Archive for March 24, 2012

What Your Parenting Destination

“I start my vacation tomorrow, Frank!”
“Great! Where are you going?”
“I don’t know.”
“When are you leaving?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, how are you going to get there?”
“I don’t know.”
Most people do not start their vacation without knowing the destination and mapping out a route to that destination. But, many people start the journey of parenthood without any thought as to the final destination or the route to get there. We have children, but no destination for them in mind. We parent with little to no idea of the route from here to the final destination. 
An ancient proverb states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (Proverbs 29:18–NASB). With no vision, there is no organizing goal or destination. If parents have no vision for their children’s future, how will they discipline? If they have no goal to define their parenting style, what behaviors will they nurture? If they have no destination of future character in mind, how will they instruct? With no vision, they find little reason to establish limits that go beyond keeping their children “out of their hair.”
Children in this situation become “unrestrained,” unbridled, loosed from any guiding conscience. Without the restraint of guiding principles, children determine their own direction before they have the wisdom and experience to do so. They become rebellious, unwilling to submit to any guiding principles, whether in the school, home, or community. Without a motivating destination, children become floaters. They float from one activity to another with no real commitment to anything–no staying power, no determination, no zeal. As a result, they become easy prey to the many sharks waiting to take advantage of children who aimlessly wander without the vision and guidance of a parent in their life. Soon, they may experience the shame of living at a standard below their potential, dependent on others, with no steady job, and perhaps even in trouble with the law.
Parents who have a vision of the character they want their child to develop will organize their parenting style to achieve that goal. They will establish limits with the intent of helping their child develop into a responsible adult. They will love and nurture with the intent of helping their child mature into a loving and caring adult. The clearer a parent can envision a final destination, the more successfully he can guide his child in that direction. So, take a moment to consider your parenting destination…your vision for your child. Where do you want your child to “end up”? What kind of adult do you want them to become? You might say “happy,” “a great athlete,” or “valedictorian;” but, think a little harder. Is that really the most important destination for your child? After all, what kind of character does a happy person possess? What kind of character traits will make your child a person you can admire? What does your child need to learn to move from today’s level of maturity to greater maturity tomorrow? Here are a few questions to help clarify a vision to guide your parenting:
1.      Do you want your child to have fame and fortune…or the wisdom to make wise choices in life?
2.      Is it more important that your child become a scholar and straight “A” student… or that your child be known as dependable and trustworthy?
3.      Do you want your child to become fiercely independent… or kind, compassionate, and considerate?
4.      Would you rather your child see themselves as a step above the crowd… or envision themselves as a person who serves others with a humble confidence?
5.      Would you prefer your child be known as a great athlete… or a person who has a reputation of honesty and integrity?
6.      Do you dream of your child enjoying great material wealth… or the riches of deep, loving relationships?
7.      Do you want your child to constantly strive for the approval and acceptance that comes from performing well… or do you want them to grow increasingly thankful for the person they have become and the blessings they have received?
8.      Would you rather your child grow into a great business person… or a great husband/wife, father/mother?
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with standing above the crowd or becoming famous, independent, a great athlete, materially wealthy, or a great businessman. But, is that the ultimate goal of your parenting efforts? After 20 years of untiring effort and sacrificial time, what destination do you really hope to enjoy? Whatever destination you choose will determine the route you take. Whichever answer you choose will guide your actions and your parenting.

Today’s Family Question Is…

Janet Jackson asked “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” (1986 version). In this song, she wondered out loud about why her lover was not honoring her the way he used to honor her. Did you ever ask that question of your family? Everyone in the family gets caught up in their individual activities and runs from one thing to the next. Children run to sports, music, school, church, friends…. Parents run to work, home, church, transporting kids, maintaining the house…. Everyone is doing their own thing and the family winds up in what William Doherty calls the Entropic Family. Chores are left undone and Mom ends up doing them. Requests are ignored as people run out the door to do their own thing or forgotten as I get caught up in what’s important to me. Someone else has to do what another person forgets. In the midst of this busy-ness, family members feel taken advantage of. Parents begin to feel as though they are running a “bed and breakfast” with chauffer services. Children begin to think they are the family slave. Emotional distance grows, frustrations multiply, and anger swells like a tsunami. People start spouting off with Janet Jackson, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”
Stop. Bring the family together. We need to reframe the question. Let each person ask themselves, “What Have I Done to Honor My Family Today?” What have I done to show my parents how much I love them and appreciate all they do for me? What have I done to show my children how much I love them and admire their character and growth? If you are not sure what you can do to honor your family, try these ideas:
·         When you finish your drink, wash your cup or put it in the dishwasher.
·         Keep your family informed of your schedule.
·         Make time to complete simple chores around the house.
·         Enjoy time with your family, even if it means sacrificing one of your activities.
·         Say thank you and show appreciation with a hug.
·         Ask instead of demand or tell.
·         In general, think about your family members. What can you do around the house to make them happier today? Do that. What would bring a smile to their face? Do it. What will make them feel loved? Get it done. 

