Friday, April 27, 2012

Growing up too fast

My oldest daughter has always had an amazing imagination.  She can entertain herself for hours playing with her stuffed animals and making up games.  At bedtime, especially, she will setup a pile of 10 or so of her stuffed animals on her bed and play camping with them, or school, or church, singing time, or any number of games. In fact, sometimes, she would kick her stuffed cat, Ariel, out of the room and ask us to put Ariel in the hallway because she was being too loud and not allowing her to go to sleep.

Enter the ability to read. I think it's great that my daughter is learning to read.  It's opening up a whole new world of entertaining herself and not having to wait for mom and dad to read books to her. My husband and I had a conversation the other night that we noticed that she was much quieter in bed before lights out and that we couldn't hear her playing with her animals. The next morning, the following conversation occurred:

Daughter to her 4 year old brother: "I never play with my stuffed animals anymore."
Mom: "Why not?"
"I like to read books in my bed instead."
"You can do both things."
"I can't remember the games I used to play with my animals."
"You can always make up new games to play with them."
"But they like to play the old games and I can't remember how to play them."


Ok, so I didn't really yell that out loud, but I wanted to.  I wanted to say "You can't grow up yet! You're only 6! Yes, reading is great, but you need to be a little girl and play with your stuffed animals forever." It made me sad. She really is growing up too fast, and I don't like it. I'm not ready for it. And Ariel and her other animals are getting lonely. I may have to start playing with her stuffed animals on her behalf.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Personal finance principles...applied to child rearing

As I finished up another tax season of working much more than I really like to, I was thinking about some personal finance principles that I teach.  Here are some of them applied to child rearing.

1 - Start the saving habits now. Don't wait until you have a lot of money.
It would be so easy to get  a lot of work done if I ignored my children. It would be so easy to say "I'll play games with them when I'm not so busy" or "I'll start taking them on walks once tax season is over". It's not true.  Life doesn't really get less busy.  We always seem to find things to occupy our time. If I don't get in the habit of making my children a priority and finding time to play with them even when I'm busy, it's not going to happen. Ever.

2 - It's never too early to start.
Just like the principle of compound interest, it's never too early to invest in teaching your children. If you start when they're young, it's so much easier than trying to teach them something when they're 13 and don't really want to listen to Mom and Dad.  Not that 3 year olds want to listen that much more, but at least you have a few more opportunities.

3 - Even a little bit makes a difference.
Sometimes, even just the little things we do with our children make a difference. Five minutes spent coloring with my child, or 30 minutes on a "date" with a child may seem like a little thing, but sometimes it ends up being something a child remembers and brings up over and over again.

A good reminder to myself that a true principle is a true principle regardless of what subject it is applied to.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Imperfection and Grace

No mother is perfect.  Not you. Not the neighbor who seems to have it all pulled together.  Not the grandmother who seems to have raised 10 perfectly sane children. Not the author of the book who has all the answers as to how to raise perfect children. But, through the grace of God, I can be made perfect.  Not immediately. Not easily. But I can try. And repent. And try again.  And plead with God for his help. And eventually get there.

"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." (1 Peter 5:10)

At this Easter time, I thank God for his grace and for the atonement of Jesus Christ which helps to strengthen, stablish and settle me as a mother and as a child of God.