Words | Bullies | Courage

Yesterday my son told me about an incident at school.

There’s this group of kids, ‘the 5th grade “bullies’. The title is well-earned. They name-call, “stupid”, “b—ch”, , “gay”, etc., proclaim worthlessness of classmates, celebrate when words strike tears, and poke fun at authorities who intervene.

Well my guy has had enough of it. He noticed a classmate caught in the middle and stepped in to help. But when the noon aide approached the situation, he got in trouble too. All of them had to stand at a playground pole, in front of their peers for punishment.

I know, super unfair.

Why did they pay the same price!?

There was no evidence or bandage needed, and no proof of innocence or guilt. So the lunch aide was left dishing out consequences for everyone. Bullying doesn’t always leave physical wounds.

Freedom to speak cutting words is a “get out of jail free card” on the playground, and kids catch onto it quickly. Words go unnoticed too easily.

I’d barely made it to the car with my son before feeling the weight of his day on my chest. How did he get through the rest of the school day? These little souls are emotionally charged with relentless dark intention. — What ever caused all of this pain?

We’ve done this before as a family, sorted out tough situations with peers who pick fights. It sucks. It’s not easy. It’s emotional when your kid is facing stress at school.

‘Hurting people hurt people’ I reminded him. (He has brothers. The concept is easy to understand 🙂 We had a long talk. My kids aren’t perfect angels, and I’m not saying my son is a sort of pacifist all the time. But he really did the right thing here. I’m so proud of him!

I know, bullying is an ancient concern – but that doesn’t make a difference to new generations. Today, the added layer of cyber threat draws our attention. When kids get away with verbal force on the playground, they continue it with screens. They practice these habits online, and it is so destructive. Cyber bullying begins with the heart, and so does the solution.

Kids need assurance that their value is not subjective to someone’s words. Adults, we do too. We cannot give so much power to what other’s say.

Well I didn’t come to peace quickly about the day. My husband was away on a business trip, and dad is so good at sorting these things rationally. I was up past midnight, tossing and turning about the situation, praying and premeditating a conversation for the school office about why this is so common at the school…Will my son be the new target? Does the principal have a plan to deal with this next time?

I wrestle often with emotion for this system we’ve engaged, and how digital freedom plays its part. I ache for what kinds of things those boys will say in a year or two online, if not already. I ache for whoever crosses their paths. And I ache for them, for their hearts. Why are these little ones hurting so badly?

Times of weakness test our faith, and it’s a lesson I keep learning.

As we closed the day, I prayed. Lord, let this day impress my son with kindness and care toward others. Help him to value life of each and every person he meets, regardless of circumstances. Let these things be true with each of us, and our kids.

I’m so proud of my son’s courage. His choice to intervene was powerful, thoughtful, and meaningful. I hope he remembers what it felt like to stand up for what it right. I hope he will do it again.

Even when the system isn’t perfect, it is always worthwhile to stand up for what is right. This is the true act of loving a neighbor. This is what we were made for.

I encourage you to take time with your kids and speak truth to their hearts. There is so much peace that grows out of tough conversations. We want to protect them from life’s challenges, but how much greater is it to send them forward with love?

‘Use wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love wisdom, and it will keep you safe.” {Proverbs 4} Navigate conversations with living word. No one can protect our kids like the one who created them.

As always, thank you for joining here~ Together We Thrive!


Kids n Technology

“I sent my 10-year old daughter to a sleepover, and they watched YouTube videos the entire time!” A friend shared her frustration. ‘Aren’t little girls supposed to be telling stories and painting nails?’

We sat together, four moms,in a rare conversation…each with a similar story, an emotional thread to contribute. I don’t have a daughter, but it’s the same with boys. 

Screen freedom at social gatherings is a much bigger deal than anyone likes to make it. Do you agree?

When kids hang out, are we curious enough about their technology? For the sake of innocence, and guarded for their path, we have to be. What do they see? What do they share? What fills their minds? And how is it affecting them?

A parent can never fully retrace their child’s experience online. It’s just not really possible. 

We all know, there’s so much to consider when it comes to social media and screens. Cyberbullying, social media pranks or dares, explicit sexual content, fake identity, pressure to participate, “nudes” (as kids are calling them), etc. — Morale is challenged at every turn, and it’s taking a toll on us, on our kids, and their friends.

With just one click, people are forever changed by these little devices. And it’s happening daily.

So what do we do?

I don’t want to go ‘there’ without some kind of resolution.

Do you?

We have to communicate as parents…carefully and honestly. This is a new role for me, and maybe for you too. These are some ideas to think about, and I wonder if you agree. (Also, I’m just beginning to try these things out & know it’s not going to be easy!)

6 Considerations When Talking with Other Parents |Kids & Technology

  • Boundaries~ Decide and communicate them as a family, before expecting anything somewhere else.

  • Respect~ Without concern for one another, a conversation about the kids and devices is a lost cause. If a parent doesn’t show care for another’s values, maybe the kids should keep some distance. It’s not that everyone has to agree, but there should be respect for each other’s boundaries.

