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A 3-year-old gave her mom a 25-word master class on what forgiveness really means

Mackenzie Freeman

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What can a toddler teach you about forgiveness? “Nothing,” you may think. After all, it is you the adult who understands the way of the world. You are supposed to teach the children the difference between right and wrong along with the importance of forgiveness. You may change your perspective after reading this story. 

Holland is a 3-year-old who recently had an intense debate with her mom over stuffed animals. The little one shed tears and released loads of frustration as she attempted to help her mom understand her perspective. Holland, of course, lost the great stuffed animals argument to her mother of 35 years. The little one did not go down without a fight, however. In fact, Holland’s tenacity was so strong that her mom became irritated. 

“I put her to bed and through clenched teeth said, ‘I love you, Holland, but not another word tonight. You are going to sleep now. I’m done fussing over stuffed animals,’”  Holland’s mom shared with her Facebook friends. It was then that Holland stopped her mom in her tracks. 

“I DO have one more thing to say,” the 3-year-old said to her mom. Holland’s mom asked her little one what was on her mind when the toddler said, “I forgive you!”

Holland’s mom could not believe her ears. She was certain that her toddler had no clue as to what the word “forgive” actually meant. The night took another turn when Holland’s mom asked her baby girl to define the term. 

“It means you were wrong, and I’m tired of being mad, and now I’m going to sleep and my heart won’t have a tummy ache,” Holland said of forgiveness. She wasn’t wrong, either. 

The experts agree that forgiveness, although complicated in nature, is actually pretty simple by design. The person who chooses to forgive the next person for his offenses does not make light of what happened. The offense is very real and very much so hurtful. The individual who chooses forgiveness, however, elects to stop being angry about the occurrence and move forward with his life. The forgiving heart, then, is free from “tummy aches” because of the liberality that comes from releasing anger and bitterness. 

Who would have thought that a 3-year-old could define the essence of forgiveness in simple terms? Certainly not Holland’s mother. “I was taught a lesson in forgiveness by a 3-year-old,” Holland’s mom said after the ordeal. “It was a gut punch, too,” she added.

Imagine how much different the world would be if we all determined to never let our hearts go to bed with a “tummy ache” caused by grudges. Such a simple yet profound truth could impact everything from crime rates to personal health. 

Adults often believe that they hold the keys to life in their hands because of their years of experience and knowledge. Holland, however, proved to her mom and social media at large that golden nuggets about life come from the mouths of babes. So consider Holland’s words the next time you have a dispute and walk away angry. Choose forgiveness to keep your heart from developing a “tummy ache.” 

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Parenting

Chaperoning a Kindergarten Class: Not as Easy as It Looks

Sherry Rucherman

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When you see a group of kids out with their teachers, you might be worried that their group will get in front of you in line. But you probably don’t think much else about the large, organized group sharing your space in the museum, restaurant, or wherever.

The children are usually in pairs, holding hands, and walk single file down rows and sidewalks. The whole thing seems so organized that anyone who has never actually been on one of these field trips as an adult doesn’t realize how much work goes into making those trips manageable.

Daddy Blogger 

Clint Edwards is the owner of a blog called “No idea what I’m doing: a daddy blog.” Like most first time parents, he quickly came to the realization that parenting was not what he expected.  Children are their own little people, and any expectations he started with were quickly crushed. 

In his blog, Clint talks about the adventures he gets to have as a parent.  He blogs about how he came to spend so much time with his children, and how different his life was before them. He talks about challenges, like supporting his daughter with ADHD. In one recent blog, he recounts how a coworker told him how tough he makes parenting look. But Clint knows he has great kids, and nothing can make up for the magic of being a parent.

Volunteering Looked Easy

Most schools welcome parent volunteers during field trips, and some would have difficulty without the extra help. Having parents means being able to split into smaller groups, so each adult only has to keep eyes on a smaller number of kids at once.

Clint volunteered to chaperone his daughter’s kindergarten class when they got to make a trip to a pumpkin patch. He was responsible for keeping track of just five small kids, which sounds perfectly doable. 

Other People’s Kids Are Harder 

While he is glad he volunteered, and happy he got to spend extra time with his daughter, Clint was shocked at how much more difficult it was than he thought. 

He was only with the group for four hours, but spent the time worrying he’d lose one of the children and something horrible would happen. There were other problems, like mud and strange smells, and he worried that he wouldn’t be able to keep the children clean, safe, and behaving. 

Teachers As Heroes

Even while he worried, the teachers were in charge, making it look easy.  They got the children to change shoes at the beginning and end of the trip, and they kept everyone focused on the trip. Not only did they do a great job keeping order, they did it all with patience and big smiles on their faces.

Clint says he hasn’t had a drink for 16 years, but he really wanted to after the field trip. Instead, he had a handful of Tylenol, a long, hot soak in the bathtub, and more cookies than he really needed. 

Gratitude 

Clint quickly realized that he had no problem spending the day with his own children, but being responsible for other people’s children is much harder. He realizes teaching is not the job for him, but he has so much respect for the teachers who dedicate their lives to their students. 

