Parenting Insecurities

In your parenting role, about what do you feel insecure?  Whether you planned to have children or it just happened, the insecurities begin while they are still in utero.   It starts with unanswerable questions and a lack of experience.  We don’t even know how we will handle labor and delivery, much less nurturing a child for the next eighteen plus years.

Many of us entered parenting with strong convictions of what we will do like our parents did and other things we will not do as our parents did.   After all, “we are much smarter than our parents were at our age.  We have lived and learned through their mistakes.”  ….I wonder how many generations of humanity have thought this.  Maybe, every generation has.

I recall telling my parents, as a seventeen year old, that I thought they had been good parents. But there was one area which I wish they had done a bit differently.   I told them I wished they had given me more information about male and female anatomy and sex.    At 11 years old, after the topic was introduced to all the 6th grade girls (only girls) by the school nurse, I was given the basic information a girl needed to enter puberty.   My mother told me more than her mother had told her.

As I look back on this setting, I am rather ashamed (insecure) by my teenage boldness and audacity.  My comments to them were unnecessary and unhelpful.    The irony of this situation is that plus twenty years later, I did sadly better with my own daughter.

13432330_991497890963103_517149806296911717_n Also, I look back with wiser perspective at my own parents and am amazed at the extraordinary job they did at parenting and juggling two full time careers.  My mom chose to work the third shift so that either she or my dad were always at home with us.  They were incredibly sacrificial parents.  I wonder when she slept.

Parents continually make sacrifices of which their children have no knowledge.  Nor do they have any understanding.   It is not until we are parents ourselves that we can fully appreciate our own parents.

As parents we probably will have one or more of our teenage/adult children boldly proclaim or gently describe what a mess or a mistake we made while parenting them.   Even after our children are grown such a confrontation adds to our insecurities.  They may describe how badly we managed some situation.   Of course they are looking back on it and don’t have full knowledge of all that was involved.  We too, can examine the setting with hindsight and perhaps decide a different action should have been taken.

When our children are critical of our parenting, it often is really more about them and whatever they are dealing with than it is about us personally or our parenting.  But we project onto others what we cannot resonate within ourselves.best in people

Just as we made parenting decisions based on the knowledge and experience we had at the time, some day they will do the same.   Then they will have a new perspective on our decisions.

Every stage of parenting has its challenges and we may not feel confident in our ability to handle those challenges.    About the time when we do figure things out and implement our strategies, the needs change.   In addition to this, every child is an individual and has different needs and a different temperament.    I have frequently heard my parents say a stern word was sufficient to change my sister’s behavior, but I usually needed a spanking to receive the message (another area where parenting has changed).

If you feel anxious or apprehensive (insecure) about parenting issues, then start by praying about it. Pray for yourself, the need and your child. Keep praying until it is resolved.

You may discover your own parents to be quite insightful and pleased to be consulted about parenting. Other parents can be empathetic and might share a creative strategy that effectively helped them.   Parenting books, blogs, podcasts, and even radio programs can be helpful.     My parenting was heavily influenced by the Focus on the Family radio program.   It was always encouraging, inspiring, and challenging.

The best thing you can do for your children is love your spouse.  Strengthening your marriage and making it a higher priority than your children, gives them a secure home where love is demonstrated and expressed.                                                                               (see my post:   dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/guarding-marriage/)

No one is a perfect parent.   No doubt you won’t be perfect either.  You don’t have to be.  Just be loving, patient, kind, selfless, gentle, persistent, understanding, wise, . . . . . . .and when you’re insecure, ask the Lord to help you.

ask wisdom

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Art

No one has ever labeled me an artist.  I do possess some creativity and love crafts.  I recall only one art project in school of which I was really proud.  It was a modeling clay crocodile made while studying Egypt. I was very sad when it lost a leg.

2018 July - Sept 036Despite my lack of artistic ability or skill I really enjoyed having the Picture Lady visit our classroom. The Picture Lady was probably the mom of a student in our elementary school.  She would bring a piece of framed art to our classroom and talk about it.  Then the piece was hung on the wall and left there until her next visit.

