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by JoAnn Hibbert Hamilton

"I am thankful for: ...The mess to clean up after a party because it means my children have friends. ...the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means that my children have enough to eat. ...the noise that sometimes rises in my home because it means that I can hear. ...the lessons I pay for because it means that my children are developing talents. ...a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because I have a home. shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine. ...the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking. ... my huge heating bill because it means I am warm. ,,,the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby. ...the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive. ...weariness and aching muscles at the end of a day because I have been productive." (Adapted from "I am Thankful" by Nancy J. Carmody, Family Circle, 11/99)

Our attitudes do make a difference in our home. We should not be surprised if we are always grumbling that our children grumble, too. This is called unintentional teaching and it happens all the time. I remember quickly eliminating some high school slang from my vocabulary when I heard it come out of the mouth of my first child. Our speech and mannerisms, as well as our level of honesty, are often unintentionally taught. I wish it were not so, but it seems to be specifically taught, but that dishonesty is just "picked up" by our children. So it is with many negative actions.

During your evening meal you might go around the table and say what you are glad about that happened that day. There might even be "double dessert" for the person who can name the most things.

And a word of warning to single Moms and Dads. If you deliberately ask your children what they didn't like when they spent visitation time with your ex-spouse you are doing one or both of two things: teaching them to dislike and find fault with the opposite gender and/or teaching them to always look for faults in others. Eventually it will turn on you because you will have taught that well. Sometimes if you're a mother you literally teach your children that men are no good - indirectly, of course, but thoroughly. Then someday you will wonder why your child doesn't want to marry.

It is wise to note that no parent can win a popularity contest and still be a good parent. It is wholesome for children to have to wait a minute or two for someone to get off the telephone, and I am told that creativity grows out of boredom.

A child responded to on too high of a level becomes demanding and impossible to live with. Many single Moms and Dads keep their attitude toward their ex-spouse on a positive level for the good of the child.

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