Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday Thoughts with Theresa: "10 Benefits of Playing with Your Children"

Just last night I read the bedtime story, Beauty and the Beast, to my youngest daughter, Madeline (3 ½). I was tucking her into bed after we had finished the story, when she suddenly jumped up, dug into the little basket above her bed and pulled out “the beast” figurine, which we’ve had around our house since before she was born.

“THIS IS HIM!” She announces, overlaying the figure to the front cover of the book. She then jumps down and emphatically goes searching for Belle.

I can’t resist her excitement over this discovery! I walk over to her sister’s bed and pull the Belle figurine out of the little basket above her bed.

“Here it is.” I offer.

“Will you play with me?” She asks. “You be the beast and I’ll be Belle.”

I concede and we play for the next five minutes before I tuck her back into bed.

It seems like such a simple thing, playing in their imaginary world for just five or ten minutes at a time. Yet, it’s a challenging endeavor for us adults. I find it easier to play ball or a board game. However, being a character in an imaginary game of princesses or star wars is out of my comfort zone.

Why is it so hard to enter their world? For me, I find myself constantly thinking about something else I should be doing. However, experts recommend playing with our child/children for one hour a day so, I've given it a try over the years and have learned a few things along the way.

Playing with our child/children:

1. Gives us opportunity to train our children in how to play well together
This is particularly helpful when playing with two young children. I let them guide the play, while I guide the interactions.

2. Gives us opportunity to role-play expected behaviors
It gives us opportunity to role-play manners and character qualities we expect to see in them.

3. Builds relationship
It builds relationship between us and our children and prepares hearts to receive our instruction.

4. Fills their love tanks
When we give our children our time, they simply feel loved.

5. Sets the tone for the rest of the day (or morning, afternoon, evening).
When our children feel loved and nourished, they're more likely to play well on their own.

6. Forces us to slow down and lighten up a little
It forces us to lighten up and set aside our adult concerns and demands for a short time.

7. Provides opportunity for us to learn about our children
It provides opportunity for us to learn about our children and their hearts. How they play may say a lot about how they see the world or how they feel.

8. Teaches us how to speak their language
How our children play teaches us how to speak to them and connect with them using their lingo.

9. Affirms them
It is affirming to our children when we allow them to guide the play rather than mom and dad calling the shots all of the time.

10. Allows us to be child-like
It gets us on their level remembering, too, that this is the spirit of our character that enters the kingdom. Why not engage and become more like "such as these?"

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

I can't say I always jump for joy at the request, but then there have been many times when I’ve been blessed by the benefits of this small sacrifice. I think it's the likelihood, that if we've made the intentional decision in advance not to turn down a reasonable request to engage our children through play, we'll do it.

So sweet mamas, let’s slow down, lighten up and go have a little fun...and while we're at it, fill a love tank with our time.

Now doesn't that make it all worth it?

- Theresa Miller, MOPS Mom

Theresa is a wife and mother of four children (3, 5, 7, and 9), who are embarking on their first year of homeschooling. Theresa has been involved in Sheridan MOPS for the last 9 ½ years, serving in multiple leadership positions, including Day MOPS Coordinator in 2007-2008. She took one year off, then started the Sheridan Evening MOPS group in September 2009. Theresa has published an article with MOPS International MOMSnext Ezine, in addition to other on-line publications. You can find Theresa encouraging mothers on her blog, Heavenly Glimpses.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Bethany Tippin, our 2013-2014 Publicity Leader. (This means it's my voice you hear when you read this blog! Other responsibilities include sending emails, letting all our local churches know that we're here and what we're doing, designing posters and bulletin inserts and getting them put up around town... really: to let y'all know what is going on with Morning MOPS! I am The Communicator. Luckily - I have a couple of "committee members" who also help out. Jennifer Rizer takes care of the facebook page, and Theresa Miller and Tammy Billings periodically write for the blog. {Quick plug: if you're interested in writing an article - or 2 or 3 - any time during this year, please let me know!})
So, this Introduction is a little awkward for me. It is strange to "interview" oneself...

My family and I have lived in Sheridan for 5 years. My husband, Seth, and I have 2 children: Eleanor (5) and Benjamin (3).

My favorite thing about MOPS is the way it has expanded my friendship base, especially with strong Christian women – and in correlation – has expanded my spiritual life through much needed accountability, mentorship, and encouragement. The aspect of MOPS I am most looking forward to is getting connected with y'all again. I'm excited to renew friendships from past years and get to know all the new faces in our midst.

My favorite time of day is early morning because I have clarity and energy in the morning. I love to witness the sunrise. And I love my quiet time, which I try to take with regularity in the early morning, since there is rarely another truly quiet time during the day!

My favorite dessert is York Peppermint Patties (very closely seconded by stale Marshmallow Peeps).

My favorite Bible verses are Romans 8:38-39: "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NRSV) They are my favorite because I’m obsessed with the love of God. I want to shower in it, rest in it, abide in it always (perhaps like a needy puppy refusing to leave her master’s lap!). This is a relatively new feeling – although the verse has been a favorite for a long time… the fact that NOTHING can separate us from the power of the cross is extremely comforting. This is what I want to instill in my children, help them know and understand as if they've always known. It’s what I want my life to testify as I come in contact with everyone: LOVE, inseparable love.

Now, for the messy question... "Do you like to be messy?" Yes, actually. I dislike clutter and disorganization (and spilled milk!!!), but mud or water or PAINT… those things are really great sometimes. I think my son got some of his interests from me. And I love to puddle jump. In fact, my husband and I like to puddle jump together. Try it some time!

The part of mommy-ing that is the most beautiful to me is - all the little things:

     sweaty curls and pink cheeks after a good nap,
     good morning, wobbly kneed, sleepy hugs
     mixed up words and phrases
     sweet voices saying, “I love you, mommy.”
     out-of-tune sung prayers
     fistfuls of tiny sea animals carried everywhere
     the flattery of a mini-mommy
     watching chubby hugs being given
     little hands in mine
     glee on a beautiful face right off the school bus accompanied by a , “Mom –MY!”

So, since I've been writing about myself, I'm not sure how to end this! I guess I feel this way: Thank you for allowing me to serve you this year. Thank you for listening to my voice via this blog. May we learn and grow together this year in the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19)!