By Deborah Pace Rowley
I think one of the reasons that our children are so crazy around the holidays is that they pick up on the emotional energy and vibes their moms send out. This is why it is so critical to control our own emotional states. I think it is important to set limits around the holidays so that our children can learn how to set limits too. This is what is means to be self-disciplined and show self-control. If we can't do it, how are we going to teach our kids?
I was so impressed with my sister this year. She is teaching her children how to set limits. It started at the beginning of the month when they wrote Santa their Christmas letters. My sister told each child that Santa would be bringing them one special gift this year and the needed to think carefully about what they wanted. I was impressed with both Cameron and Brooklyn as they thought about what to ask for. No one was upset. No one begged for more. They learned a valuable lesson about choosing and weighing options. I know when Santa comes, they will be thrilled with the one item that they asked for.
I have tried to set limits for my children and for myself also. There are so many good things that we could be involved in and so many traditions that we could adopt. But we CAN'T do it all. Every time I read about some other fun tradition or some other worthy cause, rather than feel guilty I remind myself of the limits I have placed on our Christmas celebration. Here is my list.
Each Christmas the Rowley family will:
Give our time in one meaningful act of service.
Give our money to one worthy cause.
Spend one evening in spiritual celebration of Christ's birth.
Spend one day in fun recreation together.
Keep alive one cherished tradition from our past.
Give simple gifts to our very close family and friends.
Give love in our actions, words, and smiles to everyone we meet.
Sometimes I am tempted to do much more but making this list has given me the freedom to do less and to feel good about it. At the end of December if we have accomplished these 7 things, our Christmas will have been a success. This is something that is manageable for me. This is something that I know that I can accomplish. This makes me feel more like Brooklyn, giving Anniston a great big kiss!