If you haven’t had a second grader yet, you may not be familiar with Flat Stanley. Based on a children’s book by the same name, Flat Stanley is normally a project to introduce young children to new places in a fun way. This time though, we are going to send Flat Stanley on an extended mission trip.
As you can see, I am not an artist and Flat Stanley doesn’t have to be beautiful. The official website even has templates you can borrow (no Bibles that I saw though!). Draw your Flat Stanley on card stock. He should be large enough to be seen in a photograph clearly, but not so large that he takes up too much room in a suitcase.
You know the parenting verse in Proverbs everyone always quotes about training your child “in the way he should go”? (Proverbs 22:6) Most preachers will point out this means we should discipline our children really well or make sure they know the Bible. Once though, I heard a preacher say he thought it meant God had hard-wired each child for what God wanted them to do in His kingdom. Our job as parents was to help them find the path God had set for them and encourage them to follow it.
Now, I am not about to take sides in the debate, partially because I don’t speak Hebrew, but mainly because I think all of them have valid points when you add additional scriptures to the mix. I love the idea though that God has gifted your child with certain gifts God wants him to use to serve others and to spread the Gospel.
My grandmother was a child-whisperer. Children loved her. Granted, it may have been partially because she could make the most awesome cinnamon buns and chocolate chip cookies ever. Mostly, it was because she was a child-whisperer. She could meet any child and within thirty seconds she would have them cooking with her and chatting away about everything.
I was blessed to have inherited the trait and you have heard my stories about children I don’t know pouring their hearts out to me within seconds of our introduction. I always wondered if there were some sort of weird scent or high pitched sound we gave off that sent children running to tell us everything.
Years ago, I overheard one of the saddest parenting conversations. A mother was telling her friend how she had instructed her daughter to stop hanging on to her, as the daughter was in middle school now and “too big” for such public displays of affection. Yes, you read that correctly. The mother told her daughter to stop hanging on to her because the daughter was too “grown-up” for such childish behavior.
Did you know that when your children take a big leap in growth, it is natural for them to crave a little regression to a previous stage? You will sometimes hear adults describe teens as, “One minute he’s making adult decisions and the next he is acting like a two year old.”
Do you ever have the temptation to laugh hysterically, when you hear someone religious talk about quiet times, meditating on scripture (I am pretty sure “Thou shalt not murder” isn’t what they have in mind!), journaling, etc.? Many spiritual activities seem to require two things most Moms lack – free time and quiet.
In my last post, I mentioned a friend of mine who has a child with profound special needs. What I didn’t mention is that her child is now thirty years old! This is a special blessing as most children with his issues do not live nearly as long as he has. On the other hand, this means my friend is maneuvering a grown man in and out of slings, beds and wheelchairs. The things she has to do to care for him would exhaust the most energetic person. Yet she rarely appears ruffled by her life at all.