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January 6, 2022 5:00 am
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I'm a tritium house before I leave for work and I make sure to see them or find them, search them out when I get home from work to say hi to them no matter where they are that way they know each month on the date of each child's birthday. We taken out for their special day only celebrate reasoning on graphical treat and just enjoy individual time with each child. My daughters are grown now, but I always try to be available when they contact me, text them regularly. Respond quickly when they connect to place their very different for my oldest, he loves one-on-one time I make sure to give him that my youngest love games and pet names so we do a lot of that we did some fun ideas how to demonstrate love to child today and focus on family to explore even more ways to build vibrant memories for strong your hostess focus president and author Jim Daly and I'm John Fuller here's a question for you John as parents do we love our children, of course. Of course we love our kids.
We want them to feel that love to guess what everyday life creeps in there. Got to get breakfast ready get them off to school or homeschooling or whatever you're doing and there's this to doing that to do and it's hard throughout the day to remember to love our children and make sure that they feel loved her focus. We want to remind you to do that and were going to talk about that today some very unique ways that you may not thought about that you can show your child love and it's simple and doesn't take much time and they get the impact of it and that's an important thing to remember is so often we downplay the love of God for us. It is nice to feel the warmth and that love from our Lord in the ways that he does it for us reminding us of something or you know reintroducing us to a friend that we haven't seen in a while. Whatever it might be everyday. As parents we have that opportunity to make sure our kids know we love them that God loves them and that their future is bright and that is the message that Julie lavender has for us today.
She's a journalist and former homeschooling mom and she and her husband David have four adult children and a son-in-law and a grandson Julie is also an author, and she's gathered terrific a collection of ideas in a book called 365 ways to love your child a turning little moments into lasting memories will encourage you to look for your copy all the details are in the show notes Julie, welcome to Focus on the Family, thank you. I'm very glad to be here, it's good to have you here and I want to just die, then why do our kids translate special memories into feelings of being loved. Well, I think that you know when we build these memories as a family. I think it helps the child feel loved and valued. You know, it creates a bond with common language of shared experiences you know when we've we can think about those things where we laugh together we cried together. We try to solve a problem together yet. We've gone on vacation together. Those shared experiences that the language that we only have that nobody shares that with us.
Good I think that just gives us that common language and I also think it gives us a common identity with family unit and a sense of belonging. I love this next observation your book 365 ways to love your child you once retired as the mom of the house with the three page retirement note which that Jane when I told her that she was laughing together to all the moms listening is your Valentine announcement well and that was not one of my finer mom.
That was the kids at Brown and I will. That's a disclaimer. The youngest was 10. The oldest was already in college and I had a driver, a 16-year-old. And then my son would've been 13 so they could kind of fend for themselves and so it was my resignation letter might not even a retirement letter letter and I cleared it with my husband first and you know I was the beginning of falling prey to social media, and I was doing the comparison game and he wasn't living up to other people standards in somebody else's children sing perfect and I had a party night. My children didn't appreciate me.
They didn't love me. They didn't.
I didn't think they spent enough time with me. Anything to communicate with me and I just I guess it had a bad week so I told my husband I was going to resign.
I restart writing the letter need to turn in a three pages because I had a little short list of things I had done for myself that week was the first thing I said you know this is all done for myself and I had a really long list of everything I had done for them, which I did. I just I was extensive and nobody was appreciative.
Every mom is listening right now so you was a really long list. It was getting close to it was in October. We are making costumes for the fall Festival at church.
I just like I done so much and nobody was appreciate me and subtle and they were responsible for their meals, forgetting to dance forgetting to ballet getting to get targeting to horseback they would have to work that out amongst themselves. Ask somebody else and I and I said maybe I'll tell that person. Thank you. Instead of you don't your mom so I you know and I drove to where my son was living just across town in college and stuck a note in his car; mortified to begin with. And you know I took some time for myself. What I really did was go to the library and work on some my writing projects but you know the crazy thing is I learn the lesson before my children. I really only stayed resigned about two and half days but was it healthy you feel good about it. Well when I first did it. I felt really good and I felt horrible because what happened was I don't know. I got a little nudge very quickly that I realized my gosh this is how I treat God. I very quickly realized I didn't take the time to communicate with him as I got really busy and I communicate with him is like I should and is been as much time with him.
