From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.
Though I noticed weeks ago that this new year began on a Monday, I didn’t take advantage of it. Which is a real bummer, because it’s exciting enough for this type-A planner when a new month starts on a Monday. But the first day of a new year?! Starting on the first day of a new week?!
Well, that’s like a perfect storm…or the holy grail…or a magical unicorn!
But because I’m a mom as well as a list-maker and goal-setter, that so-called special day passed in a blur of puzzles and leftovers and pajamas and Netflix. And it was a solid week before I even opened my brand-new planner or organized my thoughts into resolutions. Luckily for my sanity, I decided years ago that if I can set some goals and take down holiday decorations before February 1, I’m doing okay.
When I finally did sit down to make some plans and set some goals for this year, I realized that not only did I have a list of things I wanted to change or improve, but I also had a list of experiences I want to have with my kids. And while several items on that list were the usual road trips and field trips and cooking lessons and finally sticking to a chore chart and allowance system, several others were related to pop culture.
This is no surprise, since books and movies and music and TV shows are pretty much my favorite things. Of course I’d want to share those things with my favorite people!
Do any of your parenting goals for this year involve pop culture? Here are 5 of mine:
1. Read the book before the movie. Last year my daughter read Wonder three times. She asked me to read it, too, and I said I would, and I wanted to – but I didn’t. That didn’t stop me from taking her to seeing the movie as soon as it came out (and sobbing for two hours straight), but it did mean a missed opportunity to bond even more with my daughter.
This year we’re both going to read A Wrinkle in Time before the movie comes out. I read it when I was younger, but decades later my memory of the storyline and characters is pretty faint. So I’ll re-read it while my daughter reads it for the first time, and we’ll discover the magic of this story together.
If you’ve already read this one or aren’t interested in it, plenty of children’s books have been and will be made into movies! You could choose an older one, like Bridge to Terabithia, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or How to Train Your Dragon. Or you could get caught up on the Maze Runner series before the third movie comes out later this year. No matter what story you choose, enjoy meeting new characters and entering a new world with your child on both the page and the screen!
2. Attend a live concert or play. Our city has tons of free musical performances, especially in the summer. Everything from barbershop quartet to a string quartet can be found playing on one stage or another. Festivals, library programs, carnivals, Friday night shopping promotions – they all have a soundtrack, and frequently, it’s live. When my girls get a bit older, I’d love to take them to not-so-free concerts to hear their favorite artists, but for now, the free shows featuring talented musicians in all genres work just fine.
We also love watching children’s theater and try to get in at least one show at year. That’s not free (and not always fun with squirmy little ones), but I love creating the tradition of making art a priority for our family.
3. Introduce my kids to old movies or TV shows. Between Netflix and Hulu and On Demand and DVDs and YouTube, my kids have hundreds of options for entertainment. This is great and fun (and scary – but that’s a conversation for another day!), but it means they haven’t been exposed to some of the quintessential children’s programming I consider classics. When I realized a while ago my kids didn’t know who Popeye or Bugs Bunny or the Flintstones were? I was shocked – and determined to remedy the situation.
In addition to introducing them to my favorite old-school cartoons, I also decided to show them some of my favorite movies. So last summer, we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Princess Bride, and Flight of the Navigator. On my list for this year? Mrs. Doubtfire, Sandlot, Hook, Mighty Ducks, and Karate Kid (the original one, not the new one!).
4. Go to the drive-in. I’ve never seen a movie at the drive-in. So, obviously, my kids haven’t either. I’m determined to visit our city’s one drive-in theater this year, eat all the popcorn and candy we can handle, and sing, “Stranded at the Drive-In,” from Grease to them at the top of my lungs.
(“Embarrass my kids” is ALWAYS on my to-do list.)
5. Try something new. – Something new slides into my Facebook feed or inbox or actual mailbox every single day. Nobody can possibly keep up with all of it! But when I see a new magazine for kids or article about geocaching or a creative subscription box or local art show, I take note and try to fit it into our budget and schedule. It doesn’t always work out, but if we can try one or two new things this year, I think we’ll be doing all right!
What are your parenting goals for 2018?
Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.
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