Saturday, January 29, 2011

Birthday Tradition Continues (1)

Have you ever started a family tradition that has carried on throughout the years? Some of ours have included:

Sharing Thanksgiving dinner together and then planning to put up our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving.

Attending Christmas Eve service in the evening and then getting Chinese food to bring home (a tradition that started by accident when we first went to a late Christmas Eve service – only to find zero restaurants opened for business, until we came by a Chinese Restaurant near our home – we have done the same every year since).

And, of course, as I wrote last week, celebrating our kids’ birthdays twice –  once in the morning of the big day and once on the next weekend complete with cake and ice-cream!

But, have you ever started a family tradition that you later saw your children continue to carry out? If so, you know that this is one of the richest rewards that you can experience!

I have often told my kids that, as lame as they might find me to be as they get older, they will use some of my parenting skills and silly family traditions with their own families.

Little by little, there is evidence that I am correct! YES!! My kids are all too happy (at least in this case!) to admit that their dad just might be on to something.

Here are the details:

As I shared way back on April 25, 2009 (, we have started each child’s birthday morning by getting all other family members to quietly enter the birthday person’s bedroom in the morning and then wake them up with a variety of musical “Happy Birthday” performances, complete, in various years, with guitars, drums, trumpets, trombones, clarinets, and, with great pride, some terribly off-key singing, mixed in with some in-tune singing for good measure! 

Yes, a truly awful, yet strangely pleasurable, way to be awakened on the big day!

All in all, since this tradition started when our youngest child was a year old, our kids have looked forward to this every year with the same anticipation with which one looks forward to Christmas! It’s a great family tradition; they love it; we keep doing it; and I just know that they will do the same when they have kids someday (hey, maybe they’ll invite grandpa over in the morning to help!).

So, what happened this year to keep the tradition alive while I was out of town? (Please come back next Saturday to find out!)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Let Us Eat Cake!

How was your birthday celebrated when you were a child? Was it a big deal in the home, an important day to be celebrated when more time would be available, or was it just another day?

When I was a young whippersnapper, my parents made birthdays an important part of our family’s culture. Each year on my birthday morning, my parents would awaken me together and wish me a happy birthday. It was a great way to wake up, with both parents letting me know that they were glad that I was their child!

In some years, my parents gave my birthday present to me in the morning and other years they waited until the evening.

My friends also had parents who thought that a child’s birthday was a pretty big deal, so all of us in our neighborhood grew up believing that birthdays were important!

Fast-forwarding several years, before we had any children, my wife and I encountered a distant relative who gleefully announced that she celebrated each person’s birthday together on the same day! “One cake, one day, and it’s over until next year” was the accepted mantra in that family! Each year on the 4th of July, her family celebrated birthdays that had been observed in February, May, and June, thereby, in my view, negating the special feeling for each child on his/her special day.

My wife told me that she believed that celebrating birthdays on the closest weekend day was her thought of celebrating our future kids’ birthdays. However, after I told her how my made parents made me feel extra special on the actual date of my birthday each year, we agreed to somewhat celebrate each child’s birthday on the actual birthday morning with a larger celebration coming on the weekend.

So, as all three of our children were born in January, while we have a mini-celebration each birthday morning (please click on the link to read my post on celebrating birthdays -, we have the larger family celebration on the following weekend for each child, with each birthday celebrated with music, a gift or two, photos, and, of course, a cake for each child!

While each child gets his/her big wake up call on the morning of their own birthday, they also get to feel special on the next weekend, as all eyes are on them for their special day!

And, as you have already calculated, this means that we are eating cake on three consecutive weekends! And, of course, cake is not complete without ice-cream. And, as you already know, since there is too much cake to eat in one day, there is cake for the whole week and with three children, we have cake (and ice-cream) in the house for three straight weeks in January each year!

Healthy? Not even close! Extra treadmill use in January? YES! Special for the kids? Absolutely!!

And that is why we continue to do it. Each child gets a birthday greeting and song on the birthday morning followed by a celebration, cake, and ice-cream to look forward to on the weekend.

So, while I prepare to eat my final piece of cake (or two or three!), please send along your ideas on celebrating birthdays in your home!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Kids' Drug Use Increases (Pt.3)

(Continued from January 8, 2011) ...... One of my beliefs in the rise in drug taking, smoking, and drinking, is the fact that our children are not as carefully watched as they used to be in the good ol’ days. As children, all of us knew that one slightly less-than-favorable act in our neighborhood probably meant that a few telephone calls would be made to the parents’ house!
Of course, the bottom line is this – our kids are drinking, taking hardcore drugs, and smoking marijuana at alarming rates! Yes, I know – we have to work harder than our parents did to protect our kids. We have to hide medicine, we have to hide alcohol, we have to keep checking on our kids to make sure that they are following the rules and expectations, and, yes, it can be quite tiring.

Keep a close eye on your kids, their Internet activity, their friends, their telephone calls, and especially their whereabouts when they are not in your home – you need to make sure that your child does not become one of the 20% of our kids who are smoking marijuana, drinking, or taking hardcore drugs. Also, be sure that you know what your kids are doing each day (and with whom!) between the time that school dismisses and the time that you get home.

Again, as I have said so often, nobody said that parenting would be easy. However, by watching your kids closely and putting safeguards in place, you can help to deter the negative behavior that has become so prevalent with our kids today. Remember, it only takes a few moments to smoke a marijuana cigarette, drink alcohol, or take hardcore drugs. 

Keep your eyes on your kids! Sure, they might not like it, their friends might mock you, perhaps even other parents might look at you with disdain, but the last laugh is with you and your kids when the day comes that you realize that your children have made it to adulthood without trying or experimenting with the evils or drugs or alcohol.

Also, please pass along any safeguards that you have put in place with your kids and I might use them in a future post. We’re all in this together!

Hang in there and keep up the great work with your kids!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kids' Drug Use Increases (Pt.2)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Kids' Drug Use Increases (Pt.1)

Think about those numbers for a moment. Over 1 in 5 high school students uses marijuana. If a teacher has 30 students in his/her class, 6 of those students use marijuana. If a high school has 500 students, over 100 of them use marijuana. Is there any question as to why behavior and discipline issues are on the rise in our schools in this country? Based upon the research, over 20% of our high school kids are high or suffering from the effects of marijuana.

(Please come back next Saturday for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves