Monthly Archives: March 2012

This much power could go to your head

There are a few things that have been on my mind lately.

Every time I view a particular cable company ad on TV, I am distressed.  The ad portrays a young boy of ten or eleven years of age who sits in front of his computer declaring his power over everyone and everything in a most unsettling manner.  His parents look on, seemingly helpless.  It ends with the statement “This much power could go to your head.”

It confounds me as to how any company might believe the message conveyed in this ad would ever entice a parent to want to run out and sign up for their service.  It focuses on total negative control and, in my opinion, lacks any sense of humanity.

Then there was the photo in the newspaper last week of a local high school principal’s body, completely taped to the wall while students threw pies in his face.  Once more I felt it was a disturbing image and, again, shouts out “this much power could go to your head“.

Now I am not against having some fun.  Pie throwing in someone’s face can be just that – good-natured fun.  But there’s something about having somebody made powerless and then throwing pies in his face that takes the humor out of it for me.  For as responsible adults, aren’t we giving students the message that it’s okay to take advantage of situations such as this – the powerful versus the powerless?  And what stops students from deciding to body tape another student, perhaps against his will even, and throwing pies or squirting water at him?   After all, it’s already been condoned by the adults in their lives.  And, it’s just “for fun, right?”

With the subject of bullying so much on the minds of all of us who have children, don’t we need to be more mindful of the messages we deliver to our kids and the experiences to which they are exposed?

The reason for the pie-throwing event was to recognize academic achievement.  It seems to me there are numerous positive, encouraging ways to recognize the accomplishments of these students and to raise the bar for them, to respect their developing minds and ideals, to help them acknowledge and appreciate their progress.  We need to learn to trust our children’s intellectual curiosity and growth and allow them the opportunity to feel and comprehend their achievements from within.

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I’ve heard ceremony described as movement or gesture expressing feeling or belief beyond the limits of speech – a feeling that when encountered in a family or group,  increases their sense of belonging and strengthens their shared experiences.

It doesn’t take much to create ceremony – mostly just pure intention – taking the time to think something through, to keep the moment simple, meaningful and memorable.

I was reminded of this after speaking with a mom of three who had just learned the sex of her fourth baby to be.  She shared the way they chose for it to happen.

She, her husband and oldest daughter went to the ultrasound appointment together.  Their daughter, they felt, was old enough and interested enough to appreciate this experience versus the two younger ones at home.  However, as the moment approached when they might observe the sex of the baby on the screen, they turned away.  The technician wrote down the sex on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and gave it to Dad.

That night at their family dinner, guess what?  The envelope was opened by the middle child, too young to be present at the ultrasound, but not too young to read the word, BOY!

This thoughtful mom considered how significant it was for all family members to hear this together, to celebrate the surprise and the excitement, to welcome the joyful news as a family.

Later, each child got to look at their own ultrasound pictures when they were in utero.

I imagine that every family member at the table that evening felt this strengthened sense of belonging, felt included, felt held, just by this thoughtful act of sharing.  A new child, a new sibling is a family event.   Everyone matters,  everyone will be affected, all should be involved.

The beauty of ceremony is that it is special and doesn’t happen often.  So as we go along in our family lives, take some time to be mindful of those moments that might resonate for our families, feelings beyond the limits of speech.

And … blessings to this beloved little guy in mama’s womb.  Your family looks forward to welcoming you.

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Spring ahead

March is here, the clocks have sprung ahead, daylight is extended and soon it will be Spring.  This is definitely the time of year to get outside and enjoy.  The season welcomes you.  Here are some things you and your family might like to do in March.

Go for a walk and watch for the first robin of the season.

Put on rain boots and find some puddles to splash in.

Put on old boots and find some mud.

Fly a kite or run along holding streamers in each hand.

Look to discover the first crocus of the year.

Put some dryer lint, ribbon, raffia in a mesh bag and hang on a tree for the birds to build their nests.

Look for worms after the rain.

Plan your summer garden.

Set up a discovery table or basket to hold the things you find on your walk – pieces of bark, a stone, pine cones, moss.

Bring a branch of a flowering bush in now and put in water to watch it bloom early.

Find a large branch to hang colored eggs.

Go to the Playground.

Bring out the chalk .  Offer a container of water to dip the chalk in for very vibrant colors.

Line a basket with plastic, add dirt and grass seeds and watch it grow.  Perfect place to put your colored eggs.

Go for a walk in the marsh, or in the woods, or along the river.

Go slowly.  Let your children lead the way.

Soak in the beauty of the season.   This kind of appreciation for simple beautiful things is contagious.  Share it with your children.


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Good enough

Parenting is as difficult as it is absolutely wonderful.  It demands much time, sacrifice, worry, energy, knowledge, and commitment. Yet I don’t believe I’ve ever met a parent that says it’s not worth it.

I do often talk with parents, however, who doubt themselves and their abilities. They worry about not being the perfect parent. But perfection is not what parenting is all about.

Try good enough.

Being a good enough parent for your child – your family – leaves you room to be human – to be real – to trust yourself – to ask for help – to feel frustration – to improve – to apologize – to wake up every day, face new challenges, make decisions, be inspired, and share your love, patience and understanding.

I have a favorite poem that I love and think is a perfect time to share it.

Be Like The Bird by Victor Hugo

Be like the bird, who

Halting in his flight

On limb too slight

Feels it give way beneath him,

Yet sings

Knowing he hath wings.

As parents, I encourage you to be like the bird.

Rely on the knowledge that you have resources and support and that you come to parenting from a place of love for your children.

You might not be perfect, but you’re good enough!

Give us a call at The Parenting Place, 784-8125 with any parenting concerns or support you might need.

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