Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mom would say ... #12 We're in this together

Do your kids have regular chores? If so, you teaching them life skills and a work ethic. A recent study shows how doing chores boosts future success for children. I'm not surprised.

By the time our kids hit their teens, they were dividing most of the housework between them. We didn't have yard work, but we assigned our 3 sons and one daughter four weekly inside chores (besides caring for their rooms):
  • dust the house, including picture frames and door moldings
  • vacuum the house
  • clean bathrooms (2 1/2)
  • wash down kitchen appliances, cupboards, and counters
Our children chose the chore they disliked least ... or thought they could get done quickest. Once in a while they'd swap, but usually they stuck with what they'd chosen. That made it easy for me to evaluate their efforts. I tried not to be too hard on them and to appreciate their help. I'm not perfectionist - but I did note when they'd skimmed or done a lousy job. Doing GOOD work is important.

They also cooked sometimes, messing up a clean kitchen or experimenting on us with strange food combinations. Our rule, which acted as incentive for learning to cook? If you cooked for the family, someone else would clean up. When they cooked or baked on their own, they cleaned up their own mess unless someone pitched in - which the other kids often did. I bought groceries or let them forage the pantry and fridge. Today, they're creative cooks and bakers and know how to keep house.

When parents get too impatient or fussy to let their children help out, we prevent them from learning how to work with others and contribute to a family.

Sure, it's a pain to have little ones "get in the way" as they ride the vacuum. Elementary students can splash more water out of the sink than actually wash dishes. Teens take a long time to fold clothes and put them away. Don't give up!

A lack of skill when tackling a new job is a given, no matter what the chore - or future employment, for that matter! Training can be boring and repetitious. It can also be good fun to hang out together and admire what you've done.

Are you willing to invest in your kids' future? They'll learn at least three things from doing regular chores:
  1. Significance - I'm important and my family depends on my contribution.
  2. Cooperation - my good work and yours make a difference. Working together, we make a positive contribution to our group.
  3. Usefulness - what I do is necessary work. Maintaining what we have is resourcefulness that is good for the planet and good for our family.
For tips on strategic management of household chores, click here. Another resource: here's a chore reminder list.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mom would say ... #10: Real beauty

This wonderful guest post is from blogger Asha Grinnel (bio below)
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Something Momma taught me...

Momma never put too much stock in outer beauty. Sure we could easily be caught in Sephora or paging through the latest issue of Vogue, but it was all pure fun. Looking good on the outside was just one of the delightful perks of being a woman. Everything my Mom really wanted me to know about beauty can be found in this verse:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:30

As I journey through parenting my own darling daughter, I want to instill the same sense of real beauty that my Mom left inside of me. I want her to be drawn to the heart of a person. I want her to see beneath the layers of other people's pain. I want her to be completely confident in who she is and know without any doubt that she was made outrageously beautiful inside and out. Her beauty, my beauty, all of our beauty lies in how deeply loved we really are. Nothing can separate us from that.

Something Alana has been teaching me...

My little girl is so quick to delight in this world. Can you remember the last time you were truly delighted by something? It's hard for me to even slow down enough to take things in. Some days there is too much to be done, not enough hands, and I'm just tired—worn thin. Alana has been teaching me the incredible merger of delight and exclamation. It's impossible for her to delight in something with out squealing at the top of her lungs about it. This kind of response to delight is contagious and it draws other people in instantly. So here is this little girl, taking pure delight in the world God made. In an airplane flying high above. In a stick. In a flower. In a balloon at the end of a grocery story aisle. In a stranger. In me. Her entire day revolves around delighting and responding. If you think about it, that changes everything.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desires. Psalm 37:4

Something I'm learning about myself...

I hear a lot about seasons in life and people around me seem to be constantly striving for more or yearning for what they once had. I hear statements like, “Oh, soak in this was the BEST time of my life!” Or something like this, “I can't wait to be married, finish school, get a new job, etc.” I've felt the Lord urging me lately to embrace exactly where I am right now. Not because it is 'the best time' of my life or because I'm forcing myself into this false contentment, but because I want to live fully alive. The only way I know how to be fully alive is to be fully present. I really want to bloom, right now, in this season—because the Lord planted me here.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver

Asha is a lover of family dance parties, gourmet cooking, and spending time by the sea. She is married to the man of her dreams and a momma to one darling daughter.  You can find her blogging at Only True North.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mom would say ... #9 Your life at home

Older career women are bemoaning the attrition of young women from careers to home management and raising children. Somehow we didn't think the choice of "stay at home" was a good one in the 70s-90s. After all, women won the right to leave the home for a career.

But their daughters ... the kids shuttled off to daycare and babysitters ... the ones who hardly saw their parents? Those gals are choosing to stay home.

"Your life matters," my mom would tell me when I was drowning in diapers and baby food. "Being at home with your children shapes a whole generation. You may have more influence by loving and caring for these few precious ones than you may ever experience by fulfilling your job description elsewhere."

We can't all stay home. And we don't all choose to. But let's give a hurrah today for those stay-at-home moms who pick up the slack for those of us who "go to work" each day.

Many of them:
  • provide an alternative to the "you have to work to be significant" propaganda targeted at women
  • make us all smarter by using their education and skills to interact with neighbors, friends, and children
  • keep our neighborhoods safe when they go for walks and notice friends and strangers
  • keep our schools going by volunteering in the classroom and on the playground
  • shop during the day, giving worker bees jobs!
  • cook homemade food, staving off junk-food diets that will cost us billions in healthcare as we age
  • provide a nurturing space for their children and their friends
  • keep our kids safe by providing a friend's home  as a hangout before or after school
If you're doing all or some of these things, please recognize your role at home as a significant one. You are part of the glue that holds society together.

Some of us have to work outside the home. There's no guilt or condemnation for that! But if you can stay home, you're one of the lucky ones. Your influence will shape the next generation.

Mom would say, "Do the best job you can! and be content with your privileged life."

What part of staying at home do you love the most?

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