Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year Parenting Resolutions

Happy New Year! I'm wrapping up my holiday break today and am ready for a highly productive 2007. I wanted to share some interesting observations from my holiday.

•When adults wind down from a busy schedule, they may pick on each other about things that otherwise don't seem to bother them. For example, a pile of holiday wrapping paper and ribbon in the laundry room. Or an empty bowl of cereal left on the counter.

•After all the presents are unwrapped and tossed around and a few broken, children will begin to whine and fight with each other again.

•The best gifts cost nothing. My favorites this year included seeing my daughters in angel and sheep costumes, singing "Get Ready for the Baby;" a fairy quest in the snowy woods at a birthday party, and trying to figure out what kind of holiday word was duct-taped to my back at a friend's Christmas party.

You may have experienced some of this yourself. If so, I challenge you to include in your resolutions a little less focus on the material and a little more focus on the spiritual, as in feeding your spirit and the spirits of those you love. It starts with little things, like stopping to listen to your child finish a sentence or story and responding to show you heard her. It means greeting your family members with "Good Morning!" even if you're really tired. It means cutting out the cuss words even when you're really angry. It means thanking your children when they help around the house.

My daughter recently wrote a cinquain poem about me, and it helped me understand how she sees me in relation to her life.

Helpful, Loving
Working, Working, Working
Taking Kids Fun Places

The line about working did make me pause, but again if this is how I'm remembered in this wonderful life, I can't complain.

Ask your children sometime to describe you. Their answers may surprise you.

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