I was unappreciative of the amazing gifts he always gives me of my blessings.
I didn't appreciate my blessings. I didn't thank him for all of my blessings and so I very quickly felt like this was me. So I feel I felt like I learned the lesson before them. They were shocked. They were stunned at never done anything like that before. So how do they respond that they they were very attentive really got their attention because I really did, they'd had to work out their data tried not to let him do you guys because I wanted them to see it was both of us together and I explained he knew about this, but it really did get their attention. They mended their ways they apologize. But you know what I sought forgiveness as well and apologize but the Lord that's fair is so funny that the Lord quickly pointed that out to you in your heart that you have to be receptive to that so many Christians will feel like you know I don't really hear from the Lord just have to open your heart like I did other things we want to hear but let me ask you about those special moments as I mentioned in the opening of it were so busy were getting lunch is ready. Moms, particularly when dads out the door. Maybe some work at home moms are maxed out to know whether they're working outside the home to working in the home. Whatever the point of that is exhausted to think about those little things. Those little things are going on, just wipe me out if I'm trying to think about writing a note, Junior, you know.
So how do you convince yourself. This is important enough that you need to do it well and I think we had to be intentional. I know that's a word that gets overused about being intentional, but I do think we have to.
I mean we intentional about taking our vitamins. Or, you know, getting up and doing devotional or getting a shower and getting dressed when we intentional about those things if it only takes a few minutes to do some of these small things then it is so vitally important, I believe, and I don't want to feel like one more burden that the families you know that the parents have to do because we are so busy but we can just add some little something and we don't do something every day, even just a couple of times a week that you want to look back and think the member those things that were not memorably didn't do it every day. But you know they can think back and know that they did something like that.
I like that.
Let's get into it so people can get their heads around what were talking about. You have many suggestions 365 of them in the book how to show your child love, we can break them down into categories. One is showing them love outside so give us a couple of examples of showing your kids love outside well. One of the ways that we found to do that. My husband is biologist/entomologist by trade and so he does an amazing job of teaching the kids to appreciate God's creations in nature and so we love to get outside and look for critters. We try to listen. We try to observe with all five senses know whether you can meet with your playing outside. If you engage with what the kids are doing and say, oh listen, that bird did you see that squirrel you know. Teach them to enjoy nature and you don't need a degree to do that will absolutely not like not only not, then we would also so we would use you things fun while they were playing but then we also be will deliberate when my daughter's favorite memories is having stick races every time we found a stream and every family member would have to get a steak and it would have to be something short, steak and would have to be noticeably different so that we could throw it in at one end run around to the other to see who stick won the race and my daughter just still think that's was one of the most fun things to get popsicles that were well that's good, has a lot of the I think it would glide through the thank you everyone around in your plot. Okay, so what was another Fireflies.
We love to when the split firefly season we left to make sure we we do that we have awakened the kids in the middle of the night early hours if there was a meteor shower and we would lay on the blanket allow the blankets and watch for the stars to fall. We love to collect rocks and acorns. Just because and compare size so jump jumping in puddles playing with bubbles very little. Simple memories, but if we just keep in mind, to do those things rather than just be with them but just be a little bit more intentional to deliver those that let me ask you why some parents then you know moms tend to be the ones that lead this challenge of our gift, I would wish more beds would be that creative engage person and hopefully someday our book. Why do we struggle doing these things, and this is what makes life fun. I think it does make life fun. I think I know for me because I were many times that I feel like all I could do was get the kids up, get them dressed. Teach them a little and put them back in bed at night so I think it's just that we're constantly thinking what we need to do next. What's for dinner.
