Are you one of the thousands who is reading Santa’s letters with angst, guilt and frustration? Are you angry or depressed because you cannot give your child everything on his or her list? Or worse yet, are you racking up lots of credit card debt to fill the list? Well, worry no longer, there is an answer.
 
Sounds like one of those commercials for an easy no pain fix. But the amazing thing is that the answer rests with you and will only cost you time. It is simple really, all you must do is be a loving parent.
 
Children wish for all kinds of things stimulated by wonderful imaginations, child-like fantasies, TV ads telling them what they must have and a culture that says, “Oh, go on and ask for whatever you want.”
I remember asking for a monkey; yes, a live one.  Thankfully, I had parents with better sense than I.
 
There are a plethora of articles, essays, books and blogs about parenting. However, there are a few basic principles that are indisputable.
 
·       Children should not rule; respected, yes, in charge, no.
 
·       Parenting is not a popularity contest.  Frankly, if the child is happy with you all the time, you are probably doing something dreadfully wrong.
 
·       Parents must prepare their children for the life that lies ahead.
 
We have all seen the age-old situation where the child receives a huge box with a very expensive toy inside. The parents are standing by with ear-to-ear smiles convinced of the debt inducing decision’s merit. To their dismay the expensive toy is abandoned after 30 minutes for the appeal of untold adventures with the large empty box.
 
The real challenge for parents is to be the ones in charge and give the child what is important, not necessarily what they think they want.  
 
If you could give your child just three things, what would they be? Think on a few ideas Paul Harvey wrote about his grandchildren (edited for this column)
 
I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches.
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.
And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.
 

 
It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. 

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. 

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.
 

I hope when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. 

If a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend. 
 
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. 
 
May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. 
 
I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hanukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.
 
Until next week, be well.

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