As parents, we want to optimize the time we have with our families. With the average family's work and school schedule, family time is at a premium. But when home life is full of bickering, name calling, disobedience and rudeness, we get frustrated. We WANT to enjoy our family...but sometimes, well sometimes we just want to run away. Does anyone else feel that way once in a while, too?
All families have their good days and their bad. But what if we could increase the number of good days we have by making simple tweaks to what we are already doing? Well, we can! Here are three secrets that successful parents use to increase their family's good days.
By Mary Jenkins
*Previously published here at PowerOfMoms.com
It was one of those mornings. The toast was burnt, the homework was lost, and I was desperately trying to comb my hair into submission so I would look decent enough to walk my daughter to the bus stop. As I threw on my “outside” sweats and an old college t-shirt, I looked in the mirror at my disheveled self.
My husband and daughter walked in, alerting me to the time. What then followed was something unforgettable, and to this day, I still ponder its meaning.
“Honey, the bus is going to be here soon. Are you ready?” my husband asked kindly.
“I know, I know, I’m just trying to find something that looks decent. My hair won’t cooperate, this shirt has holes in it, and these sweats! I’m such a mess!” I said.
Without missing a beat, my sweet girl piped up and said, “I’m a mess too!”
I'm a sucker for books. I'm a sucker for hardback books. And I'm a sucker for beautiful books. So when this book went on sale a million years ago, you can bet I snapped it up!
I immediately started reading it to my (then) 2 children. We. Loved. It. and it's powerful lessons stayed in our hearts.
And then, I forgot to read it to my other kids as they came along. I mean, the movies came out, and I loved seeing it on my bookshelf, but...we just never got back to it.
Fast forward 10 years. (Whoa. How did that happen?!)
I recently realized that I am not doing as good of a job reading to my little kids as I did to my older ones, so I resolved to change that. And I decided to start with The Chronicles of Narnia.
Raise The Good has really tapped in the hearts of parents and families, and I am so grateful! The things we talk about here really matter to me, and I am thrilled that they are resonating with other parents and teachers. The comments I get often go like this:
"Just found your wonderful website. It's an answer to prayer for me. Thank you!!"
"We watched the video clips on Monday night you recommended on your blog and they were so good. Thank you!!"
"Love love what you post and promote. When my girls get bigger I'd love for them to have this bookmarked as a regular read."
In just six months, we have been featured in publications that have reached close to 100,000 readers. Additionally, thought leaders such as Gretchen Rubin have also shared our articles, resulting in 20,000 additional readers. All of this, in addition to our wonderful, regular, growing community.
This growth is exciting, but it also presents a unique challenge. I can't do it all. But even if I could, I've always believed that the best way to be successful is to have a team.
I am just one person and I can't keep up with all of the writing, website improvements, social media, and other requirements that help this information reach other families and help them. I've been trying to do this by myself, only to realize that I have not been as present with my children as I would like (not cool!), and I have been neglecting other obligations. You've probably also noticed that my posting schedule has been cut way back and I haven't been sending out newsletters as often as I would like.
That is where you can come in, if you want to. I am looking for volunteers.
Specifically, I am looking for parents and teachers who are passionate about inspiring others, want to make a difference without a big time commitment (maybe during nap time?), would not find it too repulsive to work with me, and would like to work in one of the following areas:
You don't have to be good at all of these, or even any of them- just interested. PLEASE don't worry about your qualifications, how good you are at writing or anything else. The desire to help is enough, and I and other families would be so grateful.
This website is a labor of love for children and families and is not paying for itself yet, so...yeah. That's why I am a volunteer and you would be, too. But by helping with this endeavor, you would be touching many, many lives and I would really enjoy working with and getting to know you better. If you are interested, you can email me here.
Thank you SO MUCH for all of your support, kind comments, sharing and just plain old being nice to me! You guys are the best.
P.S. Just to clarify...this isn't a "poor, pitiful me, please come help" kind of call out. (I've had some sweet friends text me because they were worried. Love you!) It is a "do you want to get your foot in the door and be published" kind of a call out. Thank you, all you lovely people!
My husband and I are constantly looking at resources for raising children. Of particular concern to us is enjoying our (soon-to-be) teenagers as we help them develop into independent, happy, responsible adults. No celebrity-like teenagers for us, thank you very much!
In our searching, we have come across the intriguing idea of coming-of-age rituals. Historically known as a tradition associated with Native American and African tribes, these rituals often contain physical and spiritual elements. When a child successfully completes these trials, he or she is officially considered an adult, with attendant responsibilities and privileges.
These rituals have been all but lost in our western culture today, though they were once regarded as a crucial stepping stone in many civilizations. Richard Rohr, a noted author and theologian, has noted that only in our western culture has it been deemed unnecessary to initiate our children.
In our quest to raise children who become contributors to the world, and to help them avoid typical teen angst and destructive behaviors, my husband and I decided this was something we wanted to implement in our family.
One year I went to a homeschooling convention desperate to know how I could connect with my son better and wondering how to teach him and be the mom he needed me to be. We were really struggling. I was stressed out, exhausted and overwhelmed knowing I had three other boys behind him! When I saw that Hal and Melanie Young (parents of eight children, six of whom were boys) were teaching a series of classes all about boys, I thought I'd try one out for the first class of the day.
I ended up staying in their classroom all. day. long.
At the end of the series I felt hopeful, empowered, and was a big fan of boys. (I still am! ;) This fantastic couple has it DOWN when it comes to raising independent, confident, well-educated, God loving men. At the end of the day, I went to their booth in the curriculum hall and immediately bought their book, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys and fell in love with it. These are my kind of people, and they are the parents I wish I could be--but I am getting there with their help!
I always recommend Raising Real Men to parents whenever the topic of boys comes up. It is written from the perspective of a homeschooling Christian family, and though I don't know if this is your lifestyle or not, I do guarantee that is chock full of practical family life and parenting advice. This is where I was first introduced to Coming of Age celebrations (more on that later), and is how I started on my journey to understanding boys-though admittedly I am still trying to implement what I have learned.
But Hal and Melanie are more than just experts on boys who wrote one book. Their website www.raisingrealmen.com and facebook page are fantastic resources on all things boy. They have written several other books, provide toys and gear that your boys will adore, recorded Hero Tales audiobooks that are great for kids to listen to, and have other great helps like their bootcamps where you can get additional training.
I am so glad that I went to that first class at the convention. The Youngs have changed the way I understand my boys and how I related to them. I highly encourage you to take a look at what they have to offer you as well.
Community Question: What is your favorite thing about your boy(s)? What do you struggle with?
Have you wanted to help your child learn about and appreciate different parts of the world and the people in it, but weren't sure where to start? This book is every parent's answer to that dilemma!
When my friend Shari told me about Give Your Child The World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book At A Time, and how much she loved it, I was immediately intrigued. Now, having gone through it, I completely understand -it's fabulous!
Author Jamie C. Martin loves traveling. She met her British husband in Eastern Europe and they have enjoyed seeing the world together. But as children joined their family through birth and international adoption, naturally they needed to adapt their lifestyle a little. Though they still travel as often as they can, Jamie has come to realize that there are a variety of ways (outside of actually going to foreign countries) of exposing children to different people, cultures, food and history. And this book is your ticket to joining her!
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