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Parents want home life to be a comfort for kids

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

December 28, 2007|By LISA PREJEAN

In the spring of this year, a colleague asked each of us to set one goal for 2008. She told us to write down the goal. Then she gave us each an envelope, instructed us to put the goal inside the envelope, seal the envelope and address it to ourselves.

She said she'd mail the envelope at the half-year mark so we could see how we were doing.

I wrote something along the lines of "Spend more time with my kids."

They are growing up fast, and life is so hectic, that sometimes I feel we are constantly rushing through our time together.

We walk in the door at night, toss in a load of laundry, start supper, get started on homework, eat, clean up, pack lunches, practice for music lessons, study for tests, get baths, go to bed.

We get up, go to work and school and start the whole routine over again.

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We spend a lot of time together, so perhaps my goal should have been to be more joyful as I share the routines of life with my children.

My little boy will be 13 this year. In five short years, he will be spending most of his time away from us. I want his memories of home life to be comforting.

Most parents wish that for their children.

In light of this, I'd like to offer some goals that parents might want to set for 2008. Perhaps I'll add some of these to my list as well.

· I will not overschedule my family.

When we have too many things to do, places to go and deadlines to meet, everyone becomes frazzled. Unkind words are spoken and immune systems get run down. Everyone ends up grumpy and sick.

· I will schedule "desk time" to manage paperwork.

Let's face it, if we don't have a regular time to go through those papers from school, the bills, the registration forms, the junk mail, etc., the paper piles up. (Just ask my husband. He really wants me to make this a goal for 2008.)

· I will not overspend my budget.

While this might not be the best time of year to approach this one, it is one we need to face. First off, we need a budget. Then we need to keep it. The regularly scheduled desk time will help in this area.

· I will take care of myself.

If we don't make this a goal, all our other goals are for naught. If we plan to eat right, get enough rest and exercise, the schedule already will be in place. All we have to do is follow it.

· I will help my children see the bright spots in their disappointments.

We need to teach them to enjoy the experiences that come to them.

This year my daughter wanted to play the role of the angel in the church Christmas program. Since so many girls wanted to be in the program, many of them were asked to play traditional "boy" parts ? shepherds, wisemen, etc. My daughter was asked to play the innkeeper.

"Mom, I only have two lines," she lamented after the casting was complete.

I listened as she shared her feelings about the part. She thought it was insignificant.

I disagreed.

"Actually, the part of the innkeeper is a very important one. The innkeeper sent Mary and Joseph to the stable where Jesus was born. If there wasn't an innkeeper, the entire Christmas story would be different. Think about that."

She nodded and walked away.

A few days later as we were practicing her lines, I said, "Isn't it a blessing that you only have two lines to learn at this busy time of year?"

She smiled.

After one of the practices, she was happily chatting about playing with her friends.

I nodded and said, "That's part of the fun of being in a production. You get to spend time with the other cast members at rehearsals. It doesn't matter what role you have. Everyone gets to be together."

She smiled again.

The day before the production, I encouraged her to be the best innkeeper ever.

She smiled and gave me a hug. She had finally accepted her role and was happy about it.

Which brings me to another goal.

· I will celebrate my children for who they are.

I will let them know that I am pleased with their efforts, not because of what they accomplish but for how they respond to the offers life brings. I will help keep their eyes open to the possibilities and will cheer them on when they've set goals of their own.

That will make 2008 a mighty fine year indeed.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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