Sherri

Sherri has been married for 24 years and has a 21 year old daughter and a 18 year old son. She loves to read, write, spend time with family and friends, play in the ocean and ride roller coasters. She loves roasting marshmallows, eating chocolate, and indulging in a banana split every now and then.

Nature versus nurture

 Posted by on March 18, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 182014
 

Nature versus nurture.

It’s been long debated by psychologists whether you’re the way you are because of nature (your genes) or by nurture (your environment). The debate will probably go on until the Lord comes back.

Have you thought about the nature versus nurture debate in regard to your parenting? Whether or not you let nature take its course or if you nurture your children, molding them into what you feel like the Lord would have them be?

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Today in our society, many parents neglect the opportunity they have to make a difference in the lives of their children. They neglect discipline as if it were a plague. They let other people raise their children (if not physically, at least emotionally). They subscribe to the theory that it takes a village to raise children and while it does take more than one person to have an impact on a child’s life, “the village” ultimately is not responsible to God for the raising. Parents are.

When parents let nature take its course with their children, they have no way of knowing how things will turn out. Because we’re sinful creatures, we’re naturally inclined to sin. The world would say our sinful nature is nothing more than human nature and our life experiences make us better people. Yes, our failures do make us better people if we use them for the good, but that doesn’t make some of those things any less sinful or acceptable.

Our goal as parents should be to nurture our children. To grow them in the admonition of the Lord. To make sure that nature doesn’t take its course to the extent that our children are untamed like a wild river.

But how do we do this?

It’s easy to say that you should raise your children to follow the Lord. It’s an entirely different thing for it to actually happen. The truth is: we, as parents, are sometimes just as wild and untamed and unwilling to be nurtured as our children are. We rebel against any type of structure. Even in our homeschooling sometimes, we tend to neglect our schedules and take too many relaxed days. What happens? We get to May 30th and realize we still have 30 or 40 days of school left and we’re going to miss our summer break.

So while structure sometimes isn’t fun and allowing ourselves to be nurtured and groomed in a certain way feels restricting, in the long run it’s better for us and it’s better for our children. I certainly do not subscribe to the theory that life shouldn’t be fun and that it should be all work all of the time. The Lord knows I would have dried up and withered away long before now if that were the case. But when let people influence me in a Godly way and smooth out my rough spots and nurture me instead of letting me be the natural wild beast that I’d be, I come out so much better on the other side. The same is true with our children.

If we never instruct our toddlers to behave and if we never teach manners and general proper behavior, they’re going to be like untamed beasts. If we fail to teach them how the Lord would have them live, they’ll bring shame upon the Lord and upon your family. And upon themselves ultimately.

So the debate between “nurture or nature” may go on for generations to come, but I hope you’ll see that the most natural way to parent and to grow children who will walk in the Lord is to nurture them.

Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Are your kids suffering from FOMO?

 Posted by on February 6, 2014  No Responses »
Feb 062014
 

Are your kids suffering from FOMO? FOMO is very common these days among young people.

What is FOMO? It’s the “fear of missing out” and it’s very real.

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FOMO is a social anxiety. It stems from the need to fit in. To be invited to everything. To not miss out on anything. Someone with FOMO will focus on what’s going on everywhere but where they are and fear that something other than what they’re doing is a better choice than the one they’ve made. It’s a compulsive disorder.

I was quite surprised when my young adult daughter told me about FOMO recently. Evidently, because there is so much happening in the world and it’s broadcast all over social media, kids are afraid of missing out on something that’s happening elsewhere. They might not even have known about it if it weren’t for social media. But as soon as someone posts on their status something exciting that they’re doing and today’s teens can’t get to it, suddenly they’re miserable.

According to PsychCentral, “Teens and adults text while driving, because the possibility of a social connection is more important than their own lives (and the lives of others). They interrupt one call to take another, even when they don’t know who’s on the other line. They check their Twitter stream while on a date, because something more interesting or entertaining just might be happening.”

It’s hard to be happy at Julie’s birthday party when Mary and Susie are at Tracy’s party and you weren’t invited but they are Instagraming pictures of the fun they’re having. And it’s so much more fun than you’re having. (Of course it is because you’re focusing on what they’re doing and not on having fun where you are.)

It might sound kind of silly to us adults but in today’s world, kids do want to be a part of everything. I don’t think this has changed from previous generations. It’s just that nowadays people have access to what other people are doing and they feel like they’re missing out. And because people (therapists, doctors, etc.) like to give things a name, they gave this emotion the title of “disorder” and named it FOMO.

As homeschoolers, you hear all of the time the question, “How are you going to socialize your children?” As many of you know, that usually isn’t a problem because homeschool kids are always on the go. But what about when they see their friends going places and want to be there but can’t because you can’t take them or because something else is on the calendar? Apparently, that’s a FOMO.

