Guest Piece By Kat Kronenberg
Keep It Simple Stup—Ha! We’ve all heard the saying. But as a new parent who had never really changed a diaper before, I needed help when I brought my first born home. I was a seeker, a willing student, but I also had huge time constraints—work, marriage, running a household, and most importantly my precious baby who could do nothing for himself, yet he was now in my complete care.
K.I.S.S. became my motto: “Keep It Simple Seeker.” It helped keep the overwhelming feelings away as I sought out mentors, teachers who were amazing examples, books, blogs, and articles.
Here are two powerful bullseyes for parents like me who need clear and concise ways to raise successful, happy, and confident children.
1.SET AN EXAMPLE
The first bullseye is to set an example. Our kids watch every move we make. They learn how to relate to the world through us. The most rewarding, all encompassing, and effective way to teach our kids is through our example, and the most fulfilling example we found was what we like to call “catching CATCH-M.” “Catching CATCH-M” is to radiate a BIG BELLY SMILE that comes all the way up from your belly through your chest, and shines from your face a connection to and belief in yourself, in your dreams, and in something bigger—God, faith, hope, or your wished-upon star that is out there watching over you and guiding you.
I realized after watching different parents, my mentors, and some great teachers that the way they were able to achieve these beautiful, radiant, and contagious smiles was by knowing who they are, their fears, their pain, their joys, their gifts, why they are here, what their dreams might be, and how they plan to achieve them. They weren’t even that concerned with the outcome because they were challenging themselves, learning new things, meeting new people, growing, evolving. They were celebrating their life. No wonder I kept looking to them to figure out how best to parent. What a great way to live. No need to compare. No concern for naysayers. No real stress. What an example to set, and life skill for my children to learn.
Chasing a dream is a great adventure. The thrill, challenge, and utter vulnerability of daring to get in the arena of life and to have my face married with dust and sweat, while keeping a BIG BELLY SMILE and trust, has become a valuable gift. To watch my kids’ faces as they see me chase after my dreams, while consciously choosing to “catch CATCH-M”, makes whatever the outcome a huge success. They see me succeed, fail, and they even help me get back in the arena to keep trying. “WE” become our own little team, helping each other. And as we do, we learn that our BIG BELLY SMILES have a way of being contagious. They allow for the freedom and fun of hard work with lasting memories as we chase our dreams together. They create meaningful connection, and they help each one of us to remember to celebrate as we share in living our best lives.
2. SET A GOAL
The second bullseye is to set goals. The single most important goal we found is to take the time to share a BIG BELLY SMILE with our kids everyday. My motto is “No matter what kind of day you have had, hardship or heartache, you can always find the best part.”
At the dinner table, in the car, at bedtime, share your best parts while consciously “catching CATCH-M” together. Focus in on, laugh, and celebrate each of your stories. A shared smile has more power than almost anything I know. It can change your mood, the energy in a room. It makes a powerful connection and makes memories. It brings freedom, fun, hope, and peace. The list is endless.
Learning how to wake up each day and set goals has taught me as a mother and a dreamer that I have something to look forward to, to strive for. I don’t need to stand in my own shadows, feeling alone, confused, or purposeless. I know I have at least one goal each day I have to achieve: a BIG BELLY SMILE. This makes setting other goals easier and actually exciting to achieve. I have to believe these same truths hold true for my own children.
Obviously, you can see that a smile has become my most important “go to” as a parent. It has been the best tool to use especially if I don’t know what else to do. I’ve even learned that a small smirk works. To smirk at myself when I make a mistake, fail, or am just plain moody in front of my kids. It allows each of us to be human with a light, honest, yet vulnerable way to connect that keeps us out of shame and perfectionism.
I cannot think of a better way to try to spend time with my children. Think about the example you want to set and the goals you hope to achieve, and as you do let’s all keep striving to “catch CATCH-M” together!
Kat Kronenberg is a debut children’s book author living in Austin, Texas. As a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, her hope and dream is that through reading we can encourage one another other to “follow our bliss,” stay in the arena fighting for our dreams, and allow joy and fulfillment to be our internal GPS. In addition to spreading her message through her children’s book Dream Big, she also provides interactive games that promote abundance thinking, Common Core aligned discussion and project guides, and free downloadable activity sheets at www.katkronenberg.com.
Dream Big (Greenleaf Book Group, January 2017) is available on Amazon and other booksellers nationwide. More information about Kat Kronenberg can be found at www.katkronenberg.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.