Things I Tell My Kids, part 2

Parenting is about teaching. Teaching about life, teaching to ride a bike, teaching character, teaching math. Instead of coming up with new curriculum everyday, I rely on trusty phrases I can pull out easily. There is power in repeated words. Here are a few we use at our house:

Are you being kind?  Rather than exhorting our kids to be nice, we have always used the word kind. It’s a much richer word. One of my greatest hopes for my kids is that they turn out to be deeply kind. The word kind speaks of compassion, generosity, attention to others; it involves action. I want to call my children to all that kindness implies. Continue reading “Things I Tell My Kids, part 2”

Why I broke the rules and bribed my kid with a candy bar

Every parent of my generation knows the rules.

One of them is that you should never bribe your child, especially with processed sugar. Another is that you should never, ever put pressure on your child to succeed. These are two cardinal parenting rules in my white, American, college educated culture. We don’t want to be those intense, overbearing parents who demand that their children Achieve! Nor do we want to be the slacker parents who abandon all nutritional sense and give in to our children’s whining for sugar.

I brazenly broke both of these rules this past weekend. And did so in good conscience. With nonchalance, even. Continue reading “Why I broke the rules and bribed my kid with a candy bar”

Living Local

Much has been written on the importance of buying local.  From shopping at farmers markets to joining local farm share programs to buying “a quarter” of a nearby cow, we are learning to buy our food from producers within a certain mile radius of our homes.  This is major progress for both our diets and our society.

I want to encourage us to not only buy local, but also to live local.  Imagine confining our weekly activities to within a five mile radius of our homes.  My philosophy is that the more often we do something, the closer to our homes it should be.

For instance, recreation.  Why do the traveling hockey league when you can do the local park and rec league? Continue reading “Living Local”

The complexity of choosing simplicity

IMAG0167 This photo aptly illustrates my approach to life and to parenting.  In our family, we spend a lot of time just chilling out and soaking in.  I could say that this is because I understood from the beginning that “doing too much can be debilitating for kids whose brains are still developing,” as I recently read.  

The truth, though, is that slow and steady is the pace that feels comfortable to me.  And I’m the one running this show, gang. I find packed schedules and rushing around very uncomfortable.  For me to have any patience with my kids, any emotional energy to face life’s challenges, or any ability to think deeply, I need to live at a calm pace. Some might even call our gait leisurely. I want to be available to my kids, to my friends, and to my community. That takes time and flexibility.

To maintain what feels to us like a sane pace, Rick and I have had to make dozens of difficult, even painful, choices.   Continue reading “The complexity of choosing simplicity”

Things I tell my kids, part 1

In my parenting, I have found it very helpful to have a few sayings that I can easily pull out. Nuggets that teach my kids about life, sayings that remind them of things our family holds true. There is power in a punchy and repeated phrase, and I try to wield that power strategically. Here are some of my favorites.

Hogwash!  I say this anytime my kids tell me something patently false that needs to be swiftly rebutted.  Things like I’m too tired to clean up.  Or We never do anything fun.  Or I’m not good at math.  Hogwash! I say.  Boom. End of discussion.  Some ideas just need to be rejected quickly and emphatically. Continue reading “Things I tell my kids, part 1”