(THIS IS NOT A POST TO READ WITH A CHILD HANGING OVER YOUR SHOULDER. Adult content!)
You might wonder why this post is here, on a parenting blog. I just have to speak up and say something, because these things that have been happening involve children. Children are children until the age of 21, and the crisis that is occurring in the youth of the United States affects us all.
This has been a harrowing time for the United States, with mass public shootings occurring frequently, along with a culture of rape where 6 out of 10 women are raped in their lifetimes. There was an incident in my own state recently of a graduation party at a cabin that got completely and horrifyingly out of hand and ended in a young woman being gang-raped, presumably by people she probably thought were trusted friends. My heart just has been breaking for her, and it has been breaking for all of these incidents and the people involved on all sides, and especially for the parents of these children.
What can we do, as we raise this next generation, to curb and stop societal violence? How do we do it?
I have a few ideas that I have been germinating upon. They are in no particular order. Please add your own thoughts and suggestions in the comment box!
Do you all remember when I posted a summer parenting project? Mine this year centered around de-cluttering the house and exercise, but in past years I have begged parents to find a religious/spiritual home for their family. This year’s post is right here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/05/23/a-summer-parenting-project/
I am not the only one with this kind of thing on the brain! I got great joy in reading Kara’s post over here about exercising: http://www.kelizabethfleck.com/2014/06/7-quick-takes-birthdays-broccoli.html. As a former personal trainer, a gym manager, a trainer of bodybuilders and a physical therapist, I cannot stress enough the importance of exercise. This is so important for mothers who are suffering from depression and anxiety, and such a great example for our children. Our homeschooled children really need breaks during the day to run and play. Some homeschooled children do that naturally, but I do find the older children get the more they sit around and read….or craft….or read. It can take determination to keep your family moving, especially during a busy school day, but so worth it!
My husband has traveled out of town Monday through late Thursday night for years, and I really got out of the habit of exercising consistently. He is now traveling less, and I am happy to say I am back on the exercise train. What works best for me is to get up and out the door when my husband is home. So, I am in the gym by 6:30 each morning, and my goal is to move that up to 6 AM. I am tired by the end of the day, especially when I am teaching, (which is what I found out last year having sixth and third grade), so exercising at night is hard for me. Morning is much better! We have also been doing active things as a family, which we did last summer as well, but it is nice to have that piece too. Hiking, kayaking, and running at our local park have been fun.
De-cluttering is coming along as well. I am slowly culling books, which is so hard for me because I love books and as a homeschooler I keep thinking I will need that one book! My husband painted our school room a cheery yellow (Daffodil from Sherwin Williams) and with some naturally dyed curtains, I think it is going to look great for when we start school again in August. I will try to post some pictures when it is all done!
What are you all up to? Let’s celebrate our successes, no matter how small!
Blessings and love,
It is summer! There has been an article circulating around the Internet from over at The Atlantic regarding summer and having free time to just be: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/
Part of this article deals with how “personal” executive function (ie, the ability to set goals, to be self-motivated and do the practical things to achieve a self-selected goal) is much better in children who spend less time in activities supervised by adults:
The authors studied the schedules and play habits of 70 six-year-old children, measuring how much time each of them spent in “less structured,” spontaneous activities such as imaginative play and self-selected reading and “structured” activities organized and supervised by adults, such as lessons, sports practice, community service and homework. They found that children who engage in more free play have more highly developed self-directed executive function. The opposite was also true: The more time kids spent in structured activities, the worse their sense of self-directed control. It’s worth noting that when classifying activities as “less structured” or “structured,” the authors deemed all child-initiated activities as “less-structured,” while all adult-led activities were “structured.”
The summer can be a difficult time for working parents in particular, and some children end up trading school (an adult-directed activity), for different adult-directed activities in the summer – camps, lessons, and the like.
I am hearing from parents who both have to work this summer, or single parents who have to work. They are wondering how to give their children a summer of time in nature and unstructured play. I would love to hear suggestions from you all and how you have handled unstructured play for summer in your family. My own thoughts would be to enlist family members or friends who are able to be home and are taking their own children to the lake, beach, forest or out for a picnic. I have many family friends where both parents work, and those parents I know are taking a good deal of vacation time this summer to make the work week shorter –ie, taking each Friday off so they have a long weekend with their children, for example. I also have friends who work who have talked to their boss about changing their work hours so they go to work very early and get home early so they can have some daylight hours with their children to be together. If a parent works from home, of course the children can have unstructured play there, but many parents have told me if they have only children it can be hard to get things done or multiple children while they are working sometimes play great and come up with wonderful ideas and sometimes not! Continue reading
Anchor: a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.
When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability. An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm. If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year. If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not yet ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.
I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts. I have written monthly anchor points posts for August, September, October, May and now would like to extend our mood of celebration into June!
June is always an interesting juxtaposition for me personally. It is a month where I often feel very inward because it is often during this time I am going through all the closets, drawers, cabinets and garage space in my home. I organize my school room and take stock. And I am homeschool planning for fall. So in some ways I feel so wrapped up in my own little inner world. I am certain I am terrible company for those around me!
Yet, the juxtaposition is all the time we spend outside in the sun Continue reading
Elizabeth Foss is enjoying her first grandbaby, and I enjoyed her post regarding the days after birth here: http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2014/05/in-praise-of-the-babymoon.html
I find it interesting if one looks on the Internet regarding “planning” a babymoon, most of the top posts have to do with planning some special time with a spouse prior to the arrival of a baby! This is baffling to me. Most attached parents, and parents who hold childbirth and the parenting of children in the most sacred terms, do not think of babymoon as a honeymoon getaway, but as a sacred time after a baby is born when life as a family with children begin.
Having a first baby, having multiples babies, all changes things. Nothing is or should be the same as it was, but perhaps not in the “inconvenienced” way general society assumes. I wrote some time ago about the joy of the first forty days after birth, and encouraged readers to slow down for an extended time after birth. Here is that original post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/17/40-days-after-birth-and-beyond/.
There are many beautiful ways to prepare for the first forty days: Continue reading
I like to have a little time over each summer to work on projects – decluttering and cleaning the house; homeschooling and planning for school in the fall; routines and habits that need to be established; or sometimes something even bigger and more life-changing. You can see the last summer parenting project that I asked readers to pick up on here in 2010: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/06/07/a-summer-parenting-project-for-you/
This year, I have two separate threads of projects I am hopeful that mothers will want to be a part of and participate in this summer.
One is the call for greater self-care and health. Mothers everywhere, often who have small children for very long hours with no extended family to help, need encouragement to take care of themselves. Continue reading
For several years now I had been in this period of life where things were sometimes light, sometimes dark, but usually just a mingled grey. It started with overwhelm as things slowly happened one after another, built up and then moved into this climax of life: people passed away that I loved and things that I loved died. I hung on to being in the now, because the future seemed far away and murky with nothing there to really grasp or see. I also felt like I was in the “middle” a lot, and just didn’t feel strongly enough to “really” fit anywhere. All I had was the faith that God had a plan for me, and perhaps, yes, even a plan for the me that I am outside of my own children and family. I felt like He was calling me to something, but I had no idea what.
In this Eastertide, in this very first inkling with the seedlings of the earth, several things started mingling in my head and my heart….It started with Continue reading