Kids & Friends

Kids &Friends I'LL WAIT-2

“You are who you’re with.”

This statement is something I have been hearing since before I was in middle school. My dad instilled in me from a very young age, just how our friends and those we associate with affect us. They can affect us for good, or for not so good. I have had friends in my life that have done both.

Peer pressure happens. Whether it be someone offering your child a beer or a cigarette, they are going to deal with these choices at some point. When that happens, they need to know which choice they are going to make. Are they going to give in? Withstand? Here’s where parents can help.

When I was about 10, my parents taught me the wonder that is “pre-deciding”. They always told me to make an important decision before I was ever put in the position to make the decision, for example: smoking. I made the decision in 7th grade that no matter who offered me a cigarette, my answer was no. I did not leave it up to chance. I already knew my answer.

It is so important that our kids master “pre-deciding”. They learn early on how to set boundaries for themselves and say no. When they have learned to use this method with their peers, more times than not, it will translate into their dating relationships.

The entire reasoning behind making these decisions before we are put in an awkward position is so our kids don’t wake up the next morning thinking, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t done that.” or “Man, I wish I thought it through before I did that”. One of the worst things that can happen is having someone come to you filled with regret or shame. Help your kids to think things through so they do not end up making decisions they will regret later.

“Pre-deciding” is vital because important decisions should not be based on emotion. Future circumstances and important decisions determined by temporary emotions most always do not turn out well. Because the thing about emotions- is that they change. In the heat of the moment we may think, “Really, what’s the harm in smoking just a little. It can’t be that bad.” but then the next day when our friends are not around and we are alone with our thoughts, we may feel differently.

I have had far too many friends come to me filled with sadness or regret over a decision they made based on emotion. I wish their parents had taken the time to help them set boundaries or draw lines so they did not look back and wish they had made a different decision. Again, it shows how parental involvement makes all the difference.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely cases where a parent does everything they can do. They are completely involved in their child’s life and totally engaged in what is going on. Yet, there are some kids who are just going to do what they want to do regardless. We all know one of those kids 😉 I am not referring to these parents because you have done all you can do. I am just bringing light to circumstances I have seen through my high school years. Some parents are “checked out” on what their kids are doing. I want to tell you that it is vital that you know exactly what your kids are doing.

While there are kids who succumb to peer pressure and those who have a rebellious streak, there are also kids who are not necessarily rebellious; they just simply want to fit in.

“Even though it’s easy for parents to blame their children’s bad behavior on peers and assume that other kids coerce them into doing things like drinking, smoking, stealing or cheating, poor decision-making among teens isn’t all about pressure. Kids actively want to emulate their peers. During adolescence, they are looking for ways to separate from their families and begin to define themselves as individuals. To that end, they turn to friends for guidance and direction. They tend to mimic their peers’ behaviors and adopt the same attitudes. Conforming to social norms helps them redefine themselves while earning them acceptance and approval. Fitting in simply feels good.” (For the rest of the article, you can find it here)

Believe me, I get it. I was never “cool” and no one wants to be the odd man (or girl) out. “Fitting in simply feels good” pretty much sums up most kids in middle and high school.

Honestly, I am really not sure of advice to give to make your kids feel better about not fitting in. Being on the outside will never be fun. Having certain behaviors or performing certain activities to “fit in” can be detrimental now or in the long run or both. So, I would prefer that your kids not fit in. In high school, I did not want to fit in because I knew that in my case, fitting in meant compromising my values and the goals I had for myself. So, I decided fitting in simply was not worth it. High school is only 4 years of your life and I had to be constantly reminded that now is not forever.

Coming from someone who was never “cool”, the only advice I have is to encourage your kids constantly. A couple weeks ago I blogged about Kids & Extracurriculars (Read it here) and honestly, my extracurriculars are what kept me going. I set goals for myself and I stayed busy. So when I did not get invited somewhere on a Friday night, I had things to do. I set my eyes on something bigger than fitting in or being like everyone else. It was still hard and I still did not like being lonely, but I got through it. Again, now is not forever.

