Wednesday, June 8, 2016


I can't help but feel that our kids are fast losing the concept of imaginative play.  Children seem to be involved in way too many passive activities with handheld games and video/TV watching.  These things can so easily take over our kids' minds.  It seems to me that they rarely have to think for themselves any more.  They are too busy watching all the action instead of being busy creating it!

When we think of the many things we did as kids it's a wonder we're still alive.  We would stay outside, often well away from home, and our parents often had no clue where we were.  I understand that we couldn't safely do that now.  The world has changed so much.  If the weather was fine our parents would send us outside.  As long as we were home before dark our parents were happy that we were playing and using our imaginations.  We didn't have the competing technology that children have today.  Yes, we do have to think about safety since there seems to be so much more awareness of 'stranger danger' then we ever knew as kids.  However, we do not need to allow our kids to be babysat by social media either.  

Your children can play in the backyard, building play huts and running under the sprinklers when it is sunny, making tunnels out of plastic pipes to run their cars down, or do artistic activities inside.  You can involve them in helping you make little carts to run down slopes outside.  They can make shapes out of clay or mud.  You can show them how to make and decorate cupcakes which they can eat later. If they are involved in the creation as well as enjoying the end product, it will teach them that if they persevere there is a reward.

Taking your kids to the library will allow them to explore the kids' books that are available.  Some will read stories that require their imaginations to run wild.  Or, they can find books on how to make things that they can create at home, maybe with your help.

A visit to a hobby store is an excellent way of firing your kids' imaginations.  As they wander the aisles they can start creating things in their minds, such things as drawing a picture and sticking glitter, grasses, beads, seeds, feathers and such on it.  Maybe the art can be framed and hung on the wall to be enjoyed by the family or be given away as a gift. 

When our daughter was only 4 years-old she was looking for something to do so I can remember vividly giving her an egg carton, string, aluminum foil, yarn/wool, felt tipped pens, some glue and a cotton reel.  She disappeared for some time and came back to show off her handiwork.  She had made an alligator.  Soon we discovered she had a real creative flare, particularly in art.  This oil pastel drawing below is a sample of her work as an adult.

Whether indoors or outdoors we need to be encouraging our kids to run with their imaginations.  You just never know where it will lead them as adults.

Link to Kristee's artwork:

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

Monday, June 6, 2016



           How many have heard, said or believe the following sentiment regarding the reason they 
           work so hard?

                    "I have always worked my butt off in my career for my family and I know it has 
                     meant personal sacrifice. It has robbed me of lasting friendships and time with 
                     my family.  I don't do it because I enjoy working long hours. So, why do I do it?
                     I work like a dog to earn the most most money I can to make sure my family live 
                     a comfortable life and to make their dreams come true. I do it because I love them 
                     and I believe it is my responsibility as the breadwinner to provide for my family.
                     I know they don't see much of me, but they will thank me one day!"
Top of Form
Unfortunately, the above concept is a blind trap. When relationships suffer because we say we want to give our family a great life, that might be in the future, but what about the NOW? Many marriages fail because families rarely see the breadwinner - the Dad/Mom. It can end up with the kids not really knowing this stranger who calls him/herself the provider.


1. To bring in enough money to meet household needs rather than wants.
2. To provide physical presence rather than give presents in absentia.
3. To be a role model who is there to lead the family by creating and acting out 
    strong family values.
4. To be available to provide guidance, encouragement and discipline when necessary.
5. To teach kids how to make wise choices and discern when they are troubled or
    need help.  
6. To build a positive home environment.
7. To lovingly support one's spouse/partner.

                                                         IN SUMMARY,
                                             YOUR FAMILY NEEDS...YOU!

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

Saturday, June 4, 2016


One of the funniest things I ever saw was when I went to watch my 30 year old brother play soccer.  There was an adult guy on the team who was known as a real Mommy's boy and at one point in the game he must have hit his nose because it started to bleed.  A team member on the sideline who couldn't play in that game because of an injury noticed and shouted, "Oh look, the golden boy's leaking."  He didn't see the incensed mother striding up behind him till the last second as 'golden boy's mother' started pounding him on the head with her umbrella and her purse.  It was just like slapstick comedy watching it happen.  Hilarious!

What really isn't funny, is watching parents of young children running up and down the sideline, screaming at their kids to 'run', 'tackle' or 'pound the opposition into the turf'.  Sometimes they yell at the referee, and other times they berate their kids when they come off the field for not winning the game.

My husband was an Assistant Principal at a high school in Nashville, TN, and had the responsibility for sport in the school.  He had warned a couple of dads in the gym a couple of nights about yelling disparaging words at their sons and the referee during their basketball games.  When it happened another night he asked them to leave and not come back for a couple of weeks until they could obey the directive to quit that behavior.  They objected, but they were subjected to an ejection.

Come on people, it is only a game!  Of course winning is the objective, but only one side can win.  Kids should not be made to feel bad because their team didn't beat the other one.

Encourage your kids to feel the joy of playing.  They need to learn to be gracious losers.  They will not learn this great value if it is not being modeled by parents.  'Button it' unless you can say something positive.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


 This was such a moving story I thought it would be valuable to share it. 

"Dear Woman in Target-

I've heard it before, you know. That I "spoil that baby". You were convinced that she'd never
learn to be "independent". I smiled at you, kissed her head, and continued my shopping.

If you only knew what I know.
  • If you only knew how she spent the first ten months of her life utterly alone inside a sterile metal crib, with nothing to comfort her other than sucking her fingers.
  • If you only knew what her face looked like the moment her orphanage caregiver handed her to me to cradle for the very first time--fleeting moments of serenity co-mingled with sheer terror. No one had ever held her that way before, and she had no idea what she was supposed to do.
  • If you only knew that she would lay in her crib after waking and never cry--because up until now, no one would respond.
  • If you only knew that anxiety was a standard part of her day, along with banging her head on her crib rails and rocking herself for sensory input and comfort.
  • If you only knew that that baby in the carrier is heart-breakingly "independent" --and how we will spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years trying to override the part of her brain that screams "trauma" and "not safe".

If you only knew what I know.
  • If you only knew that that baby now whimpers when she's put down instead of when she is picked up.
  • If you only knew that that baby "sings" at the top of her lungs in the mornings and after her nap, because she knows that her chatter will bring someone to lift her out of her crib and change her diaper.
  • If you only knew that that baby rocks to sleep in her Mama's or her Papa's arms instead of rocking herself.
  • If you only knew that that baby made everyone cry the day she reached out for comfort, totally unprompted.

If you only knew what I know.
  • "Spoiling that baby" is the most important job I will ever have, and it is a privilege. I will carry her for a little while longer--or as long as she'll let me--because she is learning that she is safe.  That she belongs. That she is loved.
If you only knew...



Sometimes we think that little ones will not understand a story so there seems little point in reading it to them.


  1. It is a perfect opportunity for bonding through close contact.
  2. If they don't understand the words, they still hear as well as see expression in your voice
    and on your face, along with seeing the pictures.
  3. When you encourage them to repeat words after you, they learn to articulate more clearly.
  4. You have the opportunity to explain what words mean as you read. This extends their vocabulary.
  5. As they understand the words, you are helping them develop their imagination.
  6.  They learn all sorts of valuable information.
  7. As they get older they gather interest in particular areas and learn to research subjects 
    of interest on their own.
  8. You are helping them develop an appreciation for books.
  9. Let them see you read for pleasure thus modeling what you want them to do.
10. Take them regularly to your library and make it a fun experience. Take books out.