Parenting Advice

I recall some of the parenting advice I read before I had kids. One particular piece of advice was “Make your kids feel more involved in the family by allowing them to make some decisions.

At first glance, it seemed reasonable enough: let them make some unimportant decisions, such as what color shirt to wear, etc. and they’ll be happier. I don’t know if people are still dispensing that advice, as I haven’t been paying attention to the baby and toddler stuff much anymore.

It might work for some people, but be very careful with it. Limit the decisions.

Your job as a parent is to be in charge.

Your child’s job is not to be in charge.

Who is in charge? The person making the decisions. Each decision you let your child make reduces your authority. That is not what you want.

And the more decisions the child makes, the more decision the child expects to get to make. Do you as a parent want the child to think that he gets to provide his input on any decision or matter? If you go overboard on allowing your child to make decisions, you will be frustrated by a child who thinks that everything is negotiable.

You don’t want to turn your adult child out into the world with no decision-making experience, so I’m not saying never ask for your child’s input. But start it when they are ready for responsibility, maybe late grade school. Otherwise you’ll be arguing with your kids. “Alright, 8:00, time for bed.” “But I want to go to bed at 9:00.” “I didn’t ask what you wanted, I said it’s bedtime.” Oh, but you did ask what he wanted. Maybe not this time, but many times before. He is used to your asking what he wants, why should this decision be any different?

When the child is young, explain why he gets to make this decision. “Okay, it’s your birthday, so you get to choose the dessert.” That way he knows that his getting to make a decision is a special event, not a common occurrence.

Going back to the original premise: if kids don’t get to make decisions, then how will they feel like they belong in the family?

By being part of the family.

By doing things the family does.

By having things expected of him.

By having parents who care for him.

Which child is going to feel more involved in the family: the one who gets to decide what he has for dinner that night, or the one whose parent reads him a book at bedtime?

Spend time with your child, have conversations with your child, do things with your child. But don’t feel like you need to abdicate your decision making to him.

Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way.

Proverbs 23:19

Targeted Marketing

I see a very ripe marketing opportunity for a certain retailer.

Target should start sponsoring local road signs:

image of the Target logo in the middle of a sign for a roundabout

Of course, the landscaping in the middle of the roundabout would have to be modified too:

image of the Target logo in the middle of a roundabout circle, overhead view

I’m sure whichever part of the government that handles road signs would be glad to accept sponsorship dollars.

Any other stores or corporations that would be a good fit for a road sign?

He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.

Ezekiel 37:2

True, But Misleading

I happened to notice the bold proclamation on a bottle of syrup that we have:

image of bottle of Log Cabin syrup with no high-fructose corn syrup

No High Fructose Corn Syrup

That’s great! But what does it have in it?

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Insult a Stranger Day

Welcome to the first annual National Insult a Stranger Day.

To celebrate this day, you need to find someone you don’t know, discover his take on any given topic, then insult him for having that opinion.
Or insult him for existing.
Or because you don’t like his name.

“But wait!” you may say. “Isn’t that just a normal day on the internet?”

Yes, yes it is.

And that is kind of my point – to show the need for a National Be Nice to Someone on the Internet Day.

Although I’m not sure if the official day of observance is August 20 or March 4. Maybe it could be both?

(Bonus points if your first thought was “It should be every day.”)

These ten times you have insulted me; You are not ashamed to wrong me.

Job 19:3

PSA: Pedestrians and Bike Paths

This Public Service Announcement is brought to you in part by my commute.

What’s wrong with thie picture? And what’s right with it?

image of mom pushing a stroller and walking with another child on the side of a busy road

We will come back to that. First, though, let’s look at this photo.

By the way, all photos are courtesy of my dash cam.
Read the rest of this entry »

Try to Dry

Ah, the old riddle: what gets wetter the more it dries?

Before answering that question, allow me to show you a photo from a hotel at which we stayed during a recent trip.

image of a sign at a hotel pool

Here’s a closer shot so you can read it.

image of a sign at a hotel pool that says to towel dry before leaving pool

It says

Please towel dry before leaving pool.
Thank you.

My wife pointed it out to me, as she correctly knew I would appreciate it.

The sign should have said to towel dry before leaving the pool room or before entering the hallway or courtyard.

To comply with the sign as written would have required over 100,000 towels (according to a topic I saw on Reddit about how many towels it would take to dry a pool. They assumed a larger pool, but they also assumed larger towels so it’s close enough).

Not only would the pool users waste a lot of time drying off while in the pool, they would need a pool-sized space to discard the wet towels.

We did not comply with the letter of the law, but I do believe we followed the spirit of the law.

Now back to the original question. The answer is, of course, a Hampton Inn pool room.

The waters from the sea will dry up, And the river will be parched and dry.

Isaiah 19:5

How to Avoid Insulting a Man

This was indirectly inspired by a recent post about things learned from Visionary Family Ministries.

Women, here is a tip to help you when speaking to your husband: don’t insult him.

I know that sounds obvious, but you might not know you’re insulting him.

Let me give an example.

Let’s say Dear Husband is working on a project. Maybe it’s changing the car’s oil. Maybe it’s replacing the kitchen faucet. Maybe it’s installing a sprinkler system. Doesn’t really matter, other than it’s something that, when it’s done, he can say he accomplished it.

Now let’s say you see him working on said project, and you want to be helpful, so you ask him if he needs any help.

That was the insult.

I know you meant well, but just don’t ask or say anything about needing help.

If you are worried about his safety, then stay nearby (but out of harm’s way) so he can ask for help once he realizes he needs it.

If you have seen The King and I, then you may be familiar with the concept of letting the king (or husband – those terms are interchangeable, right?) think he thought of an idea that you led him to.

What a Woman Says What a Man Hears
Do you need help? Are you incompetent?
My dad/brother/friend’s husband is good at that. He can help you. This other guy is better than you are.
I told you that would be a problem. I don’t want to help, but I do want to criticize.
Lemonade and cookies are ready when you are done. Thanks for doing this.

In summary: if a guy wants to do something, let him accomplish it on his own.

Also, results are not guaranteed. Your mileage may vary. Some guys might like being asked if they need help, as if they are still kindergarteners.

The exception – the only time you can offer help – is if the help is one of his children. If you say “Little junior wants to help. Is there anything he can do?” then he will find a way to need help. Even if it is just handing him that wrench.

not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9