People are always in such a hurry, especially at this time of year. We rush here and there trying to get everything ready for Christmas and it often seems like we are getting nowhere fast. What we do get, is a lot of stress and frustration.
Christmas should be a time to create new memories with family and friends. We should be able to stop our busy lives, take some time to relax and reflect on what Christmas is all about. Christmas was never meant to be a mad rush to spend a lot of money trying to impress people with lavish gifts. Consumerism has taken the joy away from this wonderful season. We spend more time and money looking for gifts that people don’t really want or will soon lose interest in or even replace with something that is newer or more interesting, than we spend sharing memories with the people we love.
Think about the time you spend shopping versus the time you spend with your families and friends and ask these questions:
- Do you spend more money or more time with your loved ones?
- Do they really need those items you are madly searching for?
- Can you afford those items or will you be paying for them months and years down the road?
- Are you feeling relaxed or stressed?
- Are you happier before, during or after Christmas?
We all need to slow down and stop rushing through life. We all feel pressure to want things to happen immediately and we don’t want to wait for anything. The problem is, we are often disappointed with our lives and in our busyness we miss a lot of what is going on around us. There are so many little, important things that happen when we are too busy to notice: the smile of a child, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful sunset, laughter, acts of kindness.
Are you ready for Christmas or are you still rushing around doing things that are not really that important? Take some time this Christmas to slow down, relax and reflect.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:11
Can people count on you? Do you keep your commitments? Are you honest? Do you do what is right?
People with integrity have strong values, beliefs and principles. Their character is consistent and they always try to do the right thing even when it is hard or it goes against what society believes.
How can you tell if someone has integrity?
- they are truthful
- they keep their promises
- they are there for you even in tough times
- they are more concerned with giving than receiving
- they always do their best and care about what they are doing
- they accept responsibility for their mistakes
- they are forgiving
- they don’t blame others
- they don’t try to hurt others, instead they try to help others
Do you have integrity? Are you teaching your children to have integrity?
Sometimes we inherit something from our parents, like the same colour of eyes or hair or maybe the same shaped nose. But were you aware that we can also inherit their character traits and tendencies?
Children are born with their own personalities but these can be influenced greatly by the behaviour and actions of their parents.
- If we are angry, bitter or negative people, our children can also become angry, bitter or negative.
- If we are self-centered and focus on ourselves more than others, our children will become selfish and lack generosity.
- If we have an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, our children are more likely to develop an addiction.
- If we don’t have solid moral values, our children will not learn to respect themselves and others.
As parents, we have a profound affect on our children and we should ensure that we are influencing them in a positive way. This isn’t an easy task and we will make mistakes. However, we should carefully look at our own lives and try to make any necessary changes so we can become to be the best possible role model.
What are you passing on to your kids?
We are all different. Everyone is unique and special in their own way. No two people on this earth are exactly the same and we should celebrate our differences.
When we have children, we often expect them to be like us and when they aren’t, we either try to mold them into a “mini-us” or we constantly battle with them because they don’t act the way we want them to and they drive us crazy.
We should raise our children as they are and not try to change them into the person we want them to be. They are not us and they never will be. We can force them into our mold and have them become an unhappy, unfulfilled adult. Or we can encourage them to use their abilities, guide them through difficult situations to achieve their potential and support them when they fail.
Children are a gift. Allow them to be themselves. They are not perfect and neither are we. Just love them.
We do many things in our lives that we wish we hadn’t done or wish we had done better. Too often we put off doing something with the intention of doing it someday but that day never comes. Or we do things quickly with little or no preparation, thinking that we can do it better the next time. Even worse we do something knowing that it isn’t right and it may even cause problems but we still do it anyway.
Time is precious and we should never waste it. We only have so many hours in a day and we really don’t how many of those days we have. In the big picture of life, we should try to focus on what is important and invest our time wisely.
When a loved one passes away, we are reminded that we can’t go back and do things over again. Our lives are NOT a dress rehearsal for some future event. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW! We can’t go back and tell that person the things we forgot to say. We can’t go back and do the things we wanted to do with them. We can’t watch the movies that we said we would watch with them and didn’t. We can’t buy that gift that we always thought about getting them.
