Parenting the Stages of Life

It was over a decade ago that my oldest child changed our world. I remember leaving the hospital on that July afternoon in my brown, cotton sundress walking slowly towards the exit door as my husband carried our baby girl in her car seat. The reality of parenthood swept over me.  I recruited help.  First mom visited, then my mother-in-law, then some help from the sisters at church. Eventually, the help ran out. I had to face the fact that parenthood means you have the duty. And so began my mission to successfully accomplish milestones.

I don’t find it the least bit reassuring that the word milestone has a close similarity to its cousin millstone which means to have a heavy and inescapable responsibility. Did I ever use the word milestone before I became a parent? Parents never just look at the next step in development as a success, we are focusing two – three steps down the road. For that reason, I don’t think I ever celebrated her milestones.

Fast forward ten years, two boys added to our brood and many gray hairs in the front of my head, I am facing yet another milestone. She is now about to transition to her middle school years. I have been praying about this for months. I was having a conversation with my godmother when she said, “Jenesis only has seven years left before college.” Suddenly, I felt like I was behind the power curve. Stories of how middle school transforms our children began to create fear in my heart. Then one morning, the spirit of the Lord encouraged me to get excited about this time. Look at what she has accomplished in her decade of existence. I thought of her friends, teacher comments and many projects. I remembered when she cringed in fear at the Talent Show in 1st Grade. She held me in a death grip on the floor in front of the stage when her name was called to perform. My thoughts went from concentration on the elapsed time to focus on how I am the very best person for the job of facilitating her next move. Her life (as well as that of her brothers) has meant so much to my discovery of my purpose in this earth.

We, mothers and fathers, are given the responsibility of raising children to help bring about favorable outcomes for them. Call it what you will. As for me, parenting takes laborious effort. Yet, I am finding that intentional effort makes all the difference in whether your child reaches her milestones in due time. You should celebrate when they do.

It is graduation season and everyone is looking towards the future. What about the time in between the close of the last door and the opening of the next? Perhaps, you are not the parent of a graduate, but you are facing just as important a transition with your child. Maybe your daughter is having her first baby? Is your son about to start a new job? Here are some ways you can parent them through their passage to_________ (you fill in the blank).

Reflection is Good for the Soul Back in March, Victoria Beckham was deemed an “internet troller” for embarrassing her son, Brooklyn, in several photos posted to social media. Referencing the proud mother’s shameless gush over her son in post after post, Hollyscoop’s announcer @MADDISIONHILL93 stated, “Parents. How would anyone know about our accomplishments if we didn’t have them to brag about them for us?” I loved the truth in that statement. Brag on your child. We give parents a hard time because they brag. You should celebrate children. More importantly, brag to your child. Remind them of what they have done and retrace the road they have been on that has led them to the place they are today.

ACTION ITEM: Keep a large binder of their report cards, good grades, photos, writings and artwork. Sit down with them and flip through it. Afterward, have them write their own vision/purpose statement or draft a personal CV reflecting on their life experiences rather than on their held positions.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? Children need to be directed to their life track. You want them to live their life. By showing them how they have lived to date, you are helping them re-center. This is also useful for your older children. You can’t imagine how thankful they will be that you helped them to remember the things they loved as children. It may just refocus their life’s purpose.

Model the Way It is a fact that we are our children’s first teachers. We influence their faith and their actions. Actions speak louder and resonate with children like no other message you give. Consistency with them is important. Stop with the sermons. (I am talking to myself here.) If you want them to practice good values for their lifetime, you have to model them before them. They will carry forward what you show them more than what you told them.

ACTION ITEM: Spend at least one period a month demonstrating something with your child like a new project or teaching a new skill such as how to make a certain dish. Memorize a Bible verse each week. In addition to reading a bedtime story, show them how to pray. Make a list of things that have been practiced at home (such as curfew). Practice consistency.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? When your child does leave home, they will likely continue doing the things that they have practiced with you as well as what they have watched you do. Your rules at home will extend to their neck of the woods without your physical presence because your character presence before them has made an enduring impact.  

