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Be the Leader Your Kids Need Right Now

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April 2, 2020

We’ve been at this a few weeks now. Based on stories I’m hearing and reading, we’re all slowly but surely feeling a bit more peace with learning at home. I have two kids who homeschool and one in public school, and I assure you both educational circumstances have changed tremendously. For one, we have a full-time Director of Procurement working in our building (bedroom) and popping into our school day unannounced (it’s a good thing we’re crazy about him). Our local public school is not offering formal instruction due to inequality of available online learning options (teachers, we love and miss you!). If you’re working full time and educating your kids from home I toast to you because that, friends, is tough stuff. If you or your spouse are working on the front lines of healthcare right now, thank you for your sacrifice and ongoing servant leadership.

Our family has faced times of high transition due to our double-digit moves around the US and Canada. My childhood was knit together in crisis and trauma. Here’s what I know about what kids crave and most need during those times: healthy leadership. Being their teacher is great (I loooove teaching!) but right now I’m more focused on leading them through a history-making pandemic well. The need for healthy, strong leaders is never more evident than in times of change and crisis. The same is true as parents leading in our homes, so here are a few starting points to consider:

 First, be emotionally and physically approachable and understanding. If you’ve ever walked into a boss’s office and been emotionally shut out you’ll know exactly what I mean. If you’ve ever been physically dismissed by a superior, you’ll likely not forget the feeling. Let’s foster high-trust, open relationships with our kids right now (always, but especially now). 

Second, lead them well by influencing (not controlling) their learning options and environment. In general, kids learn best in a low pressure, mixed sensory spaces where they’re allowed to explore and interact with new material and concepts. Kids rarely tell us they’re feeling stress, they show us. If your home learner is acting stressed, see where you can influence their learning environment for the better. I could write a whole separate post on ideas for this, but in summary, just be gracefully unapologetic in doing what’s best for your kids. 

Third, intentionally share your perspective with your kids on age-appropriate pandemic topics. If they’re Zooming, FaceTiming, or HousePartying with friends or other groups you can be sure they’re getting someone’s perspective there, so make sure your voice is healthy and relevant to their age/stage of life. Your kids likely hear and see more than you realize, so make it a new habit to ask good questions on and be prepared to talk them through any misconceptions or fears. Our family’s faith in God grounds our perspective, and right now it’s even more evident because when everything feels shaken and uncertain, we believe God and what he says is true is resolute. 

Lastly, on a side but important note, I just want to remind us all (myself included) that too much news and media leaves our kids feeling unsafe. Let’s just keep that in mind as we live out upcoming weeks altogether in our homes. Again, kids won’t tell you in so many words but eventually, you’ll see fear and stress play out in one form or another in their (and our) behaviors. Read books, turn on music, watch good movies, and play games together to lighten or alter these sometimes long days. We can do this, parents. Let’s be the strong, healthy leaders in our homes we so desperately need and want at our corporate, state, and national levels.

A Starting Place…

March 13, 2020

If you’re waking up to the reality of your kids’ education laying fully or partially in your lap you’re in great company. We’ve public, private, online, and homeschooled. I claim only to be an experienced failure when it comes to teaching my kids, but goodness we have some fun along the way. If this is helpful to you, please use and share it as you see fit. If nothing else, just keep in mind: we’re making the memories today we want told tomorrow. Happy learning!

p.s. if you have any questions or want scheduling ideas I’m happy to help however I can. Feel free to hop in messages!

Uncharted Freedom

November 10, 2018

Click below to listen to Jena’s story and interview on the Holy Ordinary Podcast.

 

 

Uncharted Freedom is featured on Heather Lobe’s Freedom Stories this month. Check it out!

“I knew from reading the Bible that God often sent his people adrift for reasons he didn’t always reveal right away, but they consistently led to a greater understanding of his holiness and purposeful plans…” {click over to read the whole story featured in Freedom Stories by Heather Lobe HERE}

Out of the Fog- Jena Meyerpeter 2017

October 9, 2018

Pizza, pasta, tacos, soup…repeat. It’s easy to get stuck in a meal rut when it comes to feeding multiple people with various likes and dislikes. Kindred Mom sets out to encourage moms as they gather their people around the table with this FREE e-book, Life Around the Table. You’ll find my name and recipes in the mix, and a bit about how our laid-back approach to meals works for us. It’s full of photos, stories, and recipes from real moms and I think you’ll love it. It’s free when you subscribe to their site (which has tons of other great free material)!

To Live Out Multi-faceted Kindness

June 28, 2018

It’s not about a guilt trip. It’s not about overhauling our wardrobe. It’s about understanding the supply-chain relationships we enter every time we make a purchase.

Have you stopped to consider how the clothing you purchase impacts the people stitching them together?

I was recently invited to share perspective on Never-Static about why I care about supporting slow fashion practices. It’s no surprise that my “why” boiled down to relationships both in my home and on the other side of the world…

“It could be because most employees in the garment industry are women, and I’m raising three daughters of my own.”

Jump over to Never-Static read more and discover easy shopping solutions to fast fashion problems.

 

Books Every Kid Should Read Before 7th Grade

April 21, 2018

Why 7th grade? Because there’s an entirely new category of literature out there for older kids, so get these books in before they’re ready to move on from talking mice and middle-grade folly. Whether reading independently or as a read-aloud, these are books your kids will remember for a lifetime.

I fell in love with books as a little girl sitting in the aisles of our local library where my dad worked. Stories weren’t just ink on paper, they were proof that my imagined suspicions were true; our world was full of adventure and beauty beyond what my young mind could create. From the pages of books, I learned that everyone is living a story that’s worth telling. In 2002, when my first daughter was born, it was a natural transition to share my love of books with her, and then a few years later my next two daughters as well.

We are now a family of five who loves a great read. My appreciation for a well-told story (and the authors who write them) have only deepened over the years. Books still remind me that our world is full of so much more than meets the eye. It’s our pleasure to share our family’s Bookshelf with you. Please don’t hesitate to email me with more suggestions or ideas. We’re always on the lookout for great new authors too!

Happy Reading!

This post about books contains Amazon Affiliate Links. This means that I receive a small commission on sales that result from links in this post. The funds help support this website. Thank you! 

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"We accept the love we think we deserve." - Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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March 25, 2018

Tomorrow’s reflections are today’s decisions, so live with all the wisdom, humor, and grace of which good memories are made.

Experiencing Loneliness in the Fullness of Motherhood

January 17, 2018

Raising and homeschooling three chatty daughters means our home is rarely (read: never) quiet. Opinions and ideas are thrown around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. Even with their constant noise all around, my heart began to experience something new and unfamiliar: deep loneliness…Read the full article HERE

(Article originally appeared on Kindredmom.com HERE)

Remembering Spring

January 17, 2018

I grew up watching my grandma fuss over her summer annuals. Her daily routine required a walk outside before the Missouri heat settled in to check on the flowerbeds dispersed throughout her country yard. She’d step across the dewy lawn to purge wilting petunia heads while cooing over that day’s latest blooms. The thicket of tiger lilies were my personal favorite; growing wild yet sophisticated to my 8 year old mind.

My grandma and I still chat about those summer strolls through her yard fondly. What stands out to me after nearly three decades aren’t the lessons in horticulture I gained from traipsing through the yard by her side, but the joy she expressed over something so temporary and fragile. She looked at the blooms and saw last month’s seedling and last week’s spouting bud. I looked at them and saw a plant I dared not trample in a rambuncious game of hide-n-seek: fragile. I saw lunch for wild, twitchy nose rabbits (grandma called them pests) I found so adorable: temporary.

Experience has a way of training our eyes to see in new ways. My definition of temporary and fragile hasn’t changed, but how I value experiences allowing me to express an eternal joy over the temporary and fragile reality of life certainly has.

A freshly fallen, perfectly formed snowflake before it melts

Nerves over our teenager learning to drive

Jellyfish navigating around boats and docks in the harbor

Rainbows

Grandpa’s dementia-free stories

Mountaintop view out of the airplane window

Snuggles from an aging cat

Hands up high on the rollercoaster

Laughing with the person I married 18 years ago

 

This past year we moved our family across the country to the Pacific Northwest where giant evergreens replaced Midwest fields of wheat and cattle. In the middle of a season of change I found joy in an all familiar place, a garden. The NW coastal areas are home to breathtaking public gardens where forests of rhododendrons flourish and cherry blossoms crown aisles of rich clover. Once again, I’m looking around reacquainting myself with joy found in the temporary and fragile. Since joy and gratitude go hand-in-hand, I’m thankful for opportunities to trade grief over what ‘was’ into joy over what ‘is’ and rejoice in the hope for all things eternal.

Psalm 103: 13-17

The LORD is like a father to his children,

tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

For he knows how weak we are;

he remembers we are only dust.

Our days on earth are like grass;

like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

The wind blows, and we are gone—

as though we had never been here.

But the love of the LORD remains forever

with those who fear him.