So whatever the case with your kids, whether it be they have a rebellious streak or occasionally succumb to peer pressure, or they just want to fit in and be liked, the biggest thing you can do as a parent is be engaged. Get into your kid’s business, be their biggest encourager, and help guide them to be the person which they were created to be. When they get down, remind them high school is only 4 years of their life. Remind them that they were created for a specific purpose. Remind them of their goals and aspirations and to focus on their future selves. Tell them to think ahead 5 years from now, visualize where they plan to be.  Pre-decide which activities, friends, etc. will help to accomplish their goals and stick to “the plan”.

© Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Kids & Extracurriculars

Kids & Extra I'll Wait

“A recent study by Intel Canada highlights that, if given the chance, the top two pieces of advice post-secondary students would give their younger selves are to learn how to better manage their time and improve self-discipline.” (For more on the Today’s Parent article read here)

One issue I have noticed in our culture is a lack of self-value and purpose. Many kids do not see their own value or worth. Or even worse, they find their worth and value in places that they should not (relationships, friends, social media followers, etc.). But the good news is- I think this problem can be easily solved. A person’s identity or purpose is not derived from a boyfriend, girlfriend or even a group of friends, but from who they are as a person. This process of a teen seeing their value and purpose is something that begins when they are young. For example-

When I was a kid, my parents had me involved in many extracurricular activities. I went to ballet class, took piano and voice, learned to play tennis and even played golf for a period of time. Which might seem overly busy, but looking back, it was a really beneficial experience for me. I began to figure out where I could excel and where there was little hope:) For example- I am a great musician, but the two years playing on a soccer team were not my best. I enjoy tennis, but golf was not my thing. I started to figure out who I was as an individual and I began to find purpose in my life even at that young of an age.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating every parent put their child in as many after-school activities as they can find. Kids can become so overloaded with extracurriculars they become burned out and no longer have interest. A parent and child need to communicate to determine which extracurriculars are going to best suit the child’s abilities and interests, but there need to be extracurriculars nonetheless.

As I grew older, I began to weed out the extracurriculars which I knew I would not be pursing long term. For example, two years of soccer was enough for me to know that I would not be paying for my college education through a soccer scholarship. However, as I eliminated the activities I realized were not my best, I began to see which activities suited the gifts God’s given me. Music was one of them.

I began playing the piano when I was about 5 or 6. As most children, I did not enjoy practicing, but my parents made me anyway (Praise the Lord for that). I began to learn from a very early age how important time-managment was. If I did not practice my scales or songs 30 mins everyday, I would not be ready for my lesson the following Monday. As simple as this illustration is, it set the tone for my time-management skills as I got older.

Last month I blogged about Kids & Social media (Read it here) and I mentioned the statistic that said kids spend an average of 7.5 hours a day consuming media. Which is ridiculous and it shows me kids are not spending their time wisely. But that also means they have no time management skills. They have no idea how to set boundaries for themselves when it comes to “play time” and so each day they wind up wasting half the day consuming media. When we waste our days, it is very difficult to then practice what skills we have and it becomes more and more difficult to find purpose. When it becomes difficult to find purpose in our lives, it is easier to become sad and even depressed.

Now what does time management have to do with realizing our purpose and self-worth? Well, my thought process is this: extracurricular activities teach time management and the ability to become a self-starter. Time management helps us to use our time wisely and being a self-starter gives us drive and passion to develop our skills (Ballet, piano, soccer, etc.). Once we develop our skills or cultivate exceptional quality traits we possess (Like being a leader, having patience, etc.), we start building who we are as a person. Therefore, we begin to realize what makes us special and that we do in fact have purpose in life.We realize that our purpose is not dependent upon another person, group of friends, or dating relationship. It is dependent upon us and who we are as individuals.

