Habits, Routines, and Rituals

What are you fondest memories from your childhood? I suspect they are things that your family did that were ritualistic in nature. They may also have been the better family vacations. Family rituals are touchstones in your life and the lives of your children. Just as habits and routines become comforting, so do the rituals you establish in your family.

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Back to School

Recently, I saw a really funny commercial showing a man leaping with joy as he pulled something down an aisle.  It was revealed to be a couch, with his two sullen kids sitting on it, and the background music was the famous Christmas song which extols, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  It was a back-to-school ad and that dad was jumping for joy.  It was very clever, so kudos to Staples.  Yes, the kids are going back to school. We parents get our lives back–especially our evenings.

The job of parent revolves around the school calendar.  Our chauffeuring responsibilities are different during the school year than during vacation times.  One of the big differences, from my perspective, is the bedtimes for the boys.  On “school nights” they have a curfew that gives us some quiet at night.  However, during summer, the boys are allowed more freedom and Will, my almost-16-year-old, loves to stay up late and sleep late.  At least I get quiet time in the summer mornings.  It’s said that the more they sleep, in the summer, the more they’re growing.  Will is 6 feet, 2 inches already! read more

Summer Vacations Are for Parents, Too

Remembering Chevy Chase in those summer vacations movies reminds me of the fact that most so-called “family vacations” are, at best, vacations for the kids and torture for the parents. I’m generalizing, of course, but most generalizations as well as clichés, have a strong basis in truth. I stand by the proposition that we parents usually need a vacation after our family one, if only to recover and rest.

This summer my younger son, David, got to spend several weeks at the sleep- away camp he loves, while my older son, Will, is indulging his passion for rock ‘n’ roll at a Rock School where he’s taking drum lessons, and participating in numerous bands and concerts through the school.  He’ll also be living, figuratively, in our garage with his own band, driving the nearby horses crazy, or am I mistaking their thrashing about as dancing? read more