Author: Parent Cue

Growing Pains

By Tim Walker Lately, I’ve been leaking my emotions. A lot. And what’s been spilling out has been dousing my sons. (If you’re not sure, what I mean by “leaking,” read this post.) I’ve been really short with them. Annoyed. Frustrated. And I think I know the reason. It goes beyond shoes scattered in the house or socks on the floor. Or even the random, “sass mouth” response. I think I’m ticked at them for growing up. I know, it sounds kind of, well, stupid. After all, I want them to grow up. I want them to become responsible, God- and people-loving men. But there’s just something about the process of growing up that gets under my skin. I’ve already walked through some of it with my now fifteen-year-old son. There are things that he does that bug me—like when he holes up in his room, or moves at the speed of fading light. But then I remember how much time I spent in my room when was a teen—listening to music, reading, reorganizing. Well, the reorganizing part wasn’t normal. But other than a handful of recurring grievances, I’ve mostly settled in to this new “normal.” But now my two youngest are in middle school—sixth grade. And I can feel the “more” coming on—more independent, more opinionated, more attitude. They are great kids, but they’re not little boys anymore. And...

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The Cure for the Common Complaint

My kids and I spent a month this summer living with their grandparents. There were cousins to play with, a new puppy, cable and On Demand, and a gorgeous pool out back. Popsicles appeared every 30 minutes and fruit snacks abounded. My children were living the high life and they knew it. At one point during an especially fun swim time, my son whined to me, “Mom, I wish we had a pool”. I kind of agreed with him. But I didn’t want to him to miss out on the joy of the perfectly buoyant moment he was experiencing by detouring down Discontentment Drive. So I asked, “are you having a good time right now?” “Yes” “Well, just keep enjoying yourself, and don’t even think about it.” It’s amazing how quickly and easily discontentment creeps in, even when you are having the time of your life. No one brings their new little life home desiring to raise a bratty, malcontent monster who stomps her foot and shouts “I want a pony,” and “Daddy, give me more” like Veruka Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is so ugly, especially in children. The attitude of discontentment needs to be nipped in the bud before it turns you into the complainer no one wants to be around. I once heard that the cure for discontentment is a thankful heart. How...

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Unpacking

Our family is in the middle of an epic seven week Camp KidJam summer tour. With kids aged 4-9, that means Dan and I are doing most of the important packing for them. To ensure that they have enough underwear, sturdy shoes and a toothbrush rather than only stuffed animals, stickers or 13 pounds of Legos. Mid tour, we stopped for a mini vacation at my parents’ log cabin. We threw our giant duffle bags on the floor and sought out familiar couches, books, toys and cabin nooks. I was tempted to let everyone dig their own clothes out of the carryalls for the week, this was vacation, right? But after the first request for a bathing suit, I quickly realized that despite careful packing, our clothes had become a crazy, jumbled mess on the long, bumpy, road trip. Each time we had pulled into a new camp, we had burst out of the van eager to explore the grounds. But each week I had diligently taken the time to slow down, unpack everyone’s clothes, and organize them so they could easily see, choose, take, and use. And I’m glad I did, because in the frenzy of the camp week, it had been totally worth taking the prep time to set my kids up to successfully navigate quick changes of clothes between transitions in the camp “schedule” in an unfamiliar...

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Guilt-less Lessons of Love

We all want to teach our kids to put others before themselves and treat others the way they want to be treated. But how in the world do you do that? That is, how do you do it without using “that” voice: the condescending, “feel guilty, feel very guilty, and now do what I tell you to do out of robotic obligation” voice? Recently my husband brought me a gift. The box was white, rectangular, and had an apple on the top. I couldn’t have been more excited even if it had been a jewelry box. It was a new iPhone. We didn’t really have money to spare for it, but he knew I had been longing for a phone with a better camera for family pictures and also for a year-long volunteer project I had committed to that needed to be done with excellence. Four days later when I pulled my brand new phone out of my purse to check the time, there was a hair on it. But the hair didn’t move when I brushed it. I squinted my eyes and looked closer then felt something in the pit of my stomach. It was a top-to-bottom crack. I was so upset, especially when I found out there was no repairing or replacing the phone without incurring a substantial expense. I. Was. Devastated. Later that evening, my daughter...

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Love…No Matter What

LOVE: Choosing to give someone your time and friendship, no matter what. In a few days, my family is headed on 14 hour road trip. We’ll pack up the car with snacks, “goodie bags” filled with books and games for the kids, and lots and lots of music for me. Because I’m the music-fanatic in our house, I’m the designated DJ for these trips. Today, while we were all relaxing on the beach, I began making the playlist—one of my most enjoyable, downtime activities. While I’m in the middle of this, my seven-year-old daughter comes up to me: “Dad,...

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