Thursday, February 16, 2012

Valentines


“Choose a companion carefully 
and prayerfully; and when you 
are married, be fiercely loyal one
 to another. Priceless advice comes
 from a small framed plaque 
I once saw in the home of an uncle and aunt. 
It read, “
Choose your love; love your choice.” 
—~ President Thomas S. Monson
I really liked this Valentines. Tim got a Brie Baker- this tiny pot that you melt Brie cheese in. You mix BBQ sauce and seasoning and spread it over the Brie, then bake it. You dip veggies or baguettes of crackers in it. It was DELICIOUS. I love to try new fancy foods.
While we had our Brie, we read a few articles about how to spend our time as a family. Here are the links. I pasted the first two articles below.


Addicted to frenzy
By Tiffany Gee Lewis , For the Deseret News
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 4 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

At the beginning of a recent week, I looked at my calendar with surprise. Besides the requisite errands, my week was surprisingly empty.

In a near-panic, I did what any self-respecting person of the modern era does: I called friends and volunteered to watch their kids. I called other friends and planned outings. I invented errands just to get out of the house. I decided to repaint my office, spray paint a bedside table and end the week by throwing a harvest party in the backyard.

Only after the week’s end, when I was dutifully exhausted and overwhelmed, did I look back and realize what I had done. I had once again fallen prey to society’s addiction frenzy, the frenzy that comes from finding merit in a crammed schedule.

Ask people how they’re doing these days, and a common reply is “Busy!” As if busy has now become an emotion right along with happy, sad or fearful.

We members of the LDS Church are some of the worst perpetrators of the busy lifestyle. We wear our chock-full calendars and to-do lists like merit badges. You’re not living up to your full potential unless you stumble into church looking as if you’ve run a to-do-list marathon.

I feel this pressure especially from mothers. All the phone talk and park talk is of the multiple demands for our time. These are the bragging rights of parents today, and it’s hard not to feel a little inferior if you don’t have every night of the week booked with soccer, karate, piano, dance lessons, math club and tutoring. If I let my kids play outside after school, spinning circles and drawing with sidewalk chalk, I feel the guilt creeping in, especially when I see other mothers in their SUVs driving back and forth to basketball practice.

We feel this way as parents even if we’ve just heard conference talks about slowing down and cutting out activities that pull us away from the home. We feel guilty, even when we hear more studies about how overscheduling our kids turns them into adults who don’t know how to navigate the real world. There is still a sense that we’re missing a key part of life if we don’t drop into bed at night exhausted from the day’s activities.

The ironic part, of course, is that no one benefits from this arrangement. The world is not getting happier. Everywhere I go, I see moms with tight, fatigued faces. Kids don't seem particularly pleased, either. The complaint I hear from my kids when I’ve scheduled one-too-many activities is, “Mom, I just want to play.” Oh, yes, that. Better put it on the calendar before I forget.

Of course, being busy in not the crime. After all, the early Saints chose the beehive as a symbol for their work ethic. The problem comes when we try to find purpose in simply filling our days. My dad has a phrase: “transfixed by the tangential,” that he likes to use in referring to this modern-day phenomenon.

When I worked as a newspaper editor, we talked a lot about “effective use of white space.” When you put together a newspaper page, you don't crowd a page with text and photos, because a reader’s eye needs some breathing room, some white space. Likewise, we need to make a concerted effort to find that white space in our lives.

So here’s a challenge: Take a family walk after dinner. Sit on the back porch and watch the leaves drift down from the trees. Turn on music and listen with your eyes closed. Read poetry out loud. Pick one activity on your calendar and find a way to remove it from your life.

It’s not easy to put the brakes on. It means saying no to a lot of good and worthy activities. It means being comfortable with some blank space on that calendar.

Last week, in the middle of another busy day, I took my toddler on a walk to the lake, where we stood at the water’s edge and threw rocks.

It felt supremely indulgent. After a token 10 minutes, I felt the to-do list attitude start to creep up on me. There were rooms to paint, people to serve … and then I took a deep breath. This was living, right here on the banks, skipping pebbles with my son. Listening to the plunk of each stone, watching the water ripple out in concentric circles — it was downright addicting.

Now that’s the kind of addiction I can live with.

Quality time IN GREAT QUANTITY
By Scott Gardner
(LDS Life, June 2007)

The American family has time issue. There are so many myths regarding time that we don't know which way is up anymore. We think our children and marriages need "quality time." We consider it a success strategy to skip our family vacations in favor of working more hours, and we enroll our children in more and more extracurricular activities thinking more is better. The result of each of these time myths is that our families suffer.
Quality Time?
I have to admit that one of my least favorite phrases is "You have to spend quality time with your kids." Several years ago the TV station Cartoon Network asked children to suggest possible prizes for a contest. Kids could suggest whatever prize they thought would be the best to win. "Ride in a limousine" was one of the top answers, but the next most popular answer was shocking, "the chance to spend a whole day with my mom or my dad." Ouch! That's a sad and painful commentary on our time-starved society. Time with Mom and Dad has become a coveted prize that is so rare that it must be won in a contest. The reality is that the "Quality Time" myth just isn't cutting it. Most research points to the fact that the more time we spend with our children the better off they will be. As one researcher put it, "Kids need quality time in great quantity!" As a marriage counselor, I also see some couples who have swallowed this deceptive hook. Marriage really doesn't work very well when there's little or no time together. The research suggests that the couples who spend plenty of time together doing all the little things have the best marriages.

Several years ago I worked with a young couple who couldn't figure out why their marriage was falling apart. They were doing everything right, except they had no time together. He worked days and she worked nights. They basically waved at each other in passing during the 20 minutes that their schedules overlapped each day. It didn't have to take a marriage counselor to figure out what their problem was "quality time" just isn't enough!

Certainly we want to teach our children a good work ethic, but at what point are we overscheduling our children and thus our families? We need to ask ourselves who's in charge of our family. Is it the school? Is it the sports team that our child is on? Is it our job, or are we in charge of our own families?
Strengthening our Families
We can strengthen our families by combating these myths. Here are a few simple ideas.
  • Increase the amount of time you spend with your children in small ways such as having them work with you on household tasks.
  • Sing your children a bed time song or tell them a short story each night
  • Work alongside your spouse and spend time just talking as you work.
  • Carve out some untouchable time and then protect it - Families should first ask what their priority is and then schedule some time that's protected rather than just allowing all these other activities to drive our family into workaholism.
  • Use those vacation days and make sure you take regular family vacations. When the boss asks for somebody to work overtime on the weekend, it doesn't have to be you. For those who are self-employed or who don't punch a clock, it's helpful to track your own hours; and see if you're cheating your family by working too much.
  • Give yourself permission to relax. It's okay to turn off the phone and let the answering machine get the calls. Turn off the e-mail so it doesn't beep at you as soon as a new message arrives.
  • It's okay for family activities to trump kids "sports activities" not the other way around.



1 comment:

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