Sunday, November 18, 2012

Santa....truth be told

I seem to be finding myself in this cyclone of opposing views when it comes to certain topics...of the top of my head, Halloween and Santa. I could name a few un-holiday related topics in which I have left situations not really knowing whether it was 1)me trapped in a different culture of circumstance (and i just don't fit in) 2)I need different family and friends or 3) I could be the one who is off her rocker.

Regardless, here is another perspective based on my experiences/views with my own children, students, reality, Jesus....etc etc. A preemptive note: I am not so Scrooge-like where I would think otherwise of family and friends who do not jump on the same notion bandwagon. So, don't be all negative in thinking about my tune. It's just something to think about as you will never dodge the age old question from your kids, "is santa real?"

Cognitive Growth
As an educator and a mom, I know the its developmentally appropriate to nurture a childs ability to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. It's important for their cognition and we should be recognizing that as a huge factor in their achievement in that area. They will see and hear all sorts of things in media, movies, school, and from friends, so it's inevitable that the reality/fantasy dilemma will come up. When our kids have nightmares or scary thoughts, we tell them, "they aren't real, don't worry, nothings going to happen because they don't exist." How do you expect our kids to trust us if we are sending mixed messges on reality. It causes confusion when they try to conceptualize how Santa could be real. Don't even get me started on the creepy lady coming into your bedroom taking your teeth. My son wouldn't pull his teeth (hanging by threads) because he was afraid of a stranger coming into our house. So, ya, trust is a big issue with me and my kids. I don't love having a household full of no sleep, fear, and falsehoods.

Some things are real...some things are not
Is Santa real? No...but Jesus is. The truth in that is far more magical and worthy of celebrating. My youngest is 8 and at first when he asked, I would cringe because I felt dissonance between the outcome of telling this particular offspring the truth version AND the fantasy version. The old me would say, "it depends on the child" whether or not to tell them the truth. The new me would say, "tell them the truth no matter what." Matter of fact, I wish I would have started them out knowing that Santa is just a fictional character that we enjoy telling stories about...the focus wouldn't be on Santa it would be on Jesus. Even if you don't believe in Jesus...Santa still isn't real. We still can have fun with Santa and if your household can't enjoy the multitude of meaningful traditions and giving of generous proportions that occur on the Holidays without Santa, then that is concerning to me (still, true to my preemptive note, not judging).

This is a gift....from us!
Why the heck would I let Santa, whom we never see, and only talk about once a year, take credit in the things I spent a lot of time, thought, and money into getting my kids? My husband and I love getting things for our boys that we know they will love. And, moreso, when I was a kid (and even as an adult) It made everything all the more special knowing that my parents know exactly who I am and what I love. The look and emotion in our kids' face is pricesless...knowing it came from us, not a stranger. There is plenty of jolly in that alone.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


You have heard of it...and I'm pretty sure this generation of kiddos is called, "the entitlement generation." I see it in the classroom and with families a great deal. There are exceptions, that is always true. However, how confident are you that you and your children aren't falling into this trap? Enter a book titled, "The Entitlement Trap."
You can check out this book HERE

My sister told me about it. I have not read it, but my sister has and she has tried it with her kids. When they were visiting I saw how it worked...and, guess worked to my benefit because Evan was asking if he could do the dishes. What the...????. I reluctantly said, "uuhhmmmm, sure" because I felt like it was a trick. I may or may not read it, there is always a turn-a-bout and you have to be willing to enter for the long haul. Needless to say, it has made me think. A quick insert...when cute Evan asked to do the dishes, I not only hesitated because I was taken aback, I also knew that it was Chases job at that time and deep down I thought, "if Chase doesn't have to do it, he's basically getting away with murder and Evan is taking advantage of this quality learning opp while Chase is playing video does that make my child look?!?" Hahaha, my point is, we all want our kids to be successful and we don't want to be the ones responsible if they aren't (but, what does it mean to be successful anyway?) :)

I am writing about it because it DOES start at home and when you pay attention to it (for me it's easy since I am around kids all day) you really see how deeply routed this concept is and how it relates to everyday issues. Try to observe it around your kids, their friends, your friends' kids, step-children, extra-curricular activities, sports teams, will see what I mean. Is this a huge problem? I don't know, hard to tell, and it actually depends on YOU! I do know that my goal as a parent is to model effective habits, admit those nasty habits we can work on, and provide opportunities for our kids to learn in order for them to live a life conducive to their happiness. Plus, think of how much stress it can cause on the family.