Years later when I was homeschooling our children, I tried to replicate what the Picture Lady did.  I borrowed framed art from our local library.  Often I did not know the artist, the name of the style, or even the title of the piece, but my children and I would discuss what we liked or disliked about the picture.  We would discuss what we thought about the colors the artist chose or perhaps how the picture made us feel. 2018 July - Sept 052

Like music, art is something to which we respond with thoughts and feelings.   Our responses are very personal and subjective.   Appreciation of art can be nurtured in almost every city and town.   Help your child explore and discover art where you live.   Art can be found in many forms and many places.  Here are a few places you may find art:

  1. On the corner of any street. I have seen electrical boxes and fire hydrants artistically and whimsically painted.
  2. In the downtown district. In some towns painted murals can be found on the sides of buildings and other locations.  Towns sometimes have competitions to promote community spirit with all the businesses painting the same figurine to creatively match their business.  I have seen statues of cows and dogs used in this way.   Window fronts of businesses often have seasonal decorations. I have seen these done by high school students during homecoming week.
  3. In parks and cemeteries. Monuments, memorials and sculptures are forms of art.
  4. In older, established neighborhoods. Some architectural styles of homes, such as Victoria, Queen Anne, Italianate, or Painted Ladies have artistic details.
  5. At colleges or universities. These often have art galleries with changing exhibits.
  6. At museums. Even small local historical societies may have art depicting an earlier era.
  7. In and on historic buildings. United States postal offices built in the 1930s and 1940s were elegant buildings and often contained impressive murals and paintings.   State capitols and other older government buildings also contain impressive art inside and outside.
  8. In libraries. Some libraries will exhibit local students’ art work.
  9. On water towers. Every town has at least one of these and it usually has the city logo on it.  Where else can you find the city logo?
  10. In hospitals, nursing homes, or rehab facilities. Art is used as therapy.  It may or may not be displayed.    It is therapeutic because it taps into our creativity and allows us to express emotions.

Have fun with your child exploring and discovering art.  Help them learn to appreciate the beauty of art as well as artistic skills. The mediums of art are nearly limitless and how and where they can be used is up to one’s imagination.  I hope you find the art form that resonates with your heart.   Who knows where this early exposure to art may lead your child someday.  Helping your child discover personal preferences and allowing them to be different from yours encourages their independence and personal development.

One caution:  Of course, anyone can explore art forms on the internet, but this is not a safe format for children alone.  Parents should prescreen and find acceptable websites to view with their children.   I really like the amazing street art by Tom Bob, NYC.

To the park, to the park

Perhaps you have a favorite park.   Think of all the reasons why it is your favorite.  For various reasons your child may choose a different park.   I am guessing there is at least one that you both love.   A park is more than a designated “green” space.   Every community needs and benefits from them.   Some towns may have only one small park and larger towns and cities may have a plethora of them.I and S at playground

In two previous posts I encouraged you to explore the library and the resale stores in your community. These posts can be seen at

https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/9-things-you-should-borrow/    and   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/10-things-to-know-about-resale-stores/

In this third installment in my “Around Town” category, I want to encourage you to take advantage of your parks.  Many towns also have a park district, a governing board that manages and develops the physical parks and programs.   It’s time to explore the parks in your community for your sake and your child’s. The following are my best 10 discoveries regarding parks:

