I used to believe we should leave medicine to the doctors and faith to the Church. I didn’t really understand that my pediatrician would become a personal mentor for me as I navigated parenthood. I didn’t really consider that my pediatrician would become a private confidant of my children, discussing sensitive issues behind closed doors.
The US birth rate fell to another record low in 2013, marking six straight years of decline in the number of births in America. Experts blame the poor economy, figuring young adults are putting off childbearing until their finances become more stable. Although there may be some truth in this, there is another reality no one is talking about-- lots of young Americans don’t really want to raise a bunch of kids.
Tired of bickering, jealousy, and selfishness? Kids are naturally materialistic and self-serving– but the good news is that gratitude can be taught. And from gratitude flows joy. Here are 12 tricks for teaching children gratitude and creating a more joyful home:
I awoke to a flickering light. As I sat up, I thought for a moment I had left my head lamp on. But as I listened to the varied sounds of breathing around me, I discerned that the light was coming from the campfire that had stubbornly refused to go out. I stepped out of the tent into the breeze of a perfectly cool night. The stars brilliantly looked down upon me. As I made my way to the bathroom across the gravel road, there was only silence. The day before, Steve and I had taken our four oldest kids for a wilderness adventure. We had hiked up hills together, prayed over meals, and watched them as they joyfully scrambled over rocks and hopped through creek beds. Laughter was never far away.
Over the past couple of years, I have spoken and written much about issues related to our youth’s use of media and technology. In addition to this series, further reading is also available in the 2013 January and September edition of Just Thinking. As part of these series, I briefly addressed the question many parents have: What should I do if my teens (or even kids) are immersed in technology in ways that I worry have become unhealthy and intrusive?
I found myself drinking fine wine with a bunch of neurosurgeons this weekend, and it didn’t take long to realize they’re asking the same question as every modern parent– how much screen time is okay for toddlers, and is there such a thing as good screen time?
For the first year we homeschooled our kids I avoided telling anyone. Now, in our third year of homeschooling, I am telling everyone. I never dreamed we would become homeschoolers. I wanted my kids integrated and socialized. I wanted their eyes opened to the realities of the world. I wanted the values we taught at home put to the test in the real world. Our children attended both public and private schools until necessity drove us to consider homeschooling. Timidly, my husband and I attended a homeschool parent meeting. We snuck in the back and wondered what we were really doing there.
In 1980, my father started the Can Collector’s Club (CCC). I was 2 years old. As the story goes, it was my mother’s brainchild, but dad quickly took ahold of the idea with his entrepreneurial spirit. Some people thought he had lost his mind. Some still do. But the purpose of the CCC was simple. Convince family and friends to turn aluminum cans into him so that he could use the money from recycling to support our college fund. And clean up the environment. Quickly, the CCC turned into an annual contest, with those collecting the most cans awarded prizes at a fiscal (can) year-end par
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