May you walk in peace and may the light of love shine in and through you, now and forever.
A QUOTE FOR THINKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS: Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. Ovid
A STAYING STRONG TIP: For those new to this blog, I am a Jew. I converted after my marriage. Observing the Shabbat has been a major blessing becoming a Jew bestowed on me. Each Friday, I will be posting a Shabbat Shalom message and urging all parents to schedule a day of rest or at least some regular hours of rest. No matter what your beliefs about a higher power, a day devoted to a simpler life is strengthening. To me that means thinking about what matters, not spending money, not working on any commercial ventures, not using my beloved computer, turning off the cell phone, connecting with friends, nature, my G-d.
Create your own version, your life will improve.
STAYING STRONG TIP ADDED VALUE: Set aside one day a week for no (or minimal) travel, and no turning on the tv, radio, or computer and turning off your cell phone. It saves gas, reduces your carbon footprint, might solve the energy crisis, stop the heating up of our planet. Try it you might like it.
If your life does not include a day of rest, think about instituting at least some hours of rest from the busy electronic life. Do something with the family–a game night is a good way to start. Another possibility: a reading time where part of a novel gets read each night . When we were foster parents sitting down for dinner with no tv and no telephone was mandatory five nights a week. You didn’t have to eat, you didn’t have to talk, you had to be there, and be moderately polite. One night was joke night, another our Shabbot. Those were the only two with any structure. We also had a family night out. Usually a fast food meal and a movie, but it could be bowling, ice-skating, a more special treat. We also had a get your own dinner night. Finally, each parent had a designated weekly night out.
A final way we tried to get time for ourselves was a manditory quiet and in your room bed time. Leave your room, make noise, or call our names and, if you were not bleeding you were punished. Most of our foster kids had sleep problems so watching tv–yes, each room had a small tv (no cable in those days) –listening to the radio or reading was allowed, but quiet had to prevail.
Most experts on staying healthy say keep the television out of the bedroom. We do now, but did not when we were foster parents. It was our nightly laugh time. I credit Johnnie Carson’s monologues with keeping us sane. Now I take out my hearing aid. David listens to the radio and I read or do puzzles.
The earlier you start these ‘taking a break’ strategies the better. Teenagers are harder to woo into such times. A movie once a month may be the best you can manage. Still it will make a difference. When I ran the mental health crisis teams we had a Family Fun night every week. A snack type dinner, games, group talk. It was one of the things that got teens to spend time with their parents and siblings. It relieved the parents from the stress of cooking dinner. It was also one of the things most parents said was most helpful.
And yes, one of my ongoing cranks is how much harder it is on today’s parents to do these things. David and I were both at home and it was hard enough, but it was during those years our only job. So if you are working at more than being a parent, don’t guilt yourself if you can’t do as we did. Do try to find some unconnected family time and the same for you. Start small and spread. Also if you have found ideas that get your family unconnected and spending quiet or play time together then share. Also share if you’ve found a way to carve out some of the same for just you.
PERSONAL UPDATE: Back safely from road trip to see our East Coast son and grandson. Joy of the visit much reduced because grandson came down with a strep throat and high fever and did not join us. Joy that our son came. Some good times in the sun and sand. Punky the Pup, our newest family member, survived becoming a Roadie. We managed to find a few places where he could be set free to run, run, run, run. He loves such times and alway has to be tricked to get back in the car or get a leash on.
The wonderful thing about dogs is they love you even when they don’t like what you do and may growl with displeasure or fight a rule and just a few minutes later their tails are wagging. The younger the child, the more they are able to be angry one minute and loving the next. How sad all the joy and the love our young know gets eroded by life.
I have almost unpacked everything and am getting ready for a much needed Shabbot. The Colorado grands will be visiting tomorrow.
My book When Good Kids Do Bad Things will soon hit the electronic air waves. And that is why I have revived my Parents Friend Blog. If you are or you know parents who want to see how others handle raising kids into today’s world as well as to share what works or worked for you, please subscribe to The Parent’s Friend.
I have rushed to get this post up, so forgive any errors. Peace be yours.
IMAGE BY: adinadesigns.com