Keep Your Child on the Path of Maturity

I read an interesting fact about sheep recently. (You might wonder why I read anything about sheep…I really don’t know, it just happened.) At first, I did not believe what I read. Then, I heard the same fact again, this time on TV (Dirty Jobs). Intrigued, I began to investigate and discovered the fact was true. What was the fact? When a sheep gets turned onto its back, it may have difficulty turning upright and standing. Shepherds call this sheep “cast.” The “cast down” sheep will lie on its back, struggling to turn over. If the shepherd does not help the sheep turn over and stand upright, internal gases build up and the sheep can die. 
That got me thinking…our children can “get knocked down” or “knocked off their feet,” discouraged and “cast down” for several reasons. Failure can lead to a “cast down” child who is discouraged and afraid of trying again, of “standing on my own two feet.” Self-indulgent behavior can lead to selfish, lopsided living that will eventually “knock their feet out from under them” and “cast them down.” Disobedience brings consequences that can leave a person “flat on their back,” fearful of losing support and love. Ridicule and teasing can knock a child down, leaving them discouraged and doubtful about themselves. Even just feeling misunderstood can bring us down and result in our feeling “cast down,” hopeless and helpless. A child who feels discouraged and “cast down” becomes vulnerable to the world. Other children prey on the discouraged and “cast down” child. Drugs and sexual intimacy become more alluring to the discouraged, “cast down” child. In fact, if not rescued quickly, the “cast down” child becomes at risk for all sorts of dangerous behaviors. What is a parent to do? What lesson can a parent learn from the “cast down” sheep? How can a parent successfully shepherd a “cast down” child? Here are 5 lessons of a “cast down” sheep.
     1.      Be vigilant. Remain attentive of your children, “keep an eye” on them. Vigilant parents remain aware of their children’s friends, interests, and even moods. They are observant of any changes, especially abrupt changes, in friendships, interests, and moods. As parents remain attentive and aware of their children and their children’s lives, they can recognize when their children become “cast down.”  They can then respond quickly and appropriately to help their children get “back on their feet” as soon as possible.

2.      Provide gentle, loving correction. Parents help their children “stay on their feet” by replacing harsh, crushing punishment with loving discipline and correction. Remember, the purpose of discipline is to teach appropriate behavior, not crush inappropriate behavior. Make sure the discipline teaches your children and strengthens their moral muscles, enabling them to “stand on their own two legs” amidst any pressures that arise. Rather than coercing them to behave a certain way, assure that the consequences of misbehavior are more uncomfortable than the consequences of positive behavior. Teach them the benefit of rules.

3.      Become an encourager not a faultfinder, an advocate not a critic. Look for opportunities to praise your children for their effort and their progress. Encourage their appropriate behavior. Even when you have to offer criticisms, preface the criticism with some acknowledgement of positive behaviors. Keep criticism constructive, not destructive. Lift your children up with your encouragement rather than “casting them down” with your discouragement.

4.      Provide opportunities for your children to serve in the home and outside the home. Your children are a member of your family’s household and, as such, they have the responsibility to help maintain your family’s household. Do not rob them of that responsibility and allow them to become self-indulgent. Instead, maintain an expectation that everyone contributes to the household and then provide opportunities to do so. Give your child responsibility to complete meaningful chores in the home. Create opportunities for you and your child to work together on projects around the house or in the community. Encourage their participation in these service projects. Celebrate their involvement and the completion of each project.

