to more news. Based on this fact alone, it is important to limit screen time by putting time restrictions, website restrictions, and parental controls on electronic devices. You should screen the news stories first. Then, you may filter which stories are most appropriate for your child. Additionally, this will give you the ability to prepare for the questions that your child is likely to have once they hear the news stories that you have permitted them to see and/or hear.

Keep Calm

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addiction-support-group

by Dominica Applegate 

Teen Struggling With Addiction? Attend Al-Anon and Nar-Anon For Support

It’s certainly challenging when our kids struggle with anything, but that struggle can be even tougher when our kids struggle with addiction. As a parent, we certainly want the best for our teens. In fact, we do our best to provide well for them, show them the love they deserve, and believe the best for them. But when addiction comes into play, our worlds can become shattered. We can become confused, angry, scared, and feel very alone.

The truth is that you may feel alone, but you’re not. There are many parents dealing with addiction issues with their teens and while this may or may not help you feel better, there are benefits to connecting with such parents.

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Support Groups

Whether your teen is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, there are support groups available to help you navigate through this time. Al-Anon is a support group for those who have loved ones struggling with alcoholism. Nar-Anon is a support group for those who have loved ones struggling with drug addiction.

Both support groups are based on the 12 Step model of recovery. The 12 Step program is a set of principles that outline a course of action for recovery. In this case, the program helps you as a parent get through this time in your life (dealing with teen addiction) without losing your own mind, spiraling into depression, and so on.

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