time to connect

Sometimes I get to the end of the day and realise I have hardly had a chance to connect with the people who live in my house! They may have been out at sport practice, music rehearsals or completing homework tasks. Yet, I know that is what parenting is all about -relating, being there, connecting.

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Why is it we are so busy rushing around and busily being, but not purposefully connecting?

I was amazed and encouraged by this very short clip to think about connecting. It is thought provoking – I hope you enjoy it.
Click here to view it.

R x

A thought about time

Time is something that is becoming quite a topic in our world today.  There are so many things one can do with time and yet there seems to be so little time!

In the past few days I have been forced to stop and not do so many things with my time due to illness and it has actually been a gift! To be able to read and rest without all the “I should be’s….” going around in my head.

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I have found in our product driven society that it is easy to think of ‘good use of time’ and ‘waste of time’ instead of just ‘time’. Last night at the tea table one of the boys was telling us how he ‘wasted time’ in his science lesson chatting to a friend.  This was totally out of character for our boy and yet as he spent homework time catching up I found myself reminding him of his ‘waste of time’.  But, what if it was actually a good thing for him to be social and spend that time connecting?  Who am I to categorise it as ‘waste of time’? Sometimes I know I can be so focused that I miss those opportunities to relax and be mindful of the moment.

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I think that is one of the things I have enjoyed during this time of rest, time to read and be. There was not the pressure to get things done, that unreasonable list of things, my under estimation of how long it will actually take me to do things.  During my reading I came across something that stayed with me, and maybe it will speak to you too?

” Unreasonable expectations for what we can accomplish in a given period of time sets us up for failure.”(The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner)

May we look at time as a gift and use it accordingly, not feel pressured to continually accomplish and to not feel the guilt and failure when those time demands aren’t met.

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Are we still talking to our children?

Last week I was sitting in the cosy lounge in front of the fire chatting with my teenagers. We weren’t talking about anything rocket science and I thought I could easily keep chatting and check my emails – I hadn’t had a chance all day. I try not to be on my laptop while the kids are around and it is family time, as when the lid is flipped up I feel like it is a barrier.  I find that if someone has a lap top open, there is really no knowing what is happening on the screen if you are not seeing it and that can be isolating.

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Anyway, I pulled my phone out, checked my emails and continued chatting with the kids. But, a really interesting thing happened –  the conversation died and the kids left the room!
I did feel bad as I realised that pulling out my screen had changed the whole ‘vibe’. How would I have felt if one of my kids had pulled out their phone right there and then?

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A couple of days later an email was sent my way that contained the following information:

” I thought you might be interested in 2 facts which relate to younger Australian children and technology, today.

1. There are a significantly greater number of children needing speech therapy today due to young children spending so much time on devices; and
2. Even more concerning is that research now shows that the average number of words spoken in the family home today is about 500 – 750. It used to be 3,000 – 4,000! Again, technology is the biggest cause of this drop.”
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This was linked to an article that is really worth clicking on to read in full, amongst many great things, it said:
“When parents are endlessly busy on computers, phones, tablets and watching TV, that is time they are not spending interacting with their child.”
USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Father and son (8-9) sitting at table

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Father and son (8-9) sitting at table

The article was not slamming technology, as used in a thoughtful way it is amazing, but it was really challenging parents to think about the way they use it with their kids and around their kids.
I have been thinking about technology etiquette for awhile. I know sometimes I find it hard not to quickly check it or use a spare moment to catch up on screen reading, as time is precious. But, at what cost is this connection coming and what example am I setting?
There is always that challenge to practice what I preach – but first it is important for me to think through what does it look like?
Actual face to face time, un-distracted is a gift and blessing for both our children and ourselves! Like many good things in life, it has to be worked on, given time and thought through.
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Thought for the weekend – Happy Father’s day

It’s a tough job being a parent. I imagine it would be a tough job being a father. But I also know it is  an amazing gift to be a parent and father (that’s what my husband says.)

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This weekend as Father’s day is observed,
May you find time to play with your child, play something physical.
May you find time to listen and talk, reminisce, tell the kids some of your history.

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Photo Credit: flickr.com

Find out what things your child actually likes doing with you and give it a go.
Pull out a book and read aloud. Read a picture book you have loved. Read a book that can spark a conversation.
May you find time to sit side by side with a child in silence, with no technology buzzing.