5.      Be your child’s ally. Support them in pursuing interests. Defend them in difficult circumstances. When they experience failure, lift them up. When they disobey and suffer consequences, help them get back on their feet. Assist them in learning from those mistakes and in learning how to make better decisions in the future. Express faith in their ability to learn and grow. Brace them up when they face challenges and reinforce their positive efforts.
Our children, like sheep, can become “cast down” by a variety of circumstances. You, their parent, have the best opportunity to return them to the appropriate path of maturity. Be vigilant, provide loving discipline, encourage, create opportunities to serve others, and become your child’s ally. Happy Shepherding.

Growing the Family Pearls

Have you ever experienced failure? Whether large or small, we have all experienced failures. Know what I think is harder than failing myself? Watching one of my family members experience failure. I hate to watch wave of disappointment, sorrow, and discouragement wash across their face. Even more, it hurts to hear them talk as though they are a failure and will never experience success. What can we do to help our family cope with perceived failures? There are several ways to respond: offering support, teaching, helping distract, using denial, venting, blaming, disengaging, or even abusing substances. However, research suggests three strategies prove most effective in dealing successfully with perceived failures.
Before I tell you about these three strategies, let me offer a crucial reminder. You can best teach what you practice. You can teach these strategies to your family any time you like; however, your help will prove most effective if you practice these strategies yourself. So, as we describe these three strategies, think how you can implement them into your own life as well as into the climate of your family life.
     1.      Reframe the perceived failure in a positive light. Put the failure into perspective and keep the mole hill a mole hill…not a mountain. You can do this in a number of ways. Look for some positive aspect in the outcome. Make note of what has been achieved instead of ruminating on the failures and setbacks. Consider what this experience has taught you and how this can help move you toward your ultimate goal. This one “failure” has helped you learn and grow, become wiser and more knowledgeable, stronger and more persistent. Appreciate how your character grows through experiences of failure. Take note of how moments of failure produce more persistence, determination, integrity, and overall strength of character.
     2.      Accept yourself and your efforts as legitimate. Realize that this experience does not define you. It represents only one small moment of your life, one minute moment of your lifetime. This one failed experience can teach you what you need to know for future successful experiences. Either way, you are not defined by your successes or failures. You are defined by your response to those successes and failures—your character, your reputation, your integrity. Let everyday experiences, whether successes or failures, promote mature character…and let your character define you.
     3.      Use humor. Laughter tends to make things more bearable. Look for the humor in this experience. Do not take yourself too seriously; laugh at yourself from time to time. I realize that we cannot find humor in all experiences of failure. None the less, look for the humor when possible. Allow yourself to laugh.
Failure is like the grain of sand that the oyster fails to keep out of its shell. Once inside the shell, that grain of sand irritates the oyster. As a result of the constant irritation, the oyster begins to cover the irritant with the same substance used to make its shell. Eventually, the irritating grain of sand becomes a pearl. The oyster’s failure to keep an irritant out of its life ultimately results in a beautiful pearl. As we learn to reframe our failures in a positive light, to accept ourselves and our maturing character, and to enjoy the humor of our lives, we can change the life irritant of failure into a beautiful gem. And, we can help our family members do the same.

5 Tips for the Dirtiest Job of Parenting

I love to watch “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe. “Dirty Jobs” gives us a glimpse of dirty jobs that most of us never knew existed and would avoid if possible, even though they contribute to our life. Parenting involves some dirty jobs—jobs like changing diapers after an “especially explosive episode” or cleaning a toddler after he eats his first cupcake. I recall a particularly dirty episode in parenting my daughter. I was holding my daughter over my head, pretending to make her fly, when she threw up…right into my open mouth. These are dirty jobs. There is one parenting job, however, that will most likely not make the “Dirty Job” cut. This dirty job may well be the most difficult and arduous job of all. I am talking about the job of letting our children go.  It begins early in life, as early as their first steps. Remember when you started to help your 3-year-old zip up their coat and they looked you straight in the eye to say, “I do!” Your child was telling you to “let go” even then. The steps we take in the process of letting go only grow larger as our children get older. From watching our children leave our side to attend first grade…to trusting them to resolve simple conflicts without our input… to dropping them off at college, letting go grows more demanding as our children mature. 
Letting go is a positive parenting goal though. We instinctively teach our children to make decisions independent of peer pressure. We encourage them to pursue independent interests and goals. We cautiously step back and allow them to independently learn from their mistakes. We even admire their independence, most of the time. When their independent decision seems contrary to our individual goals, we may unjustifiably become upset. When they decide to pursue some career outside of our dream for them, we mistakenly question their independent wisdom. When they want to go out with friends rather than us, we wrongly perceive it as personal rejection. Perhaps most difficult of all, when we see their independent decisions leading to simple, but painful, consequences, we jump in to save them, rather than trust them to learn, from their mistakes. This “letting go” really is a “dirty job;” but, there are some basic skills that can help make it a little easier.
     1.      Put aside your dreams and expectations. Look at your children; study them to find their “natural bent,” their natural talent, personality, and ability. Nurture those unique attributes. Take the time to step into their world of interests and develop an appreciation for those interests. The more you know your children, the more comfortable you will feel “letting them go.”

