Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Strengthening the Family; Part 2 Quality Time

"The most important of the Lord's work you and I will ever do will
be within the walls of our own homes. Effective family leadership,
brethren, requires both quantity and quality time" Harold B Lee

Quantity Time-I must admit I wasn't too surprised when I read that the American family spends 40% less time together now than they did 20 years ago. When you start to turn that into actual hours over a child's lifetime the numbers are staggering.

Lets say families used to spend 20 hours a week together (just over 3hrs/day), based on this study they now spend only 12 so that's turns into

8 less hours/week

34.6 less hours/month

416 less hours/year

7,488 less hours/(18 years)


That is like missing almost a full year out of your child's life! Watching Buddy Bear grow this past year I have begun to realize how short our time with our children at home really is- What can we do to take advantage of every moment of it

Quality Time- As a stay at home mom I am lucky that I do get a lot of "Quantity" time with him- what really got me to thinking is the issue of "Quality" time- When I started looking at a typical day in our lives I began to see lots of what I call "missed moments" little snatches of time here and there where I was to busy involved in what I was doing that I missed an opportunity with Buddy Bear- to teach, to play, to laugh or even just to be right there.

A few days ago as I was feeding Buddy Bear I noticed that when I feed him he stares off into space and it is somewhat hard to get his attention- which for him, my social little guy, is pretty uncommon. After giving it a little thought I realized that almost every time I fed him since he was born I was either reading a book or watching TV- no wonder he was ignoring me! It made me sad to think of all those little "missed moments" that I could have talked to him, sang him primary songs, or even just gazed into those sweet little baby eyes- now that our "feeding" days are quickly drawing to and end I wish I had taken the opportunity to develop that as "Quality" time for us rather than plodding through it as just another task to do.

My goal now is to make the effort to be there on his level interacting with him- not just letting him play at my feet while I type away or work on other projects.... Which may mean a few less blog posts or saving my scrapbooking till he's asleep but in the end I know I will be giving the most to what matters most- my priceless little guy.

That is my challenge to you this week to find at least one little way that you can improve the quality of the time you spend with those you love

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Strengthening the Family- #1 Home Environment

"No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home"
David O. McKay
I have been doing a lot of thinking about my little family lately and what steps we can take to strengthen it. Shortly after Buddy Bear was born we purchased the book "25 mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright, but only last week did I pick it up and start reading it. It is an excellent book with so many good insights that are applicable not only to LDS parents but all parents looking to strengthen and protect their families.
Not to spoil the book (because I think it is a must read) I am going to give my take on each of the principles taught- The first principle
A persons home is a reflection of who they are and what matters to them-
Several years ago we had a neighbor in a serious accident- He had been the only one home and his family who had been out of time was headed straight to the hospital. We stopped by their home shortly after the accident to check on their pets and make sure everything was ok. One thing in particular stood out to me- a set of scriptures open on the dining room table, with a marking pencil beside them. They were out- being used- showing that they were important to him.
I thought of my own scriptures tucked away neatly in a drawer- all to often pulled out only when I remembered to grab them on my way to church.... What did that say about the value I placed upon them? Our Book of Mormon now sits on our kitchen table- it still doesn't get read every day but we are much more likely to remember to read when it is out and available
What is important to your family?
The things that are most important to me- the things I want to teach my child(ren) to value are
1) Our Family 2) The Gospel 3) Freedom/Our Nation 4) Outdoors 5)Literature/Reading
How does your home reflect what's important to you?
The choice of pictures and artwork in your home reflects much of our values and whats important to you- Just as a member of Peta wouldn't display a gun rack in their back window- we should display that which reflects our values.
Pictures in our home include of our family, Christ, the Sacred Grove, George Washington and other historical leaders, The Proclamation on the Family. We also have pictures of the outdoors, animals, and of course lots of little black bears as well as bookshelves full of good books. Like most things of course there is always room to improve.
Buddy Bear's room for example is decorated top to bottom in cute little black bears and pine trees- which is both cute and fits what we value- but does it communicate what we value the most? I am sure that adding a picture of the Savior and/or temple in his room would even further communicate the values that we want him to strive for.
Children seem to readily value that which their parents do- Almost without fail if you find parents who are very involved in sports- or music- their children are too. We learn what we live with. I think that if we start with our children when they are young not only teaching them our values but surrounding them with little reminders they will be much more likely to value those same things in their lives.

* My Blog Post Series "Strengthening the Family" is based on my personal thoughts from reading the book "25 Mistakes Parents Make and How to Avoid Them" by Randal A. Wright