Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Everyday

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this week. Our family did! We were blessed by having both my parents and my husband's here with us. Mine drove an hour to join us, and my in-laws traveled all the way from Wyoming. This was truly a rare treat.

I just love this time of year and how everything reminds me to focus on giving thanks to the Lord. I love the pumpkin pie, the loving faces of family, the story of Squanto, the mouth-watering smells of dinner cooking, and the memories passed down and retold.

Through it all I was overwhelmed, realizing anew how amazingly good God is to me--such an undeserving soul. I never could finish a mental list I was trying to compile of all the things I'm thankful for. It is truly endless because giving thanks must continue on each and every day.

Sheila Campbell, of Texas Home School Coalition, wrote these encouraging words for homeschool group leaders during this time of year:

Thankful Thoughts on Leadership

Be Thankful for the Position - Remember, whether you applied for leadership or not, position is ultimately ordained by God.

Be Thankful for the Freedom to Lead - Take time to praise God for the country and state in which we live. Praise Him for the time and place in which He has placed you.

Be Thankful for Partners in Leadership - Whether you are supported by a spouse, other members of your leadership team, or other leaders across the state, praise God you are not alone.

Be Thankful for Those Whom you Serve - Thank God for the opportunity and privilege to serve and encourage others.

Be Thankful for Those Who Have Gone Before - Remember those who have gone before you and fought for our freedoms in our country, our state, and the home school movement. Don't forget those who have served in leadership before you in your group and across the state.

Be Thankful for Those Who Follow - Praise God for the younger members of your group and the children whose lives will impact tomorrow!

Counting my blessings everyday,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Be Proactive!

During this season of thankfulness, a recent lesson I have learned about leadership came to my mind.

I am so thankful for recently learning the lesson to be PROACTIVE in all areas of my life. I first heard this point at the Texas Home School Coalition leadership conference when Tim Lambert was illustrating the importance of being positively proactive when dealing with the media. If there is a problem, or potential problem, head it off at the pass with no fear, with a smile and with correct information (my words).

Applying this to parenting is easy. I have been praying for wisdom to pinpoint the problems with my kids and then praying for creative solutions to intercept the problems and turn them in a positive direction.

For example, I have a brand new, beautiful teenaged daughter who is a good and responsible girl who loves Jesus, but I can see and hear her gently "experimenting" with worldly ideas. To intercept this, I plan to do something that I read about in a recent Old Schoolhouse magazine interview with Sally Clarkson: I plan to have more than one type of Bible study and opportunities for her to hang out with positive peer pressure groups. If I know God has called me to train her to be a leader, then she needs to be hanging around leaders-in-training as much as possible instead of just the kids who think like the world.

Applying this to homeschool group leadership is also easy. If you notice the moms in your group only talking to the ones they know and leaving others out, as a leader, you can be proactive about this problem in at least four ways:

1. Have name tags and invite them to introduce themselves to one person they haven't met yet or don't know very well (name tags take away any awkwardness of forgetting a name)

2. Creatively juggle the seating by "assigning" ladies to sit at tables based on something really fun or random like the color shirt they are wearing (wouldn't have to do this every time, just enough to jolt things out of a comfortable routine every once in awhile)

3. Remind them at the beginning of each meeting to make sure they help the visitors/new moms feel warm and welcomed (sometimes, members simply need to be reminded)

4. Offer a fun question that can get people talking together (ex: What's your favorite children's book? or What would be the ultimate international homeschool field trip?)

So, being proactive is a very positive way to deal with sticky situations and turn them for good.

Keeping ahead of the game,