Be Village People As much as our children would like to think that they know how to pick friends, judge and listen to the right voices, they don’t. Parents, you have to introduce them to how to discern safe people and build community among like-minded supporters. You must encourage what my friend Natasha Robinson, author of “Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship”, calls “village” experiences. You want your child to gravitate towards life partnerships that encourage them to be their authentic self, value their unique gifts and encourage individual goal achievement—–PARENT THEM.

ACTION ITEM: Help your child list the characteristics of a friend and a safe person. Introduce them to people who can serve as mentors in their lives such as a professional in their desired career field. Invite their friends over so that you get to know the people around them. Read together the book, Touching the Holy: Ordinances, Self-Esteem, and Friendship by Robert J. Wicks. Talk to them about creating safe boundaries and how to protect their environment.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? God created us to be relational people. Even after your child leaves home, they will need people. They need to know how to build a village and protect their fort. This will benefit them in the long run. Your child must know what belonging looks like and be able to cultivate healthy relationships. Help them understand that peculiar (1Peter 2: 9) is extraordinary.

I pray that this helps you look forward to the next stage in your child’s life with peace and reassurance.

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for life and the blessing of progression through life’s stages. In a time of transition, let us recall Ecclesiastes 7:8 that reminds us that the end of a thing opens the door to a future reward.

Congratulations to whom it is due and best wishes on your achievement of this momentous milestone!

CELEBRATION TIME, COME ON!!!

How to greet a stranger

This week, I have been having some strange encounters of the blessed kind.

Let me explain what I mean.

On Monday morning, I noticed a woman and her daughter walking in the cold rain on my way to get money from the ATM. I turned around to ask them if they would like a ride. However, the mother and daughter refused my offer. It sort of hurt my feelings. I thought perhaps it was the huge afro on my head that scared the little girl.  But it also made me think of the way of the world today. I can’t imagine how anyone could see a mother walking in the rain with a child and not offer to give them a ride. But there were certainly several people that passed her before I did. Perhaps she refused another ride from someone else? Perhaps she was attempting to teach her daughter a lesson about missing the bus? Perhaps she is just another mother trying to prove to the world that she doesn’t need anybody? No matter what the reason, I bid her a good day with my standard, “God Bless You…” It is funny how those three meaningful words can be taken so lightly. It falls on deaf ears. Some people see it as a curse and not a blessing. Therefore, I have begun to follow the words with “…And know that Jesus loves you.” Many times, I get a strange look. The recipient has giggled or laughed at me.  But more often than not, the greeting is returned with a sheepish smile. Rare are the days when I receive a reciprocal blessing or thank you. Just last week, I shared my parting greeting with the woman at the check out in the dental office and the scheduler, who was in the next office over, peaked her head around the corner and stated, “I receive that for me too.” That warmed my heart. I was the one smiling then. I believe the Lord was pleased that day.

This morning, I was leaving the City Building and I had another strange encounter. I had just shared with the clerk at the Water and Sanitation desk, “Have a Blessed Day and know that Jesus Loves You” when I walked out into the hallway and couldn’t find my keys. I stood there near panicking when a retired police officer walked down the hall and noticed my three-year-old with me. He passed us by and then turned around to talk to my son. I thought it interesting that he stopped mid-stride in the other direction to turn around to us. I recognized his face from seeing him several times in the City paper.  He is a well know officer and community servant. He asked my son if he had been a good boy? I explained to Joshua that the man that he was talking to was a police officer so that he would know he was safe.  But what happened next really was a blessed moment.  The retired officer, pulled out his wallet and gave my son a few dollars and told him to buy himself an ice cream for being a good boy. I told him, “Thank you” and “God Bless You”. He smiled and continued in the same fashion he had been before he made the decision to stop to speak to my son. I smiled. A perfect stranger, with a servant’s heart, just rewarded me and my son. Again, I believe the Lord was pleased.

You may be reading this and thinking that it was just a chance encounter.  You may even think that I did something to attract the officer’s attention. I assure you I wasn’t looking fly this morning so that was not the case. But I do think my means of greeting a stranger is paying dividends. When I part my lips to commission a blessing to the strangers that I meet, I truly believe God’s blessings come back to me.

