Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday magic

The following article is for adults only!  Names have been changed to protect the innocent. 

Can you think of a more exciting time for a child than this time of year?  The anticipation, the decorations, the snow, the events all help set the stage for the  holiday season. It tends to be a blur for the parents from Thanksgiving to the New Year. Does it get worse with age, or better? I am not sure. But what I do know is each year the magic of the holiday season is magnified by the togetherness of friends and family.

This past Thanksgiving, my college aged children and their friends were discussing what age they found out *Bob wasn’t real. The conversation was   entertaining. My son claims he was led on until 5th grade; my daughter’s best friend found out in kindergarten after demanding the truth. She was sworn to secrecy so her older sister didn’t find out. Some kids are always skeptics others true believers. My husband and I worked hard at keeping the legend alive.  We went to great lengths with bell ringing in the early morning hours and footprints and hoof prints in the snow. Of course there were letters written and cookies eaten. I know some families have special wrapping paper; in other families Bob’s gifts are left unwrapped. And some parents have even admitted to me that they have dodged the question when asked “Is there a Bob?” Their reply “well, what do you think ?”

 Family traditions play into the caper, the timing for opening presents, filling stockings and even house calls from Bob. We shared stories this week in the office of the visit to Bob with our children, their letters to Bob and from Bob and the magical time we as parents enjoyed as we snuck around the house hiding packages and talking in code on the telephone.  Why do we go to great lengths to keep Bob’s presence alive? I think we hold out for as long as we can because we know that mystery and magic is not just a Disney commodity. My friend Pam said when your kids find out the truth there is something lost; the innocence of childhood. My friend Lori thinks we do it because it takes us back to our childhood. I think they are both right. When our children find out about Bob, we lose our innocence and we tuck away a bit of our childhood  - - that is until we have grandchildren.

Wishing you and your family the magic of the holiday season,

Monday, December 5, 2011

“It takes a Village,”

Long before Hillary Clinton coined the phrase “It takes a Village,” the sentiment was widely prescribed as a traditional African proverb. The sentiment suggests that proverb or not, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Parents, neighbors, grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, pastors and teachers all have a hand in raising a child. I put forth the notion that all of us have a hand in raising a village.

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. In my neighborhood the houses were side-by-side along a city block. Our block was a "village" when I was growing up – our activities were governed by a few unwritten laws: everyone had to be home when the street light came on, no riding your bike in the street and if you were guilty you better fess up the sooner the better, because your parents were bound to find out. We were safe. We knew our neighbors and we watched out for one another. Times were different back in the 50’s but the goal to have a safe and happy childhood was as universal then as it is now.

How do we adopt this philosophy which helps our children thrive? It takes a community to create a village. We all need to take a hand in creating our village. Many people in the Copper Country have reached out and taken this task to heart. Programs that offer services to children and their families are part of building a community, creating a village. KFRC has been blessed by the generosity of many community partners that understand this notion as well as businesses and churches that are committed to creating a thriving environment for children. 

 As we embrace the principle that it takes a community to create a village  we will become more committed to improving the quality of life for all children in the Keweenaw. Each of us has a role in this, each of us can affect change and each of us, everyone can lay claim as members of our fine village.