by Katy Newton Naas

I will always remember the day I gave birth to my oldest son.

He decided to make his appearance a couple weeks early, which doesn’t surprise me now that I know him; Aven has always done things his own way. It didn’t matter how many books I’d read on childbirth – nothing could have prepared me for the twelve hours he took to make his entrance into this world. But nothing could have prepared me for the way I’d feel the first time I held in my arms, either. It was the purest, most magical love I’d ever experienced.

Those two days in the hospital following his birth were wonderful and difficult and everything in between. I was so relieved when they released us – I was ready to go home and be a family. We arrived at our house shortly after noon and enjoyed our time with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. The house was full and sweet little Aven spent lots of time in the arms of many people who loved him.

It was after everyone left that I began to fall apart.

I rocked Aven to sleep and laid him carefully in his crib for the first time. I tiptoed out of the room and pulled the door almost closed behind me, putting my ear against it to make sure he hadn’t stirred.

And then the panic set in. Now what? I had planned to head to my own bedroom – right across the hall – and get ready for bed. But I was suddenly terrified to get too far away from him. Would I hear him if he cried? Would I know how to soothe him?

It’s difficult to admit even to myself the thoughts that entered my mind next, much less put it out there in writing for other people to read. But in the spirit of honesty, I am going to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was terrified, and my thoughts turned dark. For a few moments, I felt regret.  I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m not cut out to be a mom. What on earth made me think I was ready for this? What have I done?

And so I did what many other women do when they feel helpless – I called my mom. “Mom, what if I don’t hear him when he wakes up?”

She laughed and assured me, “You will. Don’t worry.”

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by Shannon Serpette

When I was a little kid, I was painfully shy, probably because I came from a large family. I had so many brothers and sisters, I never needed to make an attempt to find friends. When I wanted someone to play with, I just had to call out a name at home and someone would come running.

But on my first day of kindergarten, my brothers and sisters weren’t around to have my back. I was terrified, and there was no way I was going to initiate a conversation with anyone. I was playing by myself in the corner and I probably would have stayed there every day all year long if left to my own devices.

But that day, a girl came over to me, introduced herself and asked if I wanted to play with her. I couldn’t believe my luck, and even almost 40 years later, I still remember how kind she was to me as I painfully mumbled my name to her and avoided eye contact at all costs. As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I no longer had just a playmate – I had a best friend. We remained best friends right up until high school when she moved away to another school district.

Although I couldn’t have known it at the time, that simple kindness shown to me that first day of school changed me and shaped my life.

That one little act made things better for me, and, in turn, for other people. Throughout my life, I’ve always remembered how awful it felt to be in the corner watching everyone else have fun. I’ve made a conscious effort not to let that happen to anyone else when I could prevent it.

When new students moved into my school district, I would always attempt to become their friend and make sure they knew they were welcome. To this day, I encourage my children to show extra kindness to new kids at their school, and I tell them the story of my first day of school and how one girl’s invitation to play impacted me.

READ More on Stepping Up Our Game by Taking the More4kids Kindness Challenge


by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

With 6 kids of my own, I learned quickly that children worry as much or more than adults, and often it’s because they haven’t been taught what they can and can’t control in their lives. Worry for a child adds stress to an already stressful life, with being in school, making good grades, and overall performance on electives. Teach your child about the things they can control and help them to let go of the things they can’t.

If everyone would stop and consider the situations they face, they can choose a better way to react and may avoid situations which could turn into worry. Tell your child they can control their reactions to any situation, good or bad. They can control the words they speak. Help them to understand the power of positive talk versus the tear-down of negative talk. They can control their actions. If someone threatens to start a fight, they don’t have to react by being physical. Controlling their behavior is well within their power. Teach them about behaving and choosing to do the right thing.

Often, children will make a choice that leads to a mistake even if they know the choice is a poor one. If you make your child take responsibility for their choices including their mistakes, they will learn to think through things more and choose options they believe are right rather than making mistakes. It’s okay to make a mistake if it’s not intentional, but they need to learn they can control this. Worrying over making the wrong choices is eliminated if they think through the process.

