Saturday, June 25, 2011

Something to Do, Something to Think About and Something to Love

A few years ago I read in The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola, that it's good for children to have something to do, something to think about and something to love. 

Something To Do

Some of the ways we give our children something to do is through wholesome activities, lots of good old fashioned chores and service opportunities.  We don't have a lot of opportunities that maybe other families are afforded right now because we are newly transplanted in the area and don't have much outdoor space to work with (i.e. tiny back yard).  We also have no family in the area and are just beginning to get to know others.  But we are working hard to fill the empty spots wherever we can.

This summer, we coordinated some park days with our homeschool group and today we had our first (successful) one.  Our boys have been looking forward to this all week long.  My husband did such a wonderful job leading the games.  He ran and played Capture the Flag with all the kids and it seems that everyone had fun.  Meanwhile, I got to walk several laps around the park with some of the mothers and get to know them a little better.

So this activity actually worked out as something to do and something to think about!  I think it's important to offer as many good things to look forward to as we can.  They're already reminding me that next weekend  is one dollar ice skating day at the local skating rink and next Saturday is another park day. 

For homeschoolers it's especially important to keep life fun and interesting - it keeps their hands & minds busy.  There's a lot of wisdom in the old saying "Idle hands make idle minds".  We don't want our children's hands or minds idle, we want them serving, helping, organizing, creating, building, learning, running, playing, growing and working with a few periods of rest time here and there.  :) 

Serve others. We recently met a Christian elderly couple that live 3 houses down from us and our boys. We are so thankful for this opportunity; we've prayed that God would bring an aged christian couple into our lives for years that we could learn from and serve and now he has.  Last week our sons weeded their front and back yards and Monday morning they will be organizing their garage (under their direction). 

This afternoon after lunch, we walked over for a visit and found the man trying to fix his doorknob.  My husband took over that job, for which the man was grateful, and then we visited with them for about an hour.

Something to Think About

The word of God gives us the perimeters for what our thoughts should be focused on in Phillipians 4:8. We mothers need to make sure we are exampling servanthood, godly manners, humility, accountability, reliability, compassion, etc.

It seems so many people have fallen for that whole "kids-should-be-reading-as-many-books-as-you-can-cram-down-their-throats" trend.  But teaching children the habit of excessive reading can be counterproductive.  (You can read more about what I think about kid's reading here.) 

My goal is to encourage our children to do things more productive with their time - especially starting at the 12 yr old age range. We want them learning skills, starting their own businesses, ministering, and really not having time to spend reading books (except for their school work and Bible times).  If they are reading books, we like to direct them to Christian biographies and adult-level spiritual books. 
Something to Love

We all have each other to love, but there's a different dynamic when you have a pet to love.  A pet is just a really cool part of a home that enriches a child's life in a myriad of ways.  This is our "something to love" little guy.  His name is Dublin:

He's a 2 year old medium-haired fluff ball of fun.  He is a big talker and will meow at you in conversational tones throughout the day.  We all love him and I can tell that he has helped our kids adapt to our new home much better than they would have without him.  It's really kind of miraculous that we even have him because the pet policy of this house we're renting was strictly NO PETS.  I prayed about it and asked my husband if I could write a letter to the owners of the house to appeal the policy.  My husband said to go for it.

So I wrote a letter thanking them for renting to newcomers like us and how much we're enjoyiing the house. Then I explained what kind of people we were (quiet, responsible, clean, etc) and told them that they'd be making a world of difference for our children if they allowed us to get a cat.  A few days later, we were SO excited when they agreed! We found an adorable white cat and we're so happy with him. 

His former owner was super and waived her rehoming fee so we could put that money toward his next vet check.  They gave us free extras (toys, carpeted cat perch), too. He's even declawed and perfectly mannered.  What a blessing!  Our boys have been learning consistency and responsibility with him, too.  We gave them full responsibility for feeding him and cleaning his litter.  By the way, we found that a product called "World's Greatest Cat Litter" lives up to it's name.  It's flushable and works amazingly well. Just love it!
Those are just a few of the things we've found to be a good guideline for us so our kids have enough to keep them happy and productive.

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