  • Clear Communication about Expectations ~ This is the tricky one. I mean, it really calls us out of the comfort zone. And personally, I have a lot of growing to do here. If our kids share technology with someone else’s, there has to be an exchange between parents about the details. (Agh, it’s even hard to say that out loud. This isn’t something anyone really does, at least not in my circle.) Here are some things we should agree on~

  • Movie Ratings

  • Internet Access

  • YouTube Viewing

  • Social Media Availability

  • Location of Screens in the Home

  • Time limits or Restraints (esp. at a sleepover)

  • TV Accessibility

  • Video Game Approval

  • Ability to Download or Delete Apps

  • The Possibility of Removing Technology Altogether for the Event

  • Sacrifice for Differences ~ There will be differences. There might be a few, or there might be a lot, but families rarely share exact standards. And if we agree to let our kids hang out with someone else’s, everyone has to feel comfortable. It might take some sacrifice (for our kids and for us).
  • Accountability Assurance~ After expectations are spoken, what kind of monitoring will take place? How will I keep an eye on all of this in my home, and how will they…in theirs.
  • Trust or Distance ~ If we’ve come this far, and still don’t trust a situation for our child (children), distance might be needed. How very difficult this is, we need confidence for their protection.In this season, we’re stunned by the need to speak up. It is so.not.easy. Would you add anything to add to this list?

Join the Conversation~Together We Thrive!


Back to School | Every Kid Needs This

Going back to school is a bigger adjustment than a lot of us might remember. Kids change so much over the summer months, and sometimes drastically! Each of them has a unique story when they return. “Write about something fun you did over the break.” (I can’t help but wonder what mine will say. What will yours? — What are their first thoughts!?)

I want to build sarcasm here, unveil stories of mayhem in my home, a wild blend of chaos and comedy. It doesn’t take long to come up with a response about something fun we did. (I have three boys, so imagine if you will, — or maybe you’re in the same boat. There’s been a lot going on here:)

But what I’m about to share doesn’t follow that lead. I’m writing with a much heavier heart.

You guys, summer isn’t fun for everyone. Regardless of rough patches, you and I might have had a good laugh with our kids, experienced some sort of adventure, or even a sentimental outing — but we know every home is different. Ignorance isn’t bliss, of course, and we need to see beyond our circle.

It’s safe to say, most kids used technology these past several weeks. Their whereabouts, varied and broad. Our kids are soon to be sitting in a classroom full of diverse and knowledgeable little people!

While opportunity grows, it’s a scary realization. Some of our kids’ classmates have crossed dangerous bounds over the summer break. And maybe their parents have no idea about it. Internet freedom opens doors with little trace, but often leaves internal pain and unresolved emotion. Having seen things that they never should, and done things they regret, many kids return from break with heartache and fear.

And they walk into class, now dressed for success, but taking steps with weighted feet. Unnoticeably, these kids have been transformed within. Regret, shame, and fear are the forefront of their path each day. And for some, this has been happening under the roof of a caring home.

Ugh, well that’s heavy.

I know.

I do know.

It’s heavy for our tender hearts, but imagine how much heavier it is for them. — To feel buried beneath the rubble, to feel isolated and alone, to live fearfully, in repercussion. Don’t turn your ear from these things, just because they make you sad. If you feel for the situation, stand up on their behalf!

Technology isn’t the derivative for every situation, but these ideas remind us that some kids will return with hard to handle behaviors, often as a reflection of pain. Classrooms are a melting pot of intricate people, and conflict is only natural.

Support for relationships and peer engagement is a year-round need, but it’s especially crucial after breaks like these. It seems that greatest school supply is a soft heart, empathy.

These are some things I’m aiming to remind my kids about. What would you add?

A Soft Heart | Back to School

  • Everyone is created with purpose and value, and you should honor that. You should never look down on anyone else, and you should respect other people’s differences. How can you respond to others with care, even when they are not kind or easy to understand? How can you communicate with them respectfully?

  • Boundaries are healthy, but they need to be communicated kindly. Learn to work together, yes even with difficult people. You will not get along with every person, everywhere. And that is ok! This will be true for your entire life. Respect is not the same as trust, emotional connection, or vulnerability. Respect is kind, assertive, and thoughtful. You can respect people, without having a friendship.

  • Be a good friend, and find people who reciprocate. Especially at school, friendship becomes confusing. Kids see the same group every day, and it’s hard to discern expectations for relationship. This is how you know and become a true friend: Friends actively seek the best for each other. They use energy to build one another up, and they intentionally encourage the right path for one another. Not everyone at school will be your friend. Keep expectations realistic and meaningful with people around you. Be the kind of friend you want others to be for you.

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated. Remember that everyone is experiencing trials, and no one is perfect. When you feel challenged to be kind, ask yourself this question. ‘How would you want to be spoken to, or responded to, if the tables were turned?’

  • Ask for help if you need it. This seems really self-explanatory, but it’s not always a first response, especially as kids get older. They don’t want to tattle, or they feel weak if they can’t handle a situation themselves. But sometimes we need help, and there is nothing bad about that. — Even us adults need to remember, it is more than ok to ask for help!

