Vail Mother’s Day: Growing great kids |

Vail Mother’s Day: Growing great kids

Debbie Barnes
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado “- Raising two sons was intense.

My husband and I evolved as parents, using our firstborn as a gauge, and, apparently, both sons survived the ordeal. Neither boy is married yet, but an empty nest and Mother’s Day prompted me to reflect on their raising and on my wishes for them if they ever embark on the journey of parenting. It’s a journey with no guarantees, plenty of surprises and immeasurable joy.

While I don’t claim to be an expert, I am seasoned, so I humbly submit these five easy steps of Parenting.

This is an 18-year project, approximately. Expect to learn patience, open-mindedness, shooting from the hip and love’s true meaning.

Remember, though, a great human being is not made overnight, which is why you need 18 years ” unless your child is a challenge, in which case, his unleashing on the world just might be delayed.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Fear not, many have gone before you and lived to tell. In the wrestling world, there’s a saying, “All it takes, is all you got.” This is the World Federation of Parenting (WFP), and you’re in the ring.

Little old ladies will tell you that 18 years flies by and that you should enjoy him while he is young. Perhaps they haven’t met your child.

Continued education can be many things: university, community college, or vocational school. Oprah says, “Knowledge is power.” Knowledge is also employment.

Your goal here is to give your child the tools to become a self-sufficient and productive member of society. Education is the top priority.

You will encounter unfamiliar territory often. Confer with anyone who will listen. Read parenting books and magazines. Pray.

Also, recognize that you are but one road on his map. Allow others to inspire his travels down roads that may be unfamiliar to you, but which may benefit and broaden his overall journey.

Celebrity parents are potential advisors too. Take this scene from “The Simpsons”:

Bart Simpson: “This is the worst day of my life.”

Homer Simpson: “No, Bart, this is the worst day of your life, SO FAR.”

The challenge is that it takes 18 years to see the results of his raising, so while you’re shooting from the hip, you’re never quite sure you hit the target.

Think of it as delayed gratification though, and practice saying this: “I am doing the best I can, trusting my instincts and those of Homer Jay Simpson.

Record developmental milestones: first tooth, first ice cream cone, first bike, first time in traction, first snowman, first fish caught, first date, first day of college. You will want these for keepsake albums and grandma, and perhaps for his Disciplinary Action File (DAF). (Some kids are definitely more challenging than others.) In any case, you can’t have too many photos.

Trust the experts. Studies prove that repetition ingrains. Create chants to reinforce rules, manners, or safety issues, such as, “Pick up your socks. Pick up ALL your socks! PICK UP YOUR SOCKS NOW!” Change up your delivery with ‘Rap’:

“I am yo mama and I’m here to say, Pick up dem socks, don’t leave em dat way…”

In my home state of New Mexico, we had snakes, so my kids heard, “Watch for snakes! PLEASE watch for snakes! WATCH FOR THE DANG SNAKES!” We also had hussies, poker and liquor.

Finally, when you become overwhelmed, frustrated, or exasperated, even after following these guidelines, look for inspiration in a personalized list of your own parenting goals. My list, for example was this: teach him to shun entitlement, to delay gratification, to recover from his mistakes; teach him humility, gratitude, and forgiveness and love the dickens out of him.

Goldie Hawn’s father once said to her “If you ever feel like you’re getting too big for your britches, go to the ocean and stand on the shore, and see how small you are.”

Say that.

E-mail comments about this article to

Support Local Journalism