When do we need to go to the grocery store is just get overwhelming to us in the very overwhelming. I think we don't have capacity I think so. I think we just fill up with that capacity. I think we need to give ourselves grace. With that, but I think maybe we need to rethink priorities and you know maybe not me I shouldn't work quite as much about what was coming for dinner. I needed to be more fully engaged with the kids and I was playing with the mouse on Julie. You also used to gather calendars for your children know that that's funny. Why would you try love to do that either purchased them or their silly businesses that like to give away free calendars because they have logos and stuff and I was start way back in. I don't know, maybe October, November, and after the kids would go to bed on about 20 of the days of each month. I would either put us to a cute sticker. Write a note, a love note just encouragement. I think you're great.
I think your wonderful your big big brother you know it just I would just sit and mama has watching TV out just right right right right so would take up it would take a while but this is just something I really enjoy doing and and and that was their little New Year's Day present for each element. Each had their own counter. They would hang in the room and most my kids marked off that each day and that was my thought that if I had had a really busy day and I didn't remember. Anyway, I had showed love to my children or even if I'd lost my temper that day. I just had a bad day.
Then, when they marched that day off on the calendar. Hopefully there was a note that reminded them I love you and I love you big. I think that's great. And we always talk about how important it is for children to have their identity in Christ right and showing the love of God, which is what you're doing even when some fun ways is so critical to their little hearts that they feel loved me.
That's job one is the parent you did something that I thought was really unique. You know we did the sticks in the river race but you would acknowledge these off the calendar days like you know national hotdog day or whatever. I thought that was so funny.
What would you do well, I had the most fun collecting all of those and I found a holiday for every day and I always give them so I pretty much did it at least five or six days a week, but I would write a note if it was national cheese day, then I would write a note and I would say I think you're great. And of course I spelled it GRAT. I pulled the greater writer out of the pantry and put it on the table with the notes and then I probably made.
We had grilled cheese sandwiches that day for lunch or something to that end, and I homeschool class. I'm sure without homonyms that day, but also for national aviation day I sometimes I give him a treat. Sometimes it just a note so for a national aviation day about those inexpensive planes and I also will balsa wood planes.
I had a note that said your love gives me wings and had those planes in them when their dad came home from work we go play as a family outside with those there was another national chewing gum day. I put one pack of gum and a note that said stick with me forever. Silly, the cheesier the better. And I remember going to hear my youngest would've owned and for." She couldn't read, but she love these ideas, and she knew what they were all about and she went running to her siblings that she found it fair. She said it's happy gum day it's happy gum day buydown. You know, a lot of times it was just an affirmation of love and the thing is when the kids got older, they would roll their eyes with the silliness, but they loved you. I love my love how you're taking something that many of us might be's little cynical about you know another holiday you're having fun with it and using it to express love our guest today is Julie lavender and you can find her book 365 ways to love your child turning little moments into lasting memories at our website of the link is in the show notes.
Julie you alluded to something that caught my attention and that's how to be interested in what your children are interested in, and frankly is a dad. I think we struggle with that. You know were interested in our things and we want to shape you and what were interested in like football or whatever golf kids got. I don't like that and we have to adjust it's not easy sometimes. So what recommendations do you have for parents to be in tune enough with their children's interests not to blow right by them. I think we can so easily do that when we're busy and I think a lot of parents do an amazing job with it, but with having four children two girls and two boys that they had buried interest and so I did try to tune into their interest and so will my oldest loved horses and loved going horseback riding and I love them from afar, but I'm just a little bit afraid of them, and so I conquer that fear and hope for a special day we went on horseback ride and really loved that my boys loved Legos. So I made a point of either building with them or when they get those magnificent creations. It took hours I would let them tell me about it and my oldest son especially. I think my aunt Jonah created by my older son, especially so creative he might give me a story about his creation longer than it took him to build it. Try to listen to every word was so creative one loved baseball.
