1.17.2012

Enough is Enough

When the prophets and apostles tell us to choose that which matters most....they mean it!  Where that scriptures say not to "run faster than is needful"...it's something we must listen to.  I am a firm believer in the fact that we, and we alone, have control of our time.  Many people go through their days saying, "I just don't have time" or "Everything I do is a requirment placed upon me."  Well, I'm here to say that I recently experienced those same exact thoughts and feelings. 

For about 6-8 weeks (basically all of November & December) I did not have control of my time or my life.  I ran, rushed, ranted and raved at my children and wanted to run away from it all at the same time.  People would say, "Why don't you say no to something?"  Like what!?!  Was my response.  I simply was not in control.  And I admit it was nobody's fault but mine. 

So, after/during Christmas "break" I knew it was time to make some changes.  I did not choose to live life without enjoying it.  At that point I was ready (and thought I'd been inspired) to say no to some major parts of our lives.  After simmering and then reading a talk from the recent conference entitled, "Time to Prepare," I was ready to discuss what I'd been feeling with my family & prepared a special family night.

We started the activity by playing Minute to Win It.  For those who aren't familiar, this game involves performing & completed acts within 1 minute.  For instance, one daughter had to keep two balloons up in the air for 1 minute, our son had to try stacking 5 apples, and dad needed to put together two puzzles in one minute.  It was great!  When we have one minute to accomplish a task every second counts and if you waste those seconds you don't win.  Life is the same.  Each minute is important and if we waste those minutes we too might find we don't win in the end if we are putting our valuable minutes into events that really don't get us anywhere.  These minutes and how they are used are valuable for each individual.  So A's minutes might be used completely different than JW's minutes. 

This does not mean we need to be "productive" in the world's sense of the word all the time.  There is room for leisure.  Even in the Proclamation to the World on the Family we learn that "wholesome recreational activities" are healthy for successful family life.   I expressed my desire to start pulling back from the activities we were involved in and really evaluating where we were honestly spending our time.  And so we did.  Each child evaluated their activities to see where they were willing to cut back so we could have more family contiuity.

Another aspect of this major change in our family is recognizing that JW and B can ride their bikes to the events they choose.  If they want extra activities, moreso than the other kids, then they now can evaluate if it's worth getting on their bike for or not. 

From this whole experience I realized an important lesson is that Mom needs to be at the center of the home.  If I'm carting kids from one place to another, I am suddently taken out of the home and can't focus on the things I feel are most important.  Yes, there is value in being in the car with the kids...time for conversation and whatnot...but again, there needs to be a balance. 

So...those are the slight changes we've made here recently.  This next week is our last "HOLY COW" week and then the obligations will be completed and we can step back and breathe (even though my husband reminds me that something will come in to fill that empty space....I will fight it and resist it).

1.15.2012

JW's new Challenge

Our lives have been overrun this month with the Future City competition.  It's this weekend in Seattle and I'm ready to have it all over.  But in the midst of this chaos, we've managed to make a few other changes to JW's learning plan.

I've been simmering on this idea for months, just waiting for the right time to present it to my son.  I was so excited when I realized it was finally time. 

So...I took a bunch of learning books:  grammar, spelling, math cirriculums, history books, etc... and laid them in front of my son.  Then I had him choose which ones in each subject he was willing to do or that looked interesting to him.  I then got his book group books for him and told him to go around the house and choose 5 more books from our shelves that he wanted to read.  We set up his desk as his "study station" using all of learning materials he had used. 

Then I told him the plan.  He can choose each morning if it's a study day (Scholar day...whatever you want to call it) or a family day.  If he chooses a family day it just means he chooses to follow the family schedule, join us for family learning time and read aloud, and accomplish his set of study goals (made earlier in the month).  If he chooses a study day he is required to study 3 hours using the materials in his study station plus practice piano (at least 45 minutes each day).  As time goes on these hours will increase, but starting out, this appears to be enough.  He then needs to record what he did during those few hours in his calendar and report to Mom or Dad.  It has been exciting to watch his enthusiasm for learning increase!  When he chooses a study day he actually talks to me with interest in his voice rather than just a, "Yeah, I did it" response. 

One other aspect of the study day is that he chose one major household job and has complete stewardship over that job.  So each day looks something like this:

Family scripture study and breakfast
Go down and study for 1 1/2-2 hours
come up to make lunch for the family & clean up the lunchtime kitchen
Go back down to study for another 1-2 hours and practice piano
Rest of the afternoon is free
Evening activities

If all goes well here, I can see this working for my other kids as well as they get older.  For now, they're all enjoying the family schedule. 

1.11.2012

Word of the Year

I loved this idea from a couple of years ago and was just reminded of it on my friend's blog (love my friends!).

My word for the year is  
LAUGHTER.

When I look back I want to remember the fun times with my kids.

When I look back I want to say I learned to not take myself too seriously! 

When my kids look back I don't want them to say, "Mom never laughed." 

I don't want to ever hear my kids say (as they did a year or so ago), "Wow, Mom, I've never heard your really laugh like that."  sigh.

When I look back I want to recognize that I laughed in the moment of mishaps, not just after the fact. 

And, most importantly, I want to really laugh with my husband.  :-)  

Did you know, "On average, children laugh 400 times a day, while adults laugh about 15 times (The Power of Laughter)?"  How sad is that.  I want to be the adult that beats out the kids on that one.

Wish me luck!
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