I think it is also very important to point out that although extracurricular activities are extremely important, academics are just as crucial. Growing up, my dad never told me to do my best. Instead he would say, “I’m expecting a 100 on your test.” Not because he was being hard on me, but because he knew I was capable of it. I think parents and kids alike have become lax on grades. Kids are okay with just sliding by with a C and parents do not mind either. Which is bazaar to me, because if I do not make an A on an assignment, quiz, test, etc. There’s a good chance I may cry (You think I’m kidding).

When there is not an emphasis on how important excellence is, there then becomes an acceptance for average or under-average. Why work harder when I could slack off? Why study for the ACT when I could simply slide by to get into so and so college? Why work to receive an A in class when all I need to play sports is a C? Why practice extra on (insert sport here) when I know all my teammates are not practicing extra either?

The point is, I do not think we are cultivating the potential in our youth because we have become okay with average. There is no emphasis on excellence. It is only “what can I get by with?”.

From a Christian standpoint, God does not waste talent. If you are still breathing, He still has work for you to do. Otherwise, He would have called you home. If we are not helping our youth realize their potential, how are they supposed to live out their purpose? Your child could grow up to become the doctor that cures cancer. A teacher that instructs the next Albert Einstein. Maybe even our president 30 years from now. God creates what is needed. If He created you, He needs you for something.

The bottom line is that an emphasis on excellence in extracurriculars and academics will help your children find their purpose in life and understand their value. When they master time-management, they are able to cultivate their talents and abilities. Once they see that their value and worth is found within themselves, they will not need to obsess over dating or drama. When they know their potential, they will not want to simply slide by. They will crave excellence and cultivate a desire to fulfill their purpose in life.

© Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Kids & Social Media

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Fact: According to a 2010 study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Today’s teens spend more than 7 1/2 hours a day consuming media- watching TV, listening to music, surfing the web, social networking, and playing video games”. (For more great info on digital age kids you can check out the rest of the Washington Post article here)

You also have to factor in that most of those 7.5 hours spent on social media are probably unsupervised.

I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to social media. Looking at it from a business perspective, social media is one of the most effective tools there is. I am a musician and I have a non-profit so using social networking sites to advertise my music and connect with people through my ministry is such a great thing. I save a huge amount of money but my advertising is still as effective. Win-win.

However, considering social media from a personal perspective, I see pros but also many, many cons. Social media allows me to connect with friends and keep up with distant family. I can read popular news articles on my feed and follow my favorites celebrities. But I also see the toll social media can have on a person. These sites have become a breeding ground for narcissism and self absorption. AKA #selfies among other posts and pictures.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with posting the occasional selfie; that’s not the issue. The problem is that social media sites are not simply networking sites anymore. We are actually living in a virtual world. As a culture we have become focused on posting everything. It becomes an obsession. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but I do want to bring to light this obsession we have in our culture. I do not think social media in itself is “evil”. Like many tools, I believe social media is what we make of it.  I have experienced the negative effects as have others ; the youngest of us are easy prey.

Did you know you actually have to be a certain age to create some social media accounts? Unfortunately many ignore that rule completely and create accounts anyway. I strongly believe that no person under the age of 13 should have social media and when this child/teen is over 13 their profiles/phones/technology should be very closely monitored. Why? Several reasons.

1. Distractions. Social media is a wonderful and very efficient way to waste time. I know from personal experience 😉 I have a 9 year old brother so I see how little of an attention span children have which leads me to believe there really is no reason to add more distractions to their life. If the kid/teen is 13 or over there needs to be boundaries and rules for their “social media time”.

There are 24 hours in a day and about 8 are spent sleeping. That only leaves 16 hours to actually do things and live life. Going back to my opening statistic, kids spend 7.5 hours a day consuming media. In other words, kids are spending almost half of their waking hours tuned into an electronic device. So my question is- how much of these 7.5 hours are spent during time kids are supposed to be learning in school or finishing homework? How much is spent during time they are supposed to be studying? Spending time with family? Connecting with the real world and having IN PERSON conversations?

