Maybe you’ll never be the type of parent who comes home at the end of the day with boundless energy, all smiles and hugs and ready to play with your children until their bedtime. However, some room exists for you to expand your range of behaviors.
Leave the negativity outside and switch on an upbeat attitude you before walking in the door. Your family deserves that. Before you enter, look up, smile, and ask yourself what do you love about your family? Why are you lucky? Create the energy before you walk in the door. Then, engage them with your time, attention and affection.
If your goal is to be more responsive to each member of your family, you can undertake a variety of activities that will help.
Below are many suggestions among thousands of possibilities. Although all of the suggestions and ideas for goal-setting presented are in relation to children, with a twist and a turn, they each could be applied to your spouse as well:
If your child comes home from school with an ‘A’ on her spelling test or a piece of artwork she’s particularly proud of, seize the moment. Pick up the item, look it over carefully, ask questions about it, and show interest.
It’s not difficult to show interest in something once daily that your son or daughter brings to you. Indeed, it’s a worthwhile goal for many reasons. It tells your child that you’re interested in him or her, that what he or she does is important, and, most importantly, tells your child that the next time they’re taking a test or drawing a picture, they’ll want to do their best because after all, daddy will see it.
Listen to Their Favorite Music
You might like classical music or classic rock ‘n roll. Your kids might like pop, rap, hip-hop, or who knows what. Is it too much to simply sit with them for a few minutes and listen to two of their favorite songs, even if you’re secretly thinking, “How can anybody buy that, let alone record it in the first place?”
Have you ever wondered why teenagers in those jazzed-up cars play their music above the hundred-decibel level? They want others to hear what they’re hearing. Music, and specifically lyrics, has the ability to reach deep into the human psyche.
Listening to music together, much like eating together, is a form of bonding. People seem to want others to hear what they hear and enjoy what they enjoy. Usually this happens in the car. Devise a plan to alternate who has control of the music and motor along happily.
Include Them in Your Discussions
Suppose you’re talking with your spouse and your children are nearby. Do you exclude them from the conversation as if they don’t have a worthwhile opinion?
Once a week, what if you were to say, “Mark, don’t you feel that we XYZ…?” or, “Caitlin, do you think if we were to…?”
After the initial shock wears off, you’ll find that your children are pleased to be called upon. In essence, what you’re doing is respecting them on the interpersonal level. You’re saying that they’re full-fledged human beings, even if they are smaller than you, and that they have opinions and observations that count.
Drop in on After School Activities
No matter how busy you are, how demanding your job is, or how unreasonable your boss is, you can find a way to see a few practices and attend a few games your kids would love to have you see.
When you catch your child kicking the ball over everyone’s head, participating in a sing-along, or simply having fun with other kids, you do yourself and your child a big favor. You indicate to your kid that he or she is special enough for you to break your routine now and then and see what’s happening at school or with the other kids.
Visiting your child unannounced minimizes your child’s need to have you around every minute you’re at home and enables him or her to be more understanding when you’re traveling.
After all, if daddy or mommy drops in on me unexpectedly every now and then, they certainly love and care about me. This is especially effective: dropping by for lunch when they are in grade school, but make sure you sign in first and follow school procedures.
Maybe you’ll be the only parent who does this, but so what? Why not set as a goal to visit your child once each calendar month at an after school activity.
Say Yes A Little More Often
Kids ask to do so many things that for many parents it almost becomes automatic to say no.
Can I stay up later? No.
Can I have some ice cream? No.
Can I go across the street with my friends? No.
What’s the real reason behind some of these refusals? Is it fear for their safety or well-being? Do you think they’ll be corrupted if some family rule is bent on one particular evening? Or, are you exercising authority the same way your parents did?
Often, we forget that although our rules are conceived with good intentions, some of which could be rather arbitrary. I don’t have hard evidence that each of the rules creates a desired outcome, i.e., a goal we previously established for our family and specifically for our children. Saying ‘yes’ a little more often than usual has its place.
Set a goal of saying yes one more time per week than normally. This is not so hard to monitor, since you’ll have to ponder the situation for at least a few seconds, and realize that you’re about to say yes when your instinctive reaction was to say no.
If it helps, keep a running log of the times that you surprised your child with a yes. At the least, you’ll have ammunition for later when your child says you never say yes.
Seek Their Help
Do you have business and financial problems for which you think your children cannot be of much assistance? Think again for out of the mouths of babes sometimes come great ideas.
In his book, A Whack On the Side of the Head, Dr. Roger von Oeck contends that the solution to problems often comes by looking at a situation with creativity – taking a different view than you did before. Who better to help you than someone small who doesn’t know all of the givens of the situation?