  1. Playgrounds of all kinds. Kids will have fun.  Two summers ago my daughter-in-law set a summer goal of visiting every playground in her community.   That was a summer goal her 5 kids loved.
  2. Rose gardens, herb gardens, Oriental gardens, botanical gardens, butterfly gardens, Conservatories. . . .    While your children are young teach them to identify flowers and plants.   Learn to appreciate nature and its beauty. Much later these sites can be awesome locations for free dates, and boys with plant knowledge will impress their dates.
  3. Pools/waterparks/splash pads.  Everyone can cool off and have fun.  Children can take swimming lessons. Swimming is a valuable life skill.
  4. Walking/Bike paths. Many communities have safe, off-road paths for walking and biking.  Just like driving an automobile, remember to stay to the right side and pass on the left side of the path.   (A great opportunity to practice left and ride).
  5. Dog Park. This is a great bonus for pet owners with a small yard or who live in an apartment.
  6. Frisbee Golf. A growing trend and usually free to play.
  7. Park District classes and lessons. Besides swimming many districts offer other sports such as tumbling, soccer, and little league baseball.   My children also enjoyed the following  district classes: Safety Town, Super Tots, Cooking and Me, and Fort Building.   There are also summer camps.
  8. Fitness Courses. We all need more movement.  Some parks have a fitness course.  It is a track with exercise stations and equipment to do the exercises.   Exercise is a de-stresser.
  9. Outdoor Locations. I have heard that almost everyone in North America is low on Vitamin D.   So go outside and get some in the purest and most natural form from the sun along with some fresh air.
  10. Also Park District Employment. With a work permit districts will hire even 14 and 15 year olds for part time seasonal work.   Our eldest son worked as a soccer referee.

 

Lilicia Park deer

Lilacia Park, Lombard, IL 1986.

Parks and playgrounds can be enjoyed in all but the most extreme weather.  Each season has a different view to offer.    If your town doesn’t have many parks, then head to the next town, and maybe even the one after that.   This is a great way to spend time with your children.

P.S. Pack a picnic lunch or snack and leave your cell phone in the car.

Upcoming: “Around Town” #4 – Art in your community

 

 

Benefit Each Other

When our sons were young they were often involved in trades.  Their trades involved giving an item that was no longer a precious treasure, for an item someone else owned which appealed as a precious treasure.  We tried to help them understand that items did not have to be of equal dollar value.   One might be willing to give up a pricey G.I. Joe vehicle for a coveted baseball card. This was a good trade if first, the vehicle was no longer being played with by the owner and the baseball card was one being sought after. And, secondly, if the owner of the card didn’t really care about it, but desperately wanted the vehicle.  Both parties had to believe they were getting exactly what they desired and maybe even the better part of the deal. This way both parties benefited from the other. (Of course there were times when both sides became angry and the whole deal was abandoned.)

H and K

My husband and granddaughter

Relationships are similar ­- both sides should benefit from the other.  Hopefully this happens in families and across generations in positive and healthy ways.  I am thinking specifically between grandparents and grandchildren.  Hopefully grandparents are willing and able to give time and attention which grandchildren need from them.

Both parties can give unconditional love and acceptance.  Both parties need this.  Both parties can give attention and share their lives without criticism.  Emotional bonds can be developed which build self-esteem. Who doesn’t wish to be cherished?

Grandparents can offer serenity and time to be, go and do with grandchildren. Grandparents can tell stories of their own childhood or that of their grandchild’s parents.   Even elderly people with memory loss issues can usually share memories from their childhood.

Grandchildren can offer energy, laughter, movement and vibrancy, which older people need.  Babies bring joy.  Toddlers and preschoolers say and do adorable things.  Some children and teens teach loyalty and others patience and justice.

Grandma and SS

My mom and my youngest son

As these grandchildren grow up, they will each gain knowledge and skills which can be used to assist their aging grandparents.  I am barely a senior citizen and several of my young grandchildren have helped me better use my smart phone.

We need each other.  We can listen to and learn from each other.  We can support and love each other. We can benefit from each other.

How to Party

5 piggy birthdayIt is party season.  Do you know how to party?  Some collegiates think partying  is a required course.  I am thinking more along the lines of family and children’s celebrations.   The time between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is a busy party season.  There are always a few graduations to attend.  These might include high school, middle school, college and even kindergarten or preschool.   Milestones are fun to celebrate.

