WHY THIS TOPIC? The topic is about something every parent and caregiver needs to do to stay emotionally healthy.
Every Friday I make dates with my family, friends, silence, and myself. Every Friday, I look for thoughts from those doing the same. I share those thoughts hoping you will be helped to take a break.
This week I found Michael Sacasaslog, a PhD student, scholarly writer who posted on the subject of Attentional Asuterity, and became yet another blogger I want to follow. His blog post was about the difficulty of deciding how to handle the over flow of information coming to us from our electronic devices. Here are the quotes from his article that I found most relevant:I’ve been impressed again by the preciousness of attention. Because I have less time to devote to the Sisyphian task of keeping up with the daily digital deluge, I’m becoming increasingly draconian in deciding what deserves my attention. I told some students recently that the most important skill they may ever learn is that of wisely deploying their attention. …. we need to impose a regime of attentional austerity to counter continuous partial attention, the default mode arising out of our media environment. …I’m betting the advantage will go to the person who is able to cancel out the noise and focus with ferocity.
I do have what some call Attention Deficit Disorder and others a monkey mind. I like to think of myself as wanting to learn all I can. Part of my mind is always searching for what I don’t know. When my mind’s search engine finds something new or interesting it focuses me on that. At least, until something newer and more interesting comes along.
I am also comforted by this quote of Albert Einstein’s. “I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.”
My monkey mind has served me well, but learning to have quiet time and silent time also has served me well.
Tip one: Parenting requires a great deal of spontaneity and ability to tolerate interruptions and changes of plan. All of that, can make you doubt the wisdom of making plans or dates. Still wise to do so.
When friends and I used to say, “We need to see each other,” we meant well, but unless we set a time and date the days became weeks and the weeks months. If we set a date and had to cancel, we could make another date then and there. Moreover, almost 90% of the time, we were able to keep the date.
Tip two: Share the responsibility for keeping your dates. If you have family business meetings use a few minutes to coordinate everyone’s family, friends, quiet, and me times. If you don’t have family meetings, watch for my soon to me published – E-book on the subject.) Meantime, create and post a weekend calendar with your Take a Break Times. Encourage your family to add theirs.
Tip three: Be kind to your child’s other parent. A common source of friction lies in arranging family time with children. I picked the picture of a multi-tasking father on pupose. When such a Dad comes home to a stay at home Mom or worse arrives home along with a Mom working at an outside job, needs conflict. Both want me time, but one has to get dinner, the other should tend the children, then there is homework if school is in session, baths and bedtime.
No wonder some parents who live apart find one of the bonuses is not competing with another parent. Doing it all your self is sometimes easier than trying to find a fair way to divide the chores involved in raising a child.
Tip four: Stand up for your rights. Being kind solves lots of problems, but it must be reciprocated, so assertiveness also solves problems.
Tip five: Get your children on board. Start now if you have not done so yet. Announce your plans, encourage them to make theirs.
If your children are nap takers, those times can morph into quiet time: when school starts quiet times can morph into study time which is separate from parent assisted homework time.
Tip six: In this busy world many family dinners have become separate affairs. They can be morphed into times that help a family find fun time, me time, family time. When we were foster parents everyone had to come to dinner five out nights out of the week.
Thursday night was a Family Fun Night. Everyone had to tell a funny story , share a joke, bring a cartoon before dessert was served. A variation of that could be brief game or two. “I spy” or “Twenty Questions” come to mind.
Friday night was the beginning of our Shabbat, we has the best and most formal meal of the week. After our dinner, the kids had an extended curfew and also had been given their allowance, so the house would empty out. For some families the formal dinner might be Sunday after church. The point is to try to have a formal candle lit type dinner at least once a week. It is a time to think about what matters, for some that will mean discussing religous topics, for others philosophy. Either one strengthens families.
We had two other special dinner nights. One was “Get Your Own.” A menu of available eats is posted. Everyone is to clean up after themselves and one person does a final clean up. Then we had “Fast Food Night” which meant dinner out at a fast food joint.
Tip seven: Unplug everything, including the tv for at least half a day.
Tip eight: Try a no spending money day.
Tip nine: Make some family time a walk into the woods or your nearest park. Find a place of beauty to sit and practice silence. Have a quiet contest. See who in the family can go the longest without talking.
THINKING ABOUT WHAT MATTERS QUOTEI’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
AS ALWAYS, PRACTICE KINDNESS
Be kind to me, like this post or share it. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well. You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises. Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.If regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed. That is the time to think about therapy.
Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent is also wonderful.
First: All advice should be thought of as suggestion, particularly parent advice. Take it all with a grain of salt, mine included.
Second: Sometimes my posts are a bit peppered with mis-spellings, oddly used words, weird puncutation. These stem from a lesser known learning disablity called dysgraphia, but also from rushing. My apologies. Don’t read or check back in a day or so, as I usually catch most of the errors when I re-read. Also practice forgiveness is a useful Emotional Fitness Exercise.