“Stress Free School Mornings for Parents and Kids” – Let’s Talk Live, DC – News Channel 8 , Monday 7/25/11, betw. 11-12.September 16, 2012
In the most traditional sense, radar is a system of detecting the presence, direction, distance and speed of aircraft, ships, etc., by sending out electromagnetic waves that reflect off the object back to the source. In the least traditional and technical sense, personal radar is a seventh sense, you might say, that can detect potential danger in our midst.
With regard to our children, this unique radar is one they can always tote around in their emotional backpacks. Personal radar is lightweight and easily accessible. It’s omnipresent, free of charge, and useful for people of all ages and in every manner of circumstance. Serving as an invincible, impenetrable shield, it sounds off a silent alert that your kids feel viscerally – deep down in their gut – leading them away from potentially perilous scenarios.
Although it may sound as if I’m talking about super-heroes , I’m not. Every, regular kid and adult, for that matter, already possesses personal radar. All we need to do is to encourage our kids to pay attention to that funny feeling – really pay attention to and act on it when they feel unsafe. Understandably, we want to raise polite children, but safety trumps good manners every time. You’ll likely remember your own parents saying, “Better safe than………..”
As the years go by and our kids are on their own more and more, their personal radar becomes a reliable, useful asset for them. When we realize we can trust our kids to be aware of and act on their gut instincts, it lowers our stress levels enormously. Undeniably, they’re still kids and will do some not so “brilliant” kid things at times. But, when it comes down to real personal safety, the more we encourage them to use their personal radar, the more they’ll trust it. Then, we can all begin to get a good night’s sleep.
What actually does make people a family? Is it a common religion or culture, beliefs, gender, children, or simply a shared household? Do separate households count as a “family?” What about single moms or dads raising kids? And, of course, there’s the grandma raising kids when their mom or dad isn’t around – are they a family? How about those parents who’ve never said “I do,” but are the parents of a child – are they still considered a family?
Recently, there’s been so much discussion about marriage and family that it makes our family kitchen table spin. Now that the baby is able to sleep through the night we have something else to keep us awake. But honestly, it’s really quite simple when you give it a moments thought.
A family is love. It’s made up of people who love one another, whoever that other may be. Whether it’s the traditional, nuclear image we have had in our psyche for generations or two men, two women, a single adult, a grandparent or two people who love each other and would rather not or cannot increase the population, they’re all family to me.
Let’s not get so distracted by our interpretation of the word family that we forget the true meaning of it. A family is love. I’m sticking with that explanation.
There are those days. Days when you wonder if you could possible give your kids “back.” The question is whom would we be giving them to and how soon would this happen. I can hear your answer – now!
Who hasn’t been there? I’m pretty sure a good many of us parents have. For years I’ve always said that if it became socially acceptable to put an ad in the newspaper or online, parents might be tempted to write: “Free to good home – one lively, healthy child. All shots. Available immediately.” Some days it doesn’t sound like such an outrageous idea.
If you’re having one of those days or even months, hold off on the ad. Better days are coming. Besides risking very official looking folks, your neighbors, friends and/or your mother showing up on your front doorstep with worried looks, know that this difficult parenting phase will pass. Being a parent is a demanding and challenging job. Certainly, not to be attempted by the faint of heart. It takes energy, patience, intelligence, skill, self-confidence and plenty of love for about eighteen years and that’s only for starters. The need to be loving, patient and possess a good deal of smarts goes on indefinitely. The second phase is when we parents continue to support our kids, even when their choices are not exactly what we had planned for them.
If we allow some time to pass, we’ll likely come to believe that our kids are people we might actually want to hang out with and we’re proud of. Patience, patience, patience is key. And whatever you do, definitely do NOT ask your mother if she ever thought of “giving you back!’