Should this be diagnosed as a disorder though? Or is this just an old-fashioned desire to never miss out on something? And if so, let’s get to the real root of it.

My kids are now grown and they are able to drive themselves wherever they want to go. They don’t often miss out on anything unless it just so happens to be something they didn’t get invited to or something that’s planned at the same time as another engagement.

A few years ago, after we’d been snowed-in for four days, my daughter had a meltdown. All of her friends had gotten snowed-in (on purpose) at the homes of their friends who lived in Atlanta. We live about an hour north of there. She watched all week long as friends posted their sledding pictures in Piedmont Park, pictures of their shoes all lined up outside of someone’s door, etc. She was driving herself crazy (and me) because she wanted to be there but the roads were impassable. On the fourth day, she was determined to get away from “the country” (and her crazy, boring parents, haha) and get to the city, somehow, someway. How did she do it? She went outside with her daddy’s machete and started chopping at the snow-covered ice on the driveway. She nearly gave herself a heart attack. Was she suffering from FOMO? Maybe just a bit. Although we didn’t have a formal diagnosis for a disorder then. We just thought of it as the normal anxiety teens go through when all their friends are hanging out without them. No biggie. She chopped her way out and drove to a friend’s, roasted marshmallows, and had a great time. End of story.

If your children are experiencing FOMO, it’s a good time to sit down and talk with them about why they feel so strongly that they need to be a part of every activity. Is it jealousy? Low self-esteem? The need to be popular? Fear that someone will say something behind their backs when they’re not present? Self-focus? The list could go on.

Once you’ve gotten to the root of your child’s FOMO, help her see that it’s okay if she can’t be a part of everything. If she were to do that, she would be spread so thin that little enjoyment would be found from any of it. It’s an endless (and pointless) pursuit for acceptance and happiness. In all honesty, the world (your child’s world) isn’t going to end if she doesn’t get to attend one little party.

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And it’s not going to end if we don’t get to do everything, either. Yes, parents sometimes suffer from FOMO. Either we fear we’ll miss out or that our kids will and we just simply can’t stand by and let that happen. If we’re not careful, we can foster self-centeredness and narcissism.

We’ve discovered in our family that God is the master scheduler. He’s real good at working things out and making sure you get to the places and events that are the most beneficial to you. When you leave the decision up to Him. Maybe the place your child thinks she has to go is actually somewhere that God wouldn’t want her to be. He’s been putting up roadblocks but she keeps pushing through them.

God knows best. God is sovereign. He loves our children more than their friends ever could. He desires to protect them, as we do. He knows what’s in their hearts and he knows why they have a FOMO (if you want to officially call it that). He accepts us as we are and asks us only to “be still” so we can know Him. Honestly, is there enough time in a day to be a part of everything that our children are inundated with?

What is the solution? Well, there may not be one, short of running away to some place that has no connection with people other than the ones you’re with at the moment. But one important step in helping your children develop their sense of self and correct priorities is to limit their exposure to “the Joneses”, the media, and especially to social media. Until they are old enough to handle the pressure. (Not sure what age that is, since we parents suffer, too, at times.) We can help our children when we encourage them to focus on what God would have them to focus on—their schooling, their relationship with their family, bettering themselves spiritually. That’s what really matters in the long run.

I hope that this has been an encouraging post for you, maybe even something that will bring your attention to what your children are going through or may be prone to go through in the future.

Here is a sermon I found about FOMO Christians: http://vimeo.com/62010250

An an article about FOMO and the Christian: http://au.christiantoday.com/article/battling-fomo/14819.htm

~ by Sherri Wilson Johnson

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Jan 022014
 
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Photo: Free Digital Photos

A while back I blogged about the empty nest and how it shouldn’t be something that we avoid or dread. That as couples, we should almost rejoice when we have an empty nest because it affords us an opportunity to spend time with our spouses alone and to get to know them again on a new and deeper level. It also affords us an opportunity to have a hobby or a second job or to travel. To fulfill a dream that we never had time to fulfill.

For many, especially those with large families, the empty nest will happen little by little and by the time you see your last child leave the nest, you’ve already got grandchildren begging to stay in it. For those of us with smaller families, when the nest begins to empty, you feel it immediately. But no matter what the timing, we usually think the empty nest will begin when our children are grown and go off to college or marry. It’s painful but positive.

There’s a different scenario of the empty nest that often occurs. It’s when you’re not prepared for it. It doesn’t happen with the natural progression of life. This is when a child leaves suddenly in the middle of the night after an argument and never returns. When a child is abducted. When a child chooses to live with your ex. Or when a child dies either unexpectedly or from an illness.

