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How You “Bah-Humbug” Your Children (and how to stop)

How You “Bah-Humbug” Your Children (and how to stop)

I’ve been feeling a little Scroogey lately. No, it’s not about money; actually, I have to force myself to walk out of the stores in the name of good budgeting. My gifts are all purchased and awaiting their fancy wrappings. The house is decorated- well, enough, anyway. {Don’t hate on me for being super-organized; I have so much clutter and dust in my house right now, that I have temporarily given up on a few rooms and simply closed those doors!}  I’ve just been thinking about the holidays and Scrooge quite a bit lately and feeling a lot less superior to the old sourpuss than in the past.

You see, my daughter’s middle school class is visiting a local theater today to see a production of “A Christmas Carol.” The English teachers have created a series of lesson plans and creative assignments related to this classic Dickens tale. In order to emphasize the appropriate maturity and specialness of this opportunity, they are restricting electronic devices and encouraging “nice” outfits for the day. (Such a refreshing change!)

I have loved this story (and the classic black-and-white 1938 movie version) since my childhood. Although I think I understand the message in Scrooge’s conversion, I could never really relate to the way he would “Bah, Humbug” such a joyous holiday and his cheerful neighbors. Last night, a thought occurred to me: We parents are often guilty of the same behavior toward our children without even realizing it. Worse yet, we may even pride ourselves on the results of all this “Bah-Humbugging”! (Gasp!)

  • “Mom, look!  There’s an earthworm in the driveway!”
  • “Get in the van and buckle up, Jimmy!  Time to go to school.”
  • “I think the moon is following us!”
  • “It just looks that way.  Now keep your voice down so you don’t wake up your sister.”
  • “I can write my name in the frost!”
  • “Don’t mark up the car windows.  That will show later.”
  • “Ooh…These gold and purple and orange and red flowers are so pretty!”
  • “Let’s move on, Emma.  These don’t match our house.  Come over here and help me find some that will look nicer.”

We are all guilty prone to dismissing these seemingly insignificant (and endless!) childhood distractions observations. After all, we must stay on schedule, make sure our kids and vehicles look presentable and  keep a tidy home.  No, I’m not trying to make you feel guilty.  Remember, I want you to drop the guilt and enjoy your children!  (See the sidebar at right.)  I simply suggest that you develop the habit of looking at the world through your children’s eyes. Not all the time- that would not be realistic.  But just a little more often.  Look up more often to count the stars with them.  Look down more often to see what’s wriggling around in those puddles. Taste (clean-looking) snow and let it rain in your face.  Forget about pollution, schedules, fashion, and pin-worthy home decor for a few minutes.  Do it now, while the season is festive with colorful lights.  Do it year-round, because every season has its special joys.  Do it as often as you can, because childhood’s wonder never lasts long enough.  We all grow up eventually.  After all, WE’RE ONLY HUMAN!