Tag: slow family life

Where we are now

Where we are now is not where we will always be. I think in parenting this is a really difficult concept to grasp. When we have infants, we are so immersed that it is hard to think our wee ones will one day be walking, talking, joke sharing toddlers. With toddlers, its hard to imagine that we’ll one day (soon even) have big kids that can clear the table on their own and play cards with us. And eventually, all these little people with whom we share our lives and our homes, will one day be adults with whom we will share thoughts, ideas and maybe even go to for advice.

If you want to grasp this concept more fully, that childhood is fleeting and the people we raise will be adults for a whole lot longer than they are children, here’s a fun and simple exercise…

Write down the names and ages of all the people in your immediate family – the parents and the kids. Now add 20 years. That’s it. That’s the whole exercise. The point being that it really does go fast. And the connection we seek then can be put into place now in little and mindful chunks.

Take a day off. Play in the yard. Skip the chores one afternoon and lay around and read together. Greet each other in the morning as if you haven’t seen each other in months. Take ten minutes to listen to a kids’ story about the kid at school. Turn off your phone on occasion. Turn off the screens. Look at each other. Listen. Enjoy each other’s company.

What you put in now will come back to you later a thousand fold.

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You are home

Oftentimes in our Slow Family workshops I talk about how beautiful it would be to have some sort of talisman on the front of the house to serve as a reminder to all who enter (us mostly) that we are home and that in this home, there is comfort and love and connection and hopefully peace and kindness too. I always loved the mezuzahs that were on the door posts of Jewish households that served this same kind of purpose – that you were home and that this home was a  Jewish home.

Over the past few months I have been pondering what this would look