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  1. This is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL parenting reflection exercise. I will ponder these questions over the next few days.
    What a lovely gift for me as a parent – to reflect on my success and shortcomings
    What a lovely gift to my children – to have a better parent in the new year.

  2. Check out http://www.biblicalparenting.org . My family has taken two family courses from them through our church.
    We started with ‘Parenting is Heart Work’ which helps you discipline without having to use spanking as a first step. (spanking is only one tool that can be used in a ‘toolbox of consequences’) This book/seminar is great to start with if you have younger children. You work on heart changes not behavior modification.
    We as a family just finished a study based on ‘Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids’ just before Christmas. This one is based on honoring and how an honoring person (parent or child) reacts to situations.
    The website give a lot of great information, I get the newsletter which is a weekly excerpt from one of the books and how to use it in family life.

  3. I have been thinking of some of the changes that I could make to improve our family life and one of the changes I plan on is to be off the computer from the time the children ( I have 4 all school aged from 2010) get home from school til bedtime.

    I think by changing this it will really help me be more engaged with my children and hopeful with lead to more peaceful and productive afternoons.

    Thanks for provoking my thoughts.
    Suzanne

  4. This is such a powerful post! I am definitely with Megan on #2. I have a hard time NOT putting projects before spending time with DS, and it’s something I’ve been thinking and praying about a lot lately, an area I want desperately to change in. I want DS to remember me as an engaged, loving and attentive mother, not one who cared more about her online business than about him.
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Eight Reasons To Eat Spinach =-.

    • It’s really, really easy to let projects take priority. I am reminded of this on an almost hourly basis! And there are many days when I survey the way my time was spent and realize, “Wow. I messed up today.” But I think once we set off down this path that any progress is good for our families (and ultimately for ourselves!).
      .-= Megan´s last blog ..Special Edition Showcase: DIY Robot =-.

  5. Thank you for this. I don’t have any year-end rituals per se, except that we do stay in for our New Year celebration, and ring in the new year with whichever children are old enough to stay up. But I love the idea of taking the time to reflect on how our parenting is working, for us and for our children.

    I will say the most important decision we have made, the one that has had the most impact on our children and our family life as a whole, is to have dinner together, at the table, every night. It is such an important part of our family culture, that I cannot imagine life without it!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Planning a Kitchen Garden =-.

    • That sounds like wonderful mainstay in your family life, and one that your children will treasure long after they have left the nest.

  6. I have been a step-mom and mom for 17 years with 6 children, and I’ve learned SO much! And a lot is because I’ve messed up SO much!

    But I am thankful for a gracious God, and His example of forgiveness…
    it helps me to lead my children by being a forgiving parent…
    which helps them to be forgiving of me when I blow it!

    I tweet regularly (@imgarysgirl)- and blog randomly – on our parenting – both the good and the bad! (actually, just tweeted about your item #1 on 12/26/09)

    thank you, sweet “simple mom” for sharing and helping so much.
    blessings, lisa

  7. Thank you so much for this. I think I’m even going to be brave and ask my kids for input. Eek! 😉 Again, thank you as so many of these questions are things that I know I need to address, even if I’m reluctant to do so.

    I wish your family a very happy New Year.
    XO*Tricia
    .-= Tricia´s last blog ..Charlotte Update =-.

  8. Great insight and wonderful reflective questions for all parents to think about. If we are not focused on improving our skills, we will not move forward and become “better” at the job. I will be asking some of these questions of myself AND to some of the moms I coach. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Am I the Only Old Fashioned Mom Left? =-.

    • Susan and Tricia – I do hope some great conversations come from this! It’s a wonderful time of year to pause and reflect and invite some subtle changes.

  9. Wonderful questions and reflections. I love the idea of reviewing the year as a family. My husband and I always take time to do that together, and I’m thinking my older daughter is getting old enough at least to be part of the conversation. I’m looking forward to learning from this past year and forging ahead to great things with my babies this year! I’ve learned so much about the kind of mom I am and how I can be a better one!

    Laurie– http://www.peartreemommy.com

  10. Thoughtful and mindful questions, Megan… *thank you.*

    A family ritual for New Year’s?
    We have a family “Memories” (unlined) journal, and each year end, each child fills their page with their favorite memories of the year, a verse that meant something to them, a few of their favorite photographs.

    Each New Year’s reading over their pages is a meaningful, profound experience. How their handwriting and faces and stories change — a glimpse into the wonder of us and the gift of now.

    Every blessing on your New Year’s, Megan…
    You bless…

    All’s grace,
    Ann
    .-= Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience´s last blog ..When You Can’t Figure Out What the Answer Should Be =-.

    • What a beautiful example of a family’s collected memories from the year. I bet those journals are such treasures to all of you!

  11. Thankyou for these reflections. I’m going to be a new mum in Feb, so these things are really on my mind at the moment. As I want to try EC, I will need to be really engaged! Some of the comments have also been very interesting and helpful, particularly those who want to spend less time online. That’s something I’m going to have to do too!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolutions Part 3 – Achieving Your Goals =-.

  12. My parenting and the successes/challenges I’ve had are definitely what have been on my mind the most as I reflect on the past year and set goals for the coming one. I have so many things to work on and improve, but recognizing the areas where I did a good job as a parent the past year certainly encourage me! All of the areas you mentioned are great ones to consider as I do my best to be and stay an engaged mommy to my kiddos. Thank you for this perfectly-timed post!

  13. This is just what I needed!
    My mind has been rambling about my mothering skills, and I really needed something to make me focus not just on the bad, but on the good things too and to give myself some insight on how I’d like things to be and how to achieve it.
    Thank you so much for the inspiration!

  14. A wonderful and thought provoking post. I work with children and as part of my job I have to observe and reflect on their development and how I support them. I agree that parents should do this too and your questions are really helpful with this. I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to put play at the centre of my relationsip with my daughters this year.
    .-= Cathy at nurturestore´s last blog ..2010 The Year of Play =-.

  15. this is very thought provoking and a good parenting exercise.. i was wondering if i can quote you and post the questions on my site?

  16. Wonderful post! I stumbled acrossed this (and other great websites) today. I work away from home 2 days/wk and relish my time with my 2 daughters, ages 3 and 5. This past year I found myself struggling in ways that I can’t even put my finger on. I wasn’t engaging in my children the way I wanted or needed to. This year is a new start for me. 2 things that have helped me tremendously were dumping Facebook (gasp!) and coming up with a motto “I want to start the day not let the day start me”. Meaning I am a much happier, engaging person when I have time to myself before everyone else rises. Getting up earlier has worked wonders for me already.

    Thanks for sharing your tips and I look forward to reading much, much more of your website!

  17. I am a dad and I think these are the reflections dads should be having as well. My boys are pre-school age and I am really looking forward to shaping their character and personality and giving them experiences that will make them curious and wonder.