Oh my, I should have been in the All-Stars with as much baseball as I play because I just would be interested with him and try to play and I had to listen to the baseball players names mother daughter love to dance. So I would be a backstage mom for her recital so and when they got the daughter got older sometimes yell back a fun time with her was to watch a chick flick with her late at night after her siblings had gone to bed, something your matching there. It's one of things I regret but I feel pretty good about the things that I did as a father very intentionally didn't have a dad. So I wanted to be a better dad right in one of the things that I didn't do enough of words individual time. Yes, I think partly because I had two boys so I didn't do a date night with my girl because girls so whenever I did things we do it altogether. Like the two boys and me. It whatever that might be and I think looking back I caught on. Later, when they were 16, 17 then I started to do that, but that's one thing I would encourage parents give intentional individual time, I think so too. And you know that doesn't have to be a lot because with our four and with your six. John, you know you can't do that every week you can't do individual with each child every week and and that's not what we would implied all but even if it was one per quarter, with each child. So yes, my daughter remembers that horseback ride that we went on it was just a special time for the two of us to be together. So it's not that it has to be a way that we get we can't do many more things to a mom or dad's plate. But to take that time does help them see that they are in an individual and their individually love so true.
You mentioned running errands can be a opportunity to do something unique with your kids know most people that are going to the grocery store picking up dry cleaning, dropping off something don't see it as a fun opportunity. So how do we adjust our thinking well I think that can be kind of hard but I think if we just can, add 10 minutes to the day of the errand running then then maybe we at an extra stop we get ice cream. Halfway through you, Mike.
We might have stopped at the park in play for a little bit, or if we even if you don't have time for that.
You know it when we get in the car with thinking here.
First I got to go down the think I put that aside. Maybe have a list of here, but in the car even play some imaginary games we we just used to love to do all kinds of imaginary things, and it might be okay were were playing imaginary game of hide and seek. You can hide anywhere in your Mema's house and we can ask yes or no questions and but I guess where you are. So we use our imagination to come up with things like that just to help that time passed by, I think that's great. Whatever the know.
I would really lead of hide and seek a great many notables are in utensils or anything for that. You just use your imagination and words and communicate. You know another one that was in the book that I really appreciate it.
Was playing the ABC game at the grocery store.
I wish I would've thought of that years ago when we hear the homeschooling teacher than you hunting any excuse like that you know but but then that's fine and that helps them arrange the groceries in the car or help or tell Michelle try to get beyond asparagus and applesauce and then go to me broadly. I'm not sure if we got every last soda we found most of them because you say would you put for the Z zucchini is good serving others together can be a great lesson for your kids.
That was another thing that you mentioned to describe how you in essence do the parental setup to make sure that your kids are being exposed to helping others well and I think that's so important to show our kids to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve others, and we kind of fell into that I didn't do that early on but when my oldest was five years old. We took a trip to California and that was his first experience seeing a homeless person laying on a bench on a newspaper covered up in a in a tattered blanket and he started asking questions I try to be very honest and answered all his questions and I said you just having some trouble right now and I don't take it as a badge take care of him and he looked up at me and I witnessed them. I think I said but doesn't he have a mommy and you know as much as that made me feel like well I'm glad of. Tell him that as a mommy I'm gonna take care of his needs.
It just made me realize I've got to show him.
We've got to help others who don't have somebody who can take care of them so even while we were on that trip. We bought coupons at McDonald's and we handed them out to the ones that we would see we did a few other things there, but then we just try to do other things we baked cookies for women shelter we served in a soup kitchen and these were spread out over the children's sure liked him, but I worked in a soup kitchen. We rang the charity bell we believe and do simple things. I returned grocery carts to the corral. If there was a wandering car in the parking lot we would return that to the corral you know and and so I really think it made an impression because my kids.
They were very involved in church we all wear and as middle schoolers high schoolers and when they were in college they wanted to participate in mission trips and absolutely loved it.
