No-Limit Texas Hold’Em

This post is alternately titled “Raising daughters to value themselves,” and is part of the #CelebrateWomen blog carnival. Women across the internet are joining together on the Wednesdays this month to discuss what it means to be women.

The girls and me atop our "mountain"

I’m still green at this single mom thing. I learn something new every day. Usually, I think I’m screwing them up royally, and since everything is bigger in Texas, I’m fairly certain I’m messing up their little minds in a BIG way. There are days, and moments, when I think I really am doing something right, too.

When I peer at them playing together for hours, building a maze of blankets and chairs and pillows and crawlspaces through the living room, I see their potential to be architects.

When I see them set up a clinic for all their stuffed animals, including a waiting area with fake treats and even a make-shift treadmill for an octopus?! I see their potential as veteranarians.

When I watch as they craft a desk, don my headphones and report the “news of the day,” I see their potential as anchors.

When I marvel at their capacity to understand complex movie plots and narrative structure, I see their potential as directors or producers.

When I watch Mia swim, I see an Olympian.

When I note Wendy “reading,” I see an author.

When I notice them driving their Power Wheels John Deere tractor over the yard (and sometimes over my foot), flying down the cul de sac on the scooter, nursing baby dolls, preparing food in their pretend kitchen, telling fantastic stories of the creatures that dwell in the sewers, drawing, dancing, dueling and detecting, I realize that their potential has no limits because I haven’t closed the doors of opportunity to them.

Sunday, at the park, they insisted on climbing the rock structure. It was huge – probably 8 feet tall, with few handholds or crevices. Wendy didn’t want my help. Mia insisted on taking the tough route to the top. I went up, too, because my daughters inspire me. When we arrived at the top, I held them, because my beautiful, strong, independent daughters wanted me to celebrate their accomplishment in the climb.

What can you do to raise confident, strong, children and help any children you know own their independence?

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28 responses to “No-Limit Texas Hold’Em

  1. You have to raise them to know there are no limits on what they can do and that if they follow God’s plan for their life, they will do amazing things they could never imagine. My son has always said that he wants to be a doctor or a pet trainer. I have told him that he would be great at those or anything else God calls him to.
    You also have to give them opportunities to cultivate likes and dislikes. My son does not like sports, so we tried Taekwondo and Tap dancing. He loves those! He also loves the theater after having spent hours and hours for two months backstage with me while I did a show. He has had and will continue to have as many opportunities to figure out who he is and what he wants so long as I can do that for him.

    • Your son is blessed to have those opportunities. The theater sounds really cool. What kind of show were you in? Mia shows a real love for acting – and I’m looking into summer theater for her.
      I’m not God, and until he reveals to my girls what his plan is for their lives, I’m going to keep all the doors open. That’s a good caveat to add, though!

  2. What a great example. With two daughters of my own, I want the same thing (strong/confident children). I liked how you gave them the chance to lead and explore.. I think that is key to giving them opportunities to cultivate creativity and confidence. Thanks for sharing, Kristin!

    • Thanks, Dustin! I am constantly amazed at their ability to make a game or pretend situation out of nothing. Even though they have tons of toys, I really think they would be fine if they had none at all, because the strangest things become vehicles for creation.

  3. I’ve only heard this called Tiger Parenting in the last few months, but since it sounds so natural to me, it’s probably how I’d do it anyway. Simple process:

    1. find out what the kid wants
    2. challenge them to meet that goal
    3. help them find the resources (with some manner of parental provision)

    This model just makes sense to me. Want a car? Earn it. Don’t know how to earn money when you can’t find a job, being a minor? Let me help you find a job (or a means to freelance). That kinda thing.

    An interesting article on the economic side of Tiger Parenting: http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/01/21/the-economics-of-tiger-parenting/

    • I’ve read about Tiger parenting. As long as it’s not stage parenting, and done with moderation, I think it will work. I worry there’s nothing “moderate” about Tigers, though. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You are an amazing mom. The fact that you allow your daughters to dream big and not put limits on them “to protect them” from the pains of the world just shows how big your heart is and how much you trust in God. I have a feeling that God looks at His children the same way. God sees our endless possibilities, while we stress out about all the little things that don’t matter and hold us back. We are the ones that put the limits on ourselves. Life is hard. The battle is real. It can stomp out our creativity and dreams if we don’t have someone there encouraging us to go for it and believe God’s word to be true.

    • Thank you, Katie!

      life is hard, and they are going to have to spend plenty of time learning that. I hope right now, they get to enjoy trying lots of new things and figuring out what God has for them.

  5. I think inspiring them to try what’s in their hears is important. I never had much encouragement from my single mother. She was always working.

    I want my children to see an obstacle and give it all they got to overcome that obstacle. I don’t want them to fear failure. I did many times and that robbed me of many opportunities.

    • That’s what I love about seeing them play pretend – they get to try out many options and make things work – and if they don’t work, failure is a pretty soft cushion.

