Monday, September 26, 2011

It's a sad day in the Brown household...

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to vent here for a moment.  Flipper has been pulled from TV,  apparently it was too wholesome (morals, conservation, family values, love of animals, great displays of a healthy sibling relationship and a father that makes sure his boys do chores before play and "do the right thing"...etc.).  Actually, the whole "American Life Network", a Christian-owned network that offered conservative family-oriented programming (launched on May 1, 1985), has been pulled...the channel will be rebranded as "You-too" and the only "retro" shows on their schedule will be Batman, The Green Hornet, and The X-Files.  Grrr!

I can't put into words how angry I am.  I guess it's just not as popular as "Almost Naked Animals" or some brain-trash like that.

Justin looked last night to find something to replace Flipper and, with our umteen channels, Leave it to Beaver and the Addams Family, two of his favorites, were sadly no where to be found either.

As with toys, I think some of the best shows were ones from the 1950s and 1960s.  They show a world where television shows set an example for how people should live.  I'm sure things weren't perfect in "real life" like they showed in the TV shows...but when you chose to watch something, it was a positive experience and you got something out of it.  Those shows were using TV as an instrument to entertain, but to also IMPROVE our American culture, not destroy it.

One thing I love to look for in the Bible are versus that were written so many years ago that still apply today...When TV and internet didn't exist I know words were written to guide us.  In Matthew 17 Jesus talks about temptations to sin.  When I think about today's programming and that I have a CHOICE in what my children watch (and what I watch for that matter!)I think of these verses.

"If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.  How terrible for the world that there are things that make people lose their faith!  Such things will always happen---but how terrible for the one who causes them!...If your eye makes you lose your faith, take it out and throw it away!"

There are many TV shows out there that set bad examples and make you "lose your faith", ie desensitize your mind and "grey" the area between black and white.  These verses make me understand that I have to be careful with my own shows!...and REALLY careful with my childrens'!  Especially, when the "TV world" isn't in the business of helping us parents out!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Attention Addiction Part One: Where I went wrong.

Hello.  We are Jay and Betsy...and we are addicted to attention.
Since I started this motherhood journey I have really tried my best to do it "right".  I obsessively read parenting books and soak up as much as I can so when an issue comes up I can be ready for it.  For the most part I thought I was doing all the "right" things when it came to helping my kids grow, learn, develop and become independent.

I recently discovered that when I started working part-time this summer, without even realizing it, I slipped into a known "no-no".  I have been child-focused in the afternoons.  I hurry and make sure all my "work", both house work and work-work, is finished before they come home from school so our afternoons together are uninterruped...which in the moment seemed "right".

If my children were babies...or even toddlers...this would be okay.  However, since they are not babies or toddlers...the timing was off on my new-found time.  They are at the age where they should be needing me less, not more.

The trouble is, with the flexibility of my new schedule and my internal feelings about having a Kindergartener, I have been setting up an environment where they need me more...In turn, making us all selfish.  In the afternoons we have been reading together, doing workbooks together, going on walks together, talking about our day together, baking together, singing and dancing together...

While all of these things seem wonderful, it is hours each day together...Yes, too much love and attention (in an older child) can be counterproductive.  They need play our own house and own yard...with me nearby...but not involved.  I need to show them I love them by being near and available when needed, but not child-centered.  They need time to discover things.  Time to be imaginative, create, build, dance, sing without a cheering section (me!).  They need to see me doing things for others...or for myself...and not them.

In the words of Nanny McPhee, "When you need me, but do not want me, then I will stay. When you want me, but do not need me, then I have to go."

I need to teach them that they are loved...deeply, by me and God...without them thinking that constant attention=love.  I want them to see that there are many ways to give and receive love...and being self-centered is not the way to fill that void.

Up next:  Attention Addiction Part Two:  How I came to this revelation.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hello. My name is Sally...

and my children are addicted to attention.

More soon on 1) where I went wrong...2) how I came to this revelation and 3) what I'm doing about it!

Any child can be taught to be beautifully behaved with no effort greater than quiet patience and perseverance, whereas to break bad habits once they are acquired is a Herculean task.
-Emily Post

Thursday, September 15, 2011


My kids had a case of (what the Berenstain Bears call) the "green-eyed gimmies".  After months of me deliberately changing our focus...really focusing on family rather than STUFF, including family-only birthdays, this week we had two breakthroughs!!!

1) On Friday when GDad came through town it took a full hour (believe me, that's saying something!) before they asked if he had brought them anything...and when he hadn't there was no fussing!

2)  On Saturday after Bet spilled yet another drink...and JB groaned in aggravation...I had an idea to have a "Family Drink Contest".  (As I've mentioned LOVE to get involved with anything that has props and fancy names!) 

