Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ten Things to Make Time For


1)  Make time for teaching your children to be discerning cultural consumers - I stole this line and some of these thoughts from a Circe Podcast I listened to a while back, but it's something that I've been pondering all my Christian life. Christians tend to be black and white but life is full of grey areas. This is shown in how we react/relate to culture. At the far right there is the tendency to be legalistic - don't drink, don't dance, don't watch movies with a rating greater than PG, or whatever. On the far left, it's anything goes; all things are lawful for me; it's all about grace. Teaching our children to embrace the beautiful and appreciate all that's good in our culture without accepting it hook, line and sinker, helps them to avoid a legalistic based approach to life. This podcast discusses some ways to engage with your teens and help them with the grey areas i.e. cultivating cultural discernment.

2)  Make time to read good quality literature - there are many resources available whose purpose is to teach character but one of the best is often overlooked - reading quality literature and discussing it with your children. "Should she have done that?" "Does this story remind you of another?" I used to consider that reading fiction was inferior to reading something factual, but books can grow your soul. The characters of fiction allow us to be witness to another's actions and see the unfolding of the chain of consequences resulting from their decisions. This can be a powerful way of teaching our children and developing their characters. Some ideas of books to use are here and here.

3)  Make time to keep your own mind active - your children need your intellectual involvement. That doesn't mean you have to know about very subject they are studying. My older children studied chemistry, physics and calculus - things I know very little about, but I kept my mind stimulated and growing in other areas. Teens especially, need to know that their teachers think, have ideas of their own and are interested in learning.

There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her children's childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth. 

4)  Make time to feed your spirit - this is one of those obvious things we already know, but our relationship with God is often one of the first things to be neglected when life gets busy. We make time for many things and sometimes the important gets overlooked by the pressing and seemingly urgent. It's a constant adjustment I have to make and remake as the circumstances and the seasons of life change.


5)  Make time to grow your soul - looking at beautiful art, listening to great composers, reading poetry - these are so easy to slot into the day. They are often referred to as extras, enrichment or the humanities; but they aren't "extras" as that implies that we don't need them. They do enrich our lives and make us more human. I wrote some thoughts on this here.


'The Wemyss Madonna' by Sandro Botticelli, c. 1485


6)  Make time for your older children - in a large family with a range of ages, babies, toddlers, teens, it's easy to concentrate on the little ones and leave our older children to get by with not much attention. I found that as my children got into their mid to late teens that they needed time to talk and it was usually at the most inconvenient times, like when I was just about to go to bed. I have some fond memories of those conversations.

7)  Make time to nurture your younger children - sometimes it's the younger ones that get the crumbs. It is a constant balancing act to spread yourself around. This is where prayer is so important. Many times I've felt nudged to focus on one of my children especially and I knew that the Lord had helped me to discern the need.

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58

8)  Make time to look after yourself physically - this is often on the very bottom of the pile of things to make time for, but it gets harder the longer you leave it. I've had to change my approach to this many times and it was certainly harder when all my children were little and my husband worked long hours. This ties in with the two things to make time for below.

9)  Make time for your relationship with your husband - marriage is spiritual warfare. We're coming up for our 29th wedding anniversary so I can testify to that fact! I've always enjoyed walking for exercise but my husband doesn't feel that does much for his fitness. He used to go to the gym before we were married and for a few years now he's been suggesting that we join up together. I wasn't at all interested and preferred just to keep walking, but at the end of last year we gave each other a Christmas present of a gym membership. We only go once or twice a week but it's been a good thing to do together.

10)  Make time for wonder - we do nature study once a week generally as part of our schedule but just getting outside into the natural world gives us a different perspective. It also speaks to us about God. When I was in my late teens and not a Christian, I was travelling through the Snowy Mountains area in summer, and one day I was suddenly overwhelmed by the natural beauty around me and knew that somehow God was speaking to me through it. A couple of months later I became a Christian.




For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes - his eternal power and divine nature - have been understood and observed by what he made...
Romans 1


 

http://www.startsateight.com/2016/08/finishing-strong-homeschooling-the-middle-high-school-years-94/

http://livelifewithyourkids.com/2016/08/aussie-mums-list-10/#respond



11 comments:

  1. "It is a constant balancing act to spread yourself around"-so true. I need the reminder to pray about this.
    A helpful list-thank you.

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  2. Very thought provoking list. Thanks for sharing it on the blog hop. I particularly liked the quote from Parents Review: "There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her children's childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth." I don't think I've done that - but I appreciate the sentiment.

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  3. Thanks for putting the idea of cultural discernment into words. It's a good way of looking at it.

    And thanks, also, for all the great reminders in the rest of the list.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. Hope you are well :)

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  4. Thank you for this! We just had our 5th baby (now 6 weeks old) and my oldest is 11. I've been feeling very torn on how to give my littles all they need, while at the same time learn how to encourage, parent, and raise the bar for a new adolescent. I feel like I've been doing a better job with the littles. Partly because I feel more confident on how to parent littles having done it 5 times now. =) My 11 year old son is a joy and pretty easy going, but he is definitely an adolescent now. I'm spending much time in prayer on how to listen to him (that one can be hard) and how to teach him to overcome certain emotions (that seem to have sprung up over night) when he has to do hard things. Thankfully love covers over much, and we spend LOTS of time as a family reading aloud together. I'm praying God uses those two things to redeem any "mess ups" as I learn. This list is so very wonderful and really made me feel less like I'm breaking new ground in these areas and more like others have been there before. Your blog, once again, is such an encouragement. Sorry I do not comment more often.

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    1. Congratulations! Lovely to hear from you. Going from 4 to 5 children was hard going for me even though my fifth was the easiest & most contented of all my babies. I think it was a combination of factors. My eldest at the time was a similar age to yours and I felt quite overwhelmed at times. A verse I hung onto was Isaiah 40:11 'He gently leads those that have young.'
      We can only do what we can do, but parenting is an act of faith. Don't worry about the mess ups. Do the next right thing and leave the rest to Him. Hugs to that little one from me. X

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  5. I just can't balance life, still. Loved your list though. :o)

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  6. Another great post here, Carol. I appreciate your reminders and your perspective. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks, Silvia. I always appreciate your comments :)

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  7. Thank you! I really appreciated your list. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about reading quality literature, (from a Christian Mama's perspective, and not just from a CM proponent's perspective...Though I'm both, the first is most important. :) I used to think that "whatsoever things are true..." would of course rank fiction after non-fiction, but I've realized that fiction that warms your heart to truth, can actually be more "true" than non-fiction that doesn't. :) I felt your other points were excellent reminders, as well. I feel like my 4 yr. old "got the crumbs" today. :( Thankfully, mercy is new every morning. Thanks again for all the good food for thought. :)

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    1. 'Fiction that warms your heart to truth' - I like that!

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