Are you living your life like it is a dress rehearsal? Stop rehearsing and start living! Time is precious. If you waste your time, you are wasting your life. Make some positive changes:
- spend time with the people you love
- go to your children’s school play or special event
- take that trip you have been planning (just don’t go into debt to do it)
- build meaningful relationships
- take that course you always wanted to take
- tell your spouse that you love them
- manage your time wisely
Let’s face it – life IS difficult and there are so many things that we can worry about – our families, our jobs, our friends, our finances, our future. However, what value does worrying have? The answer is – absolutely none!! Worry doesn’t make anything better and it won’t resolve any problems. Worry is just a major cause of stress and we know that stress can kill us.
So if we are worrying about everything in our lives, then we are impacting everyone around us, especially our children. Think about it – our children are watching everything we say and do and will likely pick up any bad habits we have, like worrying! We are giving them a terrible gift, one that will harm their health and possibly destroy any close parent/child relationship.
Are you teaching your children to worry? If you are a worrier, take some steps to change this bad habit. Write down your worries and try to change your perspective on them. Ask yourself why you are worrying so much. Try to focus on a positive solution and have faith that things will usually turn out okay. The fact is, about 95% of the things we worry about never happen!
Unless we are completely alone, everything we say and do has an effect on other people. We can be a good example or we can be a bad example depending on what kind of words and actions we are using. The best thing we can do is to lead by example and have a positive impact on everyone around us, especially our children.
- If you want your children to show respect to others, you can’t call people names and run them down.
- If you want your children to tell the truth, you can’t call in sick to work and then go and play golf
- If you want your children to be kind to others, you can’t ignore that homeless person lying on the ground
- If you want your children to be healthy, you can’t eat unhealthy foods or abuse substances yourself
If you want your children to grow up to become responsible adults, you have to show them what a responsible adult looks like. You can’t just tell them or try to force them into a mold. They will learn best from your positive example.
This doesn’t mean that you should try to be a perfect parent. There is no such thing! Do the best you can and aim for excellence not perfection. You will make mistakes. Don’t try to cover them up and pretend you are perfect. Show your child that you do fail but that you learn from your mistakes and keep trying to do better.
What kind of example are you?
The truth is we all gossip. Gossip is idle talk about the personal or private affairs of others. It is a natural and expected part of our lives and helps us learn how to relate to others. If we are sharing good news about something positive and exciting, gossip can be a good thing.
However, problems can arise when we start talking about things that are mean, nasty, inaccurate or incomplete. If we discover a person doing something we think is wrong, we may want to share the information, not even knowing if what we saw has a good explanation. We can even add information that isn’t true, just to make the story more interesting and to make the person look really bad. This can start vicious rumours that embarrass or humiliate the person.
Gossiping that is intended to hurt someone is NEVER appropriate. Often we don’t know the whole story behind what we saw and it isn’t our business anyway. The only time we should gossip about something serious is when it is a matter of life and death. We certainly wouldn’t like other people to gossip about us, so we should extend the same courtesy.
Do you gossip? Does it hurt other people? If you are a parent, gossiping is a bad thing to model to your children. You are teaching them how to hurt other people and this will eventually end up hurting them. Be a positive role model. Be careful with your words and try not to gossip. If you catch your child gossiping, talk to them and discuss why it is wrong. Explain how it can hurt people and damage relationships. Help them develop empathy and make sure they apologize to anyone they have hurt.
Punishment and discipline are not the same thing and they don’t have the same impact on a child. Punishment is an outer action that is intended to make a child behave by force. Discipline is teaching a child how to discipline themselves by setting boundaries that are fair and helping them deal with the consequences.
Punishment is parental control and can result in making a child feel unloved and that they have no value. It can:
- encourage more conflict
- arouse anger
- send a message that it is okay to hit or control someone who is smaller/weaker
- show that being powerful is a good thing
- create confusion as to what is fair
- stop them from making good choices
Discipline is a teaching experience where the child learns how to become a responsible adult who can make good choices. It can:
- give them ownership of the problem
- teach them how to problem solve
- help a child learn to deal with their emotions effectively
- teach them how to respect other people and themselves
- help them feel valuable
- teach them how to make good choices
Being raised in an environment of punishment, I believed that this was the only way to teach a child a lesson and I became the parent that doled out punishment whenever things got out of control. I did not realize the negative impact this had on my children until I looked back on my own life and understood the effect punishment had on my own life.
When your children misbehave, take time to calm down and never react in anger. Your child may behave out of fear, but why not discipline them and teach them to behave out of love and respect? Give them a time-out, take away some privileges, have them do extra chores or do whatever it takes to correct the situation. Make sure you talk to them and try to remain as calm as possible. Controlling children through fear, is never the answer. Teaching them how to control their own behaviour is a much better way.