I understand the desire kids have to be on social media. It is a method to stay current in a world gone completely digital. All I am saying is that my parents had to give me boundaries in middle and high school which helped me to stay focused. The rule was, no internet or texting friends until I was completely done with regular school work and homework. It was a great incentive because I was able to solely focus on my school while working toward a “prize”. Contrary to popular belief, social media is a privilege not a right. 🙂 When I realized that, I began to appreciate these sites instead of obsessing over it.

2. Inappropriate content. According to a study funded by McAfee (An online security company) 70% of teens hide their internet behavior from their parents. What exactly comprises this internet behavior? Accessing violent or pornographic content, hacking into social network and email accounts, looking up answer to tests on their phone, etc. (For more info from this study, you can find the CNN article here)

What is even worse than kids who purposefully look up inappropriate content, are the kids who come across it by accident. I know it has happened to me several times. I’m 20 so I know how to handle it; I unfollow the account or unlike the page or report it. Most social media sites give you the option to report inappropriate or abusive content which is good. But unfortunately once you have seen something, you cannot un-see it. Which again, is why parents of young children need to be aware of this serious “con” of social media. Even if you have pre-teens or teens who should know better, you still need to be aware of exactly what they are looking at. For instance, keep their laptop in the living room where everyone can see, know their phone passcode, follow/friend them on all their accounts. It’s not snooping, it is common sense. It is absolutely necessary to protect those who are not emotionally mature enough to protect themselves. All children need accountability.

3. Cyber-Bullying/Talking To Strangers. According to the i-Safe Foundation-“Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.” (Find the remainder of the article at here)

So, what exactly is cyber-bullying? BullyingStatistics.com puts it this way- “Cyber bullying involves using technology, like cell phones and the Internet, to bully or harass another person.” But the thing is that this type of bullying can take on many forms. They go on to describe them as:

“Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone. Spreading rumors online or through texts, posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages. Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages. Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person. Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet. Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person.”

Scary stuff right? It honestly breaks my heart to know that teens and adults alike could take advantage or harass other people like this. But it happens all the time. The statistic I shared a few paragraphs ago said that over half the victims of cyber-bullying do not share it with their parents. Which again, breaks my heart. It is difficult enough to endure bullying; I cannot imagine facing bullying all alone and not having anyone stand up for you.

Going back to the report funded by McAfee, it says that 12% of teens have met face-to-face with someone they met over the internet. We all hear horror stories about people meeting people they have met online and unfortunately some of these people are kids and teens. Which is even scarier because STRANGER DANGER IS A REAL THING. So again, please pay attention to who your kids are talking to and where they go. Put a phone location tracker on their devices if need be in the event that they get themselves in a “stranger danger” situation. Again, not snooping, it is being a loving and caring parent using common sense. Do not let your child tell you otherwise.

I could go on and on about what I have seen and experienced with social media, but I am already over a thousand words and have thrown a lot of information at you. The bottom line is to:  (1. Have healthy conversations with your kids about the good and bad components of social media.  (2. Set boundaries when it comes to consuming any form of media.  (3. And lastly, “check in” on your kids’ accounts and social media usage. Children and teens are savvy nowadays with technology because they have grown up immersed in it, for them, it is like jumping on their bikes…no big deal. For adults it can be quite intimidating, to you it might be like taking calculus all over again. I know it can be a lot to consider, but try your best to stay current on social media and technology for your kids’ sake.

If you have any questions or simply want to be pointed in the right direction to informative articles with similar statistics and information which I have shared, please let me know. I would be happy to provide it.

Until next week!

© Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Kids Aren’t Lizards Intro

IW- Kids Aren't Lizards Intro

This past weekend I turned 20 years old. Most birthdays do not really freak me out, but this birthday took me by surprise. I am no longer a teen and I am adventuring into a decade of life that will bring many new changes.

