Parenting by the book

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I am a nerd mom. I own it. I love books and reading and writing. Mr. Wonderful is adventurous and outdoorsy.

I am the opposite of that. I am what you would call indoorsy. I’m a bookworm. I began reading to Boywonder when he was three days old. True story. I wanted my children to know and grow with the wonder of wisdom through writing.

It should come as no surprise that wide swaths of my parenting were shaped entirely by what I really had learned in kindergarten, and other primary grades as well. While other parents were thumbing through “What to expect when you’re expecting,” I was paging through well worn children’s literature.

From Dr. Suess, we know that “Today you are YOU, that is Truer than true.” There is no one alive who is “Youer than YOU.”

Remember this when we are tempted to give too much credit to other people’s opinions. This is never truer than in our teen years but can plague us forever.

Be yourself. Respect yourself. Revel in the power of being yourself. Everyone has his or her own set of unique gifts and talents to bring to the world. When you twist your personality into something you are not to please other people, you set yourself up to fail.

Dedicating your life to meeting impossible expectations, be it test scores, touchdowns, or thigh gap, is a recipe for disappointment.

Avoiding criticism is a recipe for exhaustion. From Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland we learn about growth. It’s no use to go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

Seasons change

In life you will find that friends will come and go. Some for a specific reason or season. Some we simply outgrow.

That’s okay. Not everyone is supposed to join your journey forever.

When you do find a friend who sticks through life’s ups and downs, cherish that. True friendship is a valuable commodity. As we learned from E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web, You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.

Speaking of relationships, life isn’t a romantic comedy or scripted by Disney. Love is strong. Like is important too. Relationships need to be cared for and nurtured. Remember a bad day isn’t a bad life. Work at it. People make mistakes.

You don’t need to attend every argument you’re invited to. Don’t be a doormat but do practice forgiveness. You might need someone to forgive you someday.

You often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons, than by being right for the wrong ones. Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth.

Having fun

The indomitable Mary Poppins teaches us that In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, you find the fun, and then the job’s a game. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

Pay attention to your passions and you will find your calling. You don’t have to have it all figured out but please be open to education, opportunity, and new ideas. Once you’ve decided what you are aiming for, make sure you like it enough to want to do it even on a bad day.

From Peter Pan, we learn to be yourself, bravely. The moment where you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever being able to do it. If you’re not willing to look stupid sometimes, nothing great is ever going to happen to you.

Make an effort

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try. From Dr. Suess we learn that unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

As a parent, I cared less about class rank, popularity, or athletic prowess. I do care that my children sit with the lonely kid, the lost soul, and that they never add to anyone’s discomfort. More importantly, that they learn that what we choose to do can alleviate it.

Above all else, be kind. Finally, my favorite words of wisdom are culled straight from Winnie the Pooh, Promise me you’ll remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think.

But the most important thing is that even if we are apart, I will always be with you.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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