As we set off toward this new school year, I hope it is a beautiful beginning for you and your family!

As always, thank you for joining here! Together we Thrive ~


Digital Freedom {A Parent’s Role}

What ruins a garden left alone?



They steal nutrients from other plants, creating relentless battle for survival. — And if the annoying little things aren’t pulled, a harvest eventually fails. Crazy huh, when you stop to think about it!

Where do ‘weeds’ take root in your life, and your kids?

Technology is 21st Century’s “soil”. We hear about weed-like behavior online, and it’s only growing.

Today, parents are digital farmers. (Are you following me? 🙂 Take away the family cow and the tractor, you and I have land to tend. — Your kid’s life is a thriving pasture, and negative influences are weeds. ‘Farming’ is a daily thing, and requires more than surface care. Whether or not kids have a phone, digital opportunity is all around; this conversation is for all of us.

You are a ‘digital farmer’.

What kind of labor are you willing to put in here?

The simple fact is this. You know your kids best, their strengths and weaknesses. You are the best farmer for this. So pull the weeds. Do whatever it takes.

The idea that kids need less parenting with age, less time, — it’s not true! Your kids need more of you! They need your commitment. They need your concern. They need your intentional presence. They need B O U N D A R I E S ! — They just need especially gentle tone with delivery.

(I’m learning this with crazy speed, bumps, and bruises. None of us are alone here!)

How can I offer independence, without loosing too much grip? What is overstep when it comes to privacy? I want to respect my teen, and I don’t want to push them away.

Amen to all of that. Here are some tidbits I’ve gathered in my research, and written down. Hope they rest well with you too!

  • Digital support is just one role of parenting, and digital freedom is just one part of teenage independence. Don’t let digital independence define your kid’s judgement of freedom. Do our kids realize how good they have it!? What is their world view? (That’s a whole other post 🙂

  • Screen presence does not define a person’s value. Every one of us is created with purpose. How is technology supporting this? Friends should not be limited to screen engagement, and social media is just one way to connect, etc. Put security in the right things.

  • The Internet is never private. Screenshots and social networking make everything permanent. Everything you say and do online can be saved and shared, forever. (For me, for you, for every single person.)

  • Use passwords to protect, not to liberate. Passwords aren’t for privacy between parent and child. Password privacy is ultimate freedom! When your kids have password control, they are free to explore wherever they please.(Temptation will arise, no matter how trusting your kids are!)

  • Teenagers want to be heard. Listen before you speak, and they will be quicker to hear you out. (Eek, so convicting for me. Slow down, and listen ~)

  • Set clear boundaries. Stick to them. And review them often. Kids like to know what’s expected of them.

  • L O V E  ~  T H E M  ~  F I E R C E L Y  (Spend time. Communicate. Accept. Support. Be available. Know them. Know their friends and their interests.)

  • Be thoughtful. “You are what you think.”

  • Build on the positive. Help your kids see that you are “for them” and not against them, especially when things don’t go their way. (Disappointments will come. Offer hope as a shield. What is their anchor when things go awry?)

  • Don’t battle for supremacy. So many times a battle for independence can blind our focus on what matters most. When we parent for their good, not our own, perspective is right. (Another note to self!)

  • Pull you own weeds too. Examples often speak louder than words.

What would you add to this? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please share. Let this be a community of support.

Together we T H R I V E ~

Til next time!

~ Ayme

Imperfect, Intentional Parenting

I’m just going to say it, the Internet scares me sometimes, a lot. I started writing here because I believed awareness was something important, but didn’t understand how much until recent months. Lately, I’ve realized more about a dark reality that should never exist. And so often, I can’t even bring myself to share facts; they’re incomprehensible. Would it be better to simply not know? Should I just call it a wrap, toss in the towel, because victimization wrecks my emotions?

But ignorance only weakens us.

Modern kids, yours and mine, hold a new deck of cards. Their ability to outsmart older generations with tech-y skills has caught a lot of us off-guard. And in some ways, it’s caught them off-guard too. How many times could (or do) they end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, without knowing how? Truth is, most kids aren’t looking for trouble when they find it.

Digital freedom tests values with independence, and I’m not willing to send my tribe off with loose grip. Are you?

Do whatever it takes for clear vision, because what’s out there is fierce and fiery.

It’s hard to talk about all of this with other parents, face to face. I don’t know many people, if any, who get together and strategize internet safety. — not an easy chat, right? (We can’t bear the thought of ill intent.)

I haven’t found a path to perfection. My home isn’t a well-oiled machine. (I actually fear judgement that might come with writing here.) We are an imperfect family, doing the best we can, praying for guidance. We teach, lead, hope & pray for our kids, but can never force their choices. All of us are imperfect. But we can be intentional too.

As I write, you’ll notice caution about details of my kids’ journeys. Their experiences and mistakes are not mine to share…so if ever these posts cross the line, I would have to retreat. This isn’t just our family. It’s all-of-us! Internet safety relies on relationship, and that’s what this conversation is all about.

What you can expect here is a blend of life experience, personal reflection, and delicate accountability. If it’s your too vision, join along!

Together we Thrive!