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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 Things I Don't Love About Halloween

So yesterday I blogged about 5 Things I Love About Halloween.  Today, I'll tell you 5 things I don't like about it. Here goes.

1. Pagan history - The history of Halloween is rather dark, but also somewhat uncertain. Some say it came from Celtic harvest festivals where they gathered food and supplies for the winter. Then the Celts mimicked evil spirits by dressing in costume to scare the dead from coming back and causing havoc, such as sickness or crop failure. But as one astute reader commented yesterday, one can also view it more positively as All Souls Day, followed on November 1 by All Saints Day, when you remember lost loved ones. Sort of a Memorial Day, if you will. You can read about Halloween history here.
2. Teenagers trick-or-treating - I think it's cute when costumed little ones come trick-or-treating. But when the kids are as big as I am, not so much. I still give them candy, but personally, I'd like to see parents tell kids they're too old to go trick-or-treating when they start high school. That's just me. They can still have costume parties, or hand out candy at the door, or any other fun Halloween activities. But when kids get that old, they're not all that cute anymore. Instead, they often tend to be greedy, showing up with pillowcases already loaded with candy, no parental guidance, and an attitude of entitlement. Which takes me to the next thing I don't like about Halloween.
3. Greedy kids/parents - Children who come to the door all cute and dressed up melt my heart—until they grab the candy and run without so much as a thank you. And the parents waiting don't always make them come back and say thank you, either. They're missing out on a wonderful teaching moment.
4. Scary decorations - Why do people have to have bloody, scary, moving decorations in their yards these days? Developmentally, children under the age of five have a hard time knowing what's real and what's not. Let's not traumatize kids. Let's keep Halloween about jack-o-lanterns, orange and black, candy, costumes, fall, etc. (Stepping off soapbox now...).
5. Inappropriate costumes - I honestly cannot for the life of me figure out how some parents justify the horrific or sexy costumes they put on their little darlings. (I know, I sound like an old judgmental bat!) Believe me, when they're sixteen and asking to wear the same thing, it's going to be hard to explain logically why it was okay when they were five, but not now. Let kids be kids. Don't make them into some gruesome or sex-charged character. They're only little for such a short time. Use the time wisely and dress them up as cute as you can, while you can! 

So there you have it. My Halloween gripe list. Now I promise to shut up and go eat some candy. :)

What do you see as the pros and cons, likes and dislikes about Halloween? How do you deal with them? 


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Things I Love About Halloween

Halloween has become a somewhat controversial holiday. As a matter of fact, some readers are probably bristling right now because I just called it a holiday. I have mixed emotions about it. I know Halloween's background is dark. But I also know that as a kid, its history didn't matter to me and that certainly wasn't what it meant to me. So today and tomorrow, I'm going to post 5 reasons to love or not love (sorry, but hate seems a little strong) about Halloween. Today's all about loving it! So here are my top 5 reasons to love Halloween.

1. Candy - Who doesn't like this? Whether you should or shouldn't eat it is beside the point.
2. Families doing things together - Parents enjoy seeing their kids looking so darned cute and showing them off to the neighborhood. And families spending time together doing something fun is always a plus in my book.
3. Outreach opportunity - Halloween provides a chance for churches to draw people in for fall festivals and hope. It's also a natural, informal chance for individuals to distribute some Good News with their candy.
4. Neighbors interacting - I don't know about you, but I know only a very small fraction of my neighbors. But on Halloween I see neighbors outside chatting, oohing and ahhing over each other's children, and genuinely getting to know one another. It's an opportunity to build relationships and build a community feeling.
5. Imaginations at work - Coming up with costumes allows children to get creative. It pulls them out of video games, gets them outdoors, and stimulates their imaginations as they become whoever they're dressed as. Our kids' best costumes happened when we had the least money and the kids had to "make something up" out of what they had. Great life training, if you ask me. What's not to love about that?
So, there you have it. Halloween isn't all bad! There's plenty to love about it.

What about you? Do you celebrate Halloween and, if so, how? What do you love about Halloween?


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One Topic I'll Never Blog About

I've blogged on a lot of parenting topics. I made plenty of mistakes as I raised my three kids but I did a lot of things right, too. I've also learned a lot from watching my daughter parent her seven children—she’s a far better parent than I ever was. But there's one thing I will never blog about because I never mastered it as a parent and I'm no better at it as a grandma—teaching children to go to sleep on their own. The picture below is of me walking my grandson, Solomon, to sleep.

Sleeping issues are often a parent's top frustration because it affects them the following day (read weeks, months, years) as sleep deprivation sets in. So why couldn't I figure out how to teach my kids good sleep habits? Two reasons. I love rocking babies to sleep and I couldn't stand to hear them cry.
Seriously, is there anything sweeter than holding a child as he drifts off, that soft little body snuggled tight against yours? Or providing the warm childhood comfort of being held, feeling loved, cherished, and safe? Nothing else even comes close. So if my child wanted to rock with me, you can bet the answer was always yes, even if it meant it took twice (or three or four times) as long to get them to bed. Even if they woke when I laid them down and we had to start all over again. I simply couldn't resist that cozy snuggle time.
And all the advice about letting your baby cry himself to sleep? I simply couldn't do it. Still can't. Honestly, it breaks my heart. I simply cannot, will not, do it. I know. I'm a bad mom. But I was so good in so many other ways.
When my baby cried, my natural instinct was to comfort her by picking her up. Believe me, I tried to resist that urge. I really did! I'd pat her tiny back, coo to her, maybe even sing a lullaby. But if she still cried, I had to pick up the sweet thing. I had to!
Here's the thing. My children are now ages 31, 28, and 19. And every one of them sleeps through the night. They're wonderful people and I'm so proud of the adults they've become. I have terrific relationships with all three of my kiddos and miracle of miracles, I didn't scar them too terribly with my occasional lapses in parental judgment. So my advice to you regarding sleep issues or any other issues you face as a parent?
Follow your heart, your gut, your instinct. You've got this. Your children will turn out fine as long as you do your very best and love them beyond reason. I know you already do. At least most of the time. And in my experience that is enough.
What's your toughest issue as a parent? I can't wait to hear from you.