Photo: Free Digital Photos

Photo: Free Digital Photos

One of my high school friends recently lost her only son. He had started college in the fall and a month later was coming home for the weekend, had a blowout, hit a tree and was killed. My friend’s empty nest began with shock, grief, and shattered dreams of the future. She has a daughter at home who I’m sure she’s clinging to and doesn’t want to let out of her sight ever, but her son can never be replaced. She would have never imagined that her child would die just months after signing a scholarship with his dream college. Her dreams of having her son carry on the family name were completely snuffed out in one accident. This hit home with me since I have only one son.

Many of us will experience the empty nest in unexpected, uncomfortable, unwanted or unfamiliar ways. As a surprise or a shock or an earth-shattering disappointment. For me, my nest began to empty sooner than and not at all in the way I thought it would. Thankfully, it was not because of a tragedy.

I homeschooled my children for fourteen years. I raised them with the help of a homeschool group made up of like-minded families. My kids had a nice little cluster of friends to hang out with when they were younger. It was easy to dream of what the future would look like. Cookie-cutter and perfectly planned out.

Having taught our children about purity and about not dating until they were smart enough to pick a godly person to go out with, I thought that there’d be a nice sweet courtship of my daughter from a nice proper appropriate homeschool boy. Of course, this boy would be the son of one of my friends. But that never happened. When my daughter first started dating, she did date a homeschool boy, but it wasn’t someone that our family knew. It didn’t take long for us to learn that he had some major issues. As a result, he broke her heart. And that is the last homeschool boy my daughter has ever been attracted to.

She enlarged her territory, made new friends, and learned that there was much more to life than our small town. My free-spirited child very quickly became dissatisfied being in our nest. This child, if she were an animal, would be a butterfly or a blue bird. She desired to know more and more people and it became evident quite quickly that God did not create her to only have a small handful of safe friends.

Kayla in Paris this fall

Kayla in Paris this fall

Your plans for your children and your careful guidance to make them “not like others in this world” doesn’t change who they are or the desires God put in them. Yes, you’re able to shelter and protect your children for a while, to help direct their desires toward godly desires instead of worldly desires and help them make wise decisions. But if you have a child that’s a free spirit, that child is going to be a free spirit even if you keep that child at home for school.

So my empty nest began almost two years ago with my daughter deciding to move to Atlanta. That didn’t settle well with this mama at first. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep her from exploring the world. Really and truly I just wanted to keep her safe. Period. I wanted to help her keep her purity and that would be difficult if she set out to explore the whole world as a single woman.

The beginning of the empty nest didn’t happen the way I had planned it. But God is bigger than ME and His ever-watchful eye has remained upon her. The dreams I once had for my daughter at eighteen wouldn’t have satisfied her long term. She’s not the same person she was then and God has shown her that what she once desired was not His desire for her. She would’ve been a restless soul had she married that young. In her heart there’s always been a desire to explore and to see what else is out there. She’s learned a lot about herself and the type of man she wants for a husband. I believe God held back that part of her life until she had time to become the woman He wanted her to be.

One benefit that has come out of her exploration of the world beyond our little bubble is that the more people she’s encountered, the more she’s seen she’s very unique. The more she sees that her roots run deep. Most people that she’s met were not raised with the same ideas of purity and they are blessed by her commitment to it. Although at times, this has become a burden for her, it’s also been a great testimony to God’s faithfulness and His protection.

The emptying of the nest is unpredictable. You may have one child gone and one child still at home who may not be at home for very many hours of the day. You may lose a child suddenly like my friend did. One thing is for certain: Without a doubt, the empty nest will come. One way or the other.

This is why it’s important to raise our children according to God’s Word and to teach them how to follow Him. To teach our children to desire to serve Him. To desire to honor God with their bodies, their minds, their hearts and with everything they do in their daily lives.

We can’t dictate the futures of our children.

The wonderful thing about all of this is: when you seek God and realize that some of the things you’ve wanted for your children might not be what God wants for them and you’re able to let go of your ideas of the future, that’s when God steps up and says:

“Let me WOW you. Let me surprise you. Let me give you treasures that you could have never imagined you’d have. That you’d never have asked for because you couldn’t fathom them.”

That’s when God does wonderful things with your children and for your children. That’s when He blesses your marriage even more. So the empty nest may come sooner for some of us than it does for others and it may not come as we expect it to. The key to all of this is: trusting God in every facet of your parenting from the very first day that your first born appeared in your belly to the day that your last child leaves the nest. Remember, don’t let your feathers get ruffled over things that won’t matter in eternity.

Couple: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/the-couples-summer-vacation-photo-p179707

Nest: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Birds_g52-Hand_And_Nest_p53539.html

It’s almost Christmas!

 Posted by on December 17, 2013  2 Responses »
Dec 172013
 

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I imagine many of you have your tree or trees already decorated and you’re ready for all of the holiday festivities. Some of you may have to travel and some of you may have guests coming to your home. Some of you may not have very many holiday activities planned. This may be a lonely time of year for you.