My own wedding fell in that time period.  So did the weddings of three of my children and the birthdays of three (not the same three) of my children, plus mine.  Oh, my!

Anytime there is a party to host or to attend there are some things we need to know and practice.  Like most skills we improve with practice, which means we might be fairly awful at the start. In other words, your children might be awful at party behavior. They probably need to be reminded of some or all of their party skills prior to every party and maybe privately and gently during the party, also.

Try to be patient with them.  Here are a few party skills to practice.

As a guest:

  1. This means please respond.  Say yes I will be attending or give your regrets. Don’t leave them guessing. Do this in a timely manner.  Not the day before.
  2. Take an appropriate gift.
  3. Be happy for the guest of honor and express it.
  4. During gift opening be engaging but not overwhelming. Don’t crowd them.
  5. Accept offered food and drink, but use some restraint and don’t pig out. This is not your opportunity to have a meal of only chips and cupcakes.
  6. Say thanks to the host(s).
  7. If you have a close relationship with the host then offer to assist with preparations, food, or clean up.

cupcake

As a host:

  1. Invitations (written or oral) should go out 3-6 weeks in advance.
  2. Make sure your home is clean enough that guest will feel welcome and comfortable. Perfection is not required.
  3. Greet your guests and focus on them.
  4. Make sure guest know how to find the food, bathrooms, and activities.
  5. While opening gifts be thankful. Do not express disappointment, dissatisfaction, or criticism. All gifts costs time and/or money and the gesture should be appreciated.
  6. Interact with all guests of all ages, not just your favorites.
  7. Thank each one for attending. Say goodbye as they depart.
  8. Written thank you notes are becoming as extinct as dinosaurs, typewriters, and landlines, but are lovely to receive. I encourage you to do this even if it takes you months.

Like anything we think is important enough to practice, these party skills will become easier and make every party better.  Parties occur frequently.  With practice your child could be the favorite party guest or host.   Keep Calm. . .  and Party On.

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Me, #2 son, and daughter all graduated from the same ollege on the same day

 

I Procrastinate

Confession Time. Here is my hidden secret.  I am a closet procrastinator.  Because, in general, I am a well- organized person and productive I can hide my procrastination. But there are many things/tasks that I put off, delay, or postpone.  Of course, I would rather talk about someone else’s struggles than my own.  Yet, I think I must examine why I procrastinate and what I can do about it.laundry

Why do I procrastinate?  Sometimes I just don’t want to do it. If it was a request from someone else and I had an option, then I should have said NO up front.  Saying NO can be difficult because I don’t like to disappoint people.   Sometimes I am just uncomfortable with the task.  I actually hate making phone calls to ask others to do stuff, or even to make appointments.

Sometimes I am afraid.  I am afraid that I will fail or even do a poor job.  It is a fear of how others will react or maybe even reject me.   Sometimes I delay because I don’t know where to start or I need an idea but don’t have one.

IMG_5249I can even procrastinate at writing, which I love and do all the time.  I have written daily in a journal since 1984 but there are days I don’t want to do it. I also write Bible study lessons, communion meditations, sermons, and this blog.  I write a lot.  Yet I often postpone working on one of these by addressing a smaller or easier assignment.

Some of my children are proficient at procrastination.  I can commiserate with them. It is much easier to point out their struggles than to admit my own. I have failed at helping them get a handle on their struggle with procrastination.   I have learned that encouragement is more effective than nagging.  Nagging shuts down communication and builds up defiance.

 

The following are some things that help me with procrastination:

  1. It is okay to just say, “No thanks”.
  2. A feared outcome is seldom as bad as expected.
  3. Finishing a task/project feels SO GOOD.
  4. Provide a reward as incentive for completion.
  5. Or maybe rewards for steps towards completion (frequently used).
  6. Make lists for daily, weekly and monthly goals (I love checking them off).
  7. Prioritize tasks and set deadlines.
  8. Pressure and stress melt when tasks are completed.
  9. Just start somewhere. Make some progress.  Any progress.
  10. Tackle the hard tasks first or early in the day to get it over.
  11. Remember what I have accomplished in the past and that I am capable.

