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Don't let your children become addicted to excitement

Posted Sep 12 2008 3:27am

Dennis Prager at Townhall.com makes the point that craving excitement is a bad thing,
If you want your children to be happy adults and even happy children -- and what parent does not? -- minimize the excitement in their lives. The more excitement, the less happy they are likely to be.
In both adults and children, one can either pursue excitement or pursue happiness, but one cannot do both. If you pursue excitement, you will not attain happiness. If you pursue happiness, you will still experience some moments of excitement, but you will attain happiness only if happiness, not excitement, is your goal.

So many of the best things in life are routine, and could be described initially as dull; eating meals together as a family, your children's nighttime prayers, the same flowers blooming in your summer garden, year after year, your mother's phone calls, the slow progress your children make in their studies, a bug discovered by your toddler in the backyard, the same vacation spot you always go to, and the same liturgy every Sunday, with the same Body of Christ you receive.
See what we would be missing if we look past the routine in mad pursuit of novelty?! Our Lord Himself, who chooses to come to us in the humble appearance of ordinary bread.
That's why advertisers are making commercials which change scenes every three seconds, and include special effects like things blowing up, magic cereal, and flying kids. Anything I have to offer as a homeschooling mother is pretty dull compared to this display.
As a high school English as a Second Language teacher, I remember my Principal saying, "you have to stimulate the students, and include the five senses in every lesson." Oh, really! This includes, of course, smell and taste, which I foolishly believed belonged to Home Economics.
So I designed a St. Patrick's Day lesson around the five senses. I made Irish soda bread and Irish tea (smell and taste) brought in my Aran sweater and linen tablecloth set with Irish Belleek china (which I let them touch with trepidation) and played Irish music, so that their ears wouldn't get too tired of listening to their teacher. There, I thought, all five senses stimulated,the Principal and administrators observing me will be impressed.
But alas, it was not enough! The Principal's comments were negative, and this was his suggestion for improving the lesson, "you should have danced the Irish jig". The Irish jig, a pregnant middle-aged teacher dancing (poorly) a jig for adolescents! The image was too nightmarish to be funny!
So, now that I realize I will never be an exciting teacher to anyone, I can relax, and simply help open up the universe of learning. My children, freed from the need to be constantly stimulated a can settle down, learn, and enjoy life. Our family can relax and be our ordinary selves, loving one another, day after day so predictably. I will try to cherish my 52nd dandelion bouquet from little hands as much as the first, and we will be happy. Happy to have comforting, dull routines which constantly ensure me how much I are loved.

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