Want a Happy, Healthy, Child? 13 Steps to Getting There. (Part 3 of 3)

    c.309w feetThis week’s post wraps up exploring the 13 steps for rearing a happy, healthy child, which incidentally turn out to maintain a happy, healthy adult. Part one explored: boundaries, high expectations, unconditional love, accepting your humanity and theirs, and apologizing when warranted. Part two explored: remembering who’s the boss, it’s not necessary to do it all, keeping a household running, simple is good, and it’s okay to cry.

    c.308w magic moments11. Create Memories. Life is a series of moments. The more magical those moments, the richer your life. As a parent you want to create as many Magic Moments with your children as possible. As an adult, you want to create as many Magic Moments as you can so as to add texture and beauty to your life.

    c.306w order from chaos12. Rituals and religion. My favorite definition of religion is a means of making order out of chaos. A way to explain the unexplainable. Something to hang on to when all around you is falling apart. Combine that with a sense of time being linear and you have a wonderful way of combining the two through ritual — be they your family’s own design, religious, or seasonal. There’s comfort in the continuity of celebrating holidays once a year, or create weekly rituals as many religions offer — light candles Friday night in the Jewish tradition, attending church on Sunday in the Christian tradition, turning Friday night into family pizza and movie night in some households. There are those who celebrate the moon cycles, the quarterly solstices, births, anniversaries, etc. These are all markers to stop the day-to-dayness, to take a moment to look around, to see what’s out there. To focus on something special. Something different. A change to pause and celebrate.

    c.307w being13. Sometimes there’s nothing to say. As a wordsmith it’s frustrating when words alone can’t convey my intent. As a mother it’s frustrating when I wanted to pass along words of wisdom and had none. As a friend to one going through a rough patch, I feel lacking when unable to offer words of comfort or support. Truth is, there are times when there simply are no words. When there’s nothing to say. Sometimes the best you can do is “be” with the person. In their silence. In their pain. In their loss. Just be with them, so for that brief moment, they don’t need to “be” there alone. There are times when that is of more value than all the money, words, and things in the world. Just knowing you are not alone.

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    Sheila Bergquist - July 31, 2014 - 1:15 am

    Well, after reading this series, I can tell you are a terrific mother. A lot of what you said was very much the way my mom was and I thought she was the greatest mom ever. And number 13 shows me what a great friend you would be. Big hugs to you, Tana.

    Tana Bevan - July 31, 2014 - 1:47 am

    Thank you Sheila. Parenthood isn’t for the faint of heart. However when I think of my daughter I feel all sorts of joy and love bubbling around inside. She’s an amazing young woman and I am tickled pink to be a part of her life. You are very blessed to have a mother whom you loved and thought was the greatest. I imagine your memories bring you great joy.

    Sheila Bergquist - August 1, 2014 - 1:21 am

    I’ll bet your daughter is a super girl, just like her mom :)
    Yes, I was very lucky to have such a mother and my memories bring me both joy and some pain (just wishing she was still with me).