Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gratitude in 2010

As you can tell from the time I submitted my last post, I have been rather occupied with school.  It was a demanding but rewarding year for me.  I acquired invaluable experiences from my classes; time spent with family taught me numerous lessons.
Mike is thrilled to meet the other Michael.
 My analysis of the events this year are the following:
  1.  Let your husband or significant other pursue his or her passions.  Michael has been a contented person thanks to his cooking hobby.  Is it really a hobby?  I am not sure it is.  His cooking pursuits are more like an obsession and I refuse to prevent him from chasing after them.  He had such a lovely time at Michael Symon's cooking class learning how to make summer squash salad, grilled lamb and keftedes or Greek meatballs.  Plus I get the benefit of tasting his experiences.

Diane is smiling because of visiting one of her favorite cities, Chicago.
 2.  It is essential to take a family vacation away from your home town.  No other experience can substitute a family trip.  Our children appreciated the opportunity to encounter different people, foods and past-times while in Chicago this year.  We would be hard pressed to match that experience while staying in Akron.  A big city is a great laboratory for the human experience.  The children got the chance to see Chinatown, eat bao or Asian buns and visit world-class museums.  I reveled in watching their excitement while trying out new activities.

Natalie and Tim are hanging out at Scooter's Dawg House.
 3.  Siblings need to share their summer activities together.  It is tempting to let the kids go their separate ways during summer break.  Ben will always find a friend that he can hang out with.  However, Mike and I made sure that we hiked, swam or shared a meal as a family.  This connectedness is the glue that helps maintain family homeostasis during stressful times.  It was without a doubt, a trying time for the family with me in school at night.  Michael was the "single parent" for three out of five nights.  I believe the children were more considerate towards each other because of the family ties we established up till this point.  The kids realize that they have each other to rely on along with their parents.

Ben is proud wearing Dayne Crist's jersey from Notre Dame.
 4.  Children need to find recreation that they are enthusiastic about.  Ben couldn't make up his mind this year about what was his favorite pursuit.  Although, he really discovered football this year.  He started pouring over football stats once his grandfather introduced him to preseason, college football magazines.  Now he pays attention to the sports pages and asks Mike about Notre Dame, the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Browns.  Ben is indubitably learning how to endure cheering for a losing team.  Mike and Ben have been faithfully watching the up and down, Cleveland Browns.  

5.  I and my family benefit by continually learning new ideas.  My field experience in the classroom was a real eye opener to how education takes place.  Yes, it was demanding devising lesson plans for high school students.  Despite that, it was worth the effort making sense of how adolescents learn.  My appreciation for intellectual enlightenment has increased a thousand fold.  I am a more humble and patient person because of my experiences.  I am more compassionate parent because I am more aware of the struggles that my children and husband face.

Yes, this year has been a formidable year for us, but it has been most satisfying.  Michael, the children and I have thrived with appreciable experiences.  I actually look forward to additional challenges next year because I know they will pay dividends to our family growth.