Late Summer 2006

Dear Friends

My childhood friend Babs is the kind of woman who can clear an acre of land, build a house on it, and then invite all the neighbors over for a gourmet dinner. It's not as if Babs was born with a ''super woman'' gene -- nor was she born into a wealthy family. What she was born into was a family who loved her dearly, yet didn't shield her from her own consequences; i.e., they refused to coddle her. Watching her life has helped me keep the role of parenting in perspective. And if you're a parent like me (Mother Softy Incarnate), maintaining perspective cannot be underestimated!

Chances are we all agree that our most important task as parents is to prepare our children to become independent, kind, and capable adults. I don't know any parents who would consciously set their children up to be incapable of living independently. Yet every day I see more and more parents raising whining, demanding children who will become whining, demanding adults with an overblown sense of entitlement, incapable of performing the most basic life skills such as doing laundry, cooking, or managing a checkbook. Despite statistics indicating that teens who describe themselves as ''spoiled'' are twice as likely to use drugs and are at higher risk for underachieving in school, we seem to be overindulging our kids in record numbers.

I recently read an article in the Edmonton Sun about what psychologist Dr. Maggie Mamen has termed ''Pampered Child Syndrome.'' It made me think of a mother I just heard about who spent over $10,000 on her kindergartner's birthday party. What kind of investment is that in her daughter's future? Will it make her daughter feel special and loved or will it just set her up for a life of hyper-materialism and a feeling of emptiness when things don't go her way? Materialism aside, how are we helping our children when we fail to set limits, don't require them to do chores, and when we shield them from all disappointments? We find ourselves with unmotivated and irresponsible teenagers. Fast forward a few years, and we've got adult ''children'' still living off the dole, and we never stop to think of how our ''well-meaning'' indulgences have contributed to having virtually helpless children.

But back to Babs. She wasn't always thrilled with those parents of hers who chose not to jump when she said jump. And, no, she and her mom weren't ''best buds.'' That was never her mother's mission anyway. But now that Babs has two teenagers herself, she appreciates her parents' sacrifices more than ever. They sacrificed being popular in order to instill skills, talents, and capabilities that would help Babs to live her days as a fulfilled, capable, and independent woman who is contributing a lot to this world. No matter what peer pressure we may come up against as parents (''But Mom, nobody has curfews any more!), my hope is that we can always keep the big picture in mind -- the people we are growing. We hope you find in these pages some truly inspirational ways to enrich you on your own parenting journey. And you won't have to drop 10 grand to do so!

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Early Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

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