When it comes to using technology, your son or daughter might have insight that you’ve never considered. How often have you asked your children for some type of support? Could you ask this of them at least once a week? If you’re self-employed, you can lawfully hire them at a young age, pay them, and claim the labor expense.
Go Ahead and Ask
Regardless of whether or not you believe your children can help you with a particular issue, go ahead and ask them. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.
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A week of the new year and of the new month has passed. What other Breathing Space tips will help give you a sense of control?
[ ] On each trip to the supermarket, shop for at least two food items that are new to you or your family.
[ ] Eat in-season fruits that are high in citrus and bioflavonoids, such as oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. You need your Vitamin C in the winter! Also, take a multivitamin.
[ ] Tackle all household repair jobs before spring. Handle one project per week.
[ ] If the roads are clear, take one new route from work each week.
[ ] Enroll in a course at your local college, and take advantage of mid-afternoon or evening time slots. Most evening classes are smaller, allowing for more class discussion and individual attention.
[ ] Take advantage of all the post-holiday bargains. Buy in bulk and buy off-season items when the price is right.
[ ] Go ahead and schedule that spa treatment you’ve been wanting to take.
[ ] Give your body a treat, go to sleep early at least one night per week.
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Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others
Considering all the nations in the world and the dominating religions within those nations, Christianity is the most beneficial. When Christians are in the majority, it is good for everyone who resides there.
Christians during the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, and up to the mid-20th century contributed to much of the world’s turmoil. In recent decades, however, they have been the most accommodating, accepting, and peaceful group. I’m glad I live in a Christian nation and, given the options globally, would not have it any other way.
Best of the Best
Particularly in America, Christians today are tolerant, acknowledging the rights of others. They recognize the right of Israel to exist. They fully embrace Israel’s strategic role in the Middle East.
Too many people on the left who regard themselves as the arbiters of what is right and true, in minor and major ways have been persecuting Christians for decades. They do not want public displays of Christianity anywhere in America. Their agenda is to remove all vestiges of religion in America. They contend that America would be a better, more egalitarian nation.
Just the opposite is true. Those who want to stamp out religion in America don’t understand that our origins and 250-year history is based on Judeo-Christian principles. The cancel culture left seek to reject the U.S. Constitution out-of-hand.
We have encountered leftist groups who shatter statues and historic symbols they deem to be oppressive and part of an old regime that was illegitimate from the outset. Many of these perpetrators hide behind ski masks while regarding themselves as heroes. In reality, they are fascists, seeking to control us.
Leftist enforcers have no idea how intolerant they are and that they are no better than those they seek to diminish. In the U.S., people of all faiths are free to celebrate their faith. If one particular faith, Christianity, was predominant from inception, to today, that does not preclude other religious groups from celebrating.
Congress: Hands Off
Leftists make erroneous statements about the “separation of church and state.” The phrase simply is not contained in the Constitution or any founding document. It appeared in a letter that President Thomas Jefferson sent to a Baptist congregation in Danbury, Connecticut. His note to them was designed to reaffirm that the government would not make dictates related to the church.
The First Amendment to the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So, when it comes to religion, Congress must keep its hand off.
As a nonreligious person, I have nothing against seeing a religious display on public or private property. Indeed, America shorn of religious symbology would be a dismal place. The Ten Commandments on a public plaque? Fine. Christmas trees in the town square? Flip on the lights! A mosque being built in America? Why not?
As long as everyone is tolerant of other religions, such developments represent no threat to anyone. It is those who operate in secret who represent a threat, as are those who wish to vanquish the rights of others to publicly exhibit symbology.
The Option to Sing Along
When I attended grammar school, I was exposed to the annual Christmas pageant. I had the choice to skip the assembly. In each case, however, I chose to enjoy the merriment of the festivities, but not sing along. My young classmates did not require me to capitulate. Nor did I expect them to modify their festival to accommodate me. Would any aware American who moved to another country expect that country to diminish their celebrations to accommodate the newbie?
I’ve had the opportunity to visit 46 of the 50 states, and 73 countries. I have walked through hallowed halls of shrines, mosques, churches, and ashrams. While Christians are being persecuted in many countries around the world, I don’t know of a single instance today where people feel unsafe in a Christian majority country.
So, I say to you, if you are a Christian, in America, please know that large numbers of us support your right to practice your religion.
For All You Do
Thank you for safeguarding the public and private expressions of others. Thank you for helping to establish a climate where non-Christians and others can feel welcome. Thank you for becoming a peaceful, tolerant religion that rightfully serves as a model for others around the globe.
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