Memory lane

We have been encouraging my father to collect old pictures and put captions on them to preserve our family memories. We want to share them with our kids and grandkids. What about you?

Well before you dig out your old yearbook and start telling “in the good old days” stories about yourself, change your course.  Get out videos and photos of your children when they were little.  Make it an event.  Pop some popcorn, gather everyone together and go back in time.  Pass around photos, watch those videos, and talk about the cute and special things your kids did when they were small.  If you can, focus on one child at a time and have a special viewing night for each.

Happy 4th of July!

On this Fourth of July, let’s go back to 1776. On that day, 56 men signed a document that would change the course of the world. It says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Those are the words of Thomas Jefferson. Do your children know the story behind the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Do you? Take a break from the fireworks and cookouts to talk with your kids about the people of the past who secured the freedom we enjoy today.

Eat together as a family

The benefits of eating together will last long after your meal ends. Studies show that families who eat together regularly are less likely to have children who smoke, drink, do drugs, become depressed or develop eating disorders. Their children eat healthier meals, do better in school, and are more likely to delay becoming involved in sexual relationships. Sure, the dinner table is where food is served, but it’s also where conversation is shared, values are conveyed and a sense of belonging is established. Make family meals a priority at your house.

Summer – work or fun

Good advice for teens:

Teens and Summer: Work Time or Play Time?

by Laura Polk

Summer is finally here! The sun. The sand. The vacays we’ve all been waiting for. But in our house, while we like to take it easy and go lightly on the daily scheduling, it’s also a known fact with all of my kids that the year they turn 15 is the year they will begin working. I know, I’m a horrible mother. Or, so it would seem in this day and age.

But, because I worked as a teen and know the work ethic that arose from that experience, I want my kids to have the same. If for no other reason than I can then stop telling them about how I’ve worked since the age of 13, about that summer I weeded tobacco fields in North Carolina, and about the time I was a waitress and a woman tried to put her cigarette out on my hand. If they have their own life lessons, they are much more effective than mine. (In case you’re wondering, they are collectively rolling their eyes as I type this).

Allowing our teens another summer with nothing but sleeping in and hanging out isn’t doing them any real favors. But, getting a summer job will help tremendously with the following:

Communication Skills

It’s like, you know, not texting, lol. Success in real life demands communication skills. We all need to learn how to deal with others in public, how to communicate respectfully, and how to know when to speak out and when to hold our tongues. Summer jobs are a great way for teens to experience all of these work lessons without putting too much on the line. They are also a good life lesson for a generation that hasn’t had to use verbal communication as much as the rest of us, or even had to use basic writing skills. Watch them ROFL when you tell them it’s time to get to work.


Your teen will soon find that not every parent makes their child have a summer job. In fact, it seems that most don’t these days. So, you might get some push back as to the “fairness” of it all. But trust me, as soon as they receive that first paycheck, they’ll begin to understand the satisfaction of accomplishing something on their own. They’ll see that—for maybe the first time in their lives—their age doesn’t hold them back from accomplishing something great. The sacrifice they make will be worth the new sense of pride they gain.


With summer jobs fewer and farther between for teens, those who have been encouraged to work will likely have to make a serious effort to find something. Which means those kids will begin to stand out from their peers when it comes time to apply for college, technical school, or full-time jobs. And for many of our kids, as the age for many part-time jobs has risen to 18, younger teens will have to get creative or hit the bricks in ways they didn’t expect in order to find something. Learning to hone your skills and sell yourself as a good potential employee is a skill they’ll use for life.

Money Appreciation

Handing your teen gas money like it grows on trees makes them begin to believe that you are their go-to cash cow. And while it might be fine in the beginning, they will soon get use to whatever amount you are willing to give, expect that as “their” money, and likely push you for more. Nothing teaches the value of money like your teen working hard for an entire hour only to realize they’ve barely made a handful of dollars. Suddenly, the 20 dollars you hand them for gas will seem like the gift it actually is.

Okay I’m not totally heartless. I also believe that summer is about fun, and relaxation, and getting in some good old-fashioned downtime while we can. Because let’s face it; our teens will be out of our homes and into the working world soon enough. So do them a favor as they approach their mid-to-late teens and expect them to work. You’ll soon begin to see them edge toward adulthood in the best possible way.


Laura Polk is a writer, speaker, and textile designer residing in North Carolina with her three children. Since becoming a single mom, her passion to minister to this group has led her to encourage successful single mom living through The Christian Single Mom on Facebook. Follow her journey through her blog or get a glimpse into her quirky thoughts and inspirations for design and writing on Pinterest.

Publication date: June 21, 2016

Have you heard “I’m bored” yet?

Are your kids spending too much time in front of the TV or computer? If you answered yes to either of these questions, have your children volunteer. They can visit nursing homes (check into bringing their dog along to cheer up the residents). They can help out at your place of worship or at other non-profit agencies. If they’re curious about the medical field, have them volunteer at a hospital or veterinarian clinic.

Focus on their interests and let volunteering bring value to their summer.  

Changing your perspective on time

When your children were younger, it seemed as if the days were very long.  Getting up often at night went a long way to convince you of that.  But looking back now, you see that your kids are growing up fast and, in fact, the years have been short.  And they will get shorter.  There’s no better way to live your life than enjoying your children right here, right now.  So leave work a little early today and go play catch with your son or have a tea party with your daughter.  There’s no time like the present.

An important lunch meeting

You make lunch appointments with your most important clients to spend time with them and get to know their needs, so how about doing the same with your kids?  Schedule a day where you can pick them up at school and take them out to lunch.  Make it a restaurant of their choice and let them choose the topics of conversation.  Your client that day might be a little younger than you’re used to, and may prefer a milkshake to a cappuccino, but the return on your investment will far outweigh any business deal.

Can’t do a lunch with your kids this month?  Another great option is putting a note in their lunch box.