By Momivate's Atmosphere CouncilMom, Annette T. Durfee
One of my favorite things to do while growing up was to visit my grandmother’s homes on both sides of my family. I think everyone enjoyed it! I have to mention that while some people have “cookie” Grandmas, I had TWO "ice cream Grandmas!” My Grandma Durrant always had her freezer stocked with a favorite flavor at a moment’s notice. And my Grandma Tenney would let us sit on her back porch and grind the handle of the old-fashioned ice cream maker with a fresh cream mixture until the ice cream was nice and thick! YUM! So, was it the ice cream factor that made my Grandmas' homes such special places to visit? Being the ice cream lover that I am, I confess my answer to that question: “YES!”
But, of course, there was more -- much more!
In fact, everything in my grandmothers' homes spoke in a special way to my heart:
Don’t we all want that kind of a home? A home filled with warmth and love! Happily, it is something we can all achieve with work, creativity, time, and a whole lot of help from above! One song that describes this loving ambiance we want in our homes is called, “Home,” written by Caroline Eyring Miner:
Home is where the heart is
Where warmth and love abound
Home is where encircling arms
Go all the way around.
--by Caroline Eyring Miner
A home, as we all know, is more than just the furniture and the stuff we own. It is made up of the people who live there – our family! Therefore, in order for a home to have that ambiance of love that we desire, one of the most important things we can do is to prioritize our time to strengthen our relationships with our families.
In families, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
Time spent with our families is a true investment that pays long term dividends. When we spend time with our family, we increase our family’s capacity to feel loved and secure in our home. What we are really saying is, “I have time for you. You are important to me.” Time spent with family doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective, but both quantity as well as quality are important and consistency is key.
How do YOU spell love with your family? What message are you sending with the events on your calendar? Here are a few ways that strong families send their families a little love note to pump up the love-meter in their homes:
1. Set aside a weekly family night – What could be better than a time reserved just for your family each week where you all have a blast together?! Start out with one and build up to planning out a few at a time. Keep it simple or spruce it up. Just make it a night that the whole family looks forward to! It’s a great time to teach your family values as well as life skills. Play games and activities or go on outings! Maybe even work on a project together once in a while! And always – I mean ALWAYS - include a special treat!
2. Set aside a weekly family planning meeting – This is a great time to calendar events, share goals and dreams, and express ideas that will strengthen your family and leave everyone feeling calm and reassured. What can you do to assist them? How can they in turn help the family run more smoothly? You can do this as part of your weekly family night or at dinner. Just find whatever time works best for your family.
3. Individual Attention – One-on-one time with your children can be an effective way to connect with them even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Maybe you do this as you prepare dinner together, go on a short outing, run an errand together, or enjoy a special bedtime routine. Letting them talk about whatever is on their mind and really listening to them without judgment or criticism will help them to feel important and loved.
4. Unplug – In a world that is running at breakneck speed, we don’t want our families to get lost in the shuffle. So be sure to take a little time each day AWAY from phones, computers, television, and so on, not only to benefit yourself, but so that the whole family can really connect. This electronic free time becomes your chance to look each other in the eyes, talk together, laugh together and learn from one another, so don’t let it pass you by!
5. Eat meals together - Even if you can’t do it for every meal of every single day, do what you can to regularly schedule this important time together. Making it a priority to eat together blesses our families tremendously! Children whose families eat together not only develop healthier eating patterns and have better health, but they have a better vocabulary and academic performance, a higher self-esteem, a greater sense of reliance, and a lower risk of depression, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy.
6. Make and keep family traditions – Silly or special, extensive or simple, taking time to infuse family traditions lights a spark of joy and love in families. Some families have a song or a cheer. Some gather for a family prayer and group hug before heading out the door each morning. Some explore a special place each year. It really doesn’t matter what the tradition is, only that you do it and remember to keep doing it. Whether it’s as simple as having green eggs and ham on St. Patrick’s Day, strawberry pancake stacks on Valentine’s, or a treasure hunt on birthdays to find the presents, traditions not only give children something fun to look forward to, but help them to feel emotionally supported.
My grandmothers always had time for their family. They could have done a million other things, but instead they chose us. They turned on the love-meter in their homes by including us in their lives - teaching us how to do ceramics, raking the leaves together, playing a game of cards, going for a walk together to the post office. The ambiance in their homes was more than just physical surroundings, although that was certainly part of it. By opening up their calendars, what they were doing in essence was allowing us the time to open up our hearts to them, time with which they could then use to share their powerful influence for good. Now that’s what I call time well spent!
By Meagan Waite from the Discovery Family Coalition
Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s author, wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” on a bet. The co-founder of Random House Publishing, Mr. Bennett Cerf, wagered that Seuss couldn’t write a book that had fewer than 50 unique words. Seuss won 50 bucks, and we have a piece of literary art with which one cannot help but rhyme along.
