Tag Archive for belonging

Chores: The Gift of Significance

We underestimate children. By and large we expect too little of our children. We schedule every minute of their day to give them opportunities…and because we think they can’t learn as much on their own. We succumb to video games and TV shows because we think our children incapable of inventing their own activities. We fear they’ll get bored, under our feet, and on our nerves if we don’t turn on the X-Box. We jump in to tidy up their messes, fix their mistakes, and constantly remind them of their innate abilities because we fear their self-esteem will plummet from a momentary failure or less-than-perfect mark. In all actuality our children will learn more from mistakes than successes. They will create amazingly imaginative activities if we allow them to get bored. Yes, we underestimate our children. Unfortunately, discipline issues arise as a result. We underestimate their ability to complete household tasks. We expect they will not complete their homework. We assume they will get bored and nag. Our children simply live down to our expectations. Yes, we underestimate our children. But, there is a way out of this cycle. It takes some time and effort, but it yields huge benefits. “All you have to do” is let your children make a significant contribution to your household. Let me explain.

  1. Mother And Son Doing LaundryLet your children contribute to the household in ways that connect them to the family. Give them jobs that care for the family, not just themselves. For instance, let them help clean the family room, not just their own bedroom (although their bedroom is good to clean, too). Encourage them to help with everyone’s dishes and everyone’s laundry, not just their own. Then thank them for their contribution.
  2. Collaborate with your children in choosing the tasks they will complete. You don’t need to dictate every chore. Sit down, discuss, and divvy up the household tasks. Then you can talk about doing “our” work rather than “your” After all, everyone does their part. Let your language reflect that you and your child, not just your child, have chores that contribute to the household in a significant way.
  3. Make your children’s contribution part of the daily routine rather than something done on occasion. Give them the privilege of making a daily contribution to the family just like you do.
  4. Make the task one you can do together. For instance, gather the garbage from around the house together. Work in the yard together. Clean the family room together—one can vacuum while the other dusts. Fold clothes together. You get the idea. Work together on the household chores. And, talk while you work. Or, if you want to be like one of the seven dwarves from Snow White, whistle while you work.

Your children will gain many benefits when you allow them to work with you to make a significant contribution to your family. Check these benefits out.

  • Your children will gain an increased sense of purpose as they are part of something bigger than themselves. They become part of a family, not just an individual with a self-centered focus.
  • Your children will gain an increased sense of competence as they master various tasks. They will gain greater independence and confidence in their abilities.
  • Your children will gain an increased sense of intimacy. As you work with your children you can talk and laugh together. As you do, you will learn about their interests and values. You will learn about their dreams and fears. You will grow more intimate with them.
  • Your children will gain an increased sense of belonging. They will feel like an integral part of the family to which they contribute, the family that needs their contribution.
  • Your children will gain an increased sense of personal value and significance as they become an integral part of the family.

As an added bonus, you will have fewer discipline problems. Children and teens who have a healthy sense of purpose, belonging, and significance are better behaved. Children and teens with a sense of competence have nothing to prove. Children and teens with an intimate relationship with parents have less desire to rebel.

For more on children and chores, read Dear Children, The Real Reason I Make You Do Chores and Tips to End Chore Wars

What Piglet (& family) Needs to Know

I like Pooh…that sounds bad. Let me rephrase and start again.

I like Winnie the Pooh. He brings us a great deal of wisdom. For instance, consider the wisdom in this sketch and Piglet’s request to “be sure of you.” Very wise, especially when it comes to family. Sometimes we just need to know our loved ones are there.

poohPresent

Our spouses need to be sure of us. They need to know our ears are attuned to their whispered needs. They need assurance that we will respond to their subtle requests by turning toward them in love. They need to feel our touch reminding them of our presence and involvement in their lives, assuring them that we yearn to walk hand in hand with them through life.

 

Our children need to be sure of us. They want to be heard and acknowledged by us no matter how quiet and inept their voice might sound. They need to know we are available to them. They seek assurance that we delight in them and rejoice when they approach us. They long for us to take their hand and gently guide them through the dark woods.

 

Assure your spouse and children of your presence in their lives. Remind them of your desire to respond to even their subtle needs and desires. Constantly communicate your unending love and delight in them. All it takes is a smile, a hug, or a word of affection…but the joy and comfort it gives will last a lifetime.

Why I Love This Time of Year!

