Thursday, May 29, 2014

Just Be Thankful!

The gremlins ate a very healthy lunch of Chef Boyardee ravioli today.  When it was ready I placed Kaitlyn in her booster seat and told the boys it was time to eat. Logan smiled and said, "I'm glad ravioli was created."

These kids never cease to amaze me.  Logan especially has a big heart for others and is always thankful for what he has.  Sure, he has moments like the rest of us where he wishes he had something he doesn't have (We as adults do it, he's an 8-year-old boy, of course he's going to do it), but most of the time he is happy to eat whatever I serve him, he's happy to have shoes and clothes, even if they're hand-me-downs. He's just happy. He's also thankful. It occurred to me today that we could learn a lot from him.

We live in a society that judges people by the homes they live in, the cars they drive, the things they have, the clothes they wear, or how much money they have.  It can be a hard world to raise your children in.  Jacob and I have tried to teach our children from day one to be thankful for what they have, we try to teach them not to be wasteful, and most importantly, we try to teach them to get to know someone and make opinions about them based on their personality, not based on what they're wearing of where they live. Logan is at a really cool age because he really doesn't see a lot of differences between himself and others.

It is so easy to look at some one or meet some one for the first time and quickly make judgments and assumptions about them.  It's easy to get caught up in the money game and become engulfed with the "I wants" but we all need to be reminded from time to time to take a look around and be thankful for what we have.  This includes relationships with people--if you want to nurture important relationships, then treat that person with kindness and respect. It is hard to keep a healthy relationship if you are constantly criticizing and making negative comments.  This is why people say real relationships are few and far between.  Be thankful for those relationships that make you feel encouraged and loved. See?  We have a lot to be thankful for. ;)

Some day, when my timeline on earth stops, I don't want people to remember me as being selfish or critical.  I don't want people to remember me as being snobbish or acting superior.  I don't want people to remember me as being hateful or cruel. I don't want people to remember me as being controlling, bossy or pushy.  I want people to remember me as being kind. I want people to remember me as having a positive attitude and never making anyone feel bad about themselves. I want people to remember me as being accepting, loving, helpful, encouraging and thankful for all I have--whether it's a little or a lot, it's always enough.

Surely, if an 8-year-old boy can be thankful for Chef Boyardee Ravioli, we as adults can be thankful for so much more.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What Kind of Parent Are You?

As a parent you tend to notice how other parents treat their children.  I often watch other parents and think, "I hope I never treat my children that way."  For some reason I have encountered a lot of critical parents lately.  Sometimes I can't help but think about how these parents can be the worst kind.  They give their children everything they need, they even love their children, but they invest so much time and energy into making comments, criticizing and pointing out their children's flaws.  If your parents don't love you unconditionally then who will?  It just makes me sad for those children who just want to feel loved by their parents, but instead feel like they do nothing right because they are constantly met with negativity.  You are an adult.  You were given this child to love.  They should feel encouraged.  They should feel special.  They should feel as if they are making you proud.  To watch a child's happiness completely disappear and be replaced with an expression of hurt because of something their parents said to them is heartbreaking.  You can smile and act sweet around your friends.  You can post about what a great mother you are on social networks, you can even throw some religion in there for good measure, but if you are tearing down your child instead of lifting them up then there is something wrong with you.  I have encountered so many parents who are far from perfect, but expect perfection from their children.  It's not going to happen and making them feel bad about themselves is not going to give you the relationship you hope to have with them someday when they're an adult.  It is only going to push them away.

I'm talking to that mother in the waiting room who looks at her teenage son disapprovingly and says, "Why is your face so broken out?"  The kid glares at her, his face clouded with hurt and he slumps down in his chair. I'm talking to the parent who makes comments about his child's weight . . . to his child.  I'm talking about the parent who makes comments about their adult children when they see them and criticize them, whether they realize it or not.  Parents who question everything their children do and believe that pointing out areas that need improvement will help them be better people, when really you're just chiseling away a little bit of their happiness and bruising their self esteem with each comment or criticism they're met with.

I am not a perfect parent and I'm not raising perfect children.  I do my best, though.  Jacob and I both encourage our children every chance we get.  We don't point out imperfections or say anything that will make them feel bad about themselves.  We always try to focus on their positive qualities . . . and let me tell you, there are so many!  I pray I am still this mom when my children are older.  I pray I never make them feel bad about themselves through commenting on things in a negative way or through criticizing.  Even when I'm old I want to be a positive parent.  Children want relationships with positive parents who make them feel loved.  I never want to make any of my children feel bad about any part of themselves . . . that's what the world is for, not parents. There are days when I cannot believe the number of parents, especially those in the waiting room with their special needs children, who criticize their children.  We're here to love them and love them unconditionally (whether your child is 2, 15 or 40). Seeing these parents treat their children this way is a good reminder of how not to treat my children.

What kind of parent are you?  What kind of parent would your children say you are?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What If You Could Live In Your Bathtub?

It is funny how we grow and change over the years.  I recently came across some writing assignments I did for a creative writing course I took while in college. As I read some of the short stories and other pieces that I wrote for some of my classes I couldn't help but feel embarrassed, laugh and shake my head.  On a couple of them I actually thought, "This is so horrible!"  It happens.  Hopefully my writing is no longer "So horrible."  It is nice, however, to see that I have grown and mistakes I made back then (stupid mistakes) are no longer being made.

I came across one assignment that I did for a college course that is so ridiculous that it made me laugh.  The image of people living in their bathtubs, putting accessories on tubs as if they were cars to make them lazier, just made me laugh.  I thought I'd share it with you:

                       What If . . . You Could Live In Your Bathtub

    It has been said that many people prefer their bathtub as a place to relax. Some would live in their bathtubs if given the opportunity.  What if you could live in your bathtub? Instead of relaxing only when you found the time, you could relax permanently, and maybe go down in history as the laziest person alive.  As long as the bathtub brings happiness, who cares, right?
    The major problem with living in your bathtub is location. No one wants to spend too much time in the bathroom (for obvious reasons). The answer to this problem is wheels.  Wheels would allow you to move freely around your house and enjoy the comfort of your bathtub. How would you move it, though? A remote controlled device with a motor could be installed so you could get from point A to point B smoothly.
    Some extensions will need to be added to the bathtub.  They would allow you to lift and lower the tub in order to reach counters, cabinets, shelves, etc. This would allow you to do the laundry, cook dinner and perform other tasks without leaving the comfort of your bathtub. Think about how great it would be!  You could have as many relaxing bubble baths as you want and still manage to get things accomplished.  What a life!
    The bathtub won't make the most comfortable bed, though. Remember, the goal is to live in your bathtub. This means you will be sleeping in it as well. In order to make the tub comfortable enough for sleeping simply have the tub padded with some soft, waterproof padding in the color of your choice. Pillows could be added as well. This not only adds comfort, but style. Throw in a cup holder and a tray that can be brought up when eating or writing and you will have one swell living space.
    Once a "home tub" is discovered, its owner will never want to leave it. Eventually, they will have to leave the house. What to do then?  Place the tub's motor in turbo mode (bet you're glad you invested in that motor and remote control system) and it will work as well as any vehicle.  It would, however, require that mirrors, lights, a horn, and brakes were installed as well.  A cover of some sort might also be a good investment. You never know when it's going to rain.
   Not only can your tub now get you to and from the grocery store, but it's big enough to serve as your shopping cart. Do you like to fish?  Well, then, make that tub float and take yourself fishing.  There is no limit to what the tub can do.  A final thought, though, and probably the most important one: How would you go to the bathroom while living in your bathtub?
     You're on your own with that one!