Here's a quick test: have you ever... (this is my version of "you might be a redneck")

-heard a child say, "that's not fair?" I have heard this so many times and I honestly cringe everytime, because...good luck with that. Sometimes parent's take it as you have to do the same thing for each of your kids. Not true. Children are so different and naturally, require different things. The fairness comes in when you provide the same consideration for each.

-asked a child to pick something up (clean up something) and they say, "it's not mine"

-gotten a response (excuse) such as, "you never said" or anything, really, that begins with "YOU." Meaning it's your fault they didn't accomplish something.

-heard your child claim ownership, like, "that's mine" in reference to a seat, toy, food, video game, phone, etc. For example there is this seat at the dinner table that everyone wants to sit in because you can see the TV and you don't have to share arm space with anyone. So, our oldest seems to think it's "his." If either of the other two boys try, they get a beat down. Sidenote: it is NOT yours. Pretty much everything in this house is a "gift". A little something about don't earn them. That is why it's called a gift. Kinda like grace (NO, not the Grace that died 20 yrs ago). God's Grace:)

-witnessed your child throw a fit if they don't get to watch a certain TV show or they don't get to use YOUR computer. Or, throw a fit when they don't get what they want in general.

-heard your child complain about having to eat something, will only eat certain things (allergies don't count), or get upset when you won't make/get them something else?

-argued with your children about whose turn it was or had to defend why the sibling didn't have to do it or why the sibling got to do it. This is a classic at our house...the old, "I do everything and you don't make them do anything." Hilarious

-had a child ask for money (or an item) and be totally bent out of shape if they don't get it?

-found yourself disciplining a child and they don't take ownership for their actions because others were doing it too? ONE OF MY BIGGEST PEEVES! For many reasons. I can handle inappropriate behaviors, I can re-direct and guide kids all day long...but I don't deal well when they place blame on anyone but themselves.

-heard someone say, in reference to kids/Halloween/trick or treating, "they earned it!" OK you may or may not know how much I dislike halloween but I actually hear that at least once a year...everytime I crap my pants and have to contain myself from going complete bat shit crazy on them. Seems a bit drastic, I know, but what exactly did they earn? Really? Must be hard going door to door begging for candy. Ask any vacuum salesman if the "earned it" simply because they go door to door. Why aren't we buying more vacuum's, cleaners, pest it because they didn't dress up?

-heard a disgruntled mom/dad/kid on a sports team? I realize there are extenuating circumstances for some of these, but for the most's an entitlement factor. Playing time, positions, praise, cuts, and my favorite...a complaint about another person's child. You can even throw in the treat factor after the game, Im serious. Fortunately my kids are all too old for treats...but it got to the point where I was like, "how about I go get you a blue go-gurt and granola bar with chocolate chips and we skip the whole game all together?"

*Basically, if your child rules the roost and you find yourself giving in, accomodating, and inconveniencing everything else to please them or make-up for your own are enabling them to be "entitled."

Do not be confused with consciencly choosing to provide a service or gift to your child because you want to. I love doing things for my kids that make them happy and I know they will enjoy. But when it's simply "expected" from them and disappointment accrues when they don't get it...that falls under the entitlement category.

In the end, it's not a good sense of reality and will not benefit anyone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nine Ways to Balance Sports and Family Life

Nine Ways to Balance Sports and Family Life | MomsTeam
This article appealed to me and I can relate to it in many ways. We have been so blessed to be able to watch our boys participate and love sporting activities since they were in kindergarten! Each one has gravitated to their own sport of choice, but I am so grateful for their health and ability to do so. Our oldest is now a senior and I can't be more excited and nervous for him this year.

I could speak hours about this topic...the do's and don' and's and con's etc. Not only do I have 3 boys actively involved, I have been a coaches wife for 17 years! One can get burnt out. So, I think this article is worth a read. My two cents would be....crap, I have typed 10 things and deleted 10 times...I can't think of one that would sum it up. I think it was #6...but my husband and I were talking about that topic. He figured, if we were to do it over again, we would encourage more involvement in sports that can be hobbies throughout life...not just school. For example, golf. Football, basketball (to an extent), and baseball (also to some extent) are more difficult to be actively involved in after high school/college. But, I guess it's never too late to try something new. The point is, it's important to expand horizons while their young. Our oldest has pretty much had to choose a single's so much time and dedication that it's difficult to commit to more than one.