MONTHLY ARCHIVES: March 2013
Parents, how can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:
Ask: What makes you feel safe? Discuss the idea of safety and security. Remind your preschooler that God loves them and has promised to keep them safe. Spend a few minutes praying and thanking God for the safety we know we have in Him.
Ask: Who are some people you trust? What makes those people trustworthy? Discuss the characteristics your child included in his or her list. Discuss how many of those characteristics he or she believes God demonstrates. Highlight the fact that we can trust God and have confidence in the promises He makes.
Ask: What are some things you believe will happen in your future? (Examples: graduate high school, go to college, get married, have children, find a good job, and so forth) Why are you confident that those things will be a part of your future? Discuss responses. Using today’s focal passages, challenge students to determine why we can be confident of God’s work in our lives and His promises for our future.
Have you ever picked up your child from camp and asked, “So how was it?” What kind of response did you receive? Did they go into detail about the activities, their counselors, their cabinmates, the food they ate? I’m sure you have also experienced this during the school year when you ask a question and the only response you receive is, “fine”.
I came across an article recently by Paul Robertson called, “How to get more than a grunt”. When I was growing up, this was me. My parents were the last people I wanted to talk to about what was going on. Even though they tried hard, I didn’t give them the response they hoped for.
The principles in this article can be applied to camp. When the campers get picked up on Closing Day, they are feeling all sorts of emotions. They’re happy to see their family and friends at home and to actually be at home. But they’re also sad to leave their friends at camp and the environment at camp. During the ride home, they may be excited to give highlights. But what about the deeper things? It is important to know that it may take time for your child to process the things they learned at camp, whether it was how to set the table or learning about the relationship they can have with Christ. If you ask a question on the ride home or the day after and they respond with a short sentence, give them more time to process and let those new experiences settle in. Here are some questions you can ask throughout the following weeks after your child comes home:
Tell me about your counselors.
What was your favorite activity?
What was the Theme this summer? Tell me about it.
Who do you want to keep in touch with?
What was the hardest challenge?
Tell me about something you accomplished while at camp.
Tell me about your camping trips.
What skills did you take? What did you learn in those skills?
By asking questions like this, you will able to get an accurate picture of what your child experienced at camp. If you have any questions you’d like to add, please do so in the comment section below.
Assistant Director, Camp Crestridge
Can you believe it’s almost time for Easter? This winter has flown by here at camp. We’ve all been enjoying the warmer weather recently. The summer will be here before you know it! We hope you’re looking forward to it as much as we are!
When thinking about this month’s craft blog I knew I wanted to do something involving Easter since it’s only two weeks away. I have decided to do two different crafts to give you and your campers some ideas for Easter decorations. These crafts are both really fun and interactive. You might get a little messy, but that’s part of the fun! There is also a bonus at the end of the blog: a food idea!
Craft #1: Embroidery String Easter Egg
– Embroidery String
– Water or regular balloons
– Fabric Stiffener
– Plate or bowl
The first step is to blow up as many balloons as you want to use. The balloons need to be in the shape of an egg. You can make them as little or as big as you want. Little known fact about me: I cannot blow up balloons. So Matt blew up six balloons for me. You will want to cut the embroidery string into long pieces, around two or three feet in length. You can use different pieces on one balloon. You will want to pour the fabric stiffener onto a plate or bowl. I found it was easiest to use my fingers and put the fabric stiffener onto the string a few inches at a time and then wrap it around the balloon.
Wrap the string around the balloon in all different directions. Make sure the string around the balloon has plenty of fabric stiffener on it. Your hands will get really messy, but it comes off with water and soap or you can wait until it dries and peel it off. You can use one color or multiple colors. My first few I used different colored string, but I didn’t have enough fabric stiffener on it so it did not work well. Once you feel that the balloon is covered enough you can hang them up to dry. They take about an hour to dry completely.
Once the string is hard and the fabric stiffener has completely dried you can pop the balloon. You can pull the balloon pieces out through the wholes in the string. If the string collapses and does not hold the shape it means there is not enough fabric stiffener on it. My first two eggs collapsed and I had to start over. Once you’re all done and the balloons are popped they should look like colorful Easter eggs! You can put them in a basket or you could even hang them!
Craft #2: Easter Eggs Dyed with Kool-Aid
– Kool-Aid Packets (I used cherry, lemon-lime, orange, mixed berry, and a mixture of lemonade and peach mango)
– Hard Boiled Eggs
– Bowls with 2/3 cup of water
You will want to start with hard boiled eggs. I did some research and found that you can put eggs in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees and they will turn into hard boiled eggs! I put them in a muffin tin to keep them from rolling around. They will come out with little brown spots but after you soak them in water for 10 minutes they are back to white! Fill small cups or bowls with 2/3 cup of water and the complete packet of kool-aid. You can put the hard boiled egg in the dye for as long as you want. The longer it sits, the darker, more saturated they will be. My bowls weren’t deep enough so I spooned the kool-aid on top of the egg and turned it. It worked out well and completely covered the eggs.
The lemonade is not dark enough so I put half of the peach mango packet with it. The purple makes the egg a dark grayish color. You can experiment with the colors. I also decided to put a sticker on one egg and see if it would turn out well and it did! Be creative with this and let your kids get involved. Be careful because the kool-aid will stain your hands, especially the blue. You will not need any vinegar because the kool-aid is acidic so the color stays well on the eggs.
