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Don’t panic: Make a Vision Board!

Who knew that one rainy day, a group of grumpy kids and a stack of magazines could lead to high adventure? Before I knew it, pages were flipping, paper snippets were flying and I got some insightful glimpses into young hearts and souls. I also learned that empty glue sticks, when placed in the wrong hands, can sail through the air at quite a fast clip. 

I first encountered vision boards while attending a venting mothers’ wine-chugging therapy session masquerading as a “craft party.”  

In case you don’t know about this important operation, creating a vision board involves cutting out pictures and words from magazines and gluing them in a collage to represent one’s innermost dreams and goals. You are then obligated to hang this hodgepodge on the wall, where it will guilt you into accomplishing them (because if not, you will have wasted an entire afternoon when you could have been watching reality TV).

Typical topics of discussion at such events fall under the category of “How to survive parenting while remaining somewhat emotionally stable.” Nowadays, we have added worries and stress, for example, the upheaval of sane life as we know it due to COVID-19. The plus side is that we can now kvetch and complain to fellow parents in an online Zoom meeting without wearing pants.

Meanwhile, though I’ve mocked vision boards in the past (the phrase “new age malarkey” comes to mind), I am now recommending them as a fun and therapeutic way to spend an afternoon with the kids. At the least, it could momentarily curb some of the high-caloric baking in the house and also, it’s hard to stuff carbs in your mouth while using a pair of scissors.

After breaking out the necessary supplies, the fun begins. Except that when the subject of hopes and dreams comes up, you may discover some scary things rattling around in your children’s brains. Using their free time to clean the house without being asked will not be one of them. Instead, the outcome of this fun and relaxing activity may force a parent to post an official list of Things You Children Will Never Be Allowed to Do Even During a Pandemic, like acquiring a pet snake. Sure, they can dream about it, but it’s not going to happen under my dead body.

But thinking about the future, whether a few hours away or a few months, can take young minds off missing things like playing board games with friends or starring in school plays. In fact, creating vision boards can also be a fun way to work through worries, brainstorm safe alternative activities or plan small steps toward future goals. It may also put them in a better mood.

Then it’s back to real life smack in the middle of a pandemic, desperate to maintain one’s wits, humor and parental patience. 

So before cleaning up the glorious mess all over the table and floor, be sure to hurl an empty glue stick behind your shoulder for good luck. In these trying times, it sure couldn’t hurt.

Pam J. Hecht is a writer, instructor and mother of two (but not necessarily in that order). Reach her at pamjh8@gmail.com or pamjhecht.com.

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