I happened to have accidently left my keys in the Water and Sanitation Office and had to go back for them. The clerk didn’t know the keys were there because they were hidden from her sight behind her console. I believe the hidden keys was a set-up to bless me. It was also an encouragement to continue sharing that God is in the blessing business.

Have a Blessed Day and Know That Jesus Loves You.

How will you greet the next stranger you meet?

Prayer: Blessed Father, you said in your word that they will know that we are yours by the love that we show (John 13:35). Our words may not mean much to some but they are blessings that produce fruit. May we be willing to commission, even strangers, the blessings that are ours to give. May we be mindful of the fruit the will manifest when we are obedient to carry forth your will.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Good Year

Hello family of Notes and Commentary.  Tyrone and QuaWanna Bannarbie would like to thank you so much for accompanying us on our blog quest in 2016.  It is our hope that we have provided some words of encouragement for family leaders.  May you impact your community as you serve your family and your home well. We are believing for a great 2017!

We wish to share some highlights from our year that blessed us as we reflect on Twenty Sixteen.

I made a list of prayers during our January Consecration.  Each year, we participate in a Daniel Fast for 21 days with our church family at Covenant Community Church.  The past two years, I have kept a prayer agenda to help me recall my prayers.  I love looking back to review them.  Some prayers were answered and some I just gotta keep praying.  Prayer Works!

We have the testimony of the following God deeds:

FAMILY

1.)    Tyrone and QuaWanna celebrated ELEVEN years of marriage on September 3, 2016.

2.)    Our family friend, Satoya, who was diagnosed in JUN 2016 with breast cancer, is healed.

3.)    Children have grown in their love for God, participating in Bring Your Bible to School Day and they used their submissions into the Virginia Parents Teachers Association Reflections Contest to share “What’s Your Story” regarding their faith.  They were also Honor Roll students all year.

4.)  Visits with family in GA, MD and TX.

COMMUNITY

1.)    Tyrone led the Covenant Community Church Ambassadors Outreach in serving over 35 families with a full Thanksgiving  basket complete with a turkey, all the fixings and a gift card.

2.)    It’s been a year since I posted the sign, “Jesus Loves You” on the back of my NISSAN QUEST and we are still spreading the message of the unfailing love of Jesus.  (People probably wonder does the van ever get washed because the sign hasn’t gone away.  But I do wash it! I just replace the sign each time.)

3.)    QuaWanna facilitated a leadership summer program in Greensboro, NC with Leadership LINKS, Inc. during AUG 2016.  She submitted an article regarding the event in the Verse newsletter for Indiana Wesleyan University faculty and it was published in OCT 2016.

LIFESTYLE

1.)    WE STARTED THIS BLOG and have more lifestyle business ventures coming in the near future.

2.)    We paid off the debt for the van. We are now driving two paid vehicles with titles in our hands.

3.)    Tyrone and QuaWanna voted in the 2016 Presidential Election in NOV.

We hope you enjoy the picture presentation. (Can you spot our Bannarbie Blessing Board display?)

We encourage you to look back on 2016.  Look at what the Lord has done for you.  Don’t just think about it, write the things you recall on a nice piece of stationery and frame it in your prayer room.  Write a thank you card to God and place it in a memory box in your family room.  (The Original Love Box is a beautiful gift to your family.)

Blessings in the New Year!

