Parenting Matters: Is it time to sweep your front porch?

You know how you go out on your front porch one day and all the sudden realize you need to clean it up. You need to get the cobwebs off the lights, wash the glass in the window and sweep up the leaves and dirt that Mother Nature left as well as your family when they came in that door. When you are done, you really like the improvement and it makes you feel good.

Think about some other areas in your life. Are there some places that need to be swept clean? How about your relationship with your partner? Are there things you could be doing that’d make it better? At least give some thought to your share of what is in need of sweeping. Have you gone out for a walk or sat down for a good talk or a good laugh together?

Go back over your last argument with your partner and think how that went and how it ended. What could you have done better in handling that episode? Think about what you can do to clean up your relationship. You need to do this in all relationships.

Think about your relationship with your child or your children. How is that going? Is it the kind of relationship you thought you would have when you were considering starting a family? Evaluate yourself as a parent. Do you give them lots of hugs? Do you let them know how important they are to you?

When you do these things, it doesn’t mean you ignore what they are doing that is wrong. It means you make sure you do both—handle the wrong behavior but make sure you let your children know their importance to you.

Look at your other relationships. Think about your parents, your neighbors, or even the teenager down the street. Are these positive relationships? Do you smile when you see the teen down the street or make a brief phone call to your parents even if you didn’t like the way they were the last time you saw them?

Approaching life in a positive way encourages others to do the same. It is tough to ignore a smile. It’s a great way you give back to the community and to the world. Be friendly, look out for and help all the people in your life.

It doesn’t mean you have to be loving and kind to mean and menacing people. It does mean you have tons of people you can be friendly with and add to their lives and your own by just looking around and thinking about how you clean up some relationships that you have been neglecting.

Get out the broom and see what you can do.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.


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