Pretend, Imagination and Other Lies

praying santaAmong young parents there is a growing number who have adopted the “we aren’t going to lie to our children” approach to parenting. This feeling is hovering around the issue of Santa Claus and his friends, the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy. This mantra makes me wonder about how far this “honesty” goes. There are times when it is not appropriate to tell children the FULL truth. Many times we skirt the question, knowing they are too young for the answer. Where do babies come from?

What made me really think about lying to our kids was that there is no Santa Claus at Christmas and Easter bunny at Easter. Let me say here that I believe that Christmas and Easter were the most important events in human history. Both turned the hope of the world to the Eternal.

Ok, so the Easter bunny is a little odd, but Santa Claus comes from a real story of a priest who made sure that the hungry were fed. He did so out of selflessness and in anonymity; modeling our Savior’s example. I don’t understand why letting a child believe in this saint visit them for a few years is so wrong. And why not mix a little wonder in a time of miracles? Why not let a child know the fun of Christmas while learning the reverence?

If we aren’t going to lie about Santa, Easter bunnies and tooth fairies, then do we take away playing pretend and imaginary friends? There is no tea in that pot, you know. And the cookies taste like nothing because they aren’t really there. Really, you didn’t steal my nose… no imaginary friends; and oh, and Elf on the shelf isn’t really running around the house wreaking havoc. Where do we draw the line between truth and imagination with our children? Where is the light-heartedness and dreaminess of childhood?

Maybe Santa and the Bunny do add something else to Christmas and Easter that needs to be managed with children. Making sure they don’t outshine the birth of Jesus; and certainly being naughty or nice shouldn’t be the threat of the month. But if handled in the proper perspective, they add a little something to the holidays and a child’s innocent heart.

Reality and truth will come along soon enough and shove playing pretend, imagination and fantasy to the background.

Think about it…

KK

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Going on Vacation? Don’t forget to call the bank…

mickey on vacaLike many others, we planned a summer vacation. Being a list maker, I started the pre-trip to-do list based on our plans and how long we were going to be gone. The kennel was called, the days-off were requested, hotel rooms reserved, triple A was called for tour books and a budget established; all the things necessary for a fun few days away.

All of the items on the listed were checked off and in order to be fiscally responsible we decided to put our vacation cash in the checking account and use our debit card. About two days into our trip, my husband tried to use my debit card to purchase our tickets for a boat tour in Chicago. The charge was denied.  We called the bank.

We have to give kudos to our bank, Republic Bank & Trust, for putting us through to a service representative (live and English speaking) who was kind and understanding.  I went through and answered a half dozen security questions and took what felt like a quiz about my work history. After passing with flying colors, she informed me that by using our card to make out of town purchases, it raised security flags and since they didn’t know we were out of town, the charges were denied.

That’s what I forgot to put on my pre-trip list, call the bank!  The bank representative asked where I was and when I would return home. She then informed me that we have a $500 a day spending limit on our debit card. That wasn’t a big deal to us and our budget, but good to know. She then informed us that we can request the limit increase if necessary. We were fine with it. The bank lady kindly released our card so we could finish our vacation.

The whole ordeal cost a little time, but with the excellent customer service at the bank, and a lesson learned about banking security, we were back to having fun and had the funds to do it!

Next year’s vacation list will have “call the bank” as number one.

All the best,

KK

Ladies, Pay Attention

Many of us have experienced having a teenager in the house and what that can mean to getting dressed to go somewhere. They camp out in the bathroom for what seems hours and then there is a thunderstorm of clothing whirling around their room. But when they are ready, they are ready!

For the appropriately dressed teenage young lady (#momofgirls), the outfit is well put together with hair and makeup complete. They leave the house looking sharp and feeling good about the way they present themselves.

Recently while having lunch at a fast food restaurant on a Sunday, I watched families come in. For some it was obvious they were coming from church. The daughters were well dressed with hair and make-up. Just behind them were their mothers dressed in what I can only guess were clothes they had tripped over when getting out of bed and hair haphazardly pulled back in a ponytail (#styleover40). Important note, these were not families with small children that needed tending to get everyone out the door on time. Sadly, it was same for several families I observed. Please understand my thought wasn’t about why the mothers weren’t dressed to the nines, it was more about taking a little pride in what they were wearing and how they presented themselves.

Middle-age moms take note. Now is NOT the time to let yourself go. I get it, you are either married and don’t think you need to impress anyone, or you are tired of trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t. You are right, our bodies aren’t young and firm like the teenager or twenty-something sitting across from you at work. There are two reasons I can see for a middle-aged woman to decide to make a few changes.

First, we don’t feel as young and spry as we once did. Energy levels can droop as much as our [choose body part]. There are a few more lines around our eyes and our moisturizer is our best friend. These things don’t go away under frumpy over-sized clothing. In fact, they get worse. This is your opportunity to “fake it till you feel it”. Get yourself ready to leave the house feeling complete and ready to take on the day. If your clothing is looking aged or faded, take a few minutes and clean out your wardrobe. Consignment shopping can help with budgeting for new outfits.