My birthday caused me to reminisce about my childhood and think about all the good memories I have of dolls, fairy tales and toys that are n0t electronics. I remember losing teeth and waiting excitedly for the tooth fairy. I remember picking wildflowers in my backyard and pretending I was a princess. I remember playing with dolls that Santa Claus brought me and my mom fixing my hair in a bun for ballet class. I remember many things about my childhood, but most of all, I remember the innocence. I remember the carefree innocence of my friends when we were young and how happy we were because life was simple.  The only relationships we had were “in person” and supervised by our caregivers. We had no idea what social media was.

One of the things that breaks my heart most about our culture is so many children/kids will not experience that same innocence which my friends and I enjoyed due to social media, celebrities, certain books, movies, music, etc.

That is one of the reasons I felt it was so important to write this blog series. “Kids Aren’t Lizards” is about relaying to parents what I see every day. I see what kids post on social media. I see how dating relationships affect an 8th grader’s life. I am no longer a child, but I still live in the same world that they do. I am not here to tell parents how to parent; I am here to offer help and provide all the info I have. I am here to plead with parents and others to protect the innocent and provide that same child-friendly safe zone which I feel we have lost for the next generation of kids and young ones.

My dad always says, “Kid’s aren’t lizards, they don’t hatch and raise themselves.” which is the premise for this blog series.  A humorous example is my dear, precious 9 year old brother who without parenting would be a sickly, toothless, stinky hobo if my mom did not require a good diet and hygiene from him:)  I think too many parents are detached from their kids lives either voluntarily, or due to stress and responsibilities, or by accident. Some parents see their kids making poor choices but look the other way chalking it up to “kids will be kids” or give into frustration and other parents simply do not see at all. Again, I am not here to tell you how to do your job but I did grow up in your kid’s generation and I do understand their struggles as well as I understand yours.

I’m the middle man (woman). I am not a child but I am still learning to be an adult and growing in my maturity. I know what kids in this generation are struggling with because that was me 3 years ago. However, I have now entered adulthood and am starting to see those same teenage choices and decisions come full circle. I am starting to see both sides of the coin.

With all my talk about innocence, please do not misunderstand me. I am not advocating that children just shouldn’t grow up or that we shelter them. But what I am saying is that too many 11 year olds have social media accounts. Too many 7th graders have boy/girlfriends when in reality no 7th grader (in my opinion) should be dating period. Too many kids whether they be 3rd grade or 10th grade are wasting their innocence and childhood because their parents are detached and these kids are forced to raise themselves. In the absence of an adult, a child then begins making decisions that no child or teen has the emotional or mental maturity to make.

The bottom line is that the loss of innocence due to in-active parenting worries me. I love your kids. I have a heart for kids and teens. I am honored to speak in schools, youth groups, etc. because I get to meet and spend time with these kids. I see their struggles and more times than not I see their parent’s absence in their lives that contribute to their struggles.

Every kid desires to be loved and every child wants to be made to feel special. I know every parent loves their kids and they understand how special their child is. However, sometimes life gets in the way and we lose track of being involved. I understand how difficult that can be which again is why I’m writing this blog series.

Each week in January I will be discussing 4 different topics- Kids & Social Media, Kids & Dating, Kids & Friends, and Kids & Extracurriculars. These are 4 subjects that I feel are extremely important and relevant but are simply not being addressed on a regular basis as I think it should be. Again, all I am here for is to offer help and relay the issues I see in my generation that many parents simply may not know to look for.

All I want is for kids to grow up on time and in a mature manner. Not grow up too fast in an immature way. I look forward to sharing what I have learned through my own experiences as a teen growing up in the digital age as well as some interesting facts regarding social media next week.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!

© Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Merry Christmas!

MC IW

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you are all enjoying this special time with your loved ones. This is not going to be a lengthy blog because I too am spending time with my family this week. Soak up every moment you can because the Christmas season flies by all too quickly. If only the Holidays lasted a little longer.

