theme week: 10 things my parents did right

happy monday, everyone, and welcome to theme week!

every day this week, i’m going to explore a topic/ideaover-used title that is common in the blogging world.

for the past few mondays, stacie has been participating in monday listicles:


last week’s subject totally grabbed my interest and i thought, as i read stacie’s blog entry, “hey! i want to write about 10 things my parents did right, too!” i love how the very nature of this list is positive and we are not slamming and bemoaning how our parents raised us.

as a refresher, my mom and dad and i live in side-by-side condo buildings. i count my parents as my closest friends, and they are awesome people [of course, when i was 12-18 years old, they frustrated me much more frequently than now – haha!].

so, looking back on my growing-up years, here are:


1. surprise us with mcdonalds for lunch on sundays. i wrote a blog post here about my memories of these special outings, and this is what i said:

our family was not rolling in money when the brother and i were little – my mom stayed at home and my dad worked for a local insurance company. we were very comfortable, but my parents had to watch the budget a bit. a real treat was when we would go to mcdonalds for lunch after church on sunday. we did not go every week. and we never knew if we were going to go until the drive home at noon – if dad took a certain road, we knew it was a mcdonalds day! the brother and i would clap and practically dance in the back seat of the car. i think this memory is so special because it was family time all together, i loved the fillet o’ fish/fries food, and the joyful surprise factor was just too much fun.

2. instill a love of reading: books were a part of our childhood from babyhood onwards. when we went to the library, we could choose the same number of books as our age, i recall. one other memory: mom would read to us after supper, before kitchen clean-up time: the story girl, robinson crusoe, the swiss family robinson, the five little peppers and how they grew…thanks to the importance placed on enjoying works of fiction, i still love reading to this day.

3. arrange to have a stay-at-home mom during our formative years: this situation was the right decision in this era for our family. mom went back to work as a supply teacher (which led to a permanent classroom position as a kindergarten teacher) when i was in grade six. [sidenote: i want to emphasize that i have full respect for, and totally support my friends who work outside the home and also are moms]. prominent memories: riding our bikes to go on picnics to parks with a lunchbox lunch; one-to-one time (making my own alphabet book at age four); homemade (sometimes fiddly and labour-intensive) suppers; a generally relaxed home environment.

4. encourage creative and imaginative play: tv time was limited to 30-60 minutes per day; most of our toys did not require batteries; we were allowed to spread out our villages and families all over the living room and rec room and leave them in place for days on end!

5. vacation in a variety of ways during the summers: we took long trips both to eastern and western canada; we rented cottages for a week or two at a time; we took day trips to southern ontario tourist spots while maintaining a home base.

at storybook gardens, london (ontario), 1975

6. limit tv time: see #4, above. we played outside, inside, upstairs, downstairs, in the garage a lot more frequently than we watched tv! however, we DID view the popular childrens’ shows of the time [my stance is that kids have to know who mickey mouse and big bird are in order to be *with it* members of society]. tv was a special treat rather than a major time-filler.

7. prioritize time with grandparents, family, family friends: my grandma and grandpa c lived just a five minute drive away, so it was nbd to pop over to visit, get together for birthdays, etc. we were also close with my aunt and uncle who lived locally. and, our family visited back and forth with other families a lot!

g’ma and g’pa c!

8. encourage laughter: cracking hardboiled eggs on our foreheads, burping and farting (not in public!!), making dad wear a bread basket on his head over dinner-hour, just being silly because it is fun to laugh…we had a pretty joyful household (most of the time!!).

9. teach manners and accepted etiquette: i remember being so peeved because mom made us write thank you notes after birthdays and christmas!! i wanted to play with new toys, not write about them! but it was the right life lesson to teach us. not to boast, but mom and dad used to get compliments from perfect strangers about how well-behaved and polite the brother and i were, so they taught us well!

10. take us to church: let’s call a spade a spade – i no longer attend church, but i am grateful for the fact that we went to church every sunday (except in the summers) from birth to university-age. my feeling is that you don’t have to go to church to live ethically, practice kindness, and believe in God, and i am thankful for my mennonite church/faith upbringing.

what is something that YOUR parents did right, and something that you wish they had done differently? i wish that my parents had let me give up on piano lessons and let me take dance lessons instead. [please note that my parents are fully aware of my feelings, we have discussed the past, it is bygones, i DID learn valuable life lessons by achieving my grade eight in piano, and we have no hard feelings!].

stacie, i am glad you participated in this listicle as you inspired me, and i got to reflect on much happiness from many years ago!

tomorrow: we have another list of TEN!

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  • Zo  On August 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    What a lovely list and a great post…it sounds like you really enjoyed your childhood and enjoy the memories of your childhood.
    My parents also instilled a love of reading in me…took us on fun vacations to New England, encouraged us to pursue things like dance classes and music lessons. And they were strong proponents of getting an education and wanted me to do well.

    • 1970kikiproject  On August 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      i am glad you have positive associations with the opportunities your parents gave you, zo! from reading your blog, i know you still like to travel and read…that is neat!

  • Stacie @ Snaps and Bits  On August 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Aw, thanks so much for the shout-out Cath! Awesome list too! McDs was a special treat for us too. Or Sizzler. Sounds like we had a lot in common. My Mom went back to teaching when I was in 6th grade but her schedule still meant she could be home for us after school. It was really nice!

    • 1970kikiproject  On August 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

      that’s so neat that your mom was a teacher, too, stacie! sizzler – that is a new one to me! was it as good as mcdo?!!

  • Juanita  On August 20, 2012 at 8:53 am

    So glad my parents let us try EVERYTHING as young kids. No matter what sport or activity they seemed to find a way for us to try it. Summer camps were the best way. After a week if we discovered that tennis was not for us there was very little invested and we could move on. They then encouraged us and supported our dreams when we found “Our Sport” or activity. I’m trying to do the same thing for my kids and thank my parents for setting the example.

    • 1970kikiproject  On August 20, 2012 at 10:08 am

      that IS an awesome philosophy, juanita, to let kids try a whole bunch of activities and sports and see what grabs them. glad you are doing that with your children, too!

  • 42kim  On August 20, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I love your list! I can also tell that your parents did a good job because you are still so close to them! I wish my parents had focused on the importance of education more–maybe then I wouldn’t be returning to university at 42. They are always my champions and love me for who I am!

    • 1970kikiproject  On August 20, 2012 at 10:10 am

      kim, you are right: it is the best when are parents are always supportive of us…i am sure it is not always easy! and i so admire you for going back to uni…did you know, my mom did the same thing, went to u of w part-time and earned her degree as a mature student!

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