Friday, September 13, 2013

Family First Friday #4

Yesterday, I had a massive headache.  I could not think.  I sat down to do some brain work and I just came up blank.  But I realized that I could still do things that didn't take any brain power.  Yesterday was a great day for getting housework done.
Unfortunately, I didn't realize it until about 2:00 in the afternoon.  So after I picked the little guys up from school, I set out to do yard work, another mindless task.  As I gathered the clippers and rakes up to get started, Shorty asked what I was doing and indicated a desire to join in.  He had been fairly grumpified since we brought him home from school.

As we chopped the bushes, he started talking.  Here a little, there a little.  Pretty soon he said, "I think I wanted to come out and help because I was grouchy."  (Really?  I had kind of noticed.)  "I'm feeling better now."

Sometimes our children just need our time.  They may not even realize that is what they need.  We can still accomplish things and spend time with our children. 

When I was in college, I took a class on work and the family.  It mostly talked about how family life has changed over time, specifically with industrialization.  Before industrialization, families worked at home.  Fathers were farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, etc....  Most fathers worked at home, so when there were family issues, fathers were there and available to help, counsel, etc....  Fathers, mothers, children all at home working for the economy of the family and community.  With industrialization, fathers were taken out of the home and had to go to work at the factory, bank, grocery store, etc...  Fathers in the workplace, mothers and children at home.  Then with the World Wars, some women moved into the work force.  With the sexual revolution of the sixties and women's rights movements, more and more mothers moved from their work in the home and joined the fathers in the factories, leaving the children at home alone (latch-key kids), or to be tended by others. 

Today, most parents work outside of the home and their time in the home is extremely limited because our society tells us our time should be filled with activities and leisure, computer time and entertainment.  Very few activities are geared toward the entire family participating in the same activity at the same time.  And when some families are home, now they are plugged into headphones so even if they are in the same room, they aren't interacting with one another.  What a lonely world we live in.  We have more social interaction than any other people in history, yet we are completely isolated even in our homes. 
Those are some of the reasons we limit our television viewing to entire family options; we have one television and whatever is on it has to be appropriate for the littlest person in the room.  We do not have MP3 players, Ipods, cell phones, even laptops (college students, excepted, and they live away from home).  We spend time doing things as a group, whether it is watching TV, playing a game, having family home evening, yard work, housework, cooking, eating, whatever!!

Yesterday, doing our mindless work, my little Shorty was able to just talk to his mother about things that were on his mind.  He just needed my time.  And because my brain was unoccupied somewhere else, he had it, even while we chopped bushes.  The next time you sense one of your children needs to talk, or maybe they just haven't shared their life with you recently, invite them to participate in some mindless task with you.  I guarantee you they will start talking to fill the silence.  You can ask them questions to get them going.  Don't make it personal, at first, if you are struggling in your relationship.  Just ask them what they think about a particular topic.  Make it an open-ended question.  (Read this article for help.)  {Yes, it is talking about teaching the gospel, but it will work with people in general.}  Really get to know those children who are yours to love.

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