In January, I will be starting a blog series called “Kids Aren’t Lizards”. Which may seem strange and random, but something my dad always says is “Kids aren’t lizards. They don’t hatch and raise themselves.” I will give more detail next Wednesday on what I will be talking about each week in this series. For now, I will just say that like my blogs in the past this series will be written for everyone but will be geared towards parents from a teen/young adult perspective.

I am extremely excited for Christmas and the New Year. Many exciting things are happening and for that I am grateful. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

See you next week!

© Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and Ill Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Where I’ve Been.

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Hey y’all!

I need to apologize because I have not been keeping up with my weekly blogs as I should have been. My life have changed a lot over the past few months and my path has been redirected a little.

I began my I’ll Wait ministy last year around this time and I am so happy to see how this ministry has grown. But most of all, I am excited to see how this ministry has grown me as a person. Weekly blogging has challenged me; traveling and speaking have pushed me out of my comfort zone. I’ll Wait has done wonders for me in my walk with the Lord and I can not wait to see how it continues to grow me in the years to come.

But the thing is, I’ll Wait is not just about me anymore. I will continue to give my honest opinion in my blogs and be open about what I am dealing with, but it goes deeper than what I think or how I feel.

Back in September, I won the Miss Coastal Alabama Pageant, a Miss Alabama preliminary pageant, and I will be competing for Miss Alabama in June 2016. My platform is Dating With Purpose which had its beginnings and is loosely based upon the purpose of I’ll Wait. Competing in the Miss Coastal Alabama Pageant opened my eyes to see that I’ll Wait was not reaching as big of an audience as I would like to. I created my platform Dating With Purpose because my goal and desire is to reach not just those within churches and youth groups, but also kids in public schools and people from all different walks of life. I wanted the topics I discuss in my platform presentation to be relatable to any person no matter the age, gender, or religion. I’ll Wait‘s purpose is still the same; my platform Dating With Purpose is just taking it a few steps further.

What I would like to do through my platform is address a gap I see in sex education in our schools. We teach about and discuss STDs, unplanned pregnancies, condoms, etc. but those topics only address the physical aspect of relationships. Through my platform and a presentation I have prepared, I plan to speak to middle and high schoolers not just about the physical aspect of relationships, but also the emotional and mental toll social dating can have on a person. Our slogan is “Expect Respect” and a core focus of my presentation is respecting yourself, respecting others, and expecting respect from those around us because every person is worthy and special.

So many young people in our culture are caught up in this drama cycle. They begin to date… They break up… They date… They break up. I have dealt with this same drama cycle myself and it is a draining experience. Social media only makes it worse.

When we are being drained in this drama cycle, our goals and aspirations suffer. Our grades drop, our family life dwindles, and we lose sight of what is really important.

Now, what is really important for a 7th-12th grader? Many different things: grades, ACT score, college, sports, music, family, etc. However, I think one of our main issues as a society is that we do not take relationships as seriously as we should. Dating relationships affect us for the rest of our lives on all sides- physically, emotionally and mentally.

In my future blogs, my writing may be a bit more academic, because dating is not just a “Christian issue”; it is something everyone deals with. My blogs will always be in line with Biblical principles, but I also want to offer up common sense, logical rationale based upon unbiased research that supports what I am advocating.

Now, what am I advocating? Through my platform, I am asking that instead of participating in this “drama cycle”, we date with purpose. Instead of dating due to societal pressures or because you are lonely or bored, you date because you are looking for a long-lasting relationship. You date someone because you see them as a possible husband or wife. Dating with purpose is not the norm in our culture, but I believe through the research I have done that it is the only way a person can have a successful, long-lasting, healthy relationship.

I am excited to enter into this new chapter of my life through my pageant platform and the title that I have received. In addition to revamping I’ll Wait, I have also created separate social media accounts for my platform Dating With Purpose so please like/follow to keep up with the different events and functions that will take place over the next 6 months leading up to the Miss Alabama Pageant.Social media info

(c) Bailey Kennon and I’ll Wait Blog, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and link may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and I’ll Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Apples & Oranges

ApplesWe all have struggles and we all have weaknesses. I have always been very open and clear about mine because I know that I am probably not the only one dealing with these issues. One thing in particular I have always dealt with is the struggle of comparison.

