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!!!

The Super Bowl: The win determined by a ten year old

Our daughter, Jenesis, is like most children. Well, she is alike in many things. She loves to play, she has a vivid imagination and she enjoys gatherings that involve food.  Naturally, she was looking forward to yesterday’s match-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.  Imagine my surprise …

Real Ways to Engage without Facebook Live

Have you noticed how much “live streaming” is dreadfully disturbing? It is becoming addictive just like Candy Crush. People seem to be hooked on this stimulant that is screaming “watch me, watch me”.

via GIPHY

I will admit that I was attracted to that LIVE LIFE for a while (although I haven’t streamed anything live myself).  Each time I saw a friend “go live”, I was immediately there to check out what they had going on.  But this past week, I realized this “live buzz” is killing us and we need to get back to some real effective ways to engage with people via our social networks without suddenly becoming a witness to a crime. (It really is that serious.)

Social media has its bad points but I believe if we use it socially as it was meant to be used, we can make better use of its good qualities.  Think about how much you scroll through your accounts during the day.  No one has time to read everything posted and truly some of us need to let go of a few subscriptions (but that is a conversation for another time).  However, for the things that we do read, what would happen if you took a moment just to let the content creator know that you were hooked in the scroll?  Just stop to say “keep it coming guy, I liked this!”

Every family has that member that spends their life on social media.

Well, why don’t you employ that auntie to help you out with your reach and expansion?  Ask Aunt Jen to share your content, every time you share your content.  Then tell Aunt Jen to make a comment that says something like “My Niece is Doing Great Work.” Her engagement on your post is going to get others engaged.  If Aunt Jen can share Bishop Jakes sermons and she is not his auntie, why shouldn’t she share your goods? Support is best understood when people give of their resources to another person’s work.  Family members are good encouragers in words. They can be good encouragers in deeds too. 

Speaking of encouragement.  How many times have you read a post on Twitter and loved it but kept scrolling? YES? Well, shame on you.  We are too focused on getting rather than giving.  If the content blessed you, let the content creator know it and encourage them to continue.  We have got to encourage each other more.  I recently joined the 500 word challenge with Jeff Goins.  I have scrolled through a few of the other sites in the challenge and I have taken Jeff’s advice to say hello on the blogger’s site. I haven’t been blogging that long but I know it must make anyone feel great to know that their words reached another human being. I know there is power in my engagement so I don’t mind giving a little bit here and there. Own your power and use it to lift others.

Several people I know are on a path of something new at the start of 2017. 

You all know it is hard to keep the momentum going after January 15th has come and gone and certainly after February 1st arrives.  So, do this for me.  For every person in your life that you know is doing something new, challenging and exciting, text them and let them know you are looking forward to the next thing.  People want to deliver when they know that you are looking for something from them.  So encourage them to keep it going.  Don’t let them give up on whatever it is that they are working on.  Your encouragement keeps them engaged in whatever they have purposed to accomplish this year.  You’re helping them see it through.

Lastly, take the time to encourage those people in your life that serve you.  Recently, my bus driver texted me that my daughter had gotten into a bit of trouble on the bus.  I have told the driver many times that she is free to contact me if she ever has trouble out of my children.  She took me up on my offer.  I responded to her compliance with a hearty thank you and encouraged her to stay safe on the roadways.  Her response, “Thank you. I will.”  Everyone can appreciate encouragement.  Encouragement is the ultimate power of engagement and we have it at our finger tips with these mobile devices. You don’t need to be in someone’s personal space to be engaged.  Invite yourself in by merely saying “I SEE YOUR HUSTLE. KEEP FLEXING YOUR MUSCLE.”  Engagement is a super power.  Don’t give all yours away to live streaming.

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!

How the faith of children strengthens adult faith

Ten-year-old classmates, Simon and Jenesis lagged behind the rest of us as we approached the front doors of the school.  I looked back wondering what was taking them so long.  Simon had previously expressed that he didn’t want to go to school and his mother said that he had had a difficult morning.  I could relate to Simon because my early morning hadn’t been so great either.  I should have expected the unnecessary distractions.  I triumphed despite that.  It is #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  We pressed on.live-it

When Simon and Jenesis came around the corner to the school door, they both were showing each other how they were going to hold their Bibles in their hands as they went to class.  They barely seemed to notice their mothers standing by to wish them well on their day.  I watched as they disappeared through the double archway of the school hall heading toward their class.  Jenesis on the left and Simon on the right both nodding heads as if to say “let’s do this”.

MOTHERING IS A TOOL

Motherhood, for me, has up and down seasons.  There are days when I feel like I want to close myself up in a closet because I get so overwhelmed.  There are other days when I can pat myself on the back and say, “Girl, you done good.”  Today, I am a good girl.

When I told my children about the Focus on the Family campaign, neither of them declared that they wouldn’t do it.  I thought about the fact that in this day and time, my reality could have been that they were uncooperative.  Children today tell their parents what they are and are not going to do.  No, my children were eager to see who would participate in #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  And lucky for me, they were surrounded by classmates and friends of like faith.  No wonder Psalm 127:5 says “blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.”  Children keep you sharp in your faith.children-and-religious-freedom

MY CHILDREN, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Our nation should pay close attention, these warriors won’t back down from a challenge, campaign or conquest.  The future is theirs and you better know that they plan to LIVE IT WELL!  Today, they are shining their light in school hallways, tomorrow on Capital Hill.
margaret-mead

Did you know about #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay and did you and your family participate?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.