Simplicity Monday

Have you ever been a boss?  Have you ever been an employee?

If you were a boss, how did you get your employees to do good work?  I bet if you were a good boss, your employees liked you because you were encouraging.  Sure, you would point out what needed fixing, but you would also point out the good and wonderful things your employees were doing.

If you were ever an employee, what made you want to do a good job?  Was it a boss who was demeaning,  was it a boss whom you could never please no matter what you did, was it when you felt small and stupid and like you couldn’t do anything right?  Chances are if you had a job like that you eventually left the company, and if you had a day like that you just wanted to go home and hide in your bed with the sheet pulled up!

So how is parenting any different?

Will you see the very best side of your children if you constantly are finding flaws, expecting them to be a person they are not, and never telling them the things they do are enough, that they are enough, that they are loved and you wouldn’t ever be without them?

If parenting is about being an authentic leader, what kind of leader are you?  Are you  kind, encouraging,  and holding up realistic standards for your children as you guide them and teach them and help them unfold into the beautiful adult they will become?

In this Thanksgiving week, let us have gratitude for our children and who they are.

Blessings,
Carrie

Simplicity Monday: The Silent Still November

I have memories of November from growing up in Upstate New York; cool, crisp leaves crunching underfoot, frosty mornings, snow on the ground, dim sunlight through clouds and a gray that hung in the air.  There were animals out, but there was a hush and a chill that let one know autumn was winding down and winter was on its way.   I think for partially that reason, I really enjoyed this post by Elizabeth Foss (I just adore her and her writing!):  http://www.elizabethfoss.com/reallearning/2013/11/november-silence.html

November always seemed like a still and silent time to me; a time to think and ponder and prepare.  And so, heading into the holidays, I am pondering and preparing: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Children and Sports

It was a most beautiful fall weekend here in the Deep South…and I spent the majority of my weekend at a continuing education course for my physical therapy license renewal.  It was long hours in class, but very interesting information.  In the Pediatric Sports Medicine track I attended, there was a really interesting session regarding “Youth In Sports:  Are We Pushing Too Hard?” and I wanted to bring this information to you all because it is so important.

This information comes from the medical community – doctors, athletic trainers and therapists -  who love and care for student athletes and who really do want children to have free play and yes,  also to be on the field too,  but in a safe and healthy way.

The presentation opened up with a case study of a student athlete who was practicing a certain sport three hours a day, conditioning for an hour, plus scheduled practice at night, plus weekend tournaments, and was being homeschooled because there was not much time available for other activities.

The kicker?  The student was ten years old.

There were many other case studies of student athletes, who by the age of 15 or 16, had had three or more surgeries due to sports injuries, plus hours of rehabilitation.

The presentation went through how in the past, children played games that children created and ran themselves.  The goal was to have fun, the rules were flexible, teams and the players on the team were often switched,  and sometimes better “athletes” were given handicaps to compensate for their athletic prowess.   This was typical when I was growing up, and maybe when you were growing up as well.  Organized sports started somewhere around the later middle school years typically or even first year of high school.

A lot has changed in recent years.  Now forty million children sign up for organized sports each year in the United States.   In contrast to those games of childhood we remember, organized sports are led by adults, with adult rules that are inflexible.  The goal is winning, being better,  and working as a team to win a goal that is often adult-oriented (ie, MVP trophy, all-stars, etc), often with the best players leading and the rest of the children left behind.  The best facilities are often used for elite, hypercompetitive teams, along with the  best coaches while the “leftovers” often go into community sports where the fields or other equipment may not be as in good a condition and the coaches may be parent volunteers.  (Which in and of itself may not be a bad thing, but this particular session was looking at such factors as safety – for example,  the elite clubs may have better access to athletic trainers and medical personnel on the sidelines when injuries and concussion occur as opposed to parent-led clubs).  Most youth coaches, whether professional or a volunteer,  are not typically trained in childhood development so sometimes developmental readiness cues to play an organized sport are not known and the way practices are conducted completely miss the developmental stage of the child.

The kicker to all of this is that recent statistics show by age fourteen, 73 percent of children who were in organized sports DROP OUT.  It is no longer fun.  My family went through this ourselves last year with our then fifth grader, and I can attest to this. Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: The Overwhelm

The Overwhelm.  Too much to do, too little time.

