Happy 2016….Live with Joy
Here it is the 3rd of January, the holidays are really over! I love the holiday season, but I also love the feeling of new beginnings. There really is no magic to the month of January, but it is a time that I stop for a moment and think about the blessings of the past and the anticipation of what will happen in the upcoming year. I often start listing what things I want to do or change or ways I want to improve. If I am not careful, I start to think about what “could” happen next year…and worry about it! I am wired to worry. Over the years I have learned this about myself, but I often have not been very successful in turning off the worry. The fact is, we don’t have a lot of control over what life will give us this year. There will be joys, and yes there might be worries and maybe hardships. Simply worrying or thinking about “what might happen” never accomplishes anything. That worry over what “might happen” results in missing the joy of the moment. So, I am concentrating on living joyfully…and not wasting energy thinking about things unless I have a plan to solve a problem or make a change. I most likely will have to renew this promise to myself each day….maybe even several times a day! The wonderful thing about beginnings is that you can decide at any moment to begin again. So, even though I commit to this on January 3rd….I can decide January 4th, 5th, 6th, …..or every day to begin again to redirect my thoughts to what is joyful at that moment. Here are a few more hopes I have for families this year….including my own “kids” …. (they will always be my kids, no matter how old!)….
- Families will begin each day with excitement, live each day with joy and end each day with gratitude. I believe every child should go to sleep thinking of the good things of that day and wake up with thoughts of the good things to come. I want parents to concentrate on the moment….because worry about what will come is wasting a moment of joy.
- Families will give structure when needed and “bend the rules” too! One of the best things about being a parent is creating structure but also breaking rules occasionally. There is nothing more fun than letting your child have an extra treat, stay up a little later, nap on the floor in the family room, make chocolate hand prints on paper or whatever “slightly naughty” thing you want to do. Joyful families turn boring routines into magic occasionally!
- Time for individual kid time. There is something about taking time to do something special with each of your children alone. No interruptions, no sibling rivalry, no sharing…..just enjoying your child for who he or she is alone. I really get to enjoy the unique gifts each of my kids have when I have the opportunity to have that alone time.
- Families will remember that “this too will pass” and “this soon will be gone”…..these are basically the same words but different thoughts. Yes, the temper tantrums, dirty diapers, sleepless nights will pass…and yes, the sticky kisses, sweet little voices, and cuddle time will also soon be gone. Enjoy it all…don’t wish any of it away.
- Families will forgive each other and themselves. We parents are not perfect, we never will be. Our parents weren’t perfect either. Families who are healthy and happy forgive. Parents who are happy forgive themselves and others. We cannot continue to stew over mistakes we make or will make as parents or mistakes other family members make. The time spent in unforgiveness wastes time that could be joyful. Forgive and forget….move on.
- Families will laugh till it hurts! Kids learn humor, happiness, and joy from their parents. Kids love to see their parents laugh, enjoy, and be silly. Scientifically we know that laughter changes our brain chemistry…it causes feel good serotonin to be released. Laughing and laughing hard with your kids is one sure way to make your day better.
- Hug and kiss….a lot. Happy families are physical. Happy parents give each other love through touch….they hold hands, hug often and always kiss each other good night. A cuddle always makes a hurt feel better and the day a little better. Don’t let the busyness of life rob you of the chance to hug and kiss your family. Don’t let your adolescent fool you, they need it too.
- Families will slow down every day. Don’t let life keep you on a hamster wheel. That type of living results in stress, anxiety, and a loss of joy.
- What are your hopes for 2016? Commit with me to live with joy….Let us all start each day with the resolve to love more, enjoy more, smile more, be grateful and be our best. That will allow us to live in the best way…. Happy New Year!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.