Because my family is small and scattered about the U.S. and my parents and brother-in-law have passed away, holidays are difficult for our family. But we’ve learned in recent years that family consists of more than just the ones you share blood with. More than the ones you’ve married into. Family consists of your church friends and your neighbors and for many of you, your homeschool friends. Because of this, the holidays don’t have to be lonely. We have learned to open our hearts and let people love us when our family isn’t around to do it. We’ve learned to so the same for others.

Perhaps being lonely isn’t a problem for you. Maybe you’re experiencing financial difficulties, as we have in the past and still often do. The holidays may be a time when you withdraw from social gatherings because you don’t have the money to purchase gifts for people. A simple ornament exchange can make you feel quite sad because you have to bring an ornament from your own collection because you can’t afford to purchase one. When your friends want to exchange little trinkets or gift cards, and you can’t even do that, it really stinks.

I want to encourage you to be honest with your friends if this time of year is difficult for you. If you’re lonely or struggling financially, you should be able to express that honestly to your true friends and they will understand completely. I believe that the enemy wants us to withdraw and he wants us to feel isolated during the holiday season. After all, Christmas is a celebration of our Lord and Savior. What better way for the enemy to rob us of the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus than to make us focus on the gift giving and the parties and the requirements to bring food and packages for needy people? The holidays should be about remembering the sacrifice that Jesus made for each and every one of us. It should be about love. We don’t need to focus on the decorations or the gift giving, but instead focus on telling others about the wonderful gift that Jesus gave you.

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I promise you, if you take a moment and share with someone at the grocery store or at the post office or at the doctor’s office about the love of Jesus, your heart will swell with joy. You heart will look like a giant bow on the most beautifully wrapped package. I have spent many years feeling like the Grinch at Christmastime and it is no fun at all. So I want to encourage you right now to prepare for the holidays prayerfully and ask the Lord to get your heart ready to remember what the season is really about.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

~ Written by Sherri

A Worry-free Life

 Posted by on November 12, 2013  No Responses »
Nov 122013
 

ID-100184055The Bible tells us that the Lord provides for the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air without a moment of worry from them and that we can feel confident He will provide for us, as well.

But how often do we worry still? How often do we fret about tomorrow and feel like there’s no answer to our problems? With the economic crisis our country is in and the trickledown effect it has on us and with the healthcare issues many of us are facing, the stripping away of many of our freedoms, it’s hard not to worry about tomorrow. It’s easy to be scared that we’re facing trials and persecution of epic propositions. Our season of thankfulness and celebration quickly becomes depressing if we focus on all the negative things in this world.

There is one person in my life that has always shown me that worry gets me nowhere. My father-in-law is a perfect example to me of the flowers of the fields and the birds of the air. I’ve been in the family twenty-five years (twenty-seven years if you count the dating years) and one thing I have witnessed with my father-in-law is he seems to be confident that God will provide for our family without fail. This is not to say that he hasn’t had trouble in life. He has had health problems and he’s suffered from the deaths of family members. But he is an example of a person who has built his house upon the rock.

I’m thankful for the example that my father-in-law has set for me and my husband, his sister, our children, and for my mother-in-law. The example that no matter what comes our way–whether it’s good or bad–when we trust that God knows what’s best for us and will provide exactly what we need to get through that situation, He will do it.

When trials come, my father-in-law is confident that God will take care of them. And the funny thing is: God does take care of them. And that builds more confidence in God.

NanaAndPapa 061The more confidence in God we have the more God shows off what He really can do. And when He does that, more people see Him working in our lives for the good. Even in trials.

Our lack of worry—our obvious confidence in God—is an example that other people see. The peacefulness on our faces even in the midst of trials. The absence of worry lines across our foreheads. When people can sit down with us and ask us how we’re so peaceful during such a traumatic or stressful time and we share with them that it’s only by the grace of God that we can get through each day, God has proven His existence in our lives.

The good days are always easy to get through. The bad days are not. But when we build our house upon the rock and we put our faith and trust in the Lord and when we choose to be obedient to him, we’ll have a joy about us that others will see from very far away. We’ll have something that is contagious. Something that other people want to catch.

Do you have someone in your life that is an example-setter? Someone who encourages you to keep your faith and trust in the Lord? I encourage you today to look for the person (or people) in your life who can inspire you to keep your hope, your faith, and your trust in the Lord. During this season of thankfulness, let those people know exactly what they’ve done for you! Let others see that they can live worry-free!

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/pretty-girl-drained-in-sorrow-unhappy-photo-p184055

Photo of in-laws: www.kaylajohnsonphotography.com

~ by Author Sherri Wilson Johnson