Now that I have your attention…

Pastor Andrew Brown, assistant Pastor of Covenant Community Church, shared a revealing word this past Sunday that I will not soon forget.  His text for the sermon was from the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus.  “God will use what already has your attention to get your attention”, he said.  Pastor Brown shared how he had questions about the burning bush and how peculiar a choice this “attention grabber” was for God.  Surely, God could have chosen anything.  I thought, “if that already had the attention of Moses then how?”  Sitting among the congregation, I realized it wasn’t so much the bush as it was what had Moses’ attention. The bush just happened to be in the area of Moses’ attention.  Moses had consumed himself with the job of a sheep herder probably thinking he had avoided his past.  In fact, he was wandering carefree in the back of the desert when he stumbled upon this bush.  I would venture to say that God realized it was time to let Moses know he couldn’t avoid HIM any longer.  I believe God used the bush because Moses’ occupation had his attention.  I could relate to Moses in that moment Pastor Brown explained the choice of the bush.  I briefly took a job as a tax preparer when I left the U.S. Navy.  It was okay work.  My husband was deployed, our oldest child was less than two years old and I thought this was a good idea.  I found out that God didn’t think it was a good idea.  For three years in a row, something happened as a result of me taking that job.  It affected me and my family adversely.  The first year I was there, they got rid of all first year tax professionals within the first three weeks of the tax season.  I still went back the next year.  Then, co-workers had accidents that caused me to take longer shifts.  The kicker was when my young son of 8 months got sick at daycare and had to be hospitalized.  He had swallowed a coin and it had to be surgically removed.  I put him in home-based care after the ordeal and that didn’t work out either.  So, I finally left the job.  In my over-occupation with what was not the will of God for my life, my family suffered.  Looking back on it now, I assess that getting my attention wasn’t really my problem.  It was difficult to keep my attention because what I wanted become more important than what God wanted for me.

But God has a way of using things that will keep your attention.

I woke up yesterday morning to learn that the country had elected Donald J. Trump to the office of President and I knew immediately that the President-Elect is “the burning bush” but there is not the voice of God coming out of this one.  This burning bush represents the government of which we have taken such an extreme interest. It reminds me of the story of 1 Samuel 8 when the prophet Samuel went to God on the behalf of the people who asked for a king to rule over them.  Although Samuel had reminded them that, as God’s people, they had God and therefore no need for a king to fight for them.  The people had their eyes on the things of other nations and not the things of God.  They replaced God with worldly occupation.  God gave them exactly what they wanted but he used that very king to keep their attention.  I submit to you that since that day, government has represented the replacement of God with worldly occupation.  No matter how much we put IN GOD WE TRUST on our money or our courthouses.  History has repeatedly proven how people replace the things of God with the things of the world.  Our recent national history repeatedly shows how God uses that very thing you replaced Him with to keep your attention.  It will be with Donald J. Trump.  It has been with Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.  I strongly believe it would have been no different with Al Gore, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.  And yes, it would have been no different with Hillary Clinton.  Sadly though, we haven’t realized it yet.  But thanks to Pastor Brown, I can say I see it now Lord.  I can say this now because I voted in every last one of these past elections and I couldn’t understand how in each one the decision became more and more difficult and less appealing.  But I do now.  You have my attention now God.  In fact, you have the attention of the whole world. The world is watching the United States of America.

Moses asks the question in Exodus 3:3 “How is it that this bush does not burn?”  Moses turned aside toward the bush and then God spoke to Him.  It is time to turn America.  There is a burning bush blazing in a great flame right now.  I recommend we give God our undivided attention.  What is important to God must become important to us.  Be careful that we are not consumed.

In the beginning God created…

STATUS: For months now, I have had the best intention of sitting down at this computer to search my inbox for an email message that is nearly six years old.  I thought I would know it when I saw it although I didn’t remember the subject but I knew the sender and the content.  You see, this email is so important because I am writing a story and I need this email to help tell the story well.  I thought the message chronicled the start of a journey to a status I am presently living that I had no idea at the time where I was going. But I was wrong.  I still don’t know where the journey is going to end up.  But I was wrong about the importance and the content of the email that was lost among the over ninety-five hundred unread messages in my Hotmail inbox.  It would have been easier to find had it been unread.

I thought the email was about a group of dynamic professionals that I affectionately refer to by the name of Leadership LINKS.  When I found the message from Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Visionary and Chairperson of Leadership LINKS, it wasn’t what I was looking for.  Her letter wasn’t informing me about Leadership LINKS.  Her letter was informing me about me and who I am through her eyes.  Her letter was about our connection and the story inside that connection.  Natasha and I have a long and progressing herstory of a journey helping each other truly define who we are.  As I read the email that starts out Dear QuaWanna, I am overwhelmed that indeed we don’t know how full circle our God is when He shapes the world, even your world, in HIS hands.  He is indescribable.