Growing True Leaders

Since our first child was born twenty-one years ago, my husband and I have tried to instill leadership skills in our children. I want my children to be impacting the world around them in a positive way for many years after I’m gone.

This starts when your children are young, if you wait until they are “old enough” you don’t allow them to develop skills and habits that will help them become great leaders.

In our family this begins in the home by giving our kids responsibilities (aka chores) at a young age. As they grow older we look for opportunities for them to serve their community by volunteering. We try to find opportunities that allow us to work together as a family, so we can help shape positive attitudes and instill a good work ethic.

This could be something as simple as working around the house, helping a friend move, or mowing a neighbor’s grass when they are out of town.

We also participate in community events that allow our family to serve in a greater capacity and help our children develop the leadership skills that they will need as they grow older.

You may wonder, how do chores and volunteering help develop leadership skills? When our children have responsibilities around the house they are given ownership of those responsibilities. After they are able to complete their chores they are in charge of certain areas of the house (room, bathroom, kitchen counters, etc). They take responsibility for keeping those areas clean and organized.

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Last year we purchased a fixer upper house. All our kids worked on the home renovation. Even Cora could help by peeling wallpaper and doing other small jobs. The level of ownership our children have in the house they helped renovate is something that can only be achieved by doing.

They learned how to manage their time, get jobs done, ask for help, teach others, and work together. They developed leadership skills by working together and finding ways to help out even when they weren’t asked.

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We also try to get involved in community projects. My boys have coached soccer teams, helped the elderly in our community with home repairs, and volunteered at the local food bank.

Today’s youth want to make a difference. According to a National 4-H Council and Harris Poll, when it comes to their personal role in addressing key issues, most youth (88%) say they believe they can make a difference, they see themselves as leaders (74%) and they feel a responsibility to lead (73%).

However, only one in three young people says they have the skills they need to be prepared to lead. Half of all high school students report they are not prepared to lead in their life after high school – for college or career.

Here are some practical ways our children have learned how to be leaders in our home and community.

  • Coaching sports teams
  • Helping out at the local food bank
  • Volunteering at local events, such as Easter egg hunts, Trunk or Treat, and Vacation Bible School
  • Helping friends/ family move
  • Having responsibilities around the house
  • Doing odd jobs for the elderly in our community

This year my son had a unique opportunity to give a presentation at his younger sibling’s school. They were studying reptiles, and since my son has several reptiles as pets he was asked to talk to the kids about snakes and lizards.

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My son was able to give a unique and informative presentation to almost fifty children, answer questions, and teach them about animals in a creative way. He did a great job and the kids were excited and interested in his talk.

I have no doubt that all his leadership opportunities in the past helped my son give an hour and half presentation on animals without even breaking a sweat.

As my kids are growing up, I try hard to notice their leadership efforts and motivate them by giving positive feedback.

4-H wants to help you recognize and encourage our youth. You can join with 4-H to help more kids get the opportunities they deserve by publicly honoring youth who are making an impact (big or small) in their lives and the lives of others. You can recognize the youth in your family and local community by sharing their leadership efforts on social media with the hashtag #TrueLeaders.

You can also take a moment to join their ThunderClap to share one unified message about how great kids are today.

Help the next generation become leaders by offering them opportunities, encouragement and recognition.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Make Over Your Year Goal Setting Course – Special Price

Make Over Your Year is a simple, effective, course designed to help you turn your big dreams and ideas into realistic goals and a doable action plan.

Do you have hope and dreams for the future but you struggle to figure out how to turn those dreams into realistic goals?  Crystal and Jesse Paine of MoneySavingMom.com have created a brand-new 4-week course that walks you through how to do just that!

Their Make Over Your Year course is a simple, effective 4-week, hands-on course designed to help you take your big dreams and ideas and turn them into realistic goals and a doable action plan. Over the 4-week period, you’ll learn:

  • Why & how to decide your most important priorities in life
  • How to narrow your priorities down to specific focus areas
  • The 4 keys to creating goals that you’ll actually follow through with
  • How to give yourself grace – without falling off the bandwagon
  • And more…

For the next couple of days they are offering a special launch price for this course. So head on over to MakeOverYourYear.com and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today!

 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Staying Fit as a Family

It’s hard to believe that our littlest child no longer needs to ride in a bike trailer or use training wheels.

Everyone in our family is a two-wheeled bike rider!!! After teaching SEVEN kids how to ride a bike I seriously never thought this day would come.

While our quiet neighborhood is great for bike rides, we don’t have sidewalks so I get a little nervous with Cora still being a beginning rider.

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Thankfully we live near several awesome bike trails that are perfect for our whole family to ride together.

One thing I realized when our kids were younger is that exercise isn’t just for mom and dad. Finding fun activities the whole family can do together is a great way to keep everyone healthy and fit.

Here are a few of our favorite ways we are active together.

Team Sports

All of our kids play soccer. Every single one of them. We decided years ago that soccer was the easiest sport for our whole family to play.

Not all of my kids are amazing soccer players, but they’ve all enjoyed being on a team and making new friends. My husband and I also coach teams to make it a total family affair. While soccer may not be your thing, I’ve known other folks who participate in swimming, lacrosse, and tennis as a family.

