Rejuvenating the Soul
Mark Victor Hansen is a world-renowned professional speaker and author. Best known for co-creating the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Hansen has dedicated his life to making a positive difference in people's lives. For parents looking to get their message across to young children, Hansen has some straightforward advice. "Be involved in your child's life," he says. "Develop age-appropriate activities that exemplify family teachings. Use these activities to teach them as much as possible at an early age."
Hansen and his family begin each year by creating a list of things they want to accomplish during that year. "What I teach, believe, and practice is for each member of the family to begin each year with 101 goals," he says. "These goals are both individual and family-oriented. When we sit down to write them, the question is, 'What are we going to do together this year?' We break our goals down into categories, and consider financial, social, spiritual, mental, and health-related issues."
In addition to setting goals together as a family, Hansen believes that there are a few very important gifts that parents can give to children in order to provide a sense of what is important. "Give your children family pictures," he says. "Create family memories and leave a pictorial family history. Keep a journal so that your kids can really know you. My children got to know me by knowing what I was thinking at any given time. Maintain a library. The books that you keep will give your children an idea of what you read, what was important to you and what you found influential. Kids can see where you have dog-eared a corner or underlined a sentence."
No matter how well last year's plans worked out, it is important to enter this year armed with the best of intentions. Life will always be busy and change will always be difficult. For her part, Mitchell believes that she has found a key to a healthier and happier new year. "When I am more balanced mentally and physically, it affects me emotionally," she says. "It makes me happier, more flexible, and even more loving with the kids. Better balance on my part will help me teach my children better habits overall."