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With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, little green clovers are popping up everywhere! That four-sided leaf is thought to bring luck to whoever finds it. Good luck finding one! The odds of finding a four-leaf clover are about one in ten thousand. Seems like the odds are slim, but those numbers are actually pretty probable compared to the odds of winning Powerball. Your chances of getting a winning ticket are radically reduced: One in almost three hundred million! Good Luck - on steroids for that gamble!

With this being a parenting blog - you may have guessed where I’m going with this - but stick with me. We all need encouragement in the game of life! Parenting is not a gamble - it’s an investment. Sometimes the ROI takes a LONG time to pay off, but stay persistent. Wisdom always builds something good. How can we improve our chances of a good payoff? Here’s what I’ve found after a few decades in the parenting lane:

  1. Get support. No one should parent alone - and I say that as a kid who grew up in a single-parent home. I don’t mean find a spouse - I mean find a village! Surround yourself with voices (friends, pastors, teachers, mentors, authors, podcasters) who bring wisdom and hope into your life.

  2. Catch a breath. Having time away from your kids is vital to keep you fresh and optimistic. You might have a friend who will do a kid swap afternoon with you each week or a couple of times a month. Maybe you have a trusted family member who can watch them. Maybe you can budget in a babysitter - whatever method - make time for yourself to enjoy life. A fresh YOU makes for a great vessel for wisdom and hope to flourish. Strengthen the vessel.

  3. Talk about life with your kids. When you’re trying to teach a value, create healthy habits, correct a mistake - talk it out objectively with your kids. If you’re not sure how to, draw from those good voices (in point 1) to find content that promotes positive acceptance of what you want to deliver.

  4. Focus on the Good. It’s really easy to make life about course corrections - only addressing what’s wrong. Remind yourself to “catch” your kids doing what’s good - and cheer them on. Make the good news more common than the negative reports.

  5. Make play a priority. If there’s one mistake I remember from the early years and even the teen years - it revolves around play. I’m a work-a-holic and find work enjoyable. That means I don’t play easily. Can you relate? Play is what kids do - it’s their world. During play, they explore SO much of the world - and themselves. When you play with your kids, you are gifted with a window into their souls. You see life through their eyes - and into their hearts. You will NEVER regret the time you played with your kids. Trust me. And good news - it’s never too late to start!

Good parenting is a slow easy walk - with wisdom and grace close at hand. You got this! You are the perfect one to walk along with your kids throughout their lives - helping them learn the ways of love, life, family, work, and the world. Throw out the rabbit’s foot - there’s NO luck required.

Sandy Ohlman

Allendale Center Director

Healthy conversations with your teen:

As a parent, you know the importance of having healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen. You know that healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen are vital to their emotional, physical, social and spiritual health.


The PROBLEM is knowing how to have those healthy and meaningful conversations is difficult and at times seems impossible. There are a lot of reasons to why you don't feel qualified or able to have these conversations. Maybe you struggle with knowing what is going on in your teen's life. Maybe you struggle with keeping up with technology. Maybe you weren't the best teen and now don't feel qualified to talk with your teen about making healthy choices.


We exist to guide you along this journey and to encourage you. From a biblical basis and our experience, we will give you tools and encouragement to have healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen.

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