Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quality not just Quantity

For those that know the details of my life, this subject may seem a little off. I'm at a point in my life where I'm spending more time with my children than I ever have or ever could. To make it more clear, let me put it this way. Since March 15, I have been with my children every day except my birthday and for a few hours yesterday. That's a large quantity of time by any one's standards! Don't get me wrong. I've truly enjoyed almost every minute of it but I've learned something over the past couple of weeks. Although I believe that time spent with children and family is extremely important, I would like to point out that the one thing that is much more important than that is the quality of that time. For the last two weeks of summer until school started today, I seem to have just been in existence with my children versus spending time interacting with them. The long hours and little appreciation of this job was obviously beginning to wear on me to the point that I had to give myself a pep talk to make it through those last few days. It has been a fun yet exhausting summer trying to care for and entertain 4 very different personalities and 3 different age groups. (For anyone wondering, I had my 3 and was babysitting 1 other child) Fortunately, I kept the children busy enough that I'm hoping they didn't notice my detachment over the last couple of weeks. Despite my feelings of despair, I became aware that I was not spending quality time with my children. Realizing this, I chose to do something about it. After all, that is why I chose to stay at home so I need to take advantage of this while I still can! First things first, I took a break for a few hours without any kids yesterday. That was a much needed and well deserved break I might add. Being a Psychology student, I know how important it is to get yourself straight mentally before you can give to others. Beginning today, I vowed to get back in the game and so far, its been a great day. It does seem to be a long day since we had to start our day so early and we had gotten used to those lazy days of summer, but I'm sure we'll get back into the routine soon. The girls were eager to begin our new schedule and I can tell the difference already. They have both been much more agreeable and easy to manage today. What an improvement over last week! I can't say that Austin was quite as eager to get back to the grind but I'm sure he'll adjust quickly as he always does. I'm looking forward to his 4th grade year and the new challenges that he'll face. I think it will be good for us all and I can't say how glad I am that I'm hear to support him this year. I think he appreciates it too. He's also planning to play baseball, both in the fall and spring since we couldn't ever talk him into playing football this year. Still he's excited about that and his guitar lessons are continuing (with his new guitar that his dad bought him). And finally, I have the opportunity to be at his games and listen to him play without being rushed. Curtis has not had the same advantage I've had this year (and I'm not sure he'd have taken it anyway! jk) This has made it even more apparent to me that the little time we see him should be quality time and that we have to make it count. Although most people do not get the opportunity to spend such a large quantity of time with their families, its so important to make sure the little time they do have is full of quality.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lower Income Means Less Intelligence -WHAT?!?

Is this statement true? Even if it "were" true, it would be a generalization or a stereotype. But does this stereotype have a basis and if so, why? I won't get into the reasons about why the subject came up in my mind but I think its worthy of discussion. Our human nature often triumphs over our spiritual guidance in conversations such as this. We tend to see the world through our own eyes than through the eyes of God. That's why stereotypes exist in the first place. We don't have the innate ability of our Creator to see each individual as just that, an individual and not part of any particular type of people. That's why there are blond jokes, racist jokes, feminine jokes and many others that we laugh at even though they can be hurtful. In case you were wondering, I am including myself each time I say "we" because I am as guilty as anyone else I know. Back to the subject at hand. Our great country has decided that lower income means less intelligence. by "our great country", I'm not only speaking of its leaders but the people of America as well. We have created programs like Head Start for children and other government and state funded programs to assist with educating children. However, to be a part of these programs, you must fall below a certain income bracket, based on the size of your family. Therefore, you could conclude from this that we are in fact saying that families with lower incomes have children that need more education. This gives the implication that poverty is the result of less intelligent people. While I believe there may be a correlation, I don't think this is the message that was intended with the implementation of these education programs. Instead of assuming that people who take advantage of such programs are less intelligent, perhaps we should take a different approach. These are the people who are smart enough to realize that their children need an education and they are smart enough to place them in such programs. Its not necessarily that the less wealthy are any less intelligent but instead that the wealthy have left them uneducated and without options. Now who should we judge? Perhaps we should learn by the example of God and judge no one according to his riches on this earth.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Living Through Them.....

I've often heard that you shouldn't try to "live" your life through other people. However, I've discovered that's virtually impossible once you have children. I'm always thinking of their futures and considering what they might do next as if it were myself. I don't see it as being selfish but I suppose I understand how a person might have that perception. As long as a parent is genuinely concerned about the welfare of their children and consider their best interests while doing so, I don't see the harm in it. After all, they're children and if their parents don't encourage them to do things they think are best, who will? They certainly can't make their own decisions at this young age. I do believe that it can get out of hand and more than once I've had to get myself in check and rethink what's best for my children and not me. It's easy to let things get out of control if you are trying to re-live your own childhood. There's just so many things that we want for our children that we want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. Unfortunately, not all of those opportunities are what's best for them and as long as we keep things in perspective, its a healthy encouragement. We just have to take caution to not let our drive for the success of our children overcome their happiness. We must also make sure they remember the principles and values we want instilled in them. It would be a shame and reflect failure of a parent if they forget that family and more importantly our Lord gives them true happiness and success where it matters.