I suggested teams (Jay & JB, Bet & me) and whichever team went without spilling a drink for 7 days (not consecutive) would win.  We drew up goal charts and the aggravation of drink-spilling has turned into a fun game...It was REALLY fun on Sunday when JB spilled at lunch!!! :)

Anyway...I I announced the game I said, "What should the winner get to do?!"  Betsy exclaims, "I know!  Go on a flashlight walk together!"  I couldn't believe it!  AND she said it with the same excitement of "get a toy"...or..."get candy".  LOVE a breakthrough!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Finished The Entitlement Trap yesterday.  In my opinion it is a MUST buy, MUST read.  It is a fabulous combination of their past books and also pulls from some areas of their website (, which I get so many great ideas (repenting bench, consequence game, role-playing dialogue, setting goals with small children, monthly values, animal examples...) from.

Some highlights from Chapter One:

"We seem to be working for our kids' approval, rather than their working for ours.  And as our lives get busier and busier, with both parents working, and as the disconnect grows between what we say our priorities are and where we actually spend our thought and energy, we parents give our kids things instead of time, spoiling them as we add fuel to the entitlement flame.  We give them too much and demand too little of them."

"Two prime elements of JOY are appreciation and work."

"It's about what our kids need more than what they want or what we would love to give them."

"Can our homes become a stronger culture than the peer, the media, the societal or the school cultures that flood over them?"

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Package?!

Isn't it fun to get mail?!  This is the newest book out by the Eyres.  I pre-ordered and it just came in the mail today.  My highlighter and I will be busy tonight!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This moment.

You know those moments when you look over at your child and for no particular reason feel a strong link to God and you are in awe of what a beautiful work of art He has made?

Rarely do I have my camera with me when these moments come up.  Usually it is a giggle, a smile, a far away stare, a questioning glance...they pass so fast my memory has to hold on tight to remember them just a few seconds longer.

I caught one yesterday.  It was an "in the moment" pic.  No smile.  No pose.  No "make you laugh" phrases.  No bow.  No special outfit.

I want to look back on this one and remember those beautiful little features and how by the end of the day her hair would be so wild that pieces would creep over into her eyes and the back of her little hand would push them away as she would be in the middle of a "jibber-jabber" story...remember that from birth her lips were absolutely beautiful...her eyes always filled with questions...remember her little yellow school shirts...and how she was my one that would always sit extra close...remember how she loved to whisper...and when she did her little breath tickled...remember everyday moments like this one.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
- Mary Jean Iron

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Crafting a Child...

Something caught my eye last week.  Up on Betsy's shelf are Child-craft books that I kept from my Me-Me's house.  I had forgotten about them...for some reason I thought they were more of an encyclopedia type book that the kids would like as they got older. 

They are not kids books. They are PARENTING resources...and they are GOOD.

I love how I am learning about "family" through books that my Me-Me read when my dad was little and I love how when I turn each page I smell her house.

Currently I'm hooked on Volume 14: Your Child Goes To School and Volume 12: You and Your Family.  The copyright is 1954.  What amazes me is how SIMILAR advice in these books is to "common sense" advice given today.  The books really walk through understanding your child...and teaching your child.

I've been highlighting as I go and I can't wait to continue to share some of the fabulous things I find!

"It is satisfying to see a youngster take his place in the family, especially if there are other children.  You wonder how the same parents could have offspring so different in every way.  Each is unique in apperance, temperament, personality and outlook.  You prize each one of them just because he is yours.  You take each one as he is, enjoying him for his own self.

In the whole of childhood, each day seems so long in the living, and so short when you try to recall it.  You do not want to feel, too late, that you have not savored to the full each phase of your child's development.  Your feeling is not 'I hate to see this child grow up,' but 'I know that each step on the way up is too precious to lose.'

You cannot afford to miss some of the pleasures that come at the most unexpected moments.  A little boy snuggles down under the covers, after saying goodnight, then jumps up again to give you one last hug. 'I'm the best hugger in the business,' he says, 'and all my hugs have Mommy and Daddy written on them.'"

Child-craft, c. 1954, Volume 12: You and Your Family

I taught the kids how to use my tape player this week...They are loving listening to music and books on tape!
I love how the books tell me "You are not alone."...Kids have to be taught to be friendly and...It. Takes. Time. (and patience!)

That sums up my two!
(Doesn't this little girl in overalls look like Bet?)

Sound familiar?  Family Night/Family Meeting/Family Council

There's a place for everything...

And everything has a place!

Organize:  Crayons. Markers. Colored Pencils.
Baskets...Target $1 Spot.
I find myself saying this phrase so much that my kids are finishing the sentence for me.

Up soon:  Home organization.