Practicing what you teach

- Joellen Monson

"Go to school. Your education is important. Get good grades, study hard, follow your dreams, you can do anything if you work hard." These are just a few of the mantras most parents tell their children year after year. Well, another famous parental quote is "Do what I say, not what I do!" So - when was the last time YOU really challenged yourself to learn something new? When was the last time You took a class? Whether it's that evening cooking seminar or tai chi, painting or computer programming - continuing to learn is not only good for the soul, it's good for the example to our children.

Everything is so expensive these days and classes are certainly no exception. But somehow we usually find the money for classes for the kids. If it's work related or can be written off on taxes we can usually justify those expenses to ourselves. But that's part of what stops many parents  - do you Really need to justify doing something fun for yourself? Knowledge and learning keeps us alive and looking at the world with fresh eyes. That's what we want for our kids, well don't forget it's good for you too!

Children need to see that it's ok for adults to do something nice for themselves. They learn about balance in their world when they get to experience that everything doesn't focus on just them and their fun. When adults take care of themselves, children can learn it's ok to do good for yourself as well as others. Plus they can see that not only can adults - on occasion - learn something new but they also benefit from seeing you working hard at something, struggling (just like them) and succeeding. That act of witnessing us overcoming challenges and triumphing can be empowering not only for ourselves (as a reminder that we really are smart, really can put our nose to the grindstone and figure out solutions to tough problems) but is a far more impactful example to our children of what can be accomplished with trying. When we take on something new and fun, it opens our eyes to seeing things in new ways which can add depth to our shared experiences with our kids.

At any time of the year, but especially in summer, there are amazing opportunities to expand your world and learn something which has been calling to your passionate side for years. Schedule it for when your spouse can watch the children, trade off between the two of you getting a chance to take a class or work something out with friends and neighbors. "Where there's a will, there's a way" and you're worth it, so go on out there and have some fun! You'll all truly benefit from it in the long run.