2.      Connect your children with other adults–youth leaders, teachers, mentors, or extended family. Step back and allow these adults to nurture your children’s talent in ways you never could. These adults will also be able to tell your children things that they will not hear from you. You will find your children coming home excited about something a teacher told them while you think, “I told you that 2 months ago.” Sometimes, parents become jealous of the influence other adults have with their children. After all, “I used to have that influence.” Remember, you still do have that influence. It may seem as though your children no longer listen to you, but they do. You will hear other adults talking about what your child said and you will recognize your words coming from your child’s mouth. So, rather than become jealous, be grateful that there are other positive influences in your child’s life. Take time to thank them personally.

3.      Provide your children opportunities to expand their independence. Let them make choices. When they are young teens, let them participate in decision like which night will be family night and which night they can spend with friends. Let them choose whether to watch a movie with you or with friends. Encourage them to seek the advice of a mentor in addition to input from you. Allow them to take sponsored trips with trusted groups such as those at your church, school, scouting organization, etc. Encourage their involvement in positive activities outside of your presence. As they show wisdom and maturity in those decisions and actions, allow them more opportunities.

4.      Allow your child to have time independent of family. This time will increase with age. A toddler needs constant supervision. However, as children mature, they make more independent decisions, engage in more peer related activities, and define their individual life more clearly. They will spend less time with family and more time in pursuit of their individual lives. A parent’s role changes from one of control to influence. In order to have influence, we must give up control.

5.      Give up control and pick up trust. Trust the work you did as a parent. Trust that you have instilled positive values and decision-making skills in your child. Trust that they have experienced your love and will always feel safe to return to that love when they need to. Trust that God will bring people into their lives who will continue to provide a positive influence to them. Trust your children’s growing level of wisdom and maturity, nurtured by childhood years of loving discipline and instruction from you.
By the time our children leave for college, they need the skills to independently manage their decisions, time, and relationships. They begin growing toward that independence from the moment they learn to walk. Join them in the process. Work toward the goal of independence. It’s a “dirty job,” but someone has to do it.

Conflict & Your Family Tree

All families have arguments and disagreements; no surprise there. After all, families are made up of people…“fallen” people with different ideas, different viewpoints, different weaknesses, different temperaments, different tastes, even different priorities. This leads to disagreements and, on our worst days, maybe even yelling and name-calling. But did you know that those disagreements, arguments, and fights prepare the soil of our hearts for an orchard? That’s right, whether they escalate or not, disagreements and arguments lead to hard feelings…and those feelings are like seeds waiting to be sown in the soil of our hearts.
When I encounter an argument, a disagreement, or some conflict with a family member, I face a choice. I can harbor those hard feelings. I can ruminate over things said in anger and sow seeds of resentment. I can assume the worst about my family and nurse feelings of bitterness that will eventually take root and branch out in anger and hostility toward everyone I meet. Seeds of bitterness grow into branches of resentment that filter how I see the world. Everything I see through the branches of resentment will only seem to justify my anger and support my bitterness. My relationships will suffer. Friends will begin to avoid me and my bitter sarcasm will push those who persist in relating to me away. In addition, research suggests that bitterness impacts our immune system and even organ functioning, leading to physical disease. In other words, my choice to harbor and sow seeds of bitterness and resentment will contribute to physical disease, relational sickness, and spiritual decay. Not the best choice.
My other choice is to sow seeds of forgiveness. Rather than blame the other person, I can accept responsibility for the part I played in the disagreement. Instead of focusing on the perceived hurt, I can recall seeds of blessing that I have received from family members in the past. When I want to plant seeds of bitterness, I can sow words of love, encouragement, and affection instead. Eventually, generations of kin will gather under the shade of forgiveness to celebrate family. The branches of forgiveness grow strong and children will enjoy climbing high into the tree to perceive the world from new heights and a clearer, more encompassing perspective. The exercise of climbing to new heights of forgiveness and experiencing ever increasing perspectives also strengthens our heart and nurtures our relationships. In fact, relationships thrive as families eat under the tree of forgiveness, feasting on the fruits of restored relationships, kindness, empathy, and love. These fruits of forgiveness enhance our immune system and calm our stress. In other words, my choice to forgive contributes to physical health, relational strength, and spiritual integrity.
I don’t know about you, but the choice seems clear. As for me and my house, we plant seeds of forgiveness. 

