Monday, September 7, 2015

Wholesome Recreation

Author Richard Louv argues that individuals and families have become disconnected from nature and consequently are suffering from what he calls Nature Deficit Disorder.  Today, families are increasingly spending large amounts of leisure time indoors, usually spending that time with electronic media.

When my children were young I would get up at 6 am to go running.  One day my 5 year old daughter, my oldest, had gotten up, went downstairs and turned on the TV.  When I realized that she was capable of this every time I went running I got rid of our television.  It might seem extreme to some, but we didn't watch it much anyway. 

Cut to 9 years later and not only do we have 2 t.v.'s, but they are the least of my worries.  My daughter is 14 now and has a cell phone.  We also have an ipad, a laptop and 2 computers.  I realize what a simple solution I had all those years ago and how hard it is to manage media time now.  I am pretty strict about technology in our home, but it's a tricky balance that I am still working on.

One thing I am glad we implemented was no technology on Sunday.  As busy as we can get during the week we set all phones, tv time and comptuer time aside for the day.  We go to church, read, play games, nap and just be together as a family.

In the 'Successful Marriages and Family' text it discusses how wholesome recreation is important for families.  But what exactly is wholesome recreation?  It doesn't have to be hiking, or game playing, or constantly engaged in conversation.  Wholesome recreation means being together for an extended period of time in the outdoors reconnecting with each other.

Our weeks, like most people, are busy.  But a few nights a week we take our dog on a walk, this morning my husband and I took our son on a run.  We play music in the backyard and jump on the trampoline, we swim, surf, and picnic.

I know not everyone has an ocean or a pool, but we all have access to being outside and should make a priority to make it happen.  Our kids feel the love we have for them when we limit their distractions as well as our own, and just be a family, talking, laughing, running around enjoying nature.  I have a testimony of all the good and bonding that happens when families spend this time with God's creations.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Family Work

"Ordinary household work that is often considered a waste of time can be a time of closeness and fun that strengthens family bonds and develops Christlike virtues".- text

I know in our family that chore time also means family crying and arguing time.  Whose doing what, someone has an easier job, someone's doing more, someones being mean and nothing is ever fair.  Why is organizing our home into a clean and peaceful place such a messy and loud process?

Gordon B. Hinckley listed families working together as one of four things that could "in a generation or two" turn society's "moral values" around.  If that's not a good reason to figure out this whole 'working together' thing, I don't know what is.

I remember being a kid and thinking I did more work than anyone.  I now know I was wrong.  In the past I would lose my cool when my kids started bickering about who was doing what when it came to housework, now I stay calm if it kills me.  How can they stay calm if I am a mess?  I give them a long list with boxes to check off and have them put their names one by one, to sign up for chores.  So far this system has helped out a lot.

Jacqueline Curtis from the blog Money Crashers suggest these tips for not only helping kids get chores done, but for helping them understand the reasoning behind it.

1. Treat School Like a Job
If your kids are in school and bring home homework, teach them to treat it like a job. The teacher is the boss and your children have the responsibility to keep up with schoolwork and do their best. School is probably one of the first experiences your child will have with developing a work ethic. By creating clear rules and consequences around schoolwork completion and effort, you help start your child on the right path to understanding the value – and reward – of hard work.

2. Put Work on the Schedule
Rather than making a special Saturday where you have to goad your kids into pitching in, simply make helping out part of their regular schedule. For instance, if your kids know that they have to make their beds and tidy their rooms every day before coming to breakfast, it becomes much less of a fight to get them to do it. Instead of being a casual happening, work becomes an expectation, rather than a chore.

3. Work Together
Kids understand the value of teamwork, even as they’re just starting to grasp the value of hard work. Without an adult to help keep them on track and interested, they’re liable to fizzle and find something else to do. Be ready to pitch in and help alongside to teach that work doesn’t have to be boring or isolated.

4. Don’t Use Bribes
Instead of bribing with food and other rewards, talk about why you’re doing the work: “We need to fold the laundry so we have clean clothes to wear.” This helps kids understand the real-life reasons for work and use that as inspiration.

5. Allow Consequences
It’s hard to watch your kids suffer the unpleasant consequences of a lack of work ethic – so much so that you might be tempted to step in and take the blame. But robbing your kids of those negative consequences teaches them that a lack of work ethic doesn’t affect much.
If your child whines that he or she can’t find a specific article of clothing, explain that if his or her room was more organized, it wouldn’t be so difficult to locate. Don’t just step in and scour the room yourself. If a teacher tells you that your child is falling behind in class, talk to your child about extra work to make up the difference, rather than making excuses. A couple of times facing negative consequences and your kids will quickly learn what happens when they don’t do their work.

6. Model the Behavior
Finally, if you really want your kids to develop a solid work ethic, model the behavior yourself. Show that you appreciate hard work through offering praise when your kids pitch in, and show that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty around the house. After all, it’s pretty hard to ask your kids to help out when you’re ordering from the comfort of your couch. Instead, check your attitude and take a more positive outlook on work – you’ll probably find that your kids follow suit.

As the text and #6 suggests, Family work becomes a joyful blessing when not seen as a burden, but an opportunity to learn and grow together as a family and in responsibility.  This is not easy and takes time and practice, but I know as we model hard work and hold our kids responsible, we will make their future better, as well as our home right now.
Image result for comic on work

Faith in Family Life

Hilary Clinton wrote a book titled, "It Takes a Village" in 1996, the year I got married.  At the time I had goals of being a stay at home mom and thought it insulting that my children would need anyone but me to care for them.  With the support of my husband, family and faith, I did obtain my dream of being a stay at home mom and it was better than I ever expected.

My husband and I were both raised as Latter Day Saints and were on the same page when it came to our goals, values, morals and what we wanted for our family.  Before we married we discussed that when we had kids I would stay at home with them.  After 4 years of marriage, when my husband graduated college and secured a job, but still renting an apartment, we welcomed our first daughter in November 2000. Five years later we had added another daughter and a son.  I was beyond busy with my kids but loved being a stay at home mom more than anything.

I took pride that my kids rarely had a babysitter and never went to pre-school, it was just us and it was perfect.  Cut to 2015 and all of my kids are in school full day.  I've taken a part time job and also am taking 1 or 2 online college classes a semester.  What I am saying is life is busy and I need that village now, the one I thought I didn't need.

Could I do it all myself?  Sure!  But my son walking with a neighbor to school means I can actually be on time to work. Carpooling with another mom to mutual, scouts and sports means more time for me to study uninterrupted.

Through putting my faith in others, in and out of my church, I have come to rely on my 'village' of women who help, support and assist me as I do the same for them.  In this both our families are blessed.

I am so glad I followed the counsel to marry in the temple to a man who would honor the Family Proclamation by providing for our family so I could raise, care for and nurture our children in our home.  I am also grateful for our extended church family who assists us in all we need.