When I speak to mothers, often their “to-do” list is long, their presence has a harried energy, and they are concerned that they cannot “get it all done.”

They want to do it all, and they want to do it  all perfectly.

This is common in mothers in general, but also very common in homeschooling mothers.  I think the biggest overwhelm I hear experienced homeschooling mothers mention is lack of time to do things outside of homeschooling because there is no separation from the children.  Often the list of things to do outside of homeschooling is long – like trying to clean a house when you live in it many hours a day or when you are on the go a lot more with older children, trying to get errands done, trying so hard to do everything when teaching children really takes up the entire day.

A few things that many mothers (and myself)  seem to find helpful: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Abiding

Abiding, to me, is more than just waiting.  Abiding is the sacred art of enduring, of being durable, of waiting without impatience for the fullness of time to reveal things.  It is knowing deep in one’s soul that the permanent state of life is one of goodness and fullness if we can wait and hold on.  It is trusting in that as a innateness and permanence.

Abiding is such an important thing to model for children.  We take our time, we wait, we abide.  Things in our family are not smooth right now, but it will be over time.  We will look back and we will laugh about it, we may cry about it, but we will know we were always there for each other and we did the very best we could with the information we had at the time and where we were in our own personal growth.

Abiding is knowing that when Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: The Five Secrets to Setting A Rhythm For Your Home

Rhythm is one of those things that many parents talk about, wonder about, and can have such trouble implementing.  Here are my top five secrets to garnering a rhythm that supports a peaceful home life.

Visualize your home and walk through a day in your head.  Where was it smooth and flowing and joyous?  Where was it sticky and difficult and everyone fell apart?  I don’t think a rhythm is about throwing out who you are, who your family is,  what your family culture is in order to replace it with something that someone else does, but rather to build upon the successes in your own home.  Every family does something really well, so what is your thing that you do really well that you could build upon? Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Preparation

When we teach children how to do something, we usually walk them through the first steps of gathering supplies and equipment through the process of what they are learning, and then work with them through the clean-up stage.

How much smoother our home life goes when we prepare things in the same way in which we teach our children!

Whether it is a cleaning plan, a meal plan, taking the time to set things out the night before,  preparing for school during the summer and then also taking time over the weekend to prepare for Monday’s school, preparation makes life go so much easier.

It is part of doing, and so important to model for our children.

It is the doing that counts!

Many blessings,
Carrie

Simplicity Monday: Doing

Just for today, I will be a “do-er”.

I will put away my computer, phone, email, Facebook and be present with my children.

I will stop researching parenting styles, homeschooling curriculum or other outside advice, and look inside myself to see what is right for my own family.   I will talk about this with my spouse and together we will work toward our own family culture.

I will work in my home and show my children how to do practical things.

I will involve my whole family in working in our home in a caring way.

I will have fun with my family and do things that will create memories.

I will initiate and take the time to sustain doing real physical exercise and inner work.

I will include myself and my needs as part of the family and show my family that I am a person as well by doing something for myself, even if that just means taking the time to do my hair and put on clothes that fit.

I will take the time to go to a place of worship if that has been calling me; instead of listing all the reasons why I cannot do that.

I will go to bed at a reasonable hour.

If I am feeling sad or blue, I will do something nice for myself and also something nice for someone else.

I will plan my day tomorrow and actually do things, even if it is not perfect.

I will dream big and I will do.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Simplicity Monday: Slow Sundays

One way to simplify your week is to use my “X” method on your calendar, (see this link http://theparentingpassageway.com/2013/07/29/simplicity-monday-days-of-xs/ )

and then to be sure to mark all of your Sundays as “Slow Sundays”.  Well, my day is Sunday, in large part due to our religion, but your day might be a Slow Friday or a Slow Saturday.

What this will look like will be up to you, but I suggest you follow the same rhythm each week.  For example, Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Too Much Stuff

This was a great post over at the Simplicity Parenting blog regarding the effects of de-cluttering a child’s room and eliminating the “too much stuff” syndrome:  http://www.simplicityparenting.com/what-happened-when-i-simplified-our-lives/

In the United States, particularly here in the Deep South, children Continue reading