A Secret for Happy Family Relationships

We all want to experience satisfying relationships in our home. We dream of a marriage filled with romance and intimacy. We strive to have parent-child relationships that remain close through childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and even into our “grandparenting” years. The question is: how can we make this happen? Northwestern University recently published a study that reveals a secret that might help us build happy family relationships. The study asked individuals involved in romantic relationships how much their partners were trying to improve characteristics such as patience, understanding, or being a good listener…you know, relationship-oriented skills. Three months later, the same couples were asked to rate their partner’s level of improvement and their own feelings about the relationship. The answers revealed that people who believe their partner incapable of change tended to discount their efforts to improve. In addition, they became more dissatisfied with their relationship. To state the flip side of this, believing the best about our partner will help us appreciate his or her efforts to improve their relationship skills. Moreover, when we believe the best, we will grow more satisfied with our overall relationship. In fact, the author of the study (Daniel Molden) suggests that “a secret to building a happy relationship is to embrace the idea that your partner can change, give him or her credit for making these types of efforts, and resist blaming him or her…” Although this study was conducted specifically with romantic couples, I believe the results may apply to family relationships in general.
So, the secret to building happy family relationships is to believe the best about your family members. Reminds me of a line from the famous love poem Paul wrote to the Corinthians. You remember the line–“love believes all things.”
     ·         Love believes that family members can change. There is no “but” or exceptions noted in the phrase “love believes all things.” Love believes in the other person. Love believes that our family members will grow and learn. They will make improvements, sometimes small and sometimes big. Over time, even the small improvements will add up to a “big change.” Love does not limit the possibilities of change or criticize small changes as “not being enough.” On the contrary, love opens up the potential for positive change and appreciates every miniscule step of positive growth.

·         Love believes family members have the best of intentions, even when they fall short. Sometimes a family member may do or say something that, at first blush, seems hurtful or neglectful. We may actually experience hurt in response to their actions or words. However, love believes that our family member did not act maliciously or with negative intent, even when it hurt. Perhaps they did not realize how much their actions would actually hurt. Perhaps they spoke more harshly than intended because they were tired, hungry, or irritated with some situation outside the home. Perhaps they did mean to arouse a negative feeling because they felt their relationship with you was threatened and, in a knee-jerk reaction, said something hurtful. But it was a misguided reaction, done in fear, with the true intent of pulling you back into a secure and intimate relationship. Underneath all the words and deeds is a yearning for mutual love, a seed of love waiting to be acknowledged and reciprocated. Love believes that underneath the hurtful remarks of family there is still a desire for intimacy, a longing for closeness that is seeking expression and can only find that satisfaction through intimate relationship. When we acknowledge that underlying intention, the underlying longing for closeness, we can experience a growing intimacy and satisfaction with our relationship.

·         Love believes that family members are putting forth a sincere effort to grow individually and in relationship. Love gives credit to family members for the effort they put forth. Love acknowledges and accepts even the most miniscule level of change as evidence of effort and growth. Even when a family member “tries” to change and fails, love praises that effort, appreciates that effort, and applauds that effort. Love leaves no stone unturned in the quest to recognize the other person’s effort to grow.

·         Love believes that our family deserves our best effort and our best character. When we love our family, we believe that they deserve the best of our time, not the leftovers. In love, we want to give them the best of our energy, not the dregs that remain after we exert our best energy on friends, hobbies, or work. Love also compels us to grow so we can offer our family the very best of our character. Love believes motivates us to become a person who elicits pride and admiration from our family.
Yes, love believes all things. To paraphrase the author of the Northwestern University study, “a secret to building a happy relationship is to embrace the idea that your family members can change, give them credit for making these types of efforts, and resist blaming them for falling short.” When we replace fearful hesitation with intentional effort, skepticism with faith, doubt with trust, and unbelief with belief, family relationships grow more intimate and satisfying. Paul believed it when he told the Corinthians…I believe it as I read the Northwestern University Study…love always believes it!

