| from Dr. Kathy Koch |

Parents could have their own Olympics. Yes, I think so.

What categories would make the Games if you were in charge? Let me suggest this one: entertaining toddlers in airports when flights are delayed. Have you ever observed a parent you’d nominate for the gold? Or, maybe you can think back to a day when you could have won yourself.

I would nominate a mom I recently observed. Her daughter was about 18-months-old and had more energy than makes sense. After getting her daughter into the stroller, the mom pushed her in dramatic loop-d-loops around people, suitcases, and chairs while we waited to board our delayed flight. The young girl laughed nonstop. The mom’s love, energy, and creativity were gold-medal-worthy.

How about this category? Shopping for clothes with middle school girls. Just getting through this experience without saying horrible things maybe should be enough to get you nominated. It can be torture!

I’d nominate a friend of mine for the gold medal who makes shopping for new school clothes a fun day. She and her daughters start the day with a special breakfast. They then head to the stores in an agreed-upon order. My friend scouts most of the stores in advance to have ideas of what to suggest the girls try on. This saves time and makes it more likely that they’ll find some outfits. As they try on clothes, they share ideas with each other and listen to their mom’s reactions. They reject some outfits and choose to buy others. They enjoy a favorite lunch, head to others stores, and try to find most of what they need on this one day.

They pick up dinner on the way home and then have a fashion show for their parents. Their dad could also be nominated for a support role as he listens to one daughter describe her sister’s new outfits as if they were in a New York City fashion show. Then it’s the other daughter’s turn.

As the dad affirms his daughters’ choices or asks questions, and their mom comments on the bright colors and styles, the girls are built up. Even if a parent helps them see that they don’t need an outfit or it’s not appropriate for some reason, their confidence soars! So does their wisdom. What a smart way to increase both qualities!

What categories would you suggest for the Parent Olympics? Changing picky-eaters’ opinions about food? Getting kids to go to bed without arguing? Getting them out the door for church on time without arguing? Showing up at soccer practice with everything you need?

Discuss this at home and let us know what you come up with. We’d love to know!

Dr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas. She has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, banquet talks, and other events. She is a regular speaker for Care Net, Summit Ministries, and Axis. She also speaks for other organizations, churches, schools, and pregnancy resource centers. In addition, she hosts Celebrate Kids conferences through their Ignite the Family conference division. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio, she was featured in Kirk Cameron’s movie, Connect, and she has written and published five books with Moody Publishers, including Five to Thrive, Start with the Heart, Screens and Teens, 8 Great Smarts, and No More Perfect Kids (with Jill Savage). Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.