Jan 18

The holidays are just around the around the corner, and I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about the not-so-obvious meaning they hold for children. Meaning? What other meaning could there be besides their religious significance or the generosity of parents and grandparents who buy them gifts?

May 2009

When it comes to Mother’s Day, on the one hand, I resist the idea of setting aside o ne day out of the year to honor mothers. On the other hand, I think it is a sweet idea to set aside one day to honor mothers.

So the presidential election is over and I can't help but wonder how people are reacting to the outcome. Mainly, I wonder (as you've probably guessed) how parents' reactions affect their children. Since children absorb attitudes from the people closest to them,

Every so often we hear a story about a public servant who falls from grace – falling also from a respected position he held in service to his country. Senator John Edwards is the latest politician to confess to having an extramarital affair.

Teenage daughter to her mother: "You never listen!"

Mother to teenage daughter: "I heard every word you said!"

Did the daughter say exactly what she means, and did she mean what she said? If she didn't, how can her mother know what she really means?

In a television commercial, an adorable little girl in a blue tutu emerges victorious from the bathroom.  She jumps up and down and, along with her mother, claps her hands over her success at toilet training.  Perhaps her first.  Mom ought to memorize the picture of her child's glee and satisfaction over "a-job-well-done" as a reminder of the vital role success plays in a child's self-image. 

At first I was puzzled when my friend Laura, a retired teacher, told me she used to start her classes with someone telling a joke. It didn't have to be funny for everyone to laugh, she said,  because they were all instructed to laugh anyway.  In fact, not getting the joke was in itself funny – and the infectious laugh of thirty kids had the classroom in an uproar.  She didn't say how long the hilarity lasted, but she did say that when they couldn't laugh any more, they were ready to get down to work.

Some parents are not happy with the results they are getting from their methods of discipline.  Instead of reevaluating their methods, they blame their children for the poor results. So they continue to do what wasn't working and expect the children will eventually "come around."  Other parents who were dissatisfied with their results were eager for new ideas. I found just such a group of parents at an inner city school. 

In a recent parent group, two mothers complained they were having trouble getting their 8 and 10 year old sons to obey. (The battle begins with: "This is my house and these are my rules.")  While we wish we could tell our children the house rules only once and they'd comply forever, (and we'd all live happily ever after,) the reality is, it's not going to happen. Not that way.

Intro and Miss-takes ...
Have you ever gone to bed at night praying or promising yourself that you'll be a better parent tomorrow?  That you'll be more patient, more tolerant, more loving, more fun?  Then tomorrow comes and the prayer and the promise dissolve in the stresses and pressures and worries of the day and you're disappointed in yourself again.

When I asked my grandfather, "How did it feel to fly for the first time when you were ninety years old?," he answered, "Wonder of Wonders!" If you were asked about your first time experiences, how you would respond?  Would you say wonder of wonders?  Or do you find it hard to deal with new situations or sudden change?

as seen in Baltimore's Child Magazine