Tuesday, May 5, 2015


It is indeed a wonderful thing to have strong grandparental influence in our lives.  I have vivid and lovely memories of my Mom's Mom, Nanny.  She had purple hair (although lilac would be more accurate), was always beautifully dressed, wore pearls and had a lovely tinkly chuckle.  I really only knew her up until I turned 9 years old, after which time we moved to another country. We loved to go to her house when we were very small and play checkers.  One day I put one of the little game balls in my mouth and discovered we were playing with candy!!!!  Funny, the things you remember. Unfortunately, I never really knew my other grandmother or either of my grandfathers.

I love being a grandparent.  My husband and I enjoy spending time with them.  We 'Ooh' and 'Aah' at all the things they proudly show us.  We try to keep up with them when they play in the park or ride their bicycles and we join in when they build Lego towers and such.  Although we have grandchildren in two countries, we do see our far away grandkids on Skype and in pictures.  Thanks to Face Book we are up to date with most of their adventures and we see them personally for about a month every year.

You remember Little Red Riding Hood?

"Oh, Grandmother, what big eyes you have!"

1. Grandparents are observant.
  •  We see when our kids need a break from their children for a while.
  •  We watch the grandkids play and watch over them when they sleep over.
  •  We observe when our grandkids are happy and when they are sad or troubled.

"Oh, Grandmother, what big ears you have!"

2. Grandparents listen.
  • We have the time to listen to their stories and their adventures.
  • We offer emotional support by being 'a soft place for our grandchildren to land' and to talk over concerns they may have. 
  • We offer physical support by being there when parents cannot be. 

3. Grandparents are role models and trainers.
  •  We show by example and train from experience.
  •  We help them make wise decisions. 
  •  We confirm the values that our grandkids are being taught by their parents.
For much more helpful information on the greatness of grandparenting, check out our free EBook of the same title, by going to the top left side of our blog home page and clicking on 'Special Offer' Free E Booklets.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families




We live in a semi-rural area over by Percy Priest Lake, in Nashville, Tennessee and we often take a walk in the early evening.  The scenery is beautiful.  The trees are green and the air is fresh and clear. The birds sing and all seems to be well with the world.  Then we look down.  Lying in the gutters, berms and drains all along the roadside is trash, obviously thrown from passing vehicles.  Why would anyone be so thoughtless in littering this beautiful environment?

My husband has just come in from mowing the roadside frontage of our property and has picked up 40-50lbs of trash such as bottles, cans, fast food boxes and plastic bags.  He even scored a set of nice sunglasses!  Where do these litter bugs come from?  They come from homes where other litter bugs live.  This is where they learned to be one.


I remember reading a true story in a New Zealand newspaper.  A gas pump attendant was filling a customer’s tank when the driver opened his window and emptied all his trash, cigarette butts and all, out on the forecourt.  He then closed the window. The attendant quietly swept it all into a little dust pan and knocked on the car window.  When the driver opened the window, the attendant said, ‘Excuse me, Sir, I think this is yours!", and promptly tipped the contents back into the car.  YES!

What does it take to create a concern for our environment?  We need to look at our own attitude as adults.   Do we understand that trees, plants, and little greeblies are here for a purpose and need an unpoluted environment, too?  Everything is placed on this earth to give us a greater quality of life. When we have an appreciation for our surroundings, then we can train our children to be the same.

  • Lead by example.
  • Show them that respect does not only relate to people, but also includes the nurture of our environment.
  • Train our kids early to pick up their stuff and discard trash in recepticals, NOT on the ground. 
  • Take our kids out in the community with trash bags periodically.  By doing this they will get an appreciation of how much easier it is to put trash in cans in the first place, instead of just tossing their stuff out windows.
  • Encourage our kids to plant a little garden or a tree.  Make them responsible for looking after it and watching it grow.  They will learn to protect it and water it.  By understanding what it takes for those plants to grow, they will be less likely to thoughtlessly damage tree limbs, stand or ride over garden plants and such like. 
We also need to teach our kids that, not only are we responsible for dealing with our own trash, but sometimes that of others.  Brian used to supervise the school cafeteria.  If he asked a child to pick up lunch trash where the owner could not be identified, the response usually was, "I’m not picking that up.  I never put it there."  Of course, they did pick it up, but not before major protest.  We're talking about being a good citizen here, and it's often a hard lesson to learn because of our selfish nature.

