For the last few years, my daughter Shalom lived on our farm in parents' old house. Several times most every day, Mike and I would have an occasion to drive down the driveway past their house. Shalom’s children are outside creatures, so they would usually be out playing when we went by in our buggy. If they were not out, we would see them lined up looking out the window when they heard us coming. I could feel their love through the distance and the glass pane. Often we would be too busy to stop, so we would wave and throw kisses, but most days we stopped and visited or took the kids for a ride down the lane. The five children always saw us as FUN. “Here come Mama Pearl and Big Papa. This will be fun!” They love us and we love them by virtue of the sweet fellowship and oft communion. It was amazingly satisfying sharing those quick, loving moments and seeing their joy in spending a few minutes with us. Every grandparent should be so blessed. This past year Shalom and Justin found their own special homestead. It is only about seven miles down the road, but it is far enough away that we see the kids only once or twice a week. A new little man joined the clan this year after they moved. We have not had the pleasure of connecting with our new little Ryder nor he with us like we did with the other children. He has not come to know us like his brothers and sisters do, and we have not come to know him, but Shalom, his mama, goes above and beyond to make sure he knows he loves us better than anything. I am honored and amazed at how effective her love grooming is.
Every time Shalom’s family comes to The DOOR on a Thursday night to hear their Big Papa speak, as she enters the door with Ryder on her hip and he sees me, she says to Ryder as she lifts him half off her hip in excitement, “MAMA PEARL!!! Ryder, here is Mama Pearl!” The other kids take the cue and rush in for hugs; even the teenager needs no prompting. Ryder’s eyes light up; he knows something wonderful is happening, although he doesn’t quite know what. Shalom doesn’t stop there. She moves in to give me a hug which basically forces him into an embrace while saying in a most excited voice, “Ryder, hug Mama Pearl. We love Mama Pearl.” Ryder half grins and complies like it is big fun. Although I am not in his life like I was with the previous children, he still knows that we all love Mama Pearl and Big Papa. I have not earned his love. I have not won his heart. But his mama makes sure that we love each other just as dearly as the love we share with the other children. She uses a beautiful technique that I call Love Grooming.
My heart is full of thanksgiving for this precious gift both for me and for them. I know that true satisfaction in life comes from just what Shalom is instilling in her children—love, appreciation, family, honor, and so much more with this simple Love Grooming.
Our office is usually a quiet place of mental attentiveness. Everyone has to be focused on their task due to the type and the amount of work that is being done. We write books, publish books, advertise books, and store books. The Bible says, “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecc. 12:12). But people and machines humming and phones ringing punctuate the quiet.
Many days I get to work when it is still dark so I can work in a silent office, so by ten in the morning my brain hits a wall. That is about the time Ellen shows up wearing her baby in a sling and leading her two toddlers as they carry a plate of blessing gifts. As a general rule these two tots are shy, but when they are delivering gifts to the office personnel, the joy and sparkle in their eyes speak of something lasting and good that is being born in their souls. Sometimes in their napkin I find a single cookie or a tiny piece of cake. Once they brought each of the office family a thick strip of bacon, still warm, individually wrapped up in a paper towel. It smelled wonderful and tasted just as good. My wearied spirit and brain were quickened and amused with this satisfying gift and the thrilled gifters, but much more importantly, the two tots were developing the spirit of giving and blessing others. By having something in their hands, their focus was on others instead of themselves, thus they had confidence that what they had was pleasing. This confidence will extend to other areas of their lives as they mature. Confidence is one very important key to success in life. Mama Ellen is building in her children a deep pleasure in giving to others, and she is instilling in them confidence in service. These character traits will aid them throughout their entire lives. She is using gift grooming to train up her children in the way they should go.
A dear friend wrote a note telling how she is using this positive grooming and brain grooving in many areas of her children’s lives. It is not a learned, rehearsed, planned, or even ordained system of child training. It is the heart of a mother looking for a way to instruct her children to see, be, and do things in a positive, joyful way. This mom wants to give her children strength of character. It is an outpouring of her soul.
Here is Laura Newman’s note telling about her very young daughter’s success at the dentist:
Emilie held her head high like a queen yesterday at her first dentist visit; she has been waiting until she was old enough and that has been awhile! The whole office got such a kick out of her excitement! This morning for the visit to the dentist, she produced her very first video, which she had for some time carefully planned!
I am often asked how I get my kids to swallow pills, take strong-tasting medicine, eat food that isn't normally popular with kids, or other normal life challenges that we all face with our children.
It's not just what I say in that moment, but how we live in the day-to-day. It is easy to transfer our own fears or difficulties to our children in the words we speak and reactions we display. In our efforts to reassure our kids, we cause them to look for why they need reassurance.
Fear is a thought of uncertainty or a negative assumption about a future moment.
Instead of fear, we choose to celebrate the future and face new experiences as an adventure while we live in faith. We cheer one another on when trying something new, whether it's swallowing a capsule or visiting the dentist for the first time. Well done, Queen Emilie.
There are currently many research programs investigating how to teach children the skills that Queen Emilie displayed at the dentist. The universities call these abilities “executive skills.” Scientists are studying brain scans and seeing how these types of skills affect the neurons in the brain so they can better capture them in the lives of children. The scientists hope to find a way to teach children how to be equipped and trained so they will grow up to be naturally self-disciplined and confident and have leadership abilities.
These highly educated people are looking for ways to help children learn to love, be thankful, show appreciation, establish impulse control, focus, obtain a working memory, practice planning, and carry out a sequence of actions because they have come to agree that these are key elements in having a happy life.