I love this time of year—the leaves are beautiful, the mornings are brisk, and the holidays are approaching. This time of year also brings another of my favorite past times…eating holiday food! Of course, the holidays are about much more than food. I love the holiday traditions—the family gatherings, the magic of giving, the joys of sharing. In today’s world of constant rush and activity, we have lost sight of many of these traditions and their benefits. Writing about this subject, William Doherty noted that “we reinvented family life in the twentieth century but never wrote a user’s manual.” Family has become disjointed and disconnected. But, this time of year can help us reconnect. In fact, in his family user’s manual, “Intentional Families,” Dr. Doherty explained how rituals and traditions hold our families together. Traditions make a family strong. The traditions we practice provide our family with an identity. They teach our children the family values. They pass on our religious and cultural heritage. The activities involved in our traditions tell the story of our family history. It is through celebrated traditions that we pass on the value of family support, establish an identity as a family that celebrates life, and create a culture of gratitude. We can add to this list…anything from the value of trusting God to the grace of giving to the joyous celebration of family competition in your favorite game. It all grows more secure and remains strong through the generations as we practice our family traditions.

 

Our traditions also provide our children with a sense of security and comfort. Traditions are predictable. They happen on a regular basis and occur in similar ways each time we celebrate. The predictability of traditions informs our children that no matter how the world changes…no matter if our family struggles…no matter the changing stages of life, we still celebrate our traditions together. We remain a family, connected through our intentional celebration of tradition. As these traditions are celebrated over time, generations come together. We celebrate our traditions with parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We celebrate across the generations. And, generational involvement is associated with fewer emotional and behavioral problems in children…once again, a benefit for traditions.

 

One of the benefits I associate with traditions involves the creation of lasting memories. If you are like me, some of your favorite memories probably revolve around traditions…whether it be the Monopoly game at Christmas time or the laughter erupting from a joke at Thanksgiving. I love to remember time with my family—laughing, playing, talking, cooking, reading out loud, eating, and so much more! Those joyous, lasting memories contribute to a lifetime of happiness.

 

Yes, I love this time of year as family traditions take center stage and we celebrate our lives together. I hope you take the time to celebrate together, establish strong traditions, and begin a lifetime of happy memories!

A Reminder of What It’s All About

I often have to remind myself about the priorities in my life, the goals I want to accomplish, and the reasons I do what I do. A “time of reminding” has come for me at Honor Grace Celebrate. One of the best ways for me to recall my goals and direction is through writing. So, I want to use this blog to remind myself about what it means to practice honor, grace, and celebration in the family; and, why I write blogs for Honor Grace Celebrate. Hopefully, as I write this reminder we will all be reminded to practice honor, grace, and celebration in our family…after all, I truly believe that when families practice honor, grace, and celebration they find greater family intimacy and joy.  I also believe God designed the family to be a place of honor, grace, and celebration. So what does honor, grace, and celebration have to do with family?

 

Healthy families honor one another. Honor builds a safe haven where family members can find value and esteem; a place where each person is highly valued, like diamonds above coal.  In a family of honor, each family member honors one another with words and actions that communicate value and respect. Family members seek to learn about the ones they value—learning about their interests, vulnerabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. And, each person keeps that knowledge in mind when interacting with one another. Healthy families seek out ways to honor one another by accepting differences, engaging in acts of kindness, and showing politeness at all times. Yes, healthy families honor one another.

 

Healthy families share grace with one another. They become a reliable sanctuary, a secure base, where each person knows grace and feels safe. A person living in a family of grace will receive unconditional acceptance and extravagant generosity…with no strings attached. Family members will share the gift of themselves by generously giving of their time and attention in order to connect intimately with one another. In a gracious family, family members willingly sacrifice their individual wants and desires to enhance the well-being of other family members and to build intimacy and joy in the family. Yes, healthy families share grace.

 

Healthy families celebrate! A family built on honor and grace opens the door to celebrate, laugh, and play. In a family where everyone experiences acceptance and love, each family member can “let their hair down and completely reveal themselves.” In a family of honor and grace, family members can know one another intimately and rejoice in that intimacy. Yes, healthy families celebrate with a gusto known only in communities filled with honor and grace!

