We will open the book called Opportunity, it's first chapter is New Year's Day. ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

  Happy 2013!  THIS is going to be a great year!

You have no idea how much I have enjoyed being home with my family the past few weeks.  It has afforded me the opportunity to eat way too much junk food, spend half the day in my pajamas, take naps, get caught up on some home organization projects, prepare for my new job, and think about this website and what the future holds for my writing.

On that note, if you paid attention to the final post of 2012, you know I finished the year with a video message about parenting. [Believe me, I am painfully aware of the fact that I write better than I project on screen...]

However, I was very serious when I said I don't want to take part in what I think is a major fault of our generation, namely poor [quality] parenting.  Maybe you agree with me about this, or maybe you are thinking to yourself, "How dare she insinuate this about me!  I am doing the best I can to be a good parent, what EXACTLY does she mean by this?!"

Here is what I mean:

Now, I totally understand this is a movie trailer for a film which is clearly trying to entertain us rather than improve our lives.  But, as ridiculous as some of these highlights are, they are not altogether inaccurate.  This movie represents what Hollywood feels is a current reflection of aging, marriage and parenting today.  Unfortunately, from my own personal observation, Hollywood is not that far off the mark.

Tom and I went to see this movie, even though we were told it was a waste of time and money.  I cannot say that I didn't laugh, because at times it did hit close to home (not the part about the husband wanting his wife to check out his rear end, we do indeed have that little bit of mystery in our marriage...), but the catt-i-ness that goes on between some parents, the language and disrespect that is shown between the teenager and her parents, the asinine use of electronics, not to mention the shallow emotional connection the lead actors portray was disheartening to say the least.  I know many families like this.  At times MY family displays this less than stellar behavior.

So, I am taking a conscious stand in 2013.  I am going to do what I can to be a more plugged-in parent!

What does that mean you ask??  Well, let me start by defining the concept I am talking about:  UNCONSCIOUS PARENTING.

Dictionary.com defines UNCONSCIOUS as: without awareness, sensation or cognition/not perceived at the level of awareness/not consciously realized, planned or done.

PARENTING, defined by the same website, states the following:  the methods, techniques, used or required in the rearing of children.

Therefore, to me UNCONSCIOUS PARENTING means to go through the motions of raising children without enough thought as to what the outcome will be.  This can include parenting out of guilt or resentment and/or attempting to run your own agenda through the life of your child.  Of course we cannot, and should not, have complete control over the path our kids will take, BUT PEOPLE WE CAN BE DOING A MUCH BETER JOB OF BEING PRESENT WHILE WE GUIDE THEM!!

I can.  You can.  We ALL can!  And NOW is the time!!!!!!!  I have been on this parenting journey for a quarter of a century, and guess what...I don't have it figured out!  Nope, not even close.  My youngest is 7 years old, which means I have a whole lot of parenting left to do.  Honestly there are days I am ready to retire...but, retiring is not an option!

There are plenty of places to lay blame for this lazy parenting we are doing....the breakdown of family due to dual income (ie: overbooked schedules), divorce (giving up without making the effort to work through our marital issues), financial and career stress (which gets brought home and inflicted on our families more often than not), or the crappy parenting we received while we grew up (what's done is done, learn from it and move on).  Let's not forget to mention the incessantly shallow media messages that we allow our kids to listen to.  Guess what? They penetrate our ears as well.

Enough is enough!

I am not just going to talk about this and do nothing.  I am going to figure out how to be that CONSCIOUS parent!

Here's how I plan to do it:

Since I normally post on Monday (to those of you who read me regularly and take the time to comment, you are a HUGE blessing), I will be adding a post each FRIDAY under a new heading called "The ABCs of CONSCIOUS PARENTING".  (Yes, seriously!)

I am going to dissect parenting by virtue of the letters of the alphabet!  I AM GOING TO WRITE MY WAY TO BECOMING A BETTER PARENT DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I want YOU to come with me, I want YOU [no, actually I need you] to share your parenting thoughts, feelings and stories!  I WANT TO CREATE A COMMUNITY THAT WORKS TOGETHER TOWARDS PLUGGED-IN  PARENTING!!!

A place where we can bring our thoughts, feelings, frustrations and triumphs!  A place where there is only one rule:  communicate with RESPECT for others (we may not agree on some things...we were indeed all brought up in different surroundings and circumstances).  A place where even if you are not a parent, you too can share your observations about how you feel this generation is being parented.

My goal is simple:  to create specific motivation which will allow those of us who want to do a better job parenting a place to learn how to guide our kids with more enthusiasm, encouragement, respect and unconditional love.   In return for our collaboration and motivation, I hope to build stronger families who communicate more effectively, work better together as a unit, and that one day you may hear your son or daughter say:  I don't know what's happened mom (dad), but things are different at home now, they are somehow better!

WE CAN DO THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And, it is incredibly important that we do it NOW!

If there is one thing I have learned during the past 14 months of posting my thoughts and feelings, it is VERY liberating.  In addition, it is truly helping me to become a more honest, transparent person.  I want to carry that into what I feel is the most important job I have been given in this life:  PARENTING MY CHILDREN.

So on that note, I am wishing you much peace in the coming year, and I hope you will join me as I continue to explore faith/family/marriage/personal growth and PARENTING!