Sunday, January 17, 2010

More on Saying Good-bye and Saying Hello

“Good-bye, 2009”

” Hello, 2010”

Part of my goal in writing Good-bye, Baby Max was to stress the importance of assisting our children in learning how to gracefully say “Hello” and “Goodbye.” Our culture has many rituals around celebrating significant life events. As one year draws to an end we traditionally say “Hello,” to the New Year with celebrations and resolutions. Some of us also have traditions of saying “Goodbye” to the old year. I think many individuals attempt to do this via their Christmas family newsletters. I readily admit that I have often made fun of these letters that glowingly highlight the major accomplishments of their family members. Because I am a counselor, I want to hear everything that is happening in an individual’s life….the good, the bad, and the ugly that is shaping my friends and loved ones souls, their character, and their well-being. Of course many of our friends and casual acquaintances really don’t want to hear about our traumas and angst.

But as I say “Good-bye” to my negative self, I implore you to follow in the footsteps of those who pen glorious recounts of the past year. Though you may or may not choose to share these with the world, it is important to say good-bye to the year 2009 by reflecting on your accomplishments, pleasant memories, and highlights of the year. For those of you who have experienced tragedy, trauma, illness and significant loss, this exercise can be very difficult. However, the more difficult you find this task, the more beneficial and meaningful this process will be for you.

After you have engaged in this process, I encourage you to invite your children to share in a similar activity. The positive feelings that surface will be extremely rewarding for you and your family. You can make this a family project in which you highlight significant events of the family and their individual members, or you can encourage each child to create their own project.

Of course, how you choose to implement this project is dependent on the ages and interests of your children. Here are a few ideas that will hopefully get you started and those creative juices flowing:

· Create a collage depicting important events of the past year.

· Look through your photo albums and make copies of pictures that represent significant accomplishments, milestones, or pleasant memories. Use these photos to create a collage, PowerPoint, photo album, or mobile.

· Older kids may enjoy creating a film about the year 2009 while younger children may enjoy reenacting the events of 2009 by entertaining you with a puppet show. Remember, younger children may need your assistance in such tasks while older children or teens may enjoy working independently.

· Write a story or create a book about the year.

· Have family members draw pictures of significant events.

· Write a poem

· Create a song. This isn’t as hard as it sounds if lyrics are written to familiar songs such as, “The farmer in the dell,” “Row, row, Row, your Boat,” or “If you’re Happy and you know it.”

· Having trouble remembering what happened last year, get out the calendar. You might even be able to use some of the notations made in one of the collages or Powerpoints.

Whatever medium you and your children choose to memorialize 2009, remember, the goal is to have fun, create more wonderful memories, and to build positive feelings. These activities will not work if you don’t allow your child to play an active role in the entire process. Start by asking them if they have any ideas about what they would like to create. I have often been amazed at the ideas children can generate. If your child doesn’t have any ideas then begin to give some examples of projects that you think might interest them. Let them select from your suggestions.

Before beginning the project, especially with young children or children who have difficulty organizing themselves, spend time reminiscing about the past year. As you talk, jot down, or have your child jot down, what they want to include in the physical representation of the year 2009. Sharing your memories and good feelings is the most significant piece of all of this.

In my attempts to practice what I preach, I have created a PowerPoint depicting some of the highlights of my year. If you would like to view it ………

Thanks to all of you for making 2009 a very special year!

Happy New Year

Resource of the Month

As many of you may know, my favorite parenting program is, Parenting with Love and Logic. If you are not familiar with this wonderful resource that assists parents in creating responsible adults while maintaining and growing the parent-child relationship, I invite you to check it out today! Their website is rich with suggestions, handouts, as well as books, tapes, and guides.

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