The environment belongs to all of us. We need to care for and protect it – not just for ourselves but for future generations. Our kids are part of that future and their kids need to learn the same important value.  It is all a matter of respect.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families 


We heard a great talk by our Pastor yesterday on family values (my pet subject) and one of his points was the importance of 'flexible parenting'.  'Flexible parenting'?  What did he mean by that? Is this the result of inconsistency?

I was most relieved when he explained that our disciplinary approach may need to vary since each child's makeup and personality type is so different.  The expected behavioral outcome is the same, but the means of getting there may be different.  That makes perfect sense to me.

I have always been amazed that children born of the same parents can be so vastly different in personality.  I had one strong-willed child and one compliant child.  One always did his homework without being told and the other had to be told many times before she would get to it.  Some kids respond by us taking away privileges.  Some respond to time-outs and some respond to spankings (Where it is permissible).

It is obvious that if one method doesn't work, then you try another.  However, kids often see this as unfair because the variable treatment is often perceived as favoring one child over another.  It is, therefore, important to explain to children that you require the same behavior from each child, but that you will use whatever means it takes to get the desired result.

It is also a good idea to work out what will be the most to the least important values or expectations in your home.  Respect and honesty are the highest on my list, so they deserve the highest level of discipline in the case of infringement.  Getting home from a friend's home a little later than you told them may mean a lesser degree of correction.

We need to recognize that when we are 'losing the plot' it is not the time to issue severe punishment.  Tempered with efforts to train our kids to be responsible, caring and respectful adults, is the need for love and praise.  I have heard it said that it takes four positives to overcome one negative action, so our  children need to have a lot more 'tokens' in their positive banks than they do negative ones.  In raising our kids there needs to be a balance between fun and training.  Too much fun and little responsibility breeds a sense of entitlement.  Too much training and little fun breeds rebellion.   

  • Both parents agree on disciplinary measures.
  • Train our kids to meet our expectations.
  • Praise them for doing things right.
  • Explain the consequences of negative behavior.
  • Be consistent in issuing consequences.
  • Follow up by assuring our children that we love them. 
  • Ensure that they understand that their actions are what caused disciplinary measures.   
  • Reiterate your expectations and praise corrected behavior.
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


Every day is mothers’ day in my estimation. Why do we celebrate this only one day in the year?
Let me wax eloquent and put my feelings into prose......

Conception occurs and the bond begins
Within the womb a new life materializes
Imbued with a purpose and God–given gifts to match 

The child is ready to meet the world
Birth thrusts the baby into humanity’s domain 

To be nurtured and raised to fulfill destiny’s plan 
From earth’s greatest teacher, a mother’s love 
Smothers the infant and ensures a stable life
Unrequited, unconditional and always ready to serve

A mother’s love is as constant as the sun’s rising
Fathers sometimes come and go when things get too hard 

But a mother for life is all a woman understands
Through thick and thin, good times and bad 

Mother love clings like a vine to a tree 
Dependable, unshakeable, wounded then healed  
Her love remains when all else fails
God has given her a heart and strength

That knows no limits, or seems that way 
Sleepless at times and ensuring all are fed
She falls exhausted, happy that she’s served well
However old her child may be, there’s no limit 

To her love and devotion
Until she breathes her last air, she remains

A doting mother and friend

Thank you all mothers. You never give up on your children. It is you who makes this a better world. Though you get weary from the multi-tasking work you perform and the pain you can endure, you are precious in God’s sight. He made you that way. Your unselfish attitudes and your instinct to never give up are what set you apart. I know that there are some mothers who don’t fulfill their role well, but they are by far the minority.

 I honor and respect you. I’m sorry for the way too many of you have been treated by men. All of us can do better as parents and in our personal relationships. We should seek help to improve our skills, learning daily how to do it better.

Mothers usually end up raising their children and being the constant factor though families fall apart. I have seen so many single mothers doing an outstanding job with very little support and encouragement. Where most men would give up long ago, mothers battle on to ensure their kids reach their potential.

Footnote to men: I have met many men who are single parents and doing a fantastic job raising their kids, too. There are other men that may not have been solely responsible for the family breakup or had little to do with it, yet they have been denied custodial rights and would love to be raising their children. I honor you, too, but this article was about mothers.

Written by Brian Burgess, Forefront Families