      Failure at climbing the mountain would have hurt more, but there was someone there to pick them up. We went ice skating for Mia’s birthday a few weeks ago, and they fell plenty, but can’t wait to go back again!

  6. I think it’s very important to encourage and offer praise along the way. So many kids seem to get little to no encouragement or praise (at least it seems that way), and I don’t think that’s good. That’s why I’m always encouraging kids when they try something. That’s why I offer praise at an accomplishment, no matter how “small” it might seem to me – it’s big to them, and they need to hear it.

    • Praise is really important. I don’t want to have it lose its meaning, but I am probably 67% more complimentary than I should be (just a rough estimate), because I know that the world isn’t going to be doing that. I want them to feel like they are loved and accepted and special before the world starts tempting them with feint praise.

  7. I don’t have any kids of my own, but a lot of the college students in my ministry are like kids to me – in that for some I am the only “father figure”/positive male role model they have ever had.

    One of the things I do is constantly affirm them and challenge them to pursue their dreams. I also point out the potential within them. So many times these bigger “kids” don’t believe they have any great potential, because they’ve been told for years that they will never amount to anything, or just have never thought they could do anything great. Sometimes they just need that seed planted in their brains to change.

    Great post Krisitn!

    • I teach college students in class, and many do seem to have a very limited view of their potential because of all the junk they’ve been told. If someone had believed in them and told them so, they wouldn’t automatically shut down when things look hard, because they could have confidence in themselves to overcome that obstacle.

      What you’re doing is a great ministry, and I’m still praying for you and for your students.

  8. “It’s anchorman not anchorlady and that is a scientific fact.”

    Seriously though, I’m confident that you are raising two amazing girls. Your ceiling will be their floor. They will receive from everything you’ve learned in life and go even higher!

  9. Encourage and inspire! You do more for your girls and receive ample in return for doing so. I love how you celebrate with them.

  10. What a lovely post! I love seeing potential in my kids. It just thrills me to watch them make choices that exhibit strength of character, even when it’s not the easiest choice for them to make. Passing that on to them is a huge responsibility and also a huge gift.

    • choosing the harder path when duty or ethics or God requires it is going to be difficult to teach, mostly because I haven’t always led by example. I love that my kids love a challenge, though, so maybe they’ll get a double portion of what I’ve got 😀

  11. Great post!
    I try to think of my daughters already as the women they are becoming. Sp often we separate childhood from ‘who they are going to be’ as if who they are now isn’t part of that.
    I’m not saying that childhood isn’t precious. It is an incredibly special time. The innocence is astounding. A few days ago my children came across the word ‘molested’ and they asked me what it meant. I had to explain the term, which I did very carefully. It was a sad moment for me, because as a responsible parent I realize I can’t just brush things like that off. I have to educate them and prepare them for the things they will encounter in this world. But I hated that they had to come into knowledge of that. I hate to see the horror on their faces as they learn what evil human beings can do to each other.
    Woah! Got carried away there, sorry.
    I’m just saying that I try my hardest to not talk down to them as if they are ‘just’ children. I do my best to recognize their skills and interests and gifts and opportunities and allow them to exercise their abilities now and not have to wait until they have the ‘freedom’ of adulthood to pursue their interests. I recognize the power they already possess – to be agents of good in the world (or not, tee hee) and that just because they are children it does not mean that their words and actions are therefore inconsequential.
    I try to let them get all the best out of life now.

    • I’m so sorry that childhood as an innocent time is often interrupted or ended because of other people’s sin. I don’t like to thing about that stuff, either, and it makes it so difficult to tell my girls that there are people in the world that would harm them if given the opportunity.

      I know they can handle it. I know that being children doesn’t keep them from understanding the world – boy, do I know that! I do wish that I could preserve their innocence while giving them a place and platform to be themselves, here and now, and not just for the future.

  12. Give them room to fail and allow failures to happen. Something that wasn’t done for me enough. It’s tough–but necessary.

  13. >>>What can you do to raise confident, strong, children and help any children you know own their independence?

    That’s a tough question-one that entire books have sought to answer, one that psychologists have dedicated their lives to understanding.

    For me, as a mother of boys, it’s very important to nurture their gifts and talents. But, at the same time, teach them to work on their weaknesses. What that looks like practically, I’m still trying to figure out. It’s just something I’ve thought about a lot. I pray consistently that God would clearly and quickly reveal to them their calling in life. I know many boys/men who struggled for years with identifying their calling, and end up wandering aimlessly, never finding any purpose, always wishing for something better or that they could go back and change things. I don’t want that for my boys because it can be a long, hard road that seems meaningless.

    • Thanks, Keri.

      In my business communication class, we discuss how the average American can expect to have between 4-6 careers (not just jobs) in their lifetime. That means that they will likely have a career change for the seasons of their life.

      I want my children to be guided in their choices by God – toward careers and opportunities that have his will in mind and can make an impact. I’ve been in doing something in academia for more than a decade, but I’ve already had two career tracks within that – both tracks were right for me because God led me to them at the time.

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