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I Take My Role as “Mom” Seriously!

July 21, 2011

Our children absorb everything they see and hear. Remember the song, “Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes What You See”? I know this firsthand as Logan has an incredible memory. Matter of fact, just the other day he was talking about a Spelling Bee. He remembered who in our extended family was there, etc. That’s pretty impressive for a 2 year old! The Spelling Bee Zachary was a part of was only a couple hours long on one day! He remembered! Or take for example when we are watching a movie. As a family, we watched “Secretariat” recently. Logan saddled the pile of laundry sitting in the middle of our living room and acted like he was riding “Big Red.” Each time a racing scene came on, he would do the same thing! He really gets into what is going on around him.

Because children are so impressionable and because God has called us to the privilege and responsibility of raising our children for His glory, we need to discern what is best for our children and for our families. We are the guardians/gatekeepers for what is allowed into our homes and into the minds of our children. We need to be certain that what we do allow benefits them in their journey to adulthood.

Something I’ve struggled with as a mom is the constant pressure to “entertain” my boys! They don’t need to be entertained. Boredom is good for their souls! It is the soil in which creativity can blossom. In our efforts to stave off boredom, we’ve succumbed to the ubiquitous mantra of “MORE!” We are doing quite a disservice to our kids when we feel the need to entertain them and to constantly give them more. We need to get back to the basics of what our role as parents really is! Let them hit the proverbial wall! Let them feel bored! It will pay off later.

Probably every generation has said the following at some point or another. “The times we are in are not like it was when I was a kid.” Children are growing up too fast. They are exposed to too much. I’ve been on a journey to SIMPLIFY–including my parenting and what I allow into my boys’ minds. Too much noise. (Most members of my family LOVE their music, but I really enjoy my quiet! Sometimes I’ll even ask for the radio to be turned off while we are in the truck. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all kinds of music. But every now and then I need stillness and quiet! The radio is most often, if not always tuned to a Christian radio station, but I still need quiet!)

According to Kim John Payne (Simplicity Parenting), taking the following advice to heart will help us on our journey toward simplifying the lives of our children and setting the temperature of our homes.

Limit Media

Even when we think our children are not listening, they are! Haven’t we all had conversations or listened to something we thought the kids weren’t listening to, only to find out later that they actually were tuned in to EVERYTHING we were saying?! Why do you think advertisers target young children? They are capitalizing on that natural tendency to absorb the world around them.

“Hey kids! If you wanna be cool, then you need to the latest and greatest video game!”

“If you want lots of friends and have a really cool time, eat this!”

Recently a friend of mine told me how she discusses with her children certain movies/shows that they may want to watch. She says when her kids ask why they are not allowed to watch a certain movie/tv program, she tells them it’s not that it’s bad but that it’s not necessarily good either. I think the Apostle Paul said something like that in I Corinthians 10:23, “‘All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.”

I grew up watching a lot of television. I feel like I turned out fine, but is “fine,” what we want for our kids?

I feel like I’m preaching to the choir when it comes to the quality of television and movies, but not only should we be guardians of the quality, we should also be guardians of the quantity of screen time they have. Everything in moderation! That includes good, wholesome programming!

Believe me….I know how tempting it is to plop Logan down in front of the television so I can take care of that mountain of laundry instead of having him use it as a pretend horse! But in the end, I want him to use his own imagination from what occurs in our daily lives. It’s been said that this is the greatest gift we could give our children–the ability to create for themselves the imaginary world that holds endless possibilities! As a homeschooling Mom, two of my objectives in our homeschool journey is to:

1. Instill a love of learning in their hearts that will carry them through life in whatever profession they choose.

2. Teach them how to learn! Teach them how to think for themselves. Someday, hopefully, they will surpass my level of expertise in any given subject. What am I to do then? Hopefully, by then, my boys will have learned how to learn for themselves.

Open-ended Toys

Open-ended toys are toys that are not defined. They can become many things–limited only by the child’s imagination. For example, the myriad of Lego sets my boys have purchased have NOT been open-ended toys. They have been sets dictated by the toy company. There is the Star Wars set, the Indiana Jones set, etc. Those particular sets are put together once and only played with in the context of their marketing. However, because Matthew really enjoys Legos, he has mixed and matched different sets and came up with his own towns and happenings, etc. A toy that is limited in its ability to do different things will only hold their interest so long. But if you give them open-ended toys, they are not restricted in their imaginations. You have allowed space for their creativity and imagination to thrive. I’m not saying that all toys that are not open ended are bad, but they shouldn’t be the majority of the toys. Open ended toys allow kids to create something out of nothing, to problem solve. These are the skills you want your child to develop.

Create Daily Rhythm

I think this one is the most difficult for me, especially since we have a special needs child and I’m not naturally bent this way. But by creating daily rhythms, it breeds security in our kids. The boys feel comfortable and secure, knowing what is going to happen next. We’ve had some major stresses in our lives (job losses, premature births, deaths in the family, etc.). Those kinds of things cannot be helped–they were out of our control. But why not create a daily rhythm, the kind that you can control (meal times, bath times, laundry days, etc.). When I was growing up, my Mom had certain days for certain meals. Although we laughed at the time, Taco Tuesdays and Chili Thursdays were predictable and comforting. It doesn’t always have to be exact, but we should strive for consistency.

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I’ve not completely read the book by Kim John Payne, but the little that I have read, I’ve tried to put into practice! These are just three items that have helped me in my parenting journey. I’m sure many of you have others! Would you mind sharing with us?

Julie

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2011 9:13 am

    Just spent some time perusing your blog. 🙂 So good, so challenging, so much I could relate to. Thanks for sharing!

    • July 28, 2011 10:14 pm

      Thanks, Wendi! I find your blog to be the same for me! I enjoyed what little time we had to get to know one another a couple weeks ago at the Ford Family Reunion. I look forward to continue getting to know you and yours through your blog! Thank you for your encouraging words!

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