Tough Love

Yesterday was a very special day for me.  After a three-week “doggy boot camp”, I had the joy of bringing home our rescue pup, Wellington. The decision to “lock him up and give away the key” was very hard. We’d let him get away with too much and he was ruling the household. We had to hike over gates countless times a day and the nipping was beginning to scare us with 6 grandchildren. We called our vet, looked up their suggestions, and made a decision. I prayed and spoke soothing words all the way there 3 weeks ago as he shook and whined. I cried most of the way home. He celebrated his first birthday while at camp… and to tell you the truth, I sat down and balled that morning, thinking of him on top of missing unreconciled dear ones.  I had to “trust” our decision and let him go to the experts and I reaffirmed my trust in a loving Father for my dear ones.

Parents are letting their children go these weeks — some to their first day of preschool, the first year of high school, or maybe a distant college campus. The school year has begun. Moms and Dads are hoping for the best teachers, praying for kind friends, believing their school choices will reinforce their home values and prepare them for a purpose, a destiny that awaits every living soul.

My tuckered-out, precious Wellington is finally home.

I spent an hour with the trainer learning commands and how to correct. It was tense, but I was successful. He’s on a literal “short leash” for awhile so we can practice what he’s learned. There was one technique that really spoke to me. My commands are given only once. Further “encouragements” to do as I say are with a verbal “uh-uh” getting louder if he doesn’t respond with a quick snap of the leash. I am NEVER to use his name in a command. Wellington’s name is always positive and used to praise with success. I laughed. I SO remember my mother’s “Mary Elizabeth Best!” I KNEW I was in trouble when I heard my full name. Never did like “Mary” until I was much, much older. Funny that.

So what’s my point today? Sometimes those we love need to learn who’s boss. Sometimes they need boundaries. Sometimes we need to be better at our job of parenting. Sometimes we just need to let go and trust. But — and it’s a BIG BUT — we never, ever stop praying for the best, believing and trusting that all will be well… especially when we partner with God.

Nana’s Nudge: Who do you need to let go and trust God? What are the boundaries you need to set? How can you reinforce them?
Nana’s Song: That’s What Faith Can Do | Trust In You
Nana’s Prayer: Father, I ask Your blessing over our children as they return to school. Protect them as You watch over them. Prepare them for the destiny written in their book (Ps 139:13-19). Help me to mentor, to encourage, and to reinforce excellence in all they do. May they become more like Your Son, Jesus.

Sticks & Stones

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” is an old saying. I clearly remember chanting that to any one of my 8 brothers and sisters with a ”” thrown in for emphasis. Perhaps you said it yourself on the playground back in the day? In truth, unkind words DO hurt! They go deep inside you and stay there, hidden in the cave of your heart, planting a lie that can grow and grow as more taunting or critical words are added throughout your life. Shock of all shocks — some of us actually believe those words!

Over the years, I have learned to hold my peace (or… piece of advice). Sit on it. Breathe in and out. And then, answer the criticism or false statement with what I truly believe in a “reasoned” and calm voice. I have learned to cultivate kindness. You might wonder, how do you do that? Well, I think about all of the good things in my life and work to keep an “attitude of gratitude”.

Here are some ways to “kill with kindness”

  • Look for the longest line at the grocery store and help the person in front of you unload their groceries.
  • Compliment the bank teller on her necklace.
  • Smile at the harried mother and let her know what it’s like to have a misbehaving child.
  • Hug your grandchild and tell him how proud you are of him.
  • Compliment the salesperson for going out of their way for you.
  • Look for opportunities throughout your day to spread cheer. I believe you’ll find that your day is lifted up and you’ll be whistling a happy tune as well.

Nana’s Nudge:  Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)
Nana’s Songs:  I Whistle a Happy Tune | Kindness is a Muscle