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Father-Son Feast

In my programs, I have joked about my husband Dave taking our then-12-year-old son Davis out for hunting trips and having some rather intense ….Father-Son-Pre-Teen-Talks!!!

I wondered if that had somehow traumatized either Dave or Davis??

Well, yesterday was the opening of dove season here in Texas, and it looks likes they handled it pretty well.

We will be having a delicious feast tomorrow night at a gathering of Davis’ friends and their parents with grilled dove,  chile cheese grits, salad, and I’m suppose to bring dessert…. any suggestions?

Many thanks to Neil Harris for treating all of the fathers and sons to a great hunt at their farm in Sanger, Texas.

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Under the influence?

Are you curious about who or what has the power to influence your children? Is it the back of the cereal box? the latest video game? The newest ap?

According to research, that answer depends on the age of your child. From ages 0-7 parents have the strongest influence, from 7-11 teachers and coaches, and from 11-16 their peers. This makes sense because as their world widens, they are met with forces outside of the home that have new and different ideas that sometimes reinforce what was taught at home and sometimes challenge them.

But what about subjects that are never taught at home?

Topics that are left OUT at home are left UP to others. Where there is a void of influence at home, it will be taken up by the culture at large.

I encourage parents to think about a sponge being in the mind of their children. It’s up to parents to either fill that sponge with the ideas about their sexuality that the parents want them to have, or else their children will absorb whatever they may pick up on the playground, or the next click on the computer. I don’t say this to frighten parents, but to open them up to the great opportunity that is before them. Before the hormones kick in, before the culture has it’s turn, you can have the power of the first impression.You have the chance to fill the sponge…drop by drop!

If you need some encouraging resources, please go to www.maryflo.org

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On the radio!

 

 

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week I will be interviewed by Dennis Rainey on his radio program, Family Life Today. It was a great pleasure to meet him last spring when we recorded this interview, and he was very gracious to me in my first national radio experience. If you live in the Dallas area, it will be on KCBI at noon, or you can go to www.familylife.com and listen at your convenience!

Hope you’ll tune in…

 

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For 25 Years…

In 1986 I gave my first workshop and it was titled, “Shaping Your Child’s Sexual Character”.  At that time, I thought it would be a one-time-only training workshop for the Dallas Junior League. After researching, thinking, writing, interviewing and praying for six months, my interest in this subject grew as I was a young mother, and was wondering how I would attempt to talk to my own children.

My original plan was to say nothing at all and hope for the best.

It had worked well for my parents…

Now, 25 years later, I consider this work to be one of the greatest surprises and joys in my life. This year I have had the privilege of speaking 37 times to various groups from Houston to Fargo and to meet young parents of the next generation who are teaching their own children what they want them to know about sex. Hopefully they will be encouraged and equipped to share with their children that this mysterious union is a blessing designed by God for marriage. But truthfully, I leave parents with the choice to deliver whatever message THEY think is the most important.

Twenty five years ago my daughters were 4 and 1, and Davis was but a twinkle in his daddy’s eye (do people say that anymore?). I know that as Dave and I attempted to communicate with our own children we often failed miserably, and missed opportunities because it took time for us to gain the confidence that this was the right path. May you, dear reader, take confidence that this is a good strategy for parenting. I believe even the most flawed attempt at talking to your children about sex is far better than leaving such an important part of parenting to a slick movie at school.

These are your children, and they want and need to hear your voice to give context to this subject.

My goal is simply for parents to get started…I hope you have started.

I am forever grateful to every parent who has come at sometime during these 25 years. We have had some wonderful conversations haven’t we? I have learned so much from you and you have blessed me and this work with your presence. May I slice you a piece of cake?

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New Facebook Page

 

The social media can be overwhelming to me, but my friends are helping me along. There is a new Facebook Page for my book, and you can LIKE IT!

What does that mean exactly?

Right now 3 people like it, so if you hurry, you could be one of the ORIGINAL  “like-ers”. Wouldn’t that be fun? There would be 4 if I liked myself, but that feels kind of self-serving. Is there a Facebook-Book-of-Manners I can follow? Also I would like vocabulary lessons..wall, post, status?

I’m not going to check it everyday to see how many people like it,  because that could put a damper on my naturally upbeat personality.

However, if you ever have a question you want to ask me, this would be a GREAT place to do it. Just send me a message on the Facebook page, and then I’ll post you an answer… is that the right word?  Maybe your question is the one that millions (up beat AND tends to exaggerate) are wondering…so ask away!

Find me on Facebook at… Simple Truths with Mary Flo Ridley…we have just set it up, so I hope it works!

And I hope you like it.

Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Simple-Truths-with-Mary-Flo-Ridley/210505225634085

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The Kappa Key

I’m a Kappa…

pledged at SMU in  January of 1973, and loved the whole experience!

Pledging, being a Kappa Picker, Prank Chairman, Rush Chairman, Prez, and then Field Secretary. My mother, her sisters, and my sister are Kappas. One of my daughters is a Kappa, and (thank goodness, to stop the monotony), the other daughter is a Tri Delt.

