Lead By Example and See the Change

As a parent, regardless if you feel like it or not, there are little eyes always watching you; observing what you do.

     I feel like I am always teaching, correcting, or guiding my young children. It never stops and it's the same thing over and over and over.  Do you ever get tired of repeating yourself? Or correcting the same unwanted behavior a million times a day? It can be super frustrating; I know. So many times I ask myself are my kids even learning what I am trying to teach them? Especially when it comes to morals, values, and Jesus. You can teach them all you want by reading to them, memorizing scripture, sending them to Sunday School or Kid's Church and yes, they will learn. However, the best way is by following your example.   Do your kids see you read and study the Bible? Do they see you pray? Or do they only see you with your Bible when you go to church? 

Beach scene with the words Lead by example

Children mimic behaviors. Younger kids, especially, will mimic their parent's behavior. This morning both my kid's woke up and came to my bed to cuddle with me for a little bit and then my oldest (6 years old) left. He was gone for quite a bit, the tv wasn't on so I thought to myself "He's into something." I got up and went into the living room and then to the  kitchen but there was complete silence. I looked outside on the porch and there he was completely still (which isn't normal) sitting in the rocking chair.  This is the rocking chair I use every morning to do my devotional and pray. I asked him what he was doing and he said, "I'm praying!" 

In that moment I was like, "Wow, he gets it." Not because I forced him to pray or because it is something he felt like he HAD to do.  He, on his own, mimicked a familiar behavior. 

To further illustrate how important it is that your children see you modeling the kind of behavior you want to see in them I will tell you another story I had with my son. This happened a few months back.   He came and asked me why daddy doesn't pray and read the Bible like I do.  I told him daddy does but he does it at his office. 

In his mind daddy didn't pray and read his Bible because he didn't see him  do it. 

How powerful is that?

Today I encourage you to start modeling the behavior you want to see in your kids. They are watching you. In fact, modeling is a common teaching strategy. We especially use it in the ELL/EFL classroom. Modeling as a teaching strategy is explained on the teachhub.com as 

 "a teaching strategy where a teacher explicitly shows the students how to complete an activity or assignment before the students begin." 

They further say, 
Modeling provides a clear picture in a student’s mind as to how to handle the task at hand." 

So as you model what you want your children to do, it provides a clear picture in their mind. 

Your unspoken influence can be greater than your spoken guidance. 

This concept can be applied to all areas of your life and is a Biblical concept.

1 Cor. 11:1 "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."

Phil. 3:17 "Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us."

We can find many places in the Bible were we are instructed to lead by example and the greatest example we can follow is that of Jesus Christ. As we strive to follow his example we can't help but be a positive example for others. 


Clear the List

Being a teacher in Honduras is a challenge and even more so during a pandemic. The supplies we can get here are VERY limited. The government has given the green light for some schools to go hybrid but our district will be starting off virtual because of the high contagion rate. So I will be preparing for virtual and eventually we will move to hybrid. We are responsible for all our technological resources, which are hard to get here like I mentioned, and/or super expensive. 

So I made an Amazon wish list for all my needs and wants. Everything on the list will be sent to my parent's stateside address and then they will get it all together and send it down to me.

If you would like to help me out all you have to do is click on the link and choose something that will help me and my students this school year.  All you have to do is click on the link and choose what you want from the list. My Amazon Teacher Wish List.

What is really cool is that T-mobile has been clearing teacher's lists. I know quite a few teacher's who received $500 to clear their list. Definitely, an awesome thing they are doing and more companies should do the same. 


3 Ways to Eliminate Stress Today

A mother and child walking on the beach with the text "3 Ways to Eliminate Stress Today"
 3 Ways to Eliminate Stress Today

We are living in a world that has changed dramatically over the past year. For some of  you, life may seem to be back to "normal" for others it is nowhere close to that.   As an educator the stress of this past year has been extremely difficult.  We went virtual on March 13, 2020 and have maintained 100% virtual as of present. Over an entire year. 

I have gone through burn out, high stress situations, trying to juggle being a mom and a teacher working at home and at school, two devastating hurricanes, the loss of many friends' and loved one's lives, and long hours sitting in front of a computer in virtual meetings/church/class.

Don't get me wrong. It has not been all bad and stressful; there have been some very memorable moments and wonderful times of refreshment. But the negative has definitely outweighed the good.

I used to think I trusted God completely, but there have been moments of panic and worry which tells me that maybe, at times, I don't trust Him as much as I thought I did. But that is for another blog. 

I recently watched a devotional, in which, the speaker talked about us living in a VUCA world.  VUCA is an acronym for  Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.  So he was saying we have all experienced these at some point, but not all at ONE time, like we are now. It changes everything. We are all trying to process and deal with this situation going on around us and maintain our sanity. (I personally don't know how people are able to handle it all without the Lord.) 

Sometimes, I am so hard on myself-which creates more stress- and I have to keep reminding myself that everyone is dealing with this and no one knows what they are doing. 

Again, for some context, we are missionaries in Honduras.  We were under a strict lockdown for almost all of 2020 (like literally not being able to leave our homes). On top of the corruption and complete breakdown of the health system there were two back-to-back hurricanes that destroyed the country...people are still living on the streets.  If I were to count the amount of people I personally know who have died from COVID it would be over 50, one being my father-in-law.  I have been teaching virtually for over a year and homeschooling my children that would have been starting school in August of 2020.

Life has been crazy but in the craziness we have seen the hand of God in amazing ways.  Through friends, family and supporters we raised over $12,000 to feed the hungry in Honduras and provide food to those affected by the hurricanes.  God has provided for our family in a number of ways, right when we needed it, without even asking. 

So in the midst of the craziness I had to figure out how to cope and as I was seeking help from the Lord I felt him speak these things to my heart. 

1. Morning Devotional Time

This was a game changer for me.  If I don't get up a little earlier and have my quiet time with the Lord most likely it isn't going to happen.  I know not everyone is a morning person but I can guarantee if you start this daily practice it helps to set your whole day in order. Christ first; everything else lines up.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

~Psalm 9:9

2. Do What You Love

Don't stop doing what you enjoy.  I love running and taking pictures. Whatever it is that you like to do, DO IT! Try to do it everyday. Put on some worship music and create; read, paint, cook, crochet, garden, or take a walk. Disconnect from social media and do what you enjoy doing. 

3. Quality Time with Family

So some of us have been stuck at home but just because you are at home 
doesn't mean you have had quality time with your family  Make sure you are dedicating personal time to your kids and spouse. Read books to your kids, play some board games, talk to them,  (they are under stress as well). Enjoy your time with your family. 

These three tips may seem like common knowledge.  Obviously, there are many other factors like exercise, eating well, cutting back or cutting out social media that contribute to lowering stress levels, but applying these three steps to my life helped me to be able to cope with stress in a considerable way.