Also vacations. What a great time for members of our favorite memories are probably around vacation time, whether that was camping or whatever you have some favorite vacation will you have some favorite vacation times we've because my husband was military. One thing that we did try to do and my adult daughter Ashley mentioned this to me and she's said one of the things that she appreciated that I taught her was to be a tourist. Wherever you are, because we moved so often I just LOL we have see everything we can see why were living here and she said that really tell her to just enjoy her own community wherever she's living even she's not moving so we got to travel a lot and we saw a lot of California and Washington and Oregon and we just had a lot of fun with that but one of the things that we've noticed on our trips, even though it might be an amusement park. It might be a huge mountain we were going to climb or big ocean. We saw, but one of the things when they were younger we would play game on the way home. What was your favorite this.
What was your favorite that. And a lot of times it was the smallest moment we have those expensive part trips. We had been to one of those. I don't remember which one it was. And on the way back.
What was your favorite part. Well my son this oldest creative one. He said his favorite part was jumping on the beds in the hotel 500 and the funny thing was, we let him jump on the bed home that wasn't even the issue it was that they had to bed.
They could jump from one to the other over the gap. Well, my husband, I got involved. He stood on one side I said on the other.
Make sure nobody got hurt, but the pillows in between so they wouldn't get hurt and we set is is a mode whatever the crocodiles be sure not to get hurt and we let them do it. We let them play wheat we knew we would have burning time at the park but you know what that was fun for them and they loved it and I was his favorite memory is so true. I can refer started you know we were coming. Don't don't do that. This is in our furniture and eventually we came to jump well they he really loved. It was a great memory.
I want to speak to the mom and dad maybe didn't really get this right when the kids were younger, you know this is busy and there hearing this going. We should've done some of this would lighten the load, and now the kids are teenagers or maybe late teenage 1819. What can they do the kind of recapture some of that would you encourage them to get a little silly and fun. Thanks. I think it is still worth the effort.
I think sometimes they may roll their eyes. I think sometimes they're going maybe even be embarrassed but you know what, that's a good thing and it means so much them since we've been here. We came a couple days ago we try to take some selfies. I bombed horribly but I posted those crazy selfies and my daughter the issues.
The 22-year-old. Her only comment was I thought I taught you better than that you bear is that I that she owned it. She was likely I try to help you, and you're still failing but you know what going to roll their eyes are going to be embarrassed but you know what they're going to be any way somewhat. As a teenager, so I think if we throw those things in there and yes it may look different.
How we show our love to that age, but I think it still can be recaptured again.
I think I need to get ourselves grace if we were too busy if we just didn't think about or whatever, but that there's never it's never too late to get started. This is been so good. Thank you so much for taking the time to write these 365 ways to show your kids that you love them and I would encourage folks to get a copy. You can do that here at Focus on the Family because we want you to have that kind of family that is lighthearted and loving you know the end of the time of your parenting when the kids are 18 or 19. This may be one of the best things you can teach them is how to embrace life with all of its troubles and to do it with a smile and I think God encourages us to do that.
So call us to get a hold of us get your copy of 365 ways to love your child if you can make a gift of any amount to join the ministry or focus will send it as our way of saying thank you for partnering with us, you can call us our numbers 800 the letter a in the word family 800-232-6459 or stop by the show notes for all the details and were listener supported. Your donations make so much difference in how we minister together around the world to help families thrive. Donate today. As you can either a monthly pledge or one-time gift and will say thanks for joining the support team by sending a copy of this great book 365 ways to love your child again are number 800 the letter a in the word family. Julie, thanks again for being with us. This was a lot of fun. Thank you.
It has been alive.
Thank you so much. Plan to join us next time. As we hear from Alexander Kirkendall clicking on a nine-month experiment that helped her learn to appreciate her life as it is that slowing down and noticing like I was ready. That allowed me to change my heart posture to one of gratitude and being grateful for the gifts that he has given me when I embrace those gifts daily and letting my actual life on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive for children with good spiritual her children as well about providing you can help your kids grow in their faith with Focus on the Family clubhouse and Focus on the Family clubhouse Junior magazine great resources for your email@example.com/public