Dare 11 – The Respect Dare – Whatever we pay attention to Grows – For Parents of 20-Somethings

Marilyn was beyond upset! She wondered if Ashlee would ever grow up. “You would think that at 25 she would get it!!” she complained to Martin. She had already spouted to her husband several of the grievances that she had against her daughter. Marilyn continued to rant.

“She promised! Her younger sister called and asked for her assistance and she said yes! Tori called her three times and texted her as well. They agreed to meet at 3:00. I planned my entire weekend around the two of them meeting! Tori and I were planning to go shopping for school clothes and then get her hair cut. We changed our whole day’s schedule around Ashlee’s availability. Then Ashlee doesn’t even show up or call Tori to tell her she’s not coming! Martin, that is absolutely unacceptable.”

“I agree. But she did call me and explain what was going on.”

“Yeah, after the fact! She had an agreement with Tori, not you.”

“You’re right. I should have made sure she called Tori back.”

Just then Martin’s phone rang. It was Ashlee. “She’s on her way, but won’t have very long,” muttered Martin.

“It’s been hours since they were supposed to meet. Here we are now ready to walk out the door and she calls and says she is suddenly free? It’s like she expects us to just be available whenever she just happens to have time? I don’t get it!”

Marilyn was fired up! It was a good thing Ashlee wasn’t around at that moment. Marilyn knew she would give her a piece of her mind! She could tell that Martin was spinning up too. He was probably more angry than she was.

Later that evening, Marilyn was sitting in her favorite bedroom chair with her bible and journal. “Lord, help me to see truth in this situation with Ashlee. Help me to see what is lovely in my daughter. Help me to understand what is going on.”

As she spent time in prayer her thoughts became more focused on the situation. “Ashlee did have something really important that came up. She did call her dad and explain the reason she wasn’t there. So, Lord, why am I so upset about what happened. Is it because it ruined my day?”

The longer she sat there she knew the answer. “I want the girls to be close. I want them to always be there for each other. What I really wanted was for Ashlee to call her sister because I want the connection to always be there,” she thought. “Tori seemed really hurt by the lack of empathy from her sister.”

Because Tori hurt, Marilyn hurt for her.

Marilyn arranged a special lunch with Ashlee later in the week. As they sat there talking Marilyn chose not to dwell on what happened. She chose instead to emphasize her desires. “Ashlee, you know how much your sister idolizes you, don’t you? She is working really hard to connect with you. I know something came up last weekend and that you couldn’t meet with her like you two had planned, but can I encourage you to call her more often, even if it is just to check in with her?”

Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on such things.”

As parents, sometimes we want to step in and tell our 20-somethings what they did that was wrong. Depending on their personality and their level of independence, they may not be able to handle the “parenting” we want to give them. Instead of focusing on the negative behavior, try emphasizing the behavior you want to see more of and explain why you would like to see it.  Whatever we pay attention to GROWS!

Dare you to try to take a difficult situation and try to address it in the positive.

“Let go…and let God”,

Be sure to join Nina Roesner and Leah Heffner as we blog through The Respect Dare together!




The Respect Dare – Dare 11 – Developing Maturity in our Tweens & Teens

Sitting at her small table in the basement Eloise was thankful for the silence. Ted had agreed to focus on the kids and food for the day while she took time to pray and seek God’s guidance for the next school year for each of her kids. She had been homeschooling for the past several years, but was realizing that it was becoming much more difficult as the kids entered junior high and high school. Tonight, Bryan, their 16 year old, would be in charge so that she and Ted could go out to dinner and talk through her plans for the school year.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Help me to put together a plan for each child. Help me to not only focus on the school part of the year, but also help me to focus on behaviors, friendships, and character development. Help me to focus on their strengths. Help me to pay close attention to how you would want them to develop and not forget that they also need to build relationship with you.”

On her computer she had three documents open with each of the kids’ names on top. She also had the categories that she wanted to focus on.

STRENGTHS began one column. PLACES TO GROW began another.

Earlier in the week Eloise had taken time to spend a couple of hours with each of the kids separately. She had taken each one to their favorite restaurant for lunch and talk time. Conversations were similar for each of the kids. There was talk about the things they had enjoyed during the school year along with things they would like to try during the coming year. Naturally sports, music, and drama came up with. They talked about co-op and distance learning, classes they enjoyed and ones they didn’t like, and what they thought they might be interested in for future careers. They talked about how God had created them unique with a gifting. It was an opportunity for each child to dream about the future while giving Eloise some data to plan the school year.

Now it was time for Eloise to put together a plan. What was realistic for each child? How much time would she have to be on the road with each child transporting them to activities? What would be good balance for family life at home?

Eloise decided to start with their 14 year old son who struggled the most with fitting in. In the past, she would have started with her firstborn. After all, as a family, they would have less time to influence him. But Eloise wasn’t so sure that’s where she and Ted should be spending the most energy. Bryan was getting lots of opportunity with the freedom of driving. Stephen seemed to need more attention right now. Stephen was her most determined child…determined to do things his way…and get his friends to do things his way…and upset the family when things didn’t go his way.

She was excited about her new tactic. In the past she would have focused on her kids’ weaknesses, especially Stephen’s. This was the kid who always pushed her patience. She had spent so much time correcting him, scolding him, and grounding him, that she was determined to follow the nugget she had learned in Daughters of Sarah.

Whatever we pay attention to growsJ!

She was beginning to see it happen!

During the last month, she was seeing a glimmer of hope with Stephen. One day she noticed him help his younger sister reach something she wanted from the top of her closet. Typically he would have gotten it for her and then would have proceeded to do something to upset her, like dump it on the floor or start taking it apart. Eloise just happened to be walking through the hallway at the time and interrupted the scene. Just as Stephen was getting the item down, Eloise entered the room. “Stephen, thank you for helping your sister reach that! I really appreciate how you look out for her! You are such a good big brother!” And with that she gave him a hug.

With each new incident, Eloise was trying to see the “good” in her son and it was paying dividends. Just by commenting on his “good works” she was watching him try harder to do the right thing. Even the other kids were starting to “commend” Stephen for his positive actions. Wow! What a different tone was emerging in their home.

Hebrews 10:24

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

When we have those “difficult” children who always seem to be stirring up dissention, it is easier to correct and scold the bad rather than encourage them when they are doing something good. Rather than wait to speak when they do something wrong. Try only commenting when they do something right!

Dare you to “catch” you tween or teen doing something right and make sure to offer positive feedback! Pay attention…the “good” will grow!

“Let go…and let God”,

Hope you will join Nina Roesner as she provides insight on marriage and Leah Heffner as she blogs to wives with little people as we go through The Respect Dare together.