 

At its best, family truly is a celebrating community of honor and grace. Our goal at Honor Grace Celebrate is to give families the tools to build that community of honor and grace…to gain the knowledge that can help make their families a celebrating community of honor and grace. For practical ideas on making your family a celebrating community of honor and grace, you might enjoy our book Family By God’s Design. And, if you know someone who might benefit from this type of information, please pass it on so they can follow us on FaceBook or Twitter. Thank you. And may your family become a celebrating community overflowing with honor and grace!

The Special Ingredient of Intimate Families

I was talking with a young man (middle school age) about what he liked and didn’t like about his family. Interestingly, he liked the family dinners they used to have and he disliked that they no longer had those family dinners. Even as a middle school boy, he missed family dinners. Family dinners provided him the time he desired to reconnect with his family…to slow down, talk, and connect with his whole family. I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised to hear a middle-school-aged child talking about missing family dinners because of the family connection he desired. Nonetheless, he made an excellent observation. Family dinners provide a great time to reconnect and bond with our families. They are a time to relax, tell stories, and talk about our daily lives, laugh, and even make some future plans. Research also indicates that having regular family meals help to reduce the rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression in adolescents. Families that enjoy regular family meals see their children attain higher grade-point averages than children whose families do not have regular family meals. Studies also suggest that “dinner conversation” boosts vocabulary more than reading does! The stories of personal victories, perseverance, fun moments, and family times help build a child’s resilience and confidence. As you can see, family meals offer a smorgasbord of benefits for families and their children. So, if you want your family to grow more intimate…if you want your children to grow up happy…if you want your children to grow up physically and emotionally healthy…if you want your children to have a higher grade-point average, set aside the time to enjoy regular family meals.  Here are a few tips to help you plan your family meal time: 

       ·         Include your whole family in the meal process. The family meal process includes making the menu, preparing the meal, setting the table, and cleaning up afterwards. Include the whole family in these activities. Make the menu together. One day a week, allow a different family member to pick their favorite food items for a meal. Encourage the whole family to help clear the table, load the dishwasher, wash the dishes…and make it fun with conversation and laughter. Come up with your own creative ways to include the whole family in the family meal process.


·        
Enjoy conversation during the meal. Save topics that you know lead to arguments for another time and focus on conversation that will build relationships. You can talk about the day’s activities, each person’s dreams, memories of fun family times, and things you’d like to do in the future. Really, the topics available for conversation are limited only by our imagination. If you have trouble thinking of topics, check out these conversation starters from The Dinner Project.


·        
Make dinner a surprise now and again. I just ate breakfast with a friend today…he ordered a double burger for breakfast and I ordered an omelet. We both enjoyed our meal and his burger was a great meal conversation starter. Your family might enjoy dinner for breakfast or breakfast for dinner. Plan one “ethnic meal night” per week and travel the globe with culinary surprises. Eat your meal backwards, starting with dessert.  Plan an “Iron Chef” night and let each family members cook one dish…the family can vote on best taste, presentation, and creativity after the meal. You get the idea. Do something different now and again. Make it a surprise…and have fun.


·        
Turn off TV’s, video games, phones, and any other technology that has the potential to interfere with the moment’s face-to-face interaction and family interaction. Learn to enjoy each other in the moment with no interruption.


·        
A great resource to get your family started with family meals is The Family Dinner Project. You can sign up for their “4 Weeks to Better Family Dinners” for free helps. They also provide ideas for recipes, conversation starters, meal activities, addressing various challenges, and meal preparation. This is a wonderful resource to bookmark and use on a regular basis. 

I love the family meal plan to better family bonding, enhanced educational attainment, and better emotional health. It combines two of my favorite ingredients in life–eating and family–in attaining several of the goals I desire for my family and children. With that kind of recipe, why not give a try?!

12 More National Holidays to Celebrate Family

I thought I might share a few more “National Holidays” your family might enjoy celebrating (click here and here for some other holidays to celebrate). This time I did not include any food holidays, although food compliments any celebration in my mind. These holidays are all relational and fun holidays. A couple of them even offer some great perks if you watch for them. So, find the appropriate month and let the family celebrations begin!

 

January 24–National Compliment Day. Make some major deposits in your Family Bank of Honor on this day with a few well-spoken compliments. You may even want to start a Pandemonium of Honor this month and practice throughout the year!


January 31–National Backward Day.
Do everything backwards. Have supper for breakfast and breakfast for supper. Eat your meal starting with dessert. Put on your clothes backwards and go out to eat. Walk into the restaurant backwards. You get the idea. Have fun.


