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Archive for the ‘Dear Robin’ Category

Dear Robin

In Dear Robin, Moms on Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 8:45 pm

 Dear Robin,

What do I say, instruct, teach a child who is insistent that his siblings are “ruining his life”?  Suggestions?  Ideas?  How do I show compassion but also get the point across that he is NOT a victim? That having siblings is part of life.


(This child is seven and the oldest of four children.) 


OK – help this mom out. Have some suggestions for her?


 Be sure to tell us your own birth-order…it will be interesting to hear your different perspectives.




Dear Robin

In Dear Robin on Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Dear Robin,


My barely seven-year-old son seems to constantly have his hands down his pants.  Not in public, but at home.  My husband and I are always telling him, get your hands out of your pants and go wash your hands”. 


Do you have any suggestions to help him stop this habit?


What are your suggestions for this mom?





Dear Robin…I Want to Plant a Garden

In Dear Robin, Gardening on Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Dear Robin, 


I want to start a vegetable garden this year.  Where do I start? 


My advice:

Start small.  Find a plot that receives at least 6 hours of full sun a day.  It also needs to be a fairly level space.


Next, begin digging out the sod.  (This is the hardest part!)  Remove as many of the roots as possible.  At this point you may choose to add plenty of a good quality garden-blend soil (either bags or have a load delivered), or take your chances with the soil that is there.  You can also have your soil tested at your county extension office to determine if anything needs to be added to improve it. 


Rake smooth ready to receive seeds or plants. 


Your bed can be edged with rocks, bricks, landscape timbers, etc. 


Next, determine what you want to plant.  I’d suggest starting with lettuce, radishes, a couple of tomato and pepper plants and maybe a couple of herbs. We’ll talk about planting lettuce and radishes soon.

Read up on gardening at:

 Square Foot Gardening

Organic Gardening

Garden Web Forums


Keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy some fresh vegetables this summer!

Do you have more gardening questions?  Ask away.




Dear Robin

In Dear Robin on Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Dear Robin,


I am beginning to dread mealtime at our home because of my finicky 9 year old who eats hardly anything.  If it isn’t some type of fried chicken, pasta, mac/cheese, tacos or pizza, he doesn’t like it.  The only veggie he eats is carrots so he literally eats raw carrots every day.

We’ve tried the whole “you’re gonna eat what I fix or go hungry” and the “if you don’t like what I make, fix it yourself” plan and neither have worked.

I’m at a loss.I know in 10 years it won’t matter because he’ll be on his own, but it’s really starting to get to me.

Any advice?


OK  – you guys are great at this, so help this mom out.  What are your suggestions to her?  (This time, I’ll post my reply to her as an edit tomorrow.)






All you commentors had great suggestions.  Thanks!  I knew you would. 

Here is my reply (taken from 2 separate e-mails)

I know a little about a finicky eater.  I have one and now he is 16.    We still ask him to eat a small portion of good foods, even if he doesn’t like them…or at least one bite.  His eating has improved a bit over the years, but food just isn’t important to him.  He could just as soon NOT eat as eat.  And often he just doesn’t.  (I think he could fast for a week and it wouldn’t even bother him.)


Pray a lot!  Hang in there with him, appeal to him about his health, require small bites of everything and have LOTS of carrots on hand!  LOL



Know that he is who he is….(and all this time I thought we could shape and mold our kids into our likeness!..hahaha)


He’s a great kid, given to a wonderful family, who is going to do mighty things for the Kingdom. 


Food?  Keep feeding him the Word….the rest will take care of itself!


Does that help at all?  I do understand your pain.  Man! This parenting stuff is hard sometimes! 


Love you, friend!


Dear Robin…..

In Dear Robin on Monday, November 17, 2008 at 8:58 am

Whether or not you educate your children at home, you will encounter days when your children just have bad attitudes (other days it may be you!)

Following is an e-mail question and answer session, with the names removed to protect the not-so-innocent.

I don’t pretend to have a lot of answers….just many mistakes and lots of experience!

And I was quite honored that she would ask for my advice!

From my friend:

Oh, Robin, help me.  What did you do when your kids had a nasty attitude?  I’ve only got one (with the bad attitude), but it is ruining everyone’s day.  Right now he is upstairs doing some boring work instead of the more interesting stuff that was on tap for him today.  Disrespectful attitude, uncooperative, and just out to pick a fight about anything, it seems.  No reasons that I can figure out.  He’s my high maintenance one, but lately it’s been worse.  I either need some new ideas or a big bottle of wine.  Since I’m teaching 3 others, probably some new ideas is a better choice.  But if you don’t hurry and respond, I’m goin’ for the wine.

My reply:

OK – get your wine 🙂 

Yeah, there’s usually at least one. (on any given day)

And, what did I do when my kids had a bad attitude?  How about STILL have! LOL  I have one that daily gives me a run for my money…..or my sanity. 

I’ve really come to realize that a lot of that bad attitude and strong personality is the flip-side of their leadership giftings.  Does that make any sense?

It will take CONSTANT training into righteousness, LOADS of prayer, a few tears, and MEGA-LOADS of love. 

Here’s where I can only encourage……You and your husband know him better than anyone else.  Pray for a breakthrough….Pray for an answer…Encourage his heart to make a right choice.  And make the consequences of his wrong choices hurt bad enough that he’ll want to choose rightly.

I feel for you…..I really do understand. 

Here’s where the good part comes in.  It’s when that same kid will call you on the phone during his work break some day…..just to talk!  Happened to me just this morning from my 27 yo son.  What a blessing!! 

Hang on……it WILL come!

 My friend:

You just made me cry.

He is an amazing and sweet kid with more strengths than any kid I’ve seen. And no one has EVER seen this side of him outside of this house.  My friends don’t even believe that he causes me trouble because he is just such a joy around others.  My fear is that I am going to break his spirit so much that he won’t want to call me to chat when he’s 27.  It just feels like we are butting heads all the time lately.

This is hard!  I didn’t know being a mom was going to be so hard!    Sometimes I wish I was just one of those parents who didn’t give a rip, ya know?  Not really, what a nightmare, but you know what I’m talking about.

Thanks for the encouragement.  It really helped.

Me again:
I’m glad it helped a bit.  Here’s the hard part……don’t take his actions personally.  I know you’re the only one there….but he really doesn’t mean it against you.  He just means it against any form of authority! haha  He will always challenge the status-quo.  He thinks he knows what is best.  It’s the natural way of a leader. 

You WILL NOT break his spirit….Keep being firm.  Continue to help him see that you are in charge…(I always tell my kids “I was born first….sorry, that’s just the way God planned it, for some reason”) 🙂  Appeal to the Jesus in him.  

Isn’t it amazing how much “learnin'” we get in the training of our own children?

Do you ever have days like  this one? 

What other suggestions would you offer my friend?