Second, if you are married, consider this: are you being the best you can be for your husband? Think about it, in a few years when the kids are grown and gone, it’s going to be time for just the two of you. Time for holding on to each other and enjoying the life you have built and watching your children build their own lives. Why not continue to be the “beautiful bride” of years past?
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You may be thinking, “have you seen my middle-aged husband?” That’s not the point. You can’t control him, but you have complete control over yourself and your choice to age gracefully.

If you aren’t married and have a husband to consider, you are probably living a life filled with friends, work, and adventures that you still want to look and feel your best at.

Ladies, we have the choice to let ourselves go and let the aging process take over. I’ve not even mentioned diet and exercise. You tell me. After 30 days of getting up and really taking time to put yourself together for the day is there more motivation for healthier eating?

Ponder this and let me know.
KK

P.S. — please use the teenage reference as an example of how much to care about our appearance not WHAT we should be wearing. It may be worse to go from frumpy middle-aged lady to “scary lady wearing her daughter’s clothing”.  Age appropriate, please.

Everybody’s Busy

Everybody’s busy – this seems to be the thing to say when an invitation is declined instead of saying “I’m sorry you can’t attend”. While it is easy to get caught up in all the opportunities life offers today; it’s also easy to waste a lot of time with cable tv, mobile device games, and other internet surfing.

busy peoplePeople are as busy as they want to be.  There are times when work and personal activities collide and a little hustle is required. The hours of the day are full.  This hustle doesn’t last forever.

Adults can take control of their time to fulfill their responsibilities such as work and family.  If life becomes too hassled and full, it may be time to re-evaluate the “time-suckers”.  Do they fall within personal priorities?

If someone declines your invitation, it may not mean they are too busy, it simply means that event is at the same time as something else that day.

Just a thought,

KK

The Best Laid Plans — Rock!

For those of you who are learning to communicate with a teenager, this is for you. It’s mid-week on spring break when we did not take a vacation. My son is asked to do three chores one of which is to vacuum. To help with this torturous activity he wears his head phones. The following is our exchange:

He walks into my home office and says:

“Just about done, just have to do the basement steps.”

“Great, what are you listening to?”

“Of Mice and Men.”

“Cool, is it the soundtrack or the audio book?”

He looks at me in a puzzled manner not so uncommon these days and says, “no, the band, mom.”

I bust out laughing and say “I thought it was the book.”

“Oh,” he says “is that one of your classics?”20140402-142228.jpg

I love being the parent of a teen. It is a blast when our generations collide and we both learn a little something about each other. We googled the band so I could hear. Then I warned him that when his high school literature teach mentions reading Of Mice and Men not to stand up and say, “rock on!”

Still learning about parenting,
KK

 

Santa Claus – The Man the Legend…

The Legend of St. Nicholas
The legend of Santa Claus can be traced back hundreds of years to a monk named St. Nicholas. It is believed that Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, near Myra in modern-day Turkey. Much admired for his piety and kindness, St. Nicholas became the subject of many legends. It is said that he gave away all of his inherited wealth and traveled the countryside helping the poor and sick. One of the best known of the St. Nicholas stories is that he saved three poor sisters from being sold into slavery or prostitution by their father by providing them with a dowry so that they could be married. Over the course of many years, Nicholas’s popularity spread and he became known as the protector of children and sailors. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6. This was traditionally considered a lucky day to make large purchases or to get married. By the Renaissance, St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe. Even after the Protestant Reformation, when the veneration of saints began to be discouraged, St. Nicholas maintained a positive reputation, especially in Holland. (ref. http://www.history.com)

Throughout the years and across cultures, St. Nicholas has taken on new looks. After the American Revolution, the term Santa Claus was adopted by Americans from the Dutch. Artists and poets began to paint the picture of a jolly giving man with a red suit.

My favorite image of Santa is the praying Santa. This for me encompasses the truth and the fantasy we find at Christmas. Please praying santaunderstand that the MOST important reason for any celebration at Christmas is the miraculous birth of the Lord; that being made the priority, consider how Santa can fold into this time and celebration.

As stated above, the man of Saint Nicholas was a faithful, giving man who looked out for “the least of these.” He gave up his wealth in caring for others. Sounds like characteristics he modeled from Christ.

As far as allowing our children to believe in the “jolly elf” who comes down the chimney, ask yourself this: in our world there is so much joy-robbing, negative, fast-paced, cynical information and attitudes why not allow our children the magic and fun of Santa Claus coming to bring gifts? We allow our children to have imaginary friends and pretend tea parties; why not allow them to enjoy the fun of Santa? As our children mature they outgrow those wonders of childhood anyway. With the right guidance there will be the appropriate shift from the fantasy of Santa to the forgiveness of Christ.

I do believe in all that Saint Nicholas lived for and the Savior he followed. I have learned to manage the hustle and bustle of this season to make room to remember the wonder of Christ’s birth; to truly take in the profoundness of His birth that set motion a new destiny for eternity.

Think about it,
KK

Ho, Ho, Ho, Who do You Know?

st. nickI’ve been thinking about Santa Claus.  Recently, while talking with friends with younger children I learned a lot about what younger parents are doing and letting their children believe about Santa.  Before I weigh in on the jolly one, I’d like your thoughts on the matter.  What were you told as a child?  How is that the same or different than how you are raising your children?  Your thoughts please, then stay tuned.

All the best,

KK