February 17–National Random Acts of Kindness Day.
Another wonderful opportunity to honor your family with a random act of kindness. Be creative and have fun.


March 22–National Goof Off Day.
My kids think I celebrate this day every day.  That’s OK. The point is to have some fun. So, go ahead and goof off together.


April 27–National Tell a Story Day.
I love to tell stories. Tell stories about your dating days, early childhood days, your favorite family vacations. You can make up stories. My kids still remember the stories we made up when they were preschoolers. Read a story together. Whatever you choose, just tell some stories that bring your family together. 


June 22–National Listen to a Child Day.
Listen to your child…they will love your for it.


July 13–Embrace Your Geekness Day.
All you Big Bang enthusiasts rejoice. Today is your day!


August 4–International Forgiveness Day.
Forgiveness will change your life and your family life. If you have trouble figuring out how to forgive, read 5 Steps for Forgiving Family.


September 19–Talk Like a Pirate Day.
A day of family celebration. Every family member can talk like a pirate and you can watch Pirates of the Caribbean. Invite some friends over and make it a multi-family event! Go to Long John Silver’s and order with your best pirate accent. Dress up like a pirate and you might get free donuts at Krispy Kreme.


October 12–National Family Bowling Day.
You don’t have to be good, just have fun. See who can get the worst score. Bowl behind your back. Plan to knock down as few pins as possible. Put up the bumpers. Whatever it takes, have a fun family outing while you bowl.


November 11-Origami Day.
Enjoy time making origami today. Here’s some help if you want some. 


December 8–Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day.
Dress up like you live in Wild West, renaissance England, ancient Rome, Israel at the time of Christ, or your community in the midst of dinosaurs. Whatever time era you think your family might enjoy, travel to that time in dress, food, and amenities. Have fun!

 

Alright now, get out there…Have Fun and Celebrate Family!

Celebrate Your Family With Pie For A Year

I recently came across a website that listed various “food holidays” celebrated throughout the United States. I love to celebrate…and I love to eat. So, I decided to combine food, family, and holiday celebration for a year of family celebration. However, there were so many holidays (if you think I’m making this up, visit American Holidays  and scroll down to the American Food Holiday Section) I had to limit them  or my celebration would lead to a wideness of berth preventing me from comfortably walking through the door to my house.  Anyway, in the interest of celebrating family and remaining somewhat healthy, I have limited the celebration to desserts…and not just any dessert. No, I have limited the celebration to pies. Who doesn’t love pie? Join me in celebrating family for a year with these National Pie Days. Make the whole pie process a family event. Go to the grocery store, the market, or the fruit stand with your whole family to pick out the perfect ingredients. Make the pie together. You might even make an extra pie to use during a gratitude visit (see 3 Ways to Nurture an Amazing Family Panacea for details). Don’t forget to enjoy eating the pie together (with ice cream for the perfect treat). Here are a few National Pie Days I invite you to join in celebrating with your family and mine!

 

January 23–National Pie Day

February 20–National Cherry Pie Day

March 2–National Banana Cream Pie Day

April 28–National Blueberry Pie Day

May 13–National Apple Pie Day

June 9–National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day

July 12–National Pecan Pie Day

August 18–National Ice Cream Pie Day

August 24–National Peach Pie Day

September 28–National Strawberry Cream Pie Day

October 23–National Boston Cream Pie

November 27–National Bavarian Cream Pie Day

December 25–National Pumpkin Pie Day

 

Now you know I love to celebrate family. Maybe I will pick a year to celebrate family with State Food Symbols next. 

Celebrate Family with 15 National Holidays

I am amazed at the number of yearly holidays that I have never heard of. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff? For instance, you can celebrate “Name Your Car Day” in October or “Lumpy Rug Day” in May. It actually takes an act of Congress to create a National Day like the “National High Five Day” in April and the “National Play-doh Day” in September. Maybe you want to “create a day” of your own; if so, click here to learn how. In the meantime, why not take a few of these “special holidays” and use them to celebrate your family. To get you started, I have listed a few of my favorite days below. Check them out–most of them need no explanation. You can design your own family celebration for the ones that interest you.  Be creative and have fun celebrating family! And, share your fun celebration ideas with us at HonorGraceCelebrate in the comment section below or at our CelebrateFamilyTraditions Page on FaceBook. We’d love to hear from you!