Bonus: Easter Cupcakes
– Cupcake mix
– Cupcake tins
– Cupcake liners
– Icing (or coconut – pictured below)
– M&M eggs
Make the cupcakes as directed on the back of the box. You can use any flavor you want. I went with the traditional yellow cake mix. When they are cooled you can either decorate the top with green icing or you can use colored green coconut with food coloring. I originally wanted to use coconut (in the picture), but changed my mind because I’m not a fan of the taste. I used regular green icing and tried to make it look like grass. The last step is to put the “eggs” on top to make it look like Easter eggs sitting in grass. You could also use Peeps or another candy as the eggs.
Let us know if you make the crafts or cupcakes! We would love to see pictures while your crafting or baking or pictures of the finished product! Send us other ways that you are decorating for Easter around your house or making Easter desserts. We hope you and your families have a great Easter!
As you continue to figure to how to parent your kids, we hope that these words of wisdom from Focus on the Family can help…
This clever discipline method is less exhausting and more successful than ranting, raving, blaming, pleading, begging or threatening.
When kids are small, they learn the ABCs. They’re happy to sing them in the bathtub, in the car and while they’re eating their Cheerios. But according to Dr. Leman, the ABCs are for parents, too — ABCs that build a healthy self-esteem in your child.
According to Leman, author of Have a New Kid by Friday, a healthy self-esteem is cultivated in children through Acceptance, Belonging and Competence.
Some parents who are turned-off by their child’s choice of music or clothes send a message to their kids that not only is their child’s behavior unacceptable, but that they are unacceptable. As a result, their child spends hours listening to their iPod, playing computer games or talking on the phone. Why? Because if a child doesn’t feel accepted by their parents, they’ll look for acceptance from their friends. However, when parents unconditionally accept their kids, they will be much less likely to seek acceptance from a peer group — and they will develop a healthier self-esteem. According to Dr. Leman, “Your unconditional acceptance of your child means everything in her development.”
If you want to send a strong message to your child that he is accepted, listen and ask questions to show you care about his interests and concerns. In short, develop a relationship with your kids. Dr. Leman says, “Without a relationship, your rules, your words and your actions mean nothing. The wedge between you and your children will drive them toward Acceptance and Belonging in a group outside your home.”
Everyone, whether they are five or fifty, wants to belong. Many people go to great lengths to ensure that they are connected with someone who cares. How can you give your kids a sense of belonging? By creating a community within your family. To accomplish this, Dr. Leman suggests giving your children a vote in decisions, listening to what they say and supporting them in their activities.
In Have a New Kid by Friday, Dr. Leman tells a story about 15-year-old Melissa who was approached and offered a cigarette. Because she had a strong sense of belonging within her family, she didn’t need the cigarette and replied, “No thanks. We Crayburns don’t smoke.”
By creating a healthy self-esteem, a sense of belonging helps your child resist peer pressure and creates a set of expectations for your kids to attain. For Melissa, it was the expectation that her family doesn’t smoke.
The third way to build self-esteem in your kids is to give them the gift of competence. Children become competent when they experience life first hand. If you are an overprotective parent, you’ll need to fight the urge to do for your kids what they can do for themselves.
In his book, Dr. Leman writes:
“These days, parents are overly concerned with their child’s self-esteem. ‘I want Johnny to feel good about himself,’ a mother says. So what does a mother do? She goes out of her way to clear life’s roads for her child, to do things for him that he should be doing for himself.
She thinks she’s helping him with his self-esteem, but what she is she really doing? She’s sending a negative message: ‘I think you’re so stupid that you can’t do it yourself, so I’ll do it for you.'”
The way a mother eagle teaches her eaglets to fly is an excellent example of how guiding (without over-controlling) helps kids mature and develop healthy self-esteem.
When a mother eagle wants her baby to fly, she waits until her eaglet is 80% of his adult size. Then she sets him on the edge of the nest and pushes him off into the wild blue. She watches her baby bird freefall, then swoops down just in time to catch him on her wings. This exercise is repeated over and over until the baby eaglet learns to fly.
By doing this, her baby’s confidence (and self-esteem, if eagles had such a thing) grows. Imagine if she was overly protective. Her eaglet would never learn to fly; he’d never mature.
In the same way, kids mature and develop a healthy self-esteem by experiencing life first hand, even if it means that sometimes they make mistakes.
When I was 19, I decided to move to London, England for a semester. My mom must have worried about me, but she never let on. London, with 13 million people, was light years away from my small town in southern Idaho. Even though I know Mom was concerned, she was very supportive. She has said in response to that adventure (and many others that I have embarked on), “You have to raise your kids to be independent. Some people want to keep their kids under their wing. That’s not the goal; the goal is to raise responsible adults.” And responsible adults are made by giving kids the gift of competence. Dr. Leman would be proud Mom.
Of course, your little person will not be traveling independently overseas anytime soon, but as he exerts his independence, ask yourself if what you want to protect your children from is necessary. If it’s not a life or death situation (or harmful), allowing your child to make mistakes will help develop his self-esteem.
There you have it: the ABCs of building self-esteem in your kids. Granted, it may not be as easy as singing the song, but with a little practice, your kids can grow up to become confident and responsible adults.
How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:
Ask: How do you know when you’ve done something good? How do you know when you’ve done something wrong? Discuss why it’s important to do what’s right.
What does “wisdom” mean to you? How do you go about making sure your choices are wise? When have you helped someone else make a wise choice?
How has it become harder to display wisdom as you’ve gotten older? In what area do you struggle most with making wise choices? How often do you think of the Holy Spirit when you’re faced with a difficult decision?