Some of my best Kappa friends are a generation older than I am, and I am richer by far for having these women in my life. I owe a great deal to the ones who challenged me as a young collegiate to think about life after college,  and what is important about relationships. Warmest thanks go to Claire Roberts, Jan McIlhenny, and Elizabeth Mills. These women were my Kappa advisors (oh so many years ago), who advised me about MORE than Rush Rules or Chapter Council.  They were excellent wives, mothers, and friends….please add hilarious to their list of attributes.

This spring, Kappa’s magazine, The Key, has given a review of my book!

The Key is the first college women’s fraternity magazine published continuously since 1882. (Not that I remember that factoid from pledge tests…I just saw it on their website!)

If you want to view the current issue of  The Key you can go to their website at:

 www.kappakappagamma.org and just click on The Key, then current issue.

If you read the article and are interested in my resources go to www.maryflo.org

If you are a Kappa that I haven’t kept up with…CALL ME, or let’s catch up on Facebook.

If  we were Pickers together, then close your eyes and remember the cornball playing the spoons, or the saw, or the washboard… yep, that was ME!

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More Foundation Thoughts

For a few weeks I’ve been walking by the new house being built in our neighborhood, and I see a lot of progress! I also see a lot of things that remind me of parenting.

The men who originally laid the foundation are now pulling off the wooden forms…that means the foundation is set, and can stand on its own. Notice discarded wooden forms.

Deep inside of these concrete foundations are two things: strong iron rods, and many small stones.

Apparently the ingredients for a firm foundation are

#1 seemingly small things

#2 clearly strong things

#3 holding on until it’s time to let go.

When we look back, we see that indeed it was a mountain of seemingly incidental conversations, events,  and actions, and a few iron rods of certainties, held up by the form of ever-present parents, friends, and the church.

And in time the cement is set.

We hope and pray and instruct and guide, and mess up, and try again. We have plans, but they usually get changed…

Thankfully the unchanging love of God never lets go. When we need to pull away,  the Lord will hold them up. And when they build their lives upon His firm foundation, the house will stand.

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A strong foundation

On my walk this morning, I came across some men laying the foundation for a new house in our neighborhood. It made me think about this important but completely un-glamorous part of a home.

Cement, wood frames, steel rods.

Not too exciting, but if you mess up the foundation, all of the pretty decorative tiles in the bathroom might come tumbling down. The expensive curtains don’t hang straight either.

Whenever we begin something important, we must start with a solid foundation.

That is the purpose of the “Message”. If you have been to one of my talks you hear me stress the importance of your message to your kids. Your message is the one sentence answer to this question, “What DO I want my children to know about sex if they grow up in my home?”  The answer to that question is foundational to all of the conversations that you have with your children. Not only your conversations, but your actions and reactions to this subject.

When our children were growing up, we wanted them to know this: Sex is a Gift from God for Marriage. They are now 29, 26, and 22 years old, and we still hope they understand this as they go through the rest of their life.

Consider carefully what message you send. Will it stand the test of time? Is it positive? Where will it lead your children? Do you believe it?

As you set the forms to pour the cement, as you place the iron rods in the wet cement, you may not feel as if you are doing anything very important….but what you are doing is far more important than the fellow hanging the beautiful chandelier. 

The security of that fragile thing of beauty is hanging on your work.

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Seeds and Eggs

OK…this is it….your perfect chance…the table is set.

All creation is screaming at you, and all you have to do is notice.

Notice the nests, the swelling buds just ready to burst. Notice the new life and talk about it!

Get yourself to the farmer’s market or the grocery store and buy a few packets of seeds…any kind will do. Start digging in the dirt and jump into a conversation about new life. Who makes it, how it happens for all living things. Be amazed. Look as closely as you can at every detail.

Does it get any easier than now??!!

Go for it. Explain the pattern of seeds and eggs in every living thing…it will come in handy later.

If you still find yourself tongue-tied, and you live ANYWHERE  close to Dallas, get yourself to the Dallas Arboretum, and it will practically speak for you!

Of course, back yard beauty is also amazing!

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A hard life.

Earlier this year I met a single mom with 6 young children. None of their dads are around.

I think about her a lot.

 Her life is hard, and will continue to be hard.

She came up to me after my workshop, looking tired but hopeful for some morsel of advice about how to point her children in the right direction. She wants something different and better for them than what she has experienced. I wanted to hug her and wished I could somehow fix things, but instead I asked her to sit down, and listened to her story for a while. Among  MANY other things she is frightened by the messages she is finding on her 6th grade daughter’s phone.

All I could say was:  Pray. Keep talking. Keep listening. Stay involved.

When we are frightened, when our children seem out of control, when the concerns of our hearts seem overwhelming, there is no other remedy that I know of but to turn to the Lord. He is the only One who has Light and Hope and is able to redeem these situations.

Talk to God about your kids, talk to your kids about God. Point to His design.

I can’t give you her name, but I ask for your prayers for her and her family tonight.

She  sheepishly asked if it was OK that she had looked at her daughter’s text messages.

I put my arm around her and said that it was.

Don’t we need to know what our children are facing?

Tough stuff.

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