Thursday, December 06, 2012

My Wife is a Genius Parent!

For the most part I feel like I am a pretty decent parent. I have parents that my friends wished they had as parents growing up. Everything wasn't perfect, but I certainly learned a lot of things that I have carried on into my own parenting. Although, I will say that the older my kids get, the more inadequate I feel with my parenting skills. Seriously, I used to be a youth pastor to middle school students. I was a professional middle school guy. Middle school has always been my wheelhouse. Suddenly I am a complete idiot with this age group! What the heck?

I realize that parenting is a lot different than being a youth pastor. At youth group we typical see our students at their best. I have said to many parents over the years how much I appreciate their children for different things. Their response is often, "My child? You sure you don't mean someone else?" Ha! Don't get me wrong. I have amazing kids! I really do. Perhaps some of the best kids in the world. IMHO. It's the parenting part that is so interesting.

I love being a parent. Truly. It is one of the greatest blessings in my life. I highly recommend it. That being said, I have learned so much about parenting from Jeanne-Ann. Truth be told we do balance each other out pretty well. Especially when one of us is not having the best parenting days. I am so thankful for such an amazing partner in life! I wanted to share some of her genius parenting skills. (she will probably kill me for posting this so please don't tell her. I don't think she reads my blog)

* Summer soda - in an effort to make water the most consumed drink in our home during the summertime we have "summer soda." Basically this means there are special days that soda is served (or pop for you weirdos who can't seem to get it straight). Often it is a "specialty" soda like pineapple flavor (our favorite when we were in Ethiopia!)

* Chore chart - I have seen a few of these over the years in different families (most notably the Bodas). What I liked about this was during the summer there was a rule that everyone's chores had to be done by 10AM. We had a list on our refrigerator with everyone's chores on the specific days and they had to be approved by one of us before the box could be marked.

* Homework first - when you come home from school you can't go out and play right away, unless you have been given special permission. This is a classic "Eat That Frog" principle. Basically if the worst thing you have to do today is eat a frog, then eat it first. If you have to eat 2 frogs, eat the ugliest one. After that, everything else seems pretty easy to accomplish. That book is a great read on time management and has been a book I have used principles from almost every day at work. It's really helpful for those procrastinators out there. (click on the title to see the book)

* Sibling Constitution - This was a written deal that Jeanne-Ann found somewhere that Kynzi and Karston agreed to. It is hung prominently on our fridge. Truth be told, this may be a difficult one for them to follow, but we can refer to it when things go haywire. Things like "never borrow anything without asking first" and "always knock before entering" and "listen to each others side without interrupting." The last one they are actually pretty good at when they are not yelling.

* Candy day - growing up I got a fair amount of cavities. I have slowly been replacing my fillings with white ones as the need has come to replace them, but I have a lot of silver in my mouth. I do not want my kids to have that. So Jeanne-Ann instituted candy day a few years ago. Basically, no candy any day but Saturday. On Saturday there may be a bowl out filled with candy and you can have at it. If you forget to have candy on Saturday, your loss. This has been one that we may not have held onto as strongly recently, but perhaps is up for renewal.

 * Electronics gone till garage is cleaned - at the end of the summer the kids proposed that we change the garage to a play room. We told them they could have a 2 week trial. That was a few months ago. They had a grand plan set up. They used tape on the floor where they wanted a couch and chairs. They moved all the board games from the hall closet to the garage. The 2 week trial came and went. They lost their privilege of having it as a game room after various conversations and then it was time to clean it up. The problem? In that time they had moved a LOT of things into the garage  from their rooms that they wanted to sell in a garage sale. We have yet to have that garage sale. So, Jeanne-Ann told them that they could not have any electronics (ipods, TV, Nintendo DS, etc) until it was cleaned up. Guess who hasn't had their electronics in a long time? There have been a few exceptions and allowances, but this has been a pretty tight rule.

I imagine this one would not be such a problem if we followed a few simple principles from my good friend Joshua Becker. He writes a blog on simplicity/minimalism and has written a few books that are genius on that topic. One book, "Living with Less - Simply for Students" is written for young people and is an easy read with lots of good challenges and principles. We have taken some infant steps in this direction. (yes, infant, not baby steps. Even smaller steps). I am sure Jeanne-Ann would love for us to take much larger steps. (one thing at a time honey).

I would love to hear your parenting tips in the comments below. I am always looking for ways to help raise our kids better. We are doing this all by trial and error. The manual was lost on day one. haha.

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