The conclusion is a very important part of your essay. Although it is sometimes treated as a roundup of all of the bits that didn’t fit into the paper earlier, it deserves better treatment than that! It's the last thing the reader will see, so it tends to stick in the reader's memory. It's also a great place to remind the reader exactly why your topic is important. A conclusion is more than just "the last paragraph"—it's a working part of the paper. This is the place to push your reader to think about the consequences of your topic for the wider world or for the reader's own life!
A good conclusion should do a few things:
- Restate your thesis
- Synthesize or summarize your major points
- Make the context of your argument clear
Restating Your Thesis
You've already spent time and energy crafting a solid thesis statement for your introduction, and if you've done your job right, your whole paper focuses on that thesis statement. That's why it's so important to address the thesis in your conclusion! Many writers choose to begin the conclusion by restating the thesis, but you can put your thesis into the conclusion anywhere—the first sentence of the paragraph, the last sentence, or in between. Here are a few tips for rephrasing your thesis:
- Remind the reader that you've proven this thesis over the course of your paper. For example, if you're arguing that your readers should get their pets from animal shelters rather than pet stores, you might say, "If you were considering that puppy in the pet-shop window, remember that your purchase will support 'puppy mills' instead of rescuing a needy dog, and consider selecting your new friend at your local animal shelter." This example gives the reader not only the thesis of the paper, but a reminder of the most powerful point in the argument!
- Revise the thesis statement so that it reflects the relationship you've developed with the reader during the paper. For example, if you've written a paper that targets parents of young children, you can find a way to phrase your thesis to capitalize on that—maybe by beginning your thesis statement with, "As a parent of a young child…"
- Don’t repeat your thesis word for word—make sure that your new statement is an independent, fresh sentence!
Summary or Synthesis
This section of the conclusion might come before the thesis statement or after it. Your conclusion should remind the reader of what your paper actually says! The best conclusion will include a synthesis, not just a summary—instead of a mere list of your major points, the best conclusion will draw those points together and relate them to one another so that your reader can apply the information given in the essay. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
- Give a list of the major arguments for your thesis (usually, these are the topic sentences of the parts of your essay).
- Explain how these parts are connected. For example, in the animal-shelter essay, you might point out that adopting a shelter dog helps more animals because your adoption fee supports the shelter, which makes your choice more socially responsible.
One of the most important functions of the conclusion is to provide context for your argument. Your reader may finish your essay without a problem and understand your argument without understanding why that argument is important. Your introduction might point out the reason your topic matters, but your conclusion should also tackle this questions. Here are some strategies for making your reader see why the topic is important:
- Tell the reader what you want him or her to do. Is your essay a call to action? If so, remind the reader of what he/she should do. If not, remember that asking the reader to think a certain way is an action in itself. (In the above examples, the essay asks the reader to adopt a shelter dog—a specific action.)
- Explain why this topic is timely or important. For example, the animal-shelter essay might end with a statistic about the number of pets in shelters waiting for adoption.
- Remind the readers of why the topic matters to them personally. For example, it doesn’t matter much if you believe in the mission of animal shelters, if you're not planning to get a dog; however, once you're looking for a dog, it is much more important. The conclusion of this essay might say, "Since you’re in the market for a dog, you have a major decision to make: where to get one." This will remind the reader that the argument is personally important!
Want your kids to behave and exhibit better social skills? Want your wife not to yack your head off or your husband to be more verbally affectionate?
Try Family Bonding Time.
What is Family Bonding Time?
Family bonding time is time the family spends together meaningfully. This is a designated time your family plans to interact with each other over a group of activities or a major fun project.
Beneficial Effects of Spending Time Together:
Family members learn how to listen and work together. Children learn how to behave in society by watching their parents interact with each other and with the world. Family bonding times are a great way to model expected behaviors inside the family circle and with others in the community. Modeling expected behaviors is also a great way for the parents in the family to learn how to communicate to each other as well.
Promising your personal time at least one day out of the week will help members in your family gain a sense of self worth. Children that have guardians that take the time with them, begin to assign value to their family time. Children that do not have a sense of family values are more likely to be influenced by friends that do not necessarily have their best interests at heart.
Communications between family members improve. Parents often admit frustration when it comes to communication. Their children are not open, untrustworthy, do not listen or lack understanding between talker and listener. Bonding time can help eliminate some of the frustration. Parents can use this time to relate their childhood to an adolescent just beginning his childhood interactions. Parents know the same trials have weathered us all. The amount of temptation and the sources of these hindrances are the only things that really change.
As important as it is to impart wisdom, it is just as important to be an active listener as well. While everyone is together, sometimes it’s just as important to redirect attention towards your family and ask “What’s going on with you?”
Children improve relationships and bond to their family members. Making a habit of displaying interest in the well being of your spouse and children will make them more likely to consult family members when there are personal problems occurring.
Actively strengthening family bonds reinforces mutual respect. Children will find you can get more done with good behavior and not by acting out. Adults will find authority is followed more willingly when a child wants to do their best for them. Children will use less talking back as their view of their family unit improves.
There are some partners that don’t understand why their spouses have so much to say to them. Women are verbal and if their husbands often skip opportunities for their wives to vent, it builds up. Too much nervous or aggressive tension can lead to verbal overload in any gender.
Men have the same problem and often take out their need to vent through physical tasks. Men tend to be more aggressive verbally and more avoidant until they believe they have resolved the matter bothering them.
Dominating a conversation or behaving aggressive is disrespectful in a familial relationship. Designating time together will help eliminate these very bad ways of dealing with stress. This does not mean your spouse can only talk during family time. The opportunity to discuss matters by both spouses will help release any emotional tensions that lead to bad behavior.
Doing a creative project and discussing what is going on in each member’s life is a good way to encourage release.
Many couples have problems diffusing the stress that arises while on their jobs. Talking about how to diffuse those problems can help partners come home happier and have healthier emotional statuses.
Members learn to value one another and are less likely to hurt each other. Families that encourage bonding time, multiple times a week, often say their children have an easier time away from home. Children that do not have to compete with a computer, television, phone or activity for parental attention have an easier time conducting themselves when their parents are not around. Children that know they have a reasonable amount of their parents’ attention do not try to gain it in disruptive dangerous ways.
Ways to Share Family time Together:
Plan an outing to the park together and play games, go on a nature hike and make a picnic together.
Go to the museum and have everyone pick out a list of things they wish to see.
Plan a meal made from new recipes or another culture. Set the table according to the cultural traditions and share a discussion about similarities and differences.
Build a model plane or make a soapbox racer together. Work on a project together that is easy for everyone to contribute. Motivate your children to discuss how their subjects in school make contributing to the project easier. Encourage children to use their talents or their abilities to making the project special.
(credit: Joyce Naltchayana/AFP/Getty Images)Family time can include doing some good in your community. These families planted trees for a veteran memorial.
Ways to Incorporate Family Bonding Time Everyday:
- At meal times encourage spouse and children to discuss what they plan to do, what problems they may be having or whatever is on their minds.
- If you drive your spouse and children to most of their destinations, use those times to listen to them or play games perfect for car trips.
- At home parents can ask children to help them do the chores and make a game of it. Children can clean their rooms by playing hamper hockey. Siblings can take turns using brooms to move their dirty clothes into laundry baskets or hampers. Couples can find working together very stress relieving and have found ways to ease romance in. Some spouses reward each other with a sexy back rub, favorite food or some other highly cherished activity.
The list is only limited by your imagination. There are a million and one ways to make time with your family meaningfully. You have nothing to lose and only your family’s closeness to gain.