I believe that these can be useful tools for teens and children. If you see procrastination in your children, I hope these tools can sideline a lifestyle of procrastination.

 

“You never know how courageous you can be until you face your fears.”

Cousins are the Best

Cousins are like candy, the more you have, the better.  They are sweet and sour and wonderful, some are squishy and some are hard.   I hope you are blessed with many of them.  Cousins can be like extra siblings or better.  A cousin can be the sister or brother that you do not have.  A cousin can be your first playmate and best friend.

Barb, L & D

My cousin, my sister and I

How many cousins are enough?   My children have 8 first cousins.  I had 37 and my husband had almost that many too.  Some of ours have passed away.  Nearly all have married (a few multiple times) have children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren.   All of which, equates to more cousins.  No one has any control over how many cousins they have.  You get what you get (many life lessons there).

Make time for your children to know their cousins, even the ones who live far away.  Consider vacationing together or just visiting at their house.  Invite them to your house.   One precious memory I have was when my parents, siblings and their families went with my family to Starved Rock State Park to spend the day with my aunt, uncle and their children and grandchildren.  I only wish we had done it more than once.  Throughout our lives friends come and go and change, but cousins endure with us.   Our common family history and experiences bond us together.

Lilicia Park deer

Me, with our 4 children (daughter in back pack), plus 2 of their cousins at Lilacia Park, Lombard, IL

Connecting with cousins also gives us opportunities to relate to people beyond our own age and gender. I had far more boy cousins than girl cousins.   I learned to interact and relate to my boy cousins in a very natural way without the weirdness that often accompanies cross-gender friendships. (At age 14 there was one whom I wished could have been my boyfriend).   I recall having fun pestering some older cousins (trying to count freckles) and sometimes being thrilled and terrified by older cousins.  I admired and adored them and loved being with them.

Among my grandchildren it is fun to watch the cousins play together.  Generally the boys play with the boys and the girls with the girls.  Younger and older play together.  My heart is warmed at their friendships.  I heard that last summer at junior high church camp my grandson and my petite granddaughter who are only 2 months apart in age but many inches apart in height hung out with each other and often sat together.  He is caring and protective and she is sweetness.   I am certain that at camp someday soon they will clearly identify each other as cousins.

Attend your family gatherings at holidays, weddings, showers, funerals, and reunions.  If those really big gatherings are overwhelming, then plan some frequent little ones.  May your family be a blessing in your life.  If it is not, I give you my condolences, and may you have wisdom to set healthy boundaries.

Kids in Pain

Kids experience pain.  It can be emotional pain, physical pain from illness or injury, mental or relational, and it is often all mixed together.  Being a long-term chronic (30+ years) migraine sufferer, I have learned a few things about pain.  As a parent, I stumbled upon some insight for helping kids with their pain.Bad Day Bad Life

My very active children were frequently involved in physical feats which sometimes resulted in breaks, bruises, stitches and even an occasional regret. There was lots of physical pain.  I wrote more about this in “Breaks, Stitches and Concussions”   https://dianesergeant.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/breaks-stitches-and-concussions

Any time a child is in pain their parent has a wonderful opportunity to express compassion, mercy and care.  If it is a relational issue, then the parent should gently enquire about the nature of the issue and help the child determine if there are things for which he or she is personally responsible and should address.  Then help the child to be brave enough and courageous enough to do so.  Some relationships are worth the effort and some are not.

Our youngest son had a “friend” in the neighborhood with whom he tried to play and develop a friendship.   Effort after effort was made.  They wanted to get together.  So we mom’s made the arrangements, but their time together was not fun.   They could never agree on what to do.  Each wanted to be the boss of the other.  They would not take turns leading or following. They were equally at fault.  It was not a friendship worth keeping.talk to three year old

Our eldest son experienced relationship loss over and over.  Between age 7 and 12, he had three best friends each move hundreds of mile away.  Each was devastating.   Each of these losses was completely beyond his control.  Each of these losses was very painful.