Clint wants to send a message to teachers about what a great job they’re doing, and to parents that they should thank their children’s teachers and give them a pat on the back. 

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Parenting

Getting a Toddler to Sleep – Mission Impossible

Leslie Tander

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Women are often told as they are about to have a child, “enjoy your sleep, it’s about to end.” Disregard the fact that most women in their third trimester already can’t sleep well due to discomfort and movement inside on a regular basis. And, no surprise, once the newborn happens, sleep does disappear, as if on command. Instead, the ritual of feeding just about every hour makes a zombie out of almost the hardiest of women with a newborn.

Add in the mix of doing something wrong, of SIDS occurring while the child does sleep, and trying to learn everything in what seems like nature’s crash course sprinkled with tons of relatives offering annoying advice that doesn’t apply, and sleep seems to literally disappear for a year or two altogether. So once the toddler years come along, and a 2-year-old doesn’t want to now go to sleep on schedule, vocalizing it quite loudly at times, finding a sure-fire method for one’s own sanity and the resting health of the child becomes a must.

Interestingly, moms who allow their newborns and babies to fall asleep on them figure out very quickly that it’s one of the few things that actually works amazingly well in knocking out a little one. And this, of course, sets up the issue of how long should this pattern continue, even when it works really well with toddler as well. It’s not a shocking surprise, a mother’s heartbeat is a very fundamental, natural calming sound for a baby child. Almost instinctually, the child knows protection and sleep from pregnancy days, like an ingrained memory. But it also sets up a mother as a regular sleep aid too, which creates complications.

First, kids grow. And that means they get heavy. Just holding them all the time becomes physically impossible. Try holding a bucket of water with your arm power. It’s the same idea, eventually even the strongest person realizes they won’t last long. So, the approach morphs into rocking, crouching and eventually comes the issue of the toddler falling asleep with mom in the parent’s bed.

Culturally, Americans frown on the idea of a toddler falling asleep in the parents’ room. The child needs to learn to sleep on his or her own, so we believe. Yet in many other cultures children are allowed to fall asleep with their parents, and its as normal as eating or drinking. So, did we somehow get it wrong in the U.S. and we’re missing out on the magical sleep we all want at night and can’t get as new parents? Well, maybe so.

The fact is, many parents trying the sleeping together approach are going to find they and the child are getting better sleep. And once the child is comatose, it’s fairly easy to carry the sleeping ruggle to his or her bed and get back in one’s own without worry. So, exactly where is the problem? It may very well be our own cultural stigmas hang up our ability to get decent sleep with a newborn more than necessary. And if that’s really the case, parents should really focus on doing what works best for them and their child. The heck with what Grandma thinks.

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Parenting

College is a Family Affair for this Mother-Daughter Duo

Mackenzie Freeman

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Imagine walking into the first day of classes as a freshman in college. You sit down in the front row and watch other students start to file in. Next thing you know, your mom enters the room, sporting a new backpack and a freshly sharpened pencil. No, you didn’t leave your lunch at home or forget your gloves. Mom is also taking this class.

This is exactly what happened to 16-year-old Emma and her stay-at-home mom, 37-year-old Kathy.

When Emma tested out of high school after only 3 days of attendance by taking the Texas Success Initiative test, she decided to enroll in the University of North Texas. Kathy, a mother of three, was so inspired by the achievements and success of her oldest daughter, that she decided that she was going to enroll as well.

When Kathy started having kids she decided to be a stay-at-home mom. That meant that any idea of going to college went out the window. But her daughter’s academic success, testing out of high school and getting both her high school diploma and associates degree at the age of 15, inspired Kathy. She decided to take a chance and give college a try. Something she thought she’d never get again.

“The first day of class, the professor, of course, says, ‘You guys have the same last name. Are you sisters?’… I’m like, ‘I’m her mother,’ and Emma at first was so embarrassed,” Kathy said. 

While some may think that Kathy was there to help Emma, the opposite is actually true.

“A lot of times she was helping me!” Kathy exclaimed.

Emma, who thinks of her mom as her best friend, now thinks it’s great that she gets to share her college experience with her mom. They go to football games and hang out with their other classmates and friends together. At first, she was embarrassed to have her mom around all the time, but then realized what an opportunity it was for them both.

“Going to college together just makes our friendship so much stronger,” Emma noted. “No matter what, she’s going to be there to support me and she’ll love me no matter what.” 

While Emma may not have realized that “being there” meant literally in the next seat while sitting in English 101, she is grateful to share the college experiences with her mom.

After 20 years out of school, Kathy is working hard and is grateful she has her daughter as a classmate and for helping her so much. “I think initially professors think somehow I’m going to help her, when the truth is, a lot of times she was helping me.”

While many folks may have been horrified at the idea of sharing their college experience with their moms, Emma and Kathy are a positive example of how it can work. The mother-daughter duo plans on attending medical school together after finishing up their coursework for their bachelor’s degrees. 

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