Leading Children by Still Waters

Last summer, several families at Camp Christian walked to a nearby stream. The fast moving rapids of the stream had carved out and smoothed the surface of a natural slide that ended in a pool at the bottom of a small waterfall. You could sit at the top of the “slide” and allow the rapids to carry you downstream and over the waterfall into the pool. Everyone loved it. We had a great time “riding the miniature rapids” and being “dumped” over the waterfall into the deeper water. The young people (children and teens) loved riding the rapids and landing at the bottom of the falls. They slid down the rapids, ran back to the top, sat down and started over again…and again…and again. They loved the thrill. They did not want to stop, let alone leave and return to camp. If allowed, I think they would have continued playing in the rapids until they collapsed from exhaustion.
I had a great time, too. However, by the time we walked back to camp, I was exhausted…and ready to take a break. I would not want to play in the rapids all the time. I mean, they were fun to ride and fun to play in, but I like to lay back and relax, too. While we played in the rapids, I could not put my head back and relax. I could not stretch out on the surface of still waters and let the sun warmed my body. Instead, I had to stay alert to make sure everyone was safe, keep paddling so I did not get washed downstream, and vigilantly guard against smashing a toe (or head) against a rock. It was great fun, but not calm and relaxing.
Family life can be this way. We all have times of riding the rapids in our family life. We get swept away with busy schedules, activities, deadlines, and demands. Even our children find themselves caught up in the rapids of an overly busy schedule filled with sports, music, friends, church activities, work, chores, etc. Many times, our children do not even realize they are over scheduled. They are merely enjoying the thrill of the ride. They are excited to see their friends, play the game, hear the concert, and help at church…. In the midst of this busy schedule, we notice them becoming more irritable, restless, and even angry. As a result, a simple irritation suddenly sparks an angry outburst that ends in yelling, door slamming, and more frustration as we run to the next activity. Before long, our kids collapse from exhaustion; and, they have no idea why.
We, as parents, need to lead our children into some still waters. We need to help them find the balance between time in the rapids and time relaxing. Having the proper amount of rest and relaxation actually increases our level of energy. It enhances our immune system which can result in fewer illnesses. Rest and relaxation also increases our problem-solving ability and our ability to concentrate, translating into better school performance. Getting the proper amount of rest results in decreased stress and more balanced emotions. This, in turn, translates into fewer angry outbursts, less irritability, less depression, and more enjoyment. To obtain these benefits, our children need to have time away from the rapids and time resting in the still waters of life. Here are 4 ways to lead our children to still waters.
     1.      Model appropriate rest and relaxation in your own life. Children learn by watching your example. Balance your own schedule. Don’t overbook. Allow yourself time to relax. Let your children relax with you.

2.      Monitor your children’s schedule. Keep an eye on your children’s schedule and talk to them about scheduling. Take the time to discuss what adding “just one more thing” to a schedule actually means. Discuss how an activity impacts the whole family. Explain that a one hour activity means more than simply one hour of time–it also includes preparation time, practice time, travel time, and “down time” for other family members (like siblings) who might be there but are not involved as well as financial costs and the time needed to obtain that cost.

3.      Set healthy limits on the number of activities each family member is allowed to participate in at one time. Discuss this limit with your children. Explain the impact of overscheduling on you, them, and the family. Give them examples of times that overscheduling resulted in more stress, emotional turmoil, and maybe even illness. Explain the benefits of rest as well. Let them know it’s OK to rest and relax. Discuss what choices are available for activities and what each option involves. Finally, include your children in the final decision identifying which activities to participate in.

4.      Develop a philosophy of rest. Our society often   looks down on rest. Society belittles rest and calls those who relax lazy or unmotivated. In our culture, we believe that our worth is determined by activity and accomplishment. As parents who see the importance of rest and want to lead their children to still waters, we need to have a philosophy of rest. We need to be able to explain the benefits of rest in areas as diverse as creativity, problem-solving, energy management, building muscle, skill-enhancement, emotional management, improving relationships, overall health, and even sleep.