Sometimes you wonder if it is worth it…

The other night, after a string of tough days, my wife and I fell into bed, both of us almost asleep before our heads hit the pillows.  But in the stillness, as I tried to quiet my mind, all I could think about was how hard her day must have been with all she had on her plate.  I realized I’d spent my whole day taking great care of my to-do list, but not taking great care of her. Yes, you understand that too.

I reached over, took her hand, and gave her a little squeeze.  ‘How are you holding up?’

Tears welled in her eyes, and she said, ‘I’m okay… It’s just a lot, you know?’  I gently squeezed her hand again.  Then the tears came.  ‘Sometimes I just wish we could move to the middle of nowhere and get a cow.’”

Yes, those times will come, but persevere.  Each day is a new day and has its’ blessings to get your through.


Know your motives

As a leader in your home, motive is so important. If you don’t have good motives, you will make bad decisions for your children. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” As a parent, I need to constantly ask myself, “Am I living my life to give or to get?” When it comes to my kids, I need to ask “Why am I making this decision?” “Is it best for my child long-term or just a short-term fix that’s convenient for me?” “Is this activity something my child will enjoy or just something I want to do?”

The love of money is not a good investment

In 1923, eight of the world’s most successful business leaders met at a hotel in Chicago.  Among them was the president of the largest independent steel corporation, the CEO of the largest gas company, and the president of the New York Stock Exchange.  Quite an impressive crowd.  Now, fast-forward 25 years.  By then, three of the men had committed suicide, two others died broke, two more had spent time in prison, and the last went insane.

We tell ourselves money does not bring happiness and we have historical examples like the one above to prove it, but it’s still a temptation we can fall into. Talk to your kids today about the value (and pitfalls) of money.

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

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.

Home improvement day

Why not pick a Saturday this month or next month and call it “Home Improvement Day.”  The basic idea is that the whole family will work together on the house – cleaning, painting, washing, trimming, etc.  Order your kids’ favorite pizza for lunch and, after the day is over, go out as a family to the movies.  Not only will your palace get a good scrubbing, you’ll share some good family time as well.

Moms and Dads – do you work too much?

A University of North Carolina study found that children of workaholics have the same levels of anxiety and depression as children of alcoholics. Scary, isn’t it? So how do you know if you’re working too much? Well, are you more excited about going to work than spending time with your family? Do you take work home with you? Do you work on weekends…  and even on vacation? Does your work preoccupy your thoughts? Have your long hours at the office hurt your relationships?

If you’re addicted to work, you’ve got an important decision to make.  The first is to admit you have a problem.