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Parenting by Zenas

August - Vacation Time!

August - Respect and Learning - regard and appreciation of worth & Reading, listening, observing, studying analyzing, those tools essential to getting ready for SCHOOL in September!

"Daddy, I really have to go . . . NOW DADDY. . "

"Yes baby, Daddy will pull the car of this busy highway so that you can go potty again", all the while glancing over at my wife, who just smiles because it was yours truly that gave her the diet coke before we left the house. "But does she have a bladder so small that it won't even hold to more than half an hour?" I ask. "Honey, she is only six years old and at this age, perhaps you should have only given her a sip of the soft drink!" She's right, you know. For some reason soft drinks and car rides don't go together all that well. The kid was thirsty and since we were doing something fun, like packing more stuff into the "adult baby carriage" (car)than would fit, I thought that giving her a bit of my soft drink would be ok. Alright, so she drank most of the drink before I could get it out of her hands. My bad!!

This trip was up to the lovely state of Maine. Back in the days of "pk", (pre-kids) we were able to hustle up the highway, usually staying close to the posted speed limits, in about ten hours. With three of the young ones aboard, this ten hour trip took well over thirteen hours, door to door! Sure, we could have flown, but taking out a second mortgage for the purpose of purchasing a row of seats in an airplane just doesn't sit well with me. With a good birding book and set of binoculars, the constant stops became a way for me to increase my life list of birds seen in different states! You think I jest! The last thing young children need is a set of parents who only stop the car when they have already let a portion of their bladder out. That stuff lands on the seats, you know, and it doesn't come out very easily!

Fact of the matter is that once the "nest became full" our typical vacation became anything within driving distance. The distance we would venture changed as their ability to stay glued to a car seat grew less and less. There was a point in time when the local park seemed like "just the right vacation place"!

Fast forward . . . .

"Honey, our daughter wants to have her own site when we go camping this summer. How do you feel about that?" my wife asks of me. Fast forward from that six year old who couldn't hold it for more than fifteen minutes and now you have this wonderfully strong willed young women wanting to spend her summer vacation with us, yet apart from us! "Oh, and dear, she wants to bring her friend along too, and her friend is a boy!" A major bomb shell statement to any father!

"Sure, dear", I reply back, without even raising my glasses up from the book I was reading. "Sure dear what?" comes back the short shrill answer. You would think that by the time our children reach their late teens, we would have no more adrenaline left to jar our hearts out of our chests when topics are raised that we just don't feel all that comfortable with! "Sure dear that sounds like a really great topic to discuss when she turns thirty-two", I reply back.

WOW, ok, so we have spent the last eighteen years of our life teaching all of our kids to use our faith as a basis to answer the questions of life! This particular event, and this vacation, allows us as parents to reach out and learn a few faith based lessons of our own! Our first lesson is to trust that all those hard lessons we taught, actually landed! It is far easier to speak (preach) about proper behavior than it is to act out those same behaviors. How have her mother and I behaved over the past eighteen years? Have we shown one another respect? Have we treated one other with dignity and honesty? If the answer is yes to these questions, then our daughter is pretty likely to exhibit the same characters. She is also pretty likely to make sure that any friend of hers . . . . does as well.

So the bottom line to this dad, is to just chill, have more trust in my faith, and embrace the opportunities that will avail themselves on a 4 day camping trip with our daughter and her friend ! Which is precisely what we did!

Read other articles on Effective Parenting by Zenas Sikes