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Photo Credit: wisegeek.com

Take the time to tell your kid what you like about them.
Take time to stroll somewhere together with no expectations on each other.
Show your child respect and consciously connect.

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May you be aware that they won’t always get things right, and neither will you
But, love covers a multitude of wrongs.

Happy Fathers Day to all you wonderful Dads  – especially to my own Dad! He has always loved me, thrown balls with me, sat and read the paper while I practiced piano, played cards with me, supported me …the list could go on!
Never underestimate how important you are in your  kids life.
And, don’t forget to tell them that you love them!

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Photo credit: picshunger.com

 

time and compassion – thought for the weekend

Following on from the last blog ‘The idea of whole heartedness’,  I have included a quote from Brene Brown:

Gifts like courage, compassion and connection only work when they are exercised everyday.”

It takes time and presence of mind to exercise these gifts.
Take a quick moment or two – 2 minutes 31 seconds to be precise, to view this snippet. It reports on a very interesting connection on time and compassion.

This weekend, may you be in the moment to look around and exercise some purposeful courage, compassion or connection. Maybe make that difficult phone call, listen carefully to the troubles of a friend or show compassion to that child who has really pushed your buttons too many times.

(Can I indulge for a quick moment here – awhile ago I wrote a blog It worked! about my child who had not been settling at bed time and finally did. A lovely friend mentioned that she had read this and given a grr…her child was not making changes like that! We had a great giggle today when I said that that same child is mucking around at bed time, really pushing my buttons – again!!!! That’s the thing with kids, it is constantly reviewing and trying. It is so nice to know we are all in this together!)
Blessings R x

Thought for the weekend – the gift of time!

I really wanted to write about a different topic, but time has run out! My Man turns 40 this weekend and as a family we have decided to give him a ‘Mystery Weekend’ (unfortunately he does know where he is going – it wasn’t one of the kids who let the cat out the bag, it was me!)

It has been interesting planning and trying to find the time to make this weekend happen. At times I found it stressful and almost resented it, but then I came across this great paragraph in Christopher Peterson’s book ‘A Primer in Positive Psychology’.

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Photo Credit: teramchugh.com

Some of it I had heard before, but the challenge of giving time, not just in regards to my children, but for my older loved ones is a great reminder for me. I don’t feel stressed or resentful anymore, I actually feel quite privileged!

During this weekend, may you give the gift of time in a special, mindful way to someone around you!

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Photo Credit: pvproperties.ca

 

“…We all have a gift to give that is infinitely precious because it is thoroughly nonrenewable. That gift is our time.”

“I suggest that quality time is at best an oxymoron and that a brief encounter with one’s child, no matter how genuine, cannot substitute for being there most, if not all, of the time. ”

“Give the gift of time – take your watch off…” (Page 37)

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Photo Credit: hemma.ca

 

 

Thought for the weekend: the kitchen table conversation

(Before I start the ‘weekend thought’ I would like to emphasise something – my Mum who has been a wonderful encourager and follower mentioned that my last blog was the first one she has not liked! It was the whole idea of doing something kind with an ulterior motive. I too have struggled with that whole concept as really can kindness be kindness if it has an ulterior motive? Mmmm interesting!)

“Do you mean to say that the cord from my belly button was not joined to your belly button when I was in your tummy?” was the clarifying question asked by one of my boys around the kitchen table. Followed by another child asking “So how did I come to be in your tummy?”

And yes, this did then turn into a full blown birds and bees conversation topped off by the 12 year old informing the 10 year old that “yes, sadly I have to tell you that is really what happens!” But, what a wonderful environment to hear the facts of life, amongst siblings, with laughter and by parents where it can all be put in context.

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Photo Credit: amazingezone.com

The kitchen table is such an amazing place to share, to listen, ask questions, get meaning and form opinions. We are finding that as our children grow older we have to fight for the time amongst all the other activities. Today I was reminded of the importance of it and why it is worth fighting for.

“…..you’ve got to work at every level, but it starts at the kitchen table.  What are parents telling their kids? What are people teaching their friends and family? So many of our attitudes are shaped at the kitchen table …”
(Dumbo Feather Issue 38 page 46.  This quote was in the context of a very interesting conversation with Kon Karapanagiotidis the founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)

IMG_0669As this weekend approaches, may you find time to relax with friends and family around the kitchen table.
May your conversations be meaningful, fun and thought provoking.
May you be challenged, comforted and loved around the kitchen table.

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