One of our sons was absolutely appalled at the sight of himself when he had chicken pox.  It was more disturbing to him than the discomfort.  He was ten years old at the time.  He required much comforting.

The entrance to adolescence opens a Pandora’s Box of emotions.  As a mom, I was not ready for this, as it hit earlier than I expected.  Also my adolescent experience was limited to the female gender and I had no idea what to expect with those male aliens in my house.

respond with compassion

Here are some of the lessons I learned through various pain issues with my children:

  1. Acknowledge the pain is real and don’t minimize it – be merciful
  2. At the same time, help them understand that this is not a new permanent existence- give hope
  3. Help them get a grasp on the enormity of (or more realistically the lack there of ) the issue- be realistic
  4. Adolescents excel at exaggeration and blowing things out of proportion – be genuine
  5. Discern how much comfort or how much prodding is needed in each situation – be truthful
  6. Considering the child’s nature, be available to talk and listen as much or a little as is needed- be accessible
  7. Some children want to converse late at night, some in the early morning and some all day. (we had them all) – be kind
  8. Some children will want to vent/talk at the time of the incident and others will wait and wait and wait before they are ready. – be patient
  9. Share your own similar experience, how it affected you and what you did that was successful or failed – give empathy
  10. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answers. Perhaps together an answer can be found. Be willing to pray with your child for the answer – be vulnerable

 

I once asked the Lord, why He would give me such a sensitive child, when He knew I was not a sensitive person.   The answer He gently dropped into my heart was, “That’s why you need him. “

 

Watching the Olympics?

Is your family watching the Olympics?  Why or why not?  Some families have no interest in any sports and other families can’t get enough. I am not a huge sport fan.  Generally, the only sports I watch on TV are the Chicago Bears.  I enjoy watching high school and junior high sports live when I know a student on the team.  Of course, I watched my own children play team sports and consider it a special treat to watch any of my grandchildren play their sport.

downloadBut the Olympics rate in a category all their own.  Watching the Olympics happens in the comfort of my own home, usually in a recliner and without insects, or sunburn, or someone hawking food or raffle tickets. I don’t have to cart around a child or children to weeks of practices and games or pack healthy snacks for 20 other kids. It’s also FREE. All of these are simply a matter of convenience. There are many positive reasons for being an Olympic spectator.

The Olympics provide tons of opportunities for conversations on topics not often addressed. Don’t just dish out information, but do some research with your children to discover where Korea or the current host country is located.  Do you know anyone who served in the Korean War?  Ask them about the country and their experiences. North Korea is a current event in politics.  Do you know what that is all about?

The Olympics are filled with symbolism and tradition. Its history goes back to ancient Greece where the earliest champions were awarded laurel wreaths. What do today’s winners receive besides the medals?  What do the torch, the flame, and the rings mean?  Explain the differences between amateur and professional sportsmen/women.  How are Olympians a bit like both?

When I watch the Olympics I am always amazed at the perseverance of the athletes.  Their dedication can be an inspiration to us not just in athletic endeavors but also in other areas of our lives. Perhaps your child will discover an interest and desire to explore a new sport. Do you want to build a curling rink in your back yard? (Frozen Disney tune in my headMaybe you simply become a fan of ice hockey and discover the fun and excitement of the game.field day events

The Olympics have 3 top winners in every competition but that means there are hundreds or thousands who return home with an incredible experience but a defeat.  Maybe they fell on the ice or lost a ski or some other fiasco.   We can all relate to failure. But how is it handled? That is another great conversation starter.

How about the winners? How does their life change? They have not all handled the success successfully.  How many past Olympic winners can you recall? Sports and training have value and we can learn much from them but the character and integrity of a person outlasts the strength and skill on a snowboard or skates.