 

January 12—National Hugging Day. Share a hug with your family. Better yet, give them an oxytocin hug


February 7th—National Send a Card To a Friend Day.
I know, we could text, email, Skype, facetime…but, who doesn’t love to get a tangible card in snail mail.  Send a card to your spouse and kids today and watch their faces glow as they open them up!


March 14—Pi Day.
I don’t know…it’s just a fun day. Enjoy some math together (really?) or go get a pie and eat it. You can figure out the area of the pie while you eat it (Area= [pi] r2).


March 30—Take a Walk in the Park Day.
This is a wonderful day and activity for those with Quality Time as their love language


April 2—National Reconciliation Day.
Bring the family together today. Forgive, be forgiven, and reconcile your relationship. Generations will thank you.


May 14—National Dance Like a Chicken Day.
Everyone knows the Chicken Dance…and who doesn’t have fun dancing the Chicken Dance. So, put on the music or the YouTube and dance the Chicken Dance with your family. Why wait for a wedding? Do it today!


June 6—National Drive in Movie Day.
Go to a drive in movie. Get some popcorn, a drink and enjoy the movie.


July 3—Compliment Your Mirror Day.
Why not? “Mirrors are people, too.” Or, sneak in and put a post-it word of encouragement or compliment on your spouse’s mirror or kid’s mirror. They’ll read it when they look in the mirror…complimenting the mirror.


August 8—Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.
This is a great family activity. Pick out some neighbors. Bag up a couple zucchini. Sneak onto their porch, put the bag just outside the door, ring the bell and run. Watch from a distance to see their reaction. Your kids will love the fun.


September
–first Sunday after Labor Day—National Grandparents Day. Grandparents can play a huge role in your children’s lives. Celebrate their involvement today. For all you grandparents, check out this resource: Extreme Grandparenting.


October –
first full weekend—National Story Tellers Weekend. Make up a few stories of your own this weekend.


November—National Family Week
starts the Sunday before Thanksgiving. A whole week to celebrate family. Take advantage of the opportunity to creatively celebrate your family.


November—
3rd Saturday—National Day of Play. The family that plays together stays together. Need we say more?


November 27—National Day of Listening.
What’d you say?  Just joking. You get the idea.


December 25—Christmas
of course. Is there any better and more meaningful family holiday? Remember God’s generosity, share your generosity, and celebrate. 

What’s On Your Summer Bucket List?

Wow! Summer always goes so fast. We have so many things we want to do as a family…so much to do and so little time. So, we made a family bucket list. Our bucket list includes:
   ·     Attend a summer outdoor concert.

·     Go to Ohiopyle for a picnic…or at least have a picnic. While near Ohiopyle, we want to check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

·     Go to the Zoo.

·     Attend a baseball game…Go Pirates!

·     Go to the wave pool.

·     Enjoy a day at a local amusement park like Kennywood

·     Eat an ice cream cone…or sundae at one of our favorite ice cream places.
Have a water balloon fight (is fight politically correct? Maybe it should read have a water balloon scrimmage).

Other ideas for a summer bucket list can include:

·     Going for a bike ride on the Rails to Trails.

·     Go to the Phipps Conservatory

·     Take a trip to the beach.

·     Enjoy sprinklers in your back yard or make your own slip-n-slide.

·     Catch a jar full of lightning bugs.

·     Go camping in your back yard.

·     Roast marshmallows on a campfire. Even better, add some chocolate and graham crackers to those marshmallows to make s’mores.

·     Plant a garden and enjoy the harvest!

 What activities do you have on your summer bucket list?

The Investment Banker’s Wisdom for Families

This is one of those stories I wish I had thought of…but, I did not. “Anonymous” did. “Anonymous” has written some of the best stuff. Anyway, I want to share it with you because it reveals such great wisdom for the family. Invest in true riches today!
 
An investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The investment banker complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
 
The fisherman replied, “Only a little while.”
 
The investment banker then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.
 
The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
 
The investment banker than asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
 
The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Senor.”
 
The investment banker scoffed, “I have a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor and eventually opening your won cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You can leave this small coastal village and move to Mexico City, then LA, and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
 
“But Senor,” the fisherman asked, “How long will this all take?”
 
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”
 
“But what then, Senor?”
 
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
 
“Millions, Senor? Then what?”
 
The American said, “Then you would retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings to sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
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