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The Daddy Factor

There has been a noticeable change in my audiences over the last 10 years. Instead of a room full of young mommies who want to know how to answer their children’s early questions about sex, I look out on a very healthy mix of moms and dads. This is so encouraging to me!

Dads who show up to a workshop about how to shape their child’s sexual character are also probably going to SHOW UP in other ways…

in conversations that are uncomfortable

in setting boundaries for children they love and want to protect

in helping their children navigate the rough waters of the tween and teen years

in affirming a child’s beautiful mind and character

in leading by sacrificial example

The deep security a child knows as a result of an engaged father is immeasurable. No parent is perfect of course, but I had the blessing of a wonderful Dad, and am married to one, and see these fine men who are raising my grandchildren and grandchildren-to-be, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

The blessing of a faithful father is so important, that God made sure everyone could have one in Him, so that even when our earthly fathers don’t show up….He does.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Back to Basics… Vocabulary

This summer we are taking some time to review the basics of the Simple Truths strategy for talking to our children about sex. In Simple Truths, we focus on beginning the conversations, and preparing our families for future conversations that may be more challenging. But when our children are young and very curious, it’s the perfect time to build a foundation.

Our first step, as we have just seen in the last post, is to establish your MESSAGE. This will be the foundational image that you believe is the MOST important thing you want your children to learn about sex. See the emphasis on YOU?! This is personal to your family, and needs to reflect your values and beliefs, so only YOU can write your message.

Once you have your message (and please go back to step #1 if you do not) the next step is to consider your VOCABULARY. Parents are constantly telling their children…

“USE YOUR WORDS”

Which WORDS are you using to identify their “privates”? Are you using general words like “bottom” or are you using “wingy-wangy-words” that are somewhat silly and baby sounding? Or are you using anatomically correct vocabulary? Why do we make the choices we do about this?

For some of us, we just can’t seem to say penis and vagina in front of our children. I know this was true of me. I was much more comfortable at bath time saying, “Don’t forget to wash your privates”, instead of correctly identifying them. I had to work my way into this. I finally made a compromise I could be comfortable with. I did name their parts, but went back and forth between using them specifically, and using the general term of “privates”.

For many of you, it’s not an issue at all, and you have called these parts by name from the beginning. Good for you! I would encourage all parents to evaluate your vocabulary in light of what will be valuable as you move into more in-depth conversations later on.

Another way that you might need to examine the vocabulary you use is this:  Are your words respectful? Some words like boobies or bootie are not necessarily offensive, but are they your best choice? Just something to think about. The words we use to identify something will eventually lead to the way we think about it. Are we building a foundation of respect or of casual disregard? Words matter.

When a baby is born, we are always curious…did they have a girl or a boy? With a young child, you can explain that the parents will know right away when they see the baby! How will they know? Not by looking at their eyes or hands or anything else, but God made them a boy or a girl and either gave them a penis or a vagina.

Keeping these words from our children may keep us from being embarrassed when they use them in front of our friends, or very loudly in the grocery store, but it may also eventually keep us from some important conversations that you will not want to miss.

And here is something else to keep in mind…I have been told by pediatricians that children who can properly identify their sexual parts are better able to communicate with their parents should there ever be an issue with abuse. A little girl was trying to tell her parents for weeks that a neighbor was “playing with her tutu”…the parents thought the little boy had been trying on her ballet costume. They didn’t realize that the child had named her vagina her “tutu” because she had not been given a correct name for this. This tragic situation could have been resolved or perhaps even prevented by some simple conversations and proper vocabulary. 

Do a vocabulary check this summer…are my words the ones that will be helpful in future conversations? Are they respectful? It’s so much easier to make these adjustments while your children are young.

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A Slower Walk

I just got back from a walk, and it was glorious! This spring Dallas has enjoyed plenty of rain and cooler temperatures, and the mosquitos aren’t out yet…so it’s a perfect time for exercising in the fresh air! If you are fortunate enough to have a small child along, try not to think so much about how many steps you log on your fit bit, but rather how many details you can find in the things that are blooming around you.

Feel the soft petals of the flowers and carefully look at the sprouting buds, and talk about seeds. In fact, maybe pick up a pack or two at the grocery story, and try growing some herbs or flowers at home so that they can catch on to the excitement! This time of year just begs for conversations about new life!

Fairy gardens are fun, and lend themselves not only to conversations about how things grow, but also feeds your child’s imagination! Here is a picture of my neighbor’s fairy garden…very nice, don’t you think?

fairy garden

Plus a few glances of spring from my walk

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It’s earth day today…and I’m so grateful for the beauty that God has given us in spring!!

Now I DO KNOW that this is a weed

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…but it’s my grandaughters’ favorite flower in Flo Flo’s yard!

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Ridley Family Update!

March 15 was one of the HAPPIEST days in the Ridley Family! Our son Davis married Chelsea O’Teter, and if weddings are any indication, they will live blissfully ever after. Here are a few pictures from the day…and the flower girls are our 3 grand daughters! So much fun…

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Isn’t Chelsea a BEAUTIFUL bride??

Of course the Groom is pretty handsome, too!

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But together, they are amazing!!

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After a richly worshipful ceremony, we all danced the night away. We could not be happier for this precious couple!

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Blogging Booster Shot

Confession…I’m not a good blogger. I think maybe you knew that.

Maybe I’m not a blogger at all, but I’ve come to a conference this weekend to find out how to either do this blogging thing right, or….well, you know…not at all.

My hope is to be inspired and better equipped, and from the looks of it, Declare http://www.declareconference.com should do the trick. Just checked into the Marriott at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. Not far from home, and yet I’m thinking I might be in another world…the bloggers’ world. Let’s see if I belong here or not!

If you follow me, I’d love to have any comments about what you are looking for as I’m giving all of this a lot of thought. So grateful for each pair of eyes that look to this blog for encouragement and ideas! 

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Like my facelift?

Oh not me, silly….my website! You’ll have to check out http://www.maryflo.org and take a look around. My “web-lift” was performed by Michelle Covington, and I’m so grateful for her creative work to make it look years younger. It takes a skilled surgeon to understand the back side of web pages. You’re invited to visit as often as you like…and invite your friends!

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Catching Up 2.0

Now that I’ve introduced you to my grandbabies, I feel just slightly compelled to bring you totally up-to-date. So here is a quick snap shot of life with the Ridley Family since November…
Ridley’s second Birthday!

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She wanted a birthday cake that looked just like Curious George’s cake…so Flo Flo tried her best…

Ridley's birthday cake

Grace Patten Hooper was baptised the next day, and what a blessing for our family!!!

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A few weeks later, we were all in Dallas for Thanksgiving…

Loved taking some walks

on a walk

Ridley liked licking the spoon…

licking the spoon

and Grace and Hannah had some fun cousin time!

Grace & Hannah

We also loved bringing all the girls to Southwest Airlines.

Flo Flo and Pops with girls at SWA

Hannah JUST turned 5 months last week…

Hannah at 5 months

And she is coming to Dallas tomorrow for a visit.

We are having so much fun!!! Even our crib friends are excited!

crib friends

Thank you for letting me share the joy of these past few months with you.

As our family grows and changes, God brings new blessings…and right now our cup is overflowing. It gives me a new appreciation for young moms and dads and the joys and challenges that you face. May God bless you and your precious ones.

 

 

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