One summer when our four oldest children were between the ages of 13 and 6, we decided to turn the TV off for the entire summer.  I thought it was a good move until August rolled around and the Summer Olympics were being televised.  There was sadness in the house. Reflecting back I think a 2 month hiatus would have been sufficient.

Schools often have Olympic studies planned. The Olympics can be addressed in theDan basket ball subjects of history, geography, literature, writing, math, spelling, and current events. Why not read a book about an Olympian?

One more Olympic idea is all about food.  Strength and health come from physical activity and nutrition. Discuss a healthy diet.  Look up what Gold medalist, Mark Spitz, ate for breakfast when training. With the Winter Olympics in Korea, it is the perfect time to try some Korean food at home or in a restaurant.

I would love to hear if your family does anything special related to the Winter Olympics.

Everything’s Brok en

“What broke today?”  Those were the first words Daddy said daily as he arrived home from work. Yes, something broke every day.  It was at least a something.  Sometimes it was multiple somethings.

Yes, there were the typical household issues such as a broken vacuum, dish washer, dryer, pedal on the stationary bike, leg of the mini trampoline, tub drain, bathroom door lock, sliding closet doors off the  track,  a bowl, a glass, a jar of jelly, the garbage disposal and the car battery.   Everyday usage wears things out.   BUT if you have children, and particularly active boys, then you have additional breakage.

They weren’t necessarily being malicious or abusive.  They were just very busy, childishly careless and naïve.   There were times that even I, with a clear memory of my own childhood filled with accidents and carelessness, was exasperated.

March 30th.  My sons were 9 months, 2.8 and 5.8 years old. They were all three playing boys in benchtogether.  Their play was happy and cooperative and creative.  The two older boys were giving rides to their littlest brother.  He was seated in an upside down step-bench.  They pushed the bench along the inside circle of the house – through the living room, down the hall, through the little bedroom, across the kitchen, around the corner of the dining room and back to the start. (It was so adorable I even took a photo.) All of the flooring was not the same and so some of the pushing was easier than in other areas.   What they didn’t notice was that a slightly too-tall screw in a threshold between the bedroom and kitchen was gouging the bottom of the seat (the top of the bench) with every pass around the circle.  Damage was done that was not intended.

 

This was the same day that the # 2 son, who was 2.8 years old, had also managed to break the leg off a dining room chair and bend the chandelier when he swung from it like a monkey.  He also pulled up little baby plants in a starter garden box in the window.  I needed three sets of eyes and I didn’t have them. The poor boy had to stand for a few meals while his father repaired his chair.

Toys were broken every day as the boys played with them. I could manage the simple gluing of parts, if that was a sufficient fix, but gluing plastic did not always work.  Daddy handled the bigger repairs, particularly with anything electrical or electronic.   But the boys were watching and learning.

I will never understand why my mom thought it was a good idea to give each of the children a  real-glass snow globe. They were cute and each one was unique.  But, Glass.   Of course, each one eventually became a wet mess of glass and glitter on the floor.  Some lasted longer than others.

The most frequent repairs were to G.I. Joe figures.  The boys eventually learned to take the screw out from the man’s back to expose the inner rubber band which held the legs and arms in place.   They knew exactly what size rubber band was needed to replace the broken one.

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As they got older, and their toys became more expensive, they were more responsible and careful with them, but also more adept at the repairs.   They had laser guns which they repeatedly rebuilt.

Many lessons could be learned from broken stuff.

  1. When it is broken I can’t play with it. I have to be patient while it is being repaired.
  2. How tools are used, where to find them, and to put them back in their place.
  3. Tools can be dangerous, even glue. Respect them.
  4. If it is too broken to repair and I have to replace it, then I can’t spend my money on something else.
  5. Try to fix it. It is already broken.  Nothing can be further lost.
  6. Through making repairs one learns how things work.
  7. Stuff can last longer than expected.
  8. I will respect others’ stuff more if I am responsible for replacing what I break.

My three sons now have their own homes and their own children to keep them busy repairing stuff.