Make room for one more

Americans love to indulge on Thanksgiving. Can’t you just taste that juicy turkey and dressing? Well, there are people who won’t get to enjoy even the first bite of turkey. Maybe they’re unmarried and don’t have any family nearby. Maybe they’re a single mom with three kids and can’t afford all the fixings. Or maybe they’re your elderly neighbor who’s embarrassed to admit they don’t have plans. Think about people you know who would really appreciate an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner. Then pull up an extra chair to your table, or better yet, pull up a few.

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What do you kids think about marriage?

Here are some classic responses:

How do you decide whom to marry? “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”  ? Alan, age 10

How can a stranger tell if two people are married? “You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” – Derrick, age 8

What do you think your mom and dad have in common?  “Both don’t want any more kids.” – Lori, age 8

When is it okay to kiss someone?  “When they’re rich.” – Pam, age 7

How would you make a marriage work?  “Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.” – Ricky, age 10

Classic.  So what do your kids think about your marriage?  If you think you need to do a better job portraying what a marriage should be, the first step is to renew the romance. Start with a getaway.  Have you ever planned a trip for just you and your spouse without the kids?

Know your motives

As a leader in your home, motive is so important. If you don’t have good motives, you will make bad decisions for your children. Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” As a parent, I need to constantly ask myself, “Am I living my life to give or to get?” When it comes to my kids, I need to ask “Why am I making this decision?” “Is it best for my child long-term or just a short-term fix that’s convenient for me?” “Is this activity something my child will enjoy or just something I want to do?”

Healthy boundaries

Imagine…no rules, no boundaries on the basketball court.  Players can run wherever they want…and there’s never a foul.  Well, you get the picture…it would be pure chaos.  You can’t have a game without boundaries, and you can’t have a sane home without creating safe boundaries. And those boundaries for your children must be decided by you in advance and shared with your children in advance.  The older your kids get, the more input they should have on how those lines are drawn.  Then, the boundaries must be consistently enforced by you, and backed up by consequences that match the offense.

Too much TV time?

Recently, there was a fellow in Oregon who purchased a new television.  He was in for a big surprise. This particular TV inadvertently emitted the International Distress Signal and he soon had law enforcement banging at his front door.

As amusing as this story is, as a parent, you probably wish your television would emit signals whenever something came on that could harm your children.  Brief TV ratings getting flashed during a program is not enough.  You need more.

Here are a few suggestions.  If your child has a TV in their room, consider taking it out.  Initially, you’ll get some blow back from them, but it’s for their good.  And your job as a parent is to protect them.  Also, set a schedule and only allow your kids to watch certain, pre-approved programs at certain times in the family room.  You may even want to record the shows so your children can fast-forward through the commercials (which can be objectionable as well).  And finally, whatever TV time you decide is best for your family, try to have everyone watch shows together.  You’ll personally be able to monitor programs and use them as object lessons and teachable moments.

The miracle that you are

Think your life does not have much meaning?  Think again.  You are a walking, talking miracle.  You and your children are fantastic, wonderful, miraculous creations.  Remember that every time you interact.  It will exponentially elevate your opinion on what it means to be their father or their mother.

Learning from mistakes

Donald Trump is known for a lot of things. Making (and losing) riches is one of them.  One of Trump’s truisms is, “The second developer in is usually the one who makes the money.”  By this, he means the first developer made the mistake of purchasing a property, pulling permits, and laying pipe only to realize his cash flow projections were off.  So he sells for pennies on the dollar.  And moguls like Trump swoop in.

Mistakes are costly, in finance and in life.  But a willingness to seek counsel can help you minimize them. Teach your kids who to seek counsel from and encourage them to ask often.