Water activities

Most of our family vacations involve water. We love the beach, rivers, springs, and lakes.

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All of my kids love to swim, canoe, kayak, and recently have started tubing. A few years ago we lived in a neighborhood that had a community pool. Most of the parents would sit on the side and watch their kids’ swim.

Be a fit family by getting off the side of the pool and swimming with your kids.

Outside play

I know many kids, who given the opportunity, will pick playing a video game or watching a movie over being outside, but we encourage outside play whenever we can.

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We meet up with friends at parks and playgrounds and always keep a bin of soccer, basketballs, and other outside toys easily accessible for our kids to use when friends come over.

Be purposeful with family time

If your schedule is anything like ours, your family is always on the go! We have to plan our family time or it doesn’t happen.

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Whether it is taking a walk around the neighborhood, going to garage sales on a Saturday morning, or hitting the trails on our bikes we try to make our time together active and fun.

Work out together

If your children are old enough, they can even workout with you! All of my kids love to exercise with mom and dad even if it just means jumping jacks or toe touches while we do something more rigorous.

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My older kids enjoy participating in fun runs with their dad. If you like being chased by zombies, sprayed with colorful powder or crawling through mud, these races are tons of fun for anyone who is old enough to participate.

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Because our family spends so much time on the go, I’m always looking for snacks I can quickly throw in my bag that the whole family will enjoy.

This week I tried Fisher Nut Exactly snack bites. Since our family LOVES popcorn I knew my kids would love these 15 calorie snacks that are a combination of roasted nuts and whole grain popcorn, rolled into a bite-sized snack that’s dipped in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter or salted caramel.IMG_4366

One bite and I was hooked! These snack bites were so good I had to stop myself from eating the entire bag! My favorite is Peanut Popcorn Dipped in Peanut Butter although my daughter loved the Almond Popcorn Dipped in Milk Chocolate.

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There are several varieties available, including Almond Popcorn Dipped in Milk Chocolate, Almond Popcorn Dipped in Dark Chocolate, Pecan Popcorn Dipped in Salted Caramel and Peanut Popcorn Dipped in Peanut Butter so you’re sure to find something for everyone’s tastes.

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They come in a resealable bag, so they are perfect to take with you on a bike ride or to the field for an after game snack.

Find out which of your local stores carries Fisher Nut Exactly.

If you would like to try some of these absolutely delicious (can’t eat just one!) snack bites leave a comment below sharing how your family stays active. One winner will receive a Fisher Nut Exactly prize pack plus a $50 gift card! 

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Giveaway ends February 9, 2016!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fisher . The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Healthy Snacking Tips: Giveaway!

Almost four years ago I drastically changed how I ate and increased my daily activity because I was tired of being tired!

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It didn’t take long for me to see the positive effects of these changes in my life.

One of the habits I picked up was creating a routine for my daily meals and including snacks. This was really difficult for me because I was not a “snacker.” I was very content with my three meals a day and nothing more.

However, as I became more in tune with how my body reacted to certain foods and activities I realized that by dinner time I was actually very hungry and would either prepare the fastest thing I could think of (pasta) or fill up on bread when I sat down to eat.

Healthy snacking sounded simple, but coming up with quick healthy snacks was difficult. When I was at home I could easily cut up an apple or grab some cheese, but when I was out running around I needed quick options I could keep in my purse.

I realized I needed to have a plan to keep me on track.

Prep on the weekends

Every Sunday evening I would chop up fresh fruit and veggies and package them in snack bags. I would also refill my snack bins (see below) and make a note of what needed to be replaced.

Make your healthy food/ fast food

I purchased plastic bins from the dollar store and use them to store healthy snacks in the fridge as well as in the pantry so when I’m in a rush I can make smart food choices without even thinking about it.

I also bought bins for the kids to make it easy for them to find healthy snack foods and pack their lunch quickly. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has dealt with children asking what’s for snack every single afternoon. 🙂 With the bins in the pantry and fridge my kids don’t even have to ask if they can have a snack.

If’ it’s in the bin, they can eat it!

Get into a routine

As I mentioned, I rarely crave snacks. I also tend to get busy with projects, school, or work and forget to eat. So by the time I feel hungry, I’m absolutely starving and grab the quickest option available.

I started eating breakfast and lunch at the same time every day and adding in two snacks, one in the morning and one about 3pm. This kept me from overeating during mealtime because I felt like I was famished.

I recently discovered the Orchard Valley Harvest Grab & Go individual packs. These Non-GMO snacks come in a variety of options, including chocolate covered almonds, cranberry almond cashew trail mix, and a variety of dry roasted nut options.

These are great for my kids’ lunches and for me to grab a quick snack during the day. The packs contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives which something that makes me happy!

If you are looking for quick, healthy snack options grab a package of Orchard Valley Harvest next time you are grocery shopping.

You can also enter to win an Orchard Valley prize pack which includes snacks and a $50 Visa gift Card.

To be entered to win share your best tip for making healthy snack choices throughout the day. Giveaway ends February 5, 2016 so enter today!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Orchard Valley Harvest . The opinions and text are all mine.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.