If you haven’t read it, you should. It can get you thinking about the relationship between what you believe and what you experience. It can encourage you to think outside the box (no would-nots, could-nots for you!) and try new things. It can give you courage to show resilience in the face of challenges, opposition, and adversity.
Yes, reading can do that for you.
March is National Reading Month. It has been designated as such in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, March 2. My Discovery Destination! is celebrating. How? With a Discovery Hunt, of course! In fact, we bet YOU that you are going to love this Hunt, and we dare you to try and prove us wrong.
Oh the places you’ll go! It’s easy! Download the GooseChase app and search for the Hunt with the name “Oh The Places You’ll Go” (named in honor of Dr. Seuss, as is this article) or with the game code “SEUSS”. You are going to want to get started right away. The Hunt is full of Adventures that are educational. They are fun. And they have the ability to strengthen your family and build resilience in your children.
Yes, Discovery Hunts can do that for you.
By Esperanza DeLaLuz
I hate to hear someone say that! Mothers do the most important job on earth when they raise healthy, happy, productive children. Abraham Lincoln, our great president, said, “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
What not everyone knows is that the angel mother to whom he refers is actually his stepmother. His birth mother died when he was nine and, the following year, his father remarried. Sarah had children of her own, yet she was a loving and devoted mother to all of the children, and she especially nurtured Abraham in his desire to learn and read.
This is a comforting thought to those of us who are stepmothers, aunts, foster moms, and grandmothers, or who are in other positions of nurturing. The task of mothering is not only the province of those who give birth. To “mother”—which is defined as “to look after kindly and protectively”—is incredibly demanding, and just as incredibly—and critically—important. To mother is a noble task and those who participate in it, to any extent, are doing a great and valuable work.
However, in the midst of diapers, tantrums, mischief, and defiance, it may be a challenge to feel that one is engaged in a noble task. Often it feels like we are in “survival mode.” Roseann Barr once joked that if her children were alive at the end of the day, she had done her job as a mother.
I know for every mother there are days which feel like that. On those days, it can help to remember Abraham Lincoln’s feelings about his “angel mother,” and recognize that someday it may be your influence that sways the world.
The next time you are deciding whether to scrub the crayon mural off the wall or frame it, remember Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, and mother on!
By Momivate's "Energy" CouncilMom, Ericka Moore
I can be changed by what happens to me.
To say that we have experienced change these past few years is an understatement. Covid has impacted every marker of stability we have relied upon. Some of us have handled this change better than others and have become sources of inspiration to those who need it. Families have struggled to continue normalcy and children sensed this interruption. As mothers, we are sensitive to the needs of our children and this global impact brought out the need to protect and screen our children from its harsh realities. At times, shielding our children is necessary, but sometimes, during moments of change, it is good to teach.
Change is certain to occur and the way we respond can be the difference between learning a tough but difficult lesson or sowing seeds of anger and bitterness. I believe it is the key to navigating and overcoming any mountain. Oxford Dictionary defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Toughness.” It takes fortitude to continue a journey when met with obstacles. In order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must struggle against the cocoon shell, then push its fluids down its wings so that the wings are strengthened to fly. That is the perfect picture of growth through resilience!
Listed below are five principles to improve resilience during moments of change. I am not a life coach, but I offer these principles as possible suggestions:
1) Understand you cannot control everything.
Control means safety and the lack of it can mean chaos. However, it is impossible to dictate and manage every detail of every situation in your life and the lives of those you love. It is okay to let go and prioritize the situations that need management. All situations do not need your influence.
2) Recognize that yours is not the only path.
Your knowledge and experiences impact the path you take in decision making. However, it may not be the correct path for another. Your way is not the only way. Do not be afraid to see another point of view.
3) Seek wisdom. (Accept that you may not know the answers.)
We like to think we know it all but we do not. There is no harm in seeking wise counsel. Speaking to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor is smart. It may save you time, money, and heartache.
4) Remember, this is only temporary.
Change is awkward and does not always happen on a schedule. It does not stay awkward forever. Eventually, change becomes routine, and routines bond families and help children feel safe.
5) Take care of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical body.
It is vital to address mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical arenas in your life. Getting plenty of sleep, eating well, addressing stress, and nurturing your relationship with God is important. You are no good to anyone else if you are not being good to yourself. Remember to facilitate this for your children, also.
Growth and maturity are what keep us from becoming stagnant, and every experience teaches us more about the world and ourselves. Though some changes are forced on us, we can become stronger through them and see them as a chrysalis, enabling us to find new wings.
Join our Momunity!
Provide your email address or texting number and we'll alert you to new posts!