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Drug abuse is becoming an ever increasing pandemic due to the increased ability and ease in which illegal drugs can be obtained. Drugs are becoming more of an everyday habit and many teens do not realize the negative long-term effects it can have on their brains. I’m not just talking about street drugs either. I’m also talking about alcohol (which is a drug) and prescription pills, as they are used regular by teens looking for a “high”.

Growing up as a teenager in today’s fast paced world already presents challenges, and while these challenges are typically normal, teens are looking for more and more ways to numb their feelings while they are faced with difficult decisions about their futures. Teenagers often stumble upon illegal drugs from friends, family, school, or peer pressure, and the satisfaction they get from a quick high is often what draws the teenager to become a repeat user and thus, leading to addiction.

Teen Drug Addiction

Illegal drugs can be extremely addicting and teens can easily become dependent on them without realizing it. Once a drug is in the body, the central nervous system, vascular system, muscular system, and the brain are all affected and the mind no longer has control. Teens can become so addicted to the feeling of the drug in their system that they no longer have the control to stop using it. Once an addiction begins, it can be extremely difficult to break it. The drug will take over the teen’s brain and begin to control every aspect of his/her life. Drugs will be all that they can think about.

Drug Dependence

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Using Your Gifts to Unite in Love

by Krista Wagner Intent

If you are a parent of more than one child, then you know how fights can sometimes break out between them. Parenting can be challenging and Living in close quarters with those you love can do that at times. And it can be difficult for us to be kind or tolerant, much less respectful toward others whose opinions differ from our own. But today, in a Bible Study with my kids, Acacia, 13, Trina, 11, and Paul, 10, we went over 1 Corinthians 12 about the Use of Spiritual Gifts and they found a better way to treat each other, even when they disagree, a better understanding of how to come together.

In this chapter, the apostle Paul stresses the unity that we are to have in the body of Christ. Even though we are many members, we are all one. That word, "one", is a major focus throughout his message.  As part of the study, I asked the kids to document key words they heard from the chapter. Together, they came up with the following: "varieties", "different", "one", paying special attention to those phrases that Paul emphasizes throughout.

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by Dominica Applegate

Pros And Cons Of Using Drug Test Kits For Your Teen

Teens. One minute you’re sitting around laughing with them and the next they’re yelling at you about how unfair it is that they have a curfew. The truth is that the teen years can be a bit of a challenge at times. One day you’re bragging to your co-workers that your teen came home and cleaned the entire kitchen without being asked four times and the next you’re venting to them about how disrespectful he was that morning.

Yes, teens will be teens, but what about those parents that are wondering if they’re teens are using drugs? They may see signs of addiction, yet they have no proof and the teen certainly isn’t offering a confession.

While it is tempting to purchase a drug test and test your teen at home, you may also wonder how that will go over with your teen. Will he feel violated? Angry? Will it sever the relationship? You may also become stressed out thinking that the test will come back positive. How will you react? What will you do? It’s very common to feel this way as a parent, so know that you’re not alone in the way you’re feeling.

Home drug test kits have been around for many years and come in handy for parents who cannot trust that their teens are telling the truth about drug use. While they may not test for every drug out there, they do test for quite a few of them. They’re also quite affordable, with marijuana tests costing only $1 and 12 panel drug test kits for less than $10, testing for drugs such as cocaine, opiates, pain pills, marijuana, and more.

But should you really drug test your teen at home? Is it worth the possible jeopardizing of your relationship?

Today, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of doing so.

Pros of teen drug testing

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Sharing is probably one of the most important lessons you can teach your child. Do you remember the old adage “Sharing is Caring.”? Perhaps we can use this little ditty to explain why sharing is so important. Here are a few ideas that may help teach your child to share.

Children learn by example. Don't forget, you are their best role model. If your child notices that you share with others, it may induce your toddler to do the same. However, kids will be kids, and as such they tend to guard what is theirs with a passion. To this end, perhaps you can utilize these tips:

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