I did not notice that I struggled with this problem until maybe mid-way through high school. I would constantly compare myself to others and their success, looks, career choice, intelligence, etc. I would always wind up feeling bad about myself and that resulted battling low self-confidence.

Satan has a wide range of tools in his arsenal and I strongly believe comparison is one of them. When we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, it becomes a distraction from the path the Lord has us on. Comparison turns to doubt and doubt turns to low self-confidence which then can turn to depression, anxiety, settling for less than we deserve, etc. Comparison can become an addiction of sorts. Comparison is a form of coveting which God covers in the 10th commandment. The Lord knew we would struggle with this, I think that’s why “You shall not covet” was included in the 10 commandments.

Over the past few months, my life has changed a good bit. I have moved into some new seasons of life and it’s exciting. I am beginning to see some of the fruits of my labor and it is encouraging. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go but having success in some sort of fashion feels good. But it doesn’t just make me feel good, I feel like I have taken a leap in maturity in some ways and have new insight regarding things I struggle with.

I believe (And the Bible tells us) the Lord created every person on this earth for a specific purpose (“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” -Colossians 1:16 (NIV). He does not make mistakes and He does not forget the people whom He has created (“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” -Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV). For people to reach that specific purpose God created for them, they must follow a path throughout their life that the Lord planned for them (“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”- Ephesians 2:10 (NLT).

If no two people are alike, then logically no two paths are alike either. I believe that key aspect is something that I have been missing. I compared my success in my path to other’s success on their path. I now see how ridiculous that is because we are different people. They can never fill my role on this earth nor can I carry out theirs. Otherwise the Lord would have made me or them, not both.

Many seasons of life are times of preparation. They may not be extremely exciting, but are absolutely necessary. During these times is when Satan drops in the seed of comparison. We are not necessarily doing something that is extremely exciting, but we see someone else who is doing something exciting. We see them moving off to a new place, or starting a new career, or dating a new boy or girl and then we look at our lives and begin to think. We begin to doubt the Lord even has a purpose for us, we begin to think He has forgotten us, and we begin to sink into a state of feeling like we are no longer worth anything.

There are certain aspects of social media that I love. I love how easy it is to stay in touch with far off friends and family or how easy it is to promote business etc. But there are many things I hate about social media. Social media is a way for Satan to directly feed us seeds of comparison. I see constant snapshots of other people’s lives that look really exciting and then I look at my feed and it’s all pictures of coffee and my cats. We forget that pictures on social media are snapshots of people’s lives. Their posts are maybe 10% of what their lives actually look like. We show our success in posts, not all the work it took to get there. Success is much more exciting to post rather than hours upon hours of sweat and hard work. And let’s be honest, slap a filter on a picture of literally anything and you can make it look vintage-y and exciting. Magic.

I am sharing this topic and this struggle because it took me a long time to understand why there is no need to compare my looks or success or intelligence to others. That will literally do nothing to further my career or aspirations. Comparison is only a distraction to where the Lord has me going.

I want to encourage you to stop looking at other people’s lives. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. If they succeed, hey, good for them. A win for one is a win for all. If they fail, be right there to help pick them back up. But do not ever measure your abilities and talents by other people’s abilities and talents. It’s apples and oranges.

Instead, focus on your life. Focus on what passions the Lord has instilled in you. Decide now that it doesn’t matter what others do or where others go, it only matters that you are continually following God’s plan for your life. He has not forgotten about you and He has not forsaken you, some plans just take time and some paths go on longer.

Keep your head down, but keep up the good work. Stay focused on what has been put before you and your time will come. Much easier said than done, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the Lord is working on your behalf for those things to come to pass.

(c) Bailey Kennon and I’ll Wait Blog, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and link may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Bailey Kennon and I’ll Wait Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.