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Opinion – 5/16/2003

The Panolian Editorial

For additional opinions and articles,
pick up the 5/16/03  issue of The Panolian

If Weekend Was So Nerve-Wracking, What’ll a Week Be?

I’m afraid I’m going to wonder who thought up the forthcoming "family vacation" and, in truth, I’ll have no one to blame but myself because it was all my idea.

Over mother’s day I had a preview because I spent time with my family. My mother, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, his wife and my three great nieces. Missing was my niece Cindy … she opted to skip the weekend saying her week of teaching fifth graders had tired her out.

No doubt.

Family vacation is still looming. A week-long beach trip this summer with all of us … except my mother.

I’m not sure what it was that got to me this past weekend but all the tattling among the three little girls was part of it.

Then there was the who-gets-to-sit-in-the front-seat-this-time arguments … not to mention whose turn it is to push the elevator buttons at the hospital on visits to see my mother.

I solved the riding in the front problem – sort of. I flipped a coin and we went from there. But the older ones are savvy enough to figure out that some rides are longer than others!

Rachel, 6, – the middle one – seems to be the queen of tattling though Cassie, 9, and Kate, 4, can hold their own in that department, too.

It drives me nuts.

So, I’ve decided that on family vacation Aunt Kate is going to institute a rule – you tattle and you get 15 minutes time out. Every time.

My cohort Myra Bean said she once heard a speaker who suggested that each tattle merits two pages of writing in which the child describes just what was so terrible as to have required tattling.

That sounds like an even better idea.

So, with their parent’s approval, that’s what I’m going to do — mandatory time out with writing. The youngest can draw pictures of the offense.

Seems to me that sticking to the plan – every single time – will be the key.

As a non-parent I am thus an expert on child rearing. Expert enough to know that if you "threaten" something you should always follow through.

Because if you don’t, you’ve only wasted your breath, annoyed the child and taught him or her that what you say is meaningless chatter.

But, I know it takes a lot of effort to stick to your guns … and sometimes the course of least resistance is the easiest path for the moment.

I’ll report back on the success – or lack thereof – of the plan.

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I want to extend heartfelt sympathies to the family of James McNutt of Crowder.

Mr. McNutt cut my yard. Matter of fact, he’d cut it only the day before he was hit at home by a vehicle while he was on his riding lawn mower onto the edge of the road to turn around.

I first met him when he dropped by the office to place a classified ad. He said he’d not cut yards for people before this year but he wanted to – as many fathers do – in order to help teach his son "how to work."

He seemed like such a nice man … devoted to his family … and his church.

It’s sad his life ended way too soon.
    


(Kate Dickson can be reached by email at: editor@panolian.com)