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  • Writer's pictureKelly Knowlden

Chancellor’s Challenges: Passing Seasons

When September comes and the leaves begin to turn color and the air is a bit more crisp and clear, does this phrase from Charlotte’s Web come to mind?

"Summer is over and gone, over and gone, over and gone. Summer is dying, dying." A little maple tree heard the cricket song and turned bright red with anxiety. The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. (White)

Summertime cannot last forever. Nor can childhood. Each season of growth brings the challenges tied to raising children who are respectful, hardworking, kind and courageous. This is the season for you parents. It is not for the faint hearted. So let me give you one piece of advice that will gain you a lot of traction in raising children: laugh..... a lot!

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Prov. 17:22). For those of you with little children, a merry heart requires entering into their world and enjoying their childish humor. If they like unicorns, tell them a fantastical story that makes their unicorn be the hero. If you have a fourth grader, ask them to tell you the story! And if your high schooler has not seen you laugh for a long time, then sit down and read some silly joke book that tickles your funny bone.

If your student is working on algebra (and you have forgotten every bit of algebra that ever was taught you), don’t let them know that you don’t remember. Just begin asking questions. Raising one eyebrow, say something like, “Why is that number in brackets?” or “How do you know whether to add or subtract that number?” They will soon get the idea that you are bluffing, but you’ve also made them explain things that they would normally just skip over because they couldn’t do them. In the process, your child will feel that you are on their side, rather than telling them that they need to pay better attention in class.

Or another scenario: when was the last time that your children saw you dance around the house for sheer fun? Or do something completely goofy – like pretend that you know kung fu? What about jumping in the leaves with them? Do they remember you laughing at their antics out of enjoyment for who they are? All of these things are good medicine and will help many trouble spots in relationships.

Summer is over and gone. And soon so will your children’s childhood. Today is the day that can be used to show your children how much you enjoy being with them.

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