Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday: Family Culture and Links

Happy Friday! Here's what's been on my heart and mind this past week...

I can feel the winds turning in our family's season. My girls are getting older, and in many ways so much more manageable. Primarily in the physical sense. I no longer have four little ones to literally dress each day, brush teeth, tie shoelaces, hoist in and out of vehicles while running countless errands. I'm not sprinting to save a toddler from running into the street, or helping pour each glass of milk. I'm no longer nursing an infant at the dinner table while trying to eat. My nights are mostly entirely uninterrupted blocks of sleep, aside from the occasional visit from a girl with bad dreams.

And I can feel it in my joints, the relief! 

Life has shifted from the more immediate physical demands to that of a more abstract, deeply rooted kind of child-rearing. Its emphasis is less focused worrying primarily about nutrients and immediate safety and sleep schedules for a forming brain, to instead considering seriously how they think autonomously and behave in the world. Both internally and externally. It's even more about their emotional resources. Their social skills. Their moral foundations. Their value systems. Their minds and their hearts.

With this new season of our lives, the lift in physical burden has left me more free to be intensely interested in creating a unique Haack family culture. This part is so much fun. Have you ever thought about your family culture? Its strengths? Its weaknesses? Would you say there were features that made your own family so definitively YOURS? Things that you hope to pass on or cultivate in your own family now?

As a mother, I feel pretty humbled by my power to shape this culture. My girls are real thinkers, and this is becoming more and more apparent as they grow; their questions and their dependence on us for stability and guidance. I'm trying my best to constantly seek out the best forms of recreation and resources to meet the ever growing need to nurture their big souls. I'm trying to stay in big picture mode, even during the minutia of each moment of a busy week.

When thinking about what I want MY family culture to be, there are a few anchors. I want order and tradition. I want growth and nourishment. And I want fun. Good, plain, regular family recreation. I would also love a family motto. I've been thinking up a simple statement of who we Haacks are as a unit. Double points if it's alliterative. Tyler and I have talked and hope when people think of the Haack ladies, or interact with us, that ultimately they would agree the Haacks are Honest, Hardworking, Helpful, and Happy. 

I'm going to have our motto made from either  this or this shop on Etsy.

Here are a few of the activities that we regularly utilize to strengthen our little family culture. None of them are entirely regular and regimented, but on most weeks my kids count on one of the following things happening:

Family Meeting 
Every Sunday night before family prayer and bed, the kids gather in our living room and we discuss "Triumphs" of the week, and also "What we need to work on". Tyler and I will go around and tell the girls things we noticed them doing well that week, and toss them a gummy bear (their favorite part). There is some good family clappin' and hootin' and tootin' of horns. Then, we will address problems or issues that need to be worked on, both individually and collectively as a family unit. We also give the kids the chance to ask Mom and Dad what they would like us to work on as parents. Oh boy, do they run with this one. Overall, it's our special time to get a good temperature read on our family each week. We're trying our darnedest to model some civility with open and frank conversation, hoping it will stick as the years pass. So far, this really has made a huge difference in our household. 

That's Mormon lingo for Family Home Evening. FHE means one evening a week dedicated solely to family and edification. It usually means a small devotional centered on spiritual matters, singing an ill-tuned song, playing a game, and some treats. Although I'm not particularly in the mood to brag about Mormon news right now (WHAT A MESS!!!!!), you know what I LOVE? This kinda stuff. So, I guess it's two thumbs down for current policies (boo), and two thumbs up for FHE! I will be forever grateful for this tradition, and I love these packets. All the work is done for you: just print, cut, and go! Wherever you are in your spectrum of belief/non-belief/religious traditions, I'm pretty sure you will find topics that can fit your values. (The website isn't the best, but look under the "packets" tab and scroll through the pages for topics).  You get a cute story with cut-out graphics, a corresponding recipe for a snack, songs outlines, etc. Our last FHE we had a lesson on Being Thankful. Slam dunk.

Family Movie Night
Usually on a Friday, with some pizza. Once again, it's the little fun things that count. I hear my girls talk about this tradition a lot. 

Reading time
Every day, we shoot for a solid block of reading time. This is sometimes met with a spirit of compliance and cheer, or threats. Doesn't matter. Reading is NOT an option in this house. Once a week I like to read a more substantial book to the big girls. The Boxcar Children, Little House on the Prairie series, The Secret Garden, and now Harry Potter!

Holy Reading
The New Testament is where it's at for us. We like reading from this version of the Bible, and there is excellent commentary provided in the bottom margins. We read a few verses at a time and have plenty to think about. Just the other day Lily came downstairs shouting, "Mom! London has a PLANK IN HER EYE!" and London followed shortly thereafter screaming, "NO! Lily has a plank in HER eye!"....and I looked at my brawling children and wept tears of biblical literacy joy. Matthew 7:5 in da house. Well done, girls. Well done. A mother finds no greater joy than hearing her children scream bible passages at each other. After all, we adult Christians especially excel this, right?! 


Maybe a couple of these traditions might help you on your family journey as well, so I thought I'd share. I'll finish up with this last link:

I listened to this lecture last week. My school offers an online Master Lectures Series for free. This lecture on Digital Attachment had me thinking for days about ways I want to be more aware and conscious about our family and our digital choices going forward. It was fascinating, relevant, and important for all of us to consider. You'll be glad you listened, promise.

{Lundy Girl painting outside. The arts/craft section of any store always helps me in my efforts to pull kids away from less digital forms of entertainment. Try the Dollar Tree for plenty of good stuff.}

Happy Weekend peeps! Hopefully you'll enjoy and celebrate the gift of time spent with your own unique and miraculous family - whatever they look like or how GAY they may be!!!;)

Love to all!


1 comment:

Amy said...

Your girls are so blessed to be brought up in such a great home. Your girls are getting so big.