Guest Columnists

What Really Matters When Handling Kids

by Bill and Monica Dodds

SOME YEARS AGO, a popular book advised people not to sweat the small stuff and to realize it’s all small stuff. But, of course, it isn’t, especially when it comes to parenting. The challenge for moms and dads is figuring out what family matters really matter.

Older siblings from larger families will tell you they had it the toughest and their younger brothers and sisters got away with murder. There’s some truth to that. Rookie parents have a harder time distinguishing what matters and what doesn’t.

One small example includes figuring out what the first child wears for his or her kindergarten class picture. It seems monumental. What the third, fourth, or fifth child wears…mom and dad might have a bit of a mental lapse.

“Pictures were today?”

The two of us confess we discovered our youngest wore the same dress shirt in his class picture two years in a row.  It was clean, in good shape and still fit.  Who remembered what he had worn the previous year?

Let’s try a little quiz here to help you determine where you fall on the parenting spectrum of what matters and what doesn’t.

1.  A child who fails to make his or her bed every morning is:
– Taking the first step down the slippery slope to life in prison.
– A free spirit who needs to be admired and encouraged.
– More like you than you care to admit.

2. When two siblings begin to fight with each other:
– Mom or Dad need to yell louder.
– Each child needs a hug and a cookie.
– You remember your mother saying, “And someday when you grow up and have children of your own, I hope they’re just like you.”

3. The best way to teach your children fiscal responsibility is:
– Buy them everything they want and constantly remind them how much each item costs.
– Make them start paying rent once they enter grade school.
– Don’t let them see your household budgeting method.

4. The parent who constantly strives for perfection and settles for nothing less:
– Raises perfect children who become perfect adults.
– Gets an ulcer.
– Drives the rest of the family up the wall.

5. When it comes to determining what matters and what doesn’t matter, it takes:
– Wisdom and grace.
– Patience and perseverance.
– Wisdom and grace, patience and perseverance, and prayer, prayer, prayer.

Our advice: Stick with 5c, and you’ll be fine.

Bill and Monica Dodds are founders of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver and editors of My Daily Visitor magazine. They can be contacted at

One thought on “What Really Matters When Handling Kids

  1. Awesome. I am not-so-fresh father of 2 boys-3 and 2. And already my wife is fighting with me about the way I handle them; she things ‘am too tough on them.

    Thanks afor the ‘Stick with 5C’ part.