Before I get a little serious, I thought I would share a little bit about how we prep for Valentine's Day:
The kids address little cards to their friends and classmates. And, that's about it. BOTH kiddos said they didn't want to attach any candy or treat to their Valentine's cards for their friends. Um, ok? Less work for me! See, Valentine's Day is probably my least favorite holiday. I never really bought into the whole "you have to buy an extra present and spend lots of $$ for someone you love" Hallmark idea created years ago. Yah, I totally know there really is a reason for Valentine's Day and there was a Saint Valentine that performed illegal marriages or whatever. Blah blah blah. I'm not a huge fan of hearts (although every once in a while one will pop up on a scrapbook layout..) and I don't really like red and pink together. I'm totally not romantic. (obviously....) Sure, Valentine's Day is sort of fun because my kids get excited about it and they like making cards and handing out little Valentine's to their friends. But I totally don't go out of the way to do anything extra on Valentine's Day. Except maybe make heart-shaped waffles and sprinkle some Valentine M&Ms on my kids' PB&Js.....perhaps that makes me a Valentine's Scrooge. I don't know. But I DO want to make sure my kids know that telling and showing each other "I love you" is something we do all the time, not just on Valentine's Day. And that they won't be getting piles of gifts JUST because the consumer mind-set of our society is to spend spend spend money on things we don't really need. So, yah, I'm sure we'll have a fun little day on Valentine's Day this year eating our heart-shaped waffles and pink and red M&Ms. And I'm sure that we'll make a few more heart beaded necklaces and red doilie cards until then. BUT the ONLY thing I really want on Valentine's Day is to hear my husband and kids say "I LOVE YOU!" Just like they do every other day.
When I sat down to write this post, I really didn't intend to talk about my anti-Valentine's Day views!.....what I REALLY wanted to blog about is a little mental list I've been compiling lately about things I never want to say to my kids. This list is in no way exhaustive. And, there are items on this list that I have to REALLY work hard at not saying. Some are easier than others. Some of these things are just common sense and some may not seem harmful to you. But I've thought quite a lot about these things and have decided that all of them definitely have the possibility of being quite harmful to my kids.
1. "I promise."
I never want to promise my kids anything! Even something as simple as "I promise we'll do that puzzle after dinner." Because what if something else comes up and I'm not able to come through on my innocent little promise? But I also don't want to promise them big things. "I promise I'll pay for your college tuition." How do I know NOW that I'll be able to come through on a huge promise YEARS from now? We've learned how damaging a seemingly innocent promise can be to our son when we "promised he could go to Grandma's house" and then Grandma got sick (or, on another day, the roads were too snowy) and he wasn't able to go to Grandma's. "BUT YOU PROMISED!" was all he would say. He was offended and hurt. And he lost a little bit of trust in his parents.
2. "I just want you to be happy."
Of course I want my kids to be happy. Who doesn't? But, I want them to be emotionally healthy first. There is a difference between kids being happy and being healthy. ALWAYS allowing our kids to be happy means we're neglecting some HUGE areas of development. The three biggest character traits we are trying to instill in our kids are respect, obedience, and kindness. We also want to teach them patience, self-control, how to handle disappointment, living peacefully among others, being joyful in all circumstances, and forgiveness. I'm not trying to be my kids' friends. They've got plenty of friends and will continue to make more friends throughout their entire lives. I, alongside my husband, have been given the unique responsibility to parent Jackson, Macy, and Zoe. The kids do not lead/discipline/control this family. The parents do. This is how God intended parenting to be. My goal is not to please my kids' every whim and give in to every little thing they want. This is teaching them that happiness is easily attained at any cost. My goal is to teach them to be content with where they are (through being respectful, obedient, and kind....)
Simply because I do not want them to feel like life is always moving in fast forward and we have to hurry everywhere. I'm a better Mama when I'm not in a hurry. Unless there is a life or death situation where we would literally need to hurry out of the way, this is something I try not to say at all.
4. "Where did the time go?" or "I can't believe you are already __ years old." or "I can't wait until you are (insert next developmental milestone)."
This is something that has always made me stop and think. And yet I still say things like this every once in a while! Why would I want to wish time away to get to the next developmental milestone? Yes, it will be quite nice when all of my kids are potty trained and self-sufficient. But why do we feel the need to spend so much time wishing time away until then? Doesn't this dismiss where we are in life right now? And then, when we DO reach that stage in life when our kids are all potty trained and self-sufficient, won't we then just complain about something else that we can't wait for? Why should it be so hard to believe that my kids have reached a new birthday? Haven't I been with them every single day of their lives? I want to be more conscious of simply living in the present. To live. Just be. To not yearn for the kids' bed time. To enjoy the little ordinary things that happen in my life all day long. To love on, play with, cuddle next to, tickle, celebrate, and simply enjoy my family just as they are. Potty trained or not.
Alright, enough with the heavy.....