The following is an article by Carol Barnier about how those of us with children who have learning … uh … differences can enjoy the holidays. And remember, these “differences” are what make each child a unique part of the Body of Christ. Specially designed for His purposes. God will use it all! But for now, find out how your Christmas can be beautiful even if it doesn’t look like a Normal Rockwell …
It’s time for the holidays—whoo hoo!
Are you excited?
Full of anticipation?
Or quietly terrified.
For the typical family, holidays are simply a great change of routine.
These folks actually look forward to the many things that will be different during this season
– a vacation from the standard
– a step away from the predictable
– a break with the daily routine
But that very change of routine, along with odd hours, different foods, different sounds, different activities and a WHOLE different set of behavior expectations– these are the things that can unravel our kids, and consequently put a damper on everyone’s holiday.
Holidays Take Things Up a Notch
Let’s face it. The standards at home are simply more relaxed, as they frankly should be. There are things and behaviors in the privacy of our home that we often just let pass. . .behaviors that while perhaps not appropriate elsewhere, are simply no big deal at home. The emphasis is on enjoying time as a family, having a place where you belong. So Junior’s continued fascination with how many state capitols he can burp through just isn’t a crisis. Susy-Q’s fear of foods that have touched each other on her plate is easily managed. But now, with the arrival of the holiday, suddenly the game has changed. Our kids feel the tension. They can tell that there is now a different, higher, more difficult standard to be met, and it’s creating a fear in them of being the cause of someone’s disappointment.
So what can we do? Do we just have to accept that the holidays will be a massive disappointment? Filled with tension? Zapping our energy rather than renewing us? Do we just have to endure them with as little damage as possible till they have passed?
Nope. Here’s your assignment for today.
Right now, this very moment, put your Norman Rockwell notions of the perfect holiday in a box.
Choose a pretty little box, one worthy of such noble and lovely expectations. Put a snappy mental bow around it. (Personally, I’m fond of teal.)
Now put the box under the bed. . .far far to the back, behind the growing collection of dust bunnies. (I don’t know about you, but our dust bunnies have formed a colony, elected a Governor and are passing laws. They murmur as I pass by.)
While you’re putting that box away, if you take the time to look, you should see another box hidden in the shadows under the bed.
Reach in deep and pull it out.
You’ll know it. It’s a ratty looking little thing.
The corners are dented in.
There’s some kind of food stain along the top and splashed down one side.
There’s a bow too. . .sort of. But it looks rather hurriedly thrown together, a tad askew, and showing more than a few unraveling threads.
Yes, pull it all the way out into the light.
Here it comes.
THIS is your box. It is how holidays often go.
It is reality.
Now, hold it on your lap, tug on that bow, take the lid off and look inside.
While the holiday boxes of other families have a standard complement of items,
yours is full of things that one wouldn’t expect, things that are surprising and completely unpredictable.
Your box contains some odd things, some funny things, some hysterical things, maybe even some shocking things.
But each one brings a memory that is uniquely your family’s.
And weaving in and out of all the memories in this box is the heavy cord of love you feel for your family.
This unpredictable family.
This often oh-so-very UN-Rockwell family.
Don’t let someone else decide what your family’s holiday season should contain.
Don’t let a rigid list that has developed over time become the only blueprint for your enjoyment.
Don’t pull out and cart around a set of demanding expectations that may then serve to destroy your ability to enjoy the love in this box that you have.
Keep your mind and your heart on THIS box this season.
Your holiday memories are YOURS to create.
Do what works for you and your family.
Do what brings love, laughter and life.
Nothing more is needed.
Carol will be joining us again next Friday to talk about the subject of her new book, Engaging Today’s Prodigal. We’ll see you then!
Carol Barnier is a fresh, fun and popular conference speaker unlike any you’ve heard before. Her objective is to have the wit of Erma Bombeck crossed with the depth of C.S. Lewis, but admits that most days, she only achieves a solid Lucy Ricardo with a bit of Bob the Tomato. She is a frequent guest commentator on Focus on the Family’s Weekend Magazine broadcast, has been a guest on many radio programs and is a speaker to conferences nationwide. She’s the author of three books about dealing with (or possessing) a non-linear mind in a linear world: How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning, If I’m Diapering a Watermelon, Then Where’d I Leave the Baby?, and The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles. Her main websites are CarolBarnier.com and SizzleBop.com. You can also find Carol at her blog for moms with distractible kids at SizzleBop. And for fun, see her church humor blog at CarolBarnier.
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