Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nate's a Swimmer

May 16th was a milestone for our little two and a half water-child. Nate (as was I) were determined enough with the 100 degree weather to take on the task of swimming. Although it is a bit spastic, and uncoordinated, he is nonetheless SWIMMING!

It's funny to think that kids all learn different important life skills at all ranges of age, and why some learn one thing earlier, while another later. Is it determination, brain readiness, exposure, a matter of gender or a combination of all these factors and others? Jocelyn at 2 and a half was far more advance intellectually than her brother. But physically he has surpassed her by years.

My sister and I were talking about the range of age that is put in child development books and other literature that determines when is the appropriate ages for young children to master certain milestones by. She read recently that kids should be able to correctly identify something like 6 colors by age 5. Not sure who determined that, it seems a bit old, but that kid might be far more advance in other areas, at least one would hope.

Maybe one day I will have a better understanding of why Nate learned to swim at two years old, but it Jocelyn at five. But all that really matters is that Jon and I can sleep a little better now knowing that Nate is a little safer even with the pool ten steps from our back door. Aren't we all a bit relieved??

Can't Touch This!

Also, speaking of Nate's milestones, NATE IS POTTY TRAINED at last!! Jocelyn beat Nate here, that is for-sure!

And to think, I want to do this two more times. I see lots more diapers in my future. You know you're all jealous of all the diaper changing I will be doing over the years:)
Also, for those of you that are in the process of teaching your little ones to use the potty, sticker charts mixed with bribery does wonders. I strongly recommend it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Power of Influence

in-flu-ence n. the capacity or power of persons or things to produce effects on others by intangible or indirect means.

I was recently listening to a man speaking about the power of influence. He said, "Everything we do has some sort of influence on the people around us, whether it be good or bad." This really got me to thinking of my influence on all those lives I come into contact with. I had always known this to some extent, but I had never thought of what power I really had on those around me.

I have always had a deep desire to help and to give. One of my favorite stories about my childhood is one of me wrapping a ton of phone books my dad had got for his office and then I proceeded to deliver the wrapped books throughout our neighborhood. Also, one of my favorite songs is called, "Because I have been given much." To give is one of the most satisfying feelings that I believe there is.

I know that the power of our influence is strongest within our family life. These are the people we come into contact most frequently, these are the people that depend most on us for help and these are the people we hope will find happiness in their lives.

The power of influence is probably greatest in an uplifting way when we serve others. I know that when I receive a gift from someone, whether it is tangible or intangible, when it is given for no reason other than to receive the satisfaction of giving, that gift means so much more. And the influence, that much greater.

At one point I thought that the only way to give was to go out and serve in our community. I now know the importance of serving within our home. This is the basics of society, the stronger home we build for our families, the stronger our communities are. And if we serve our family and teach them the importance of serving, we are not only serving them, but countless others that might be touched by the lives they serve.

I remember once when Jon and I were fighting, and to tell you the truth, I can't remember what we were fighting about, I just remember that I was being very unpleasant. It was almost time for bed, and I had already gone up to our room to get ready to go to sleep. Jon came up with a cup of ice cold water and set it on my nightstand.

Now to many, that doesn't mean much, but to me, in that point in time meant the world. Every night I take a cup of ice water to bed with me, and a lot of the time I will ask Jon to get it for me. For him to get me a glass of water in the middle of an argument where I knew I was being a little unreasonable was an act of kindness that was not deserved. His influence changed the atmosphere of our home that night from one that was hurtful and unpleasant to one of love and peace.

As I have thought more and more about my influence and whether or not it is one that is uplifting, or one that brings others down, I realize how important it is to let the little things go, and to build on each others strengths and let others sometimes find their own answers.

We are in a constant battle between doing right and doing wrong. Sometimes it is hard to see which is the correct choice, but if we keep our minds focused on what is important, our families and our long term happiness, we will be sure to choose the right overall.

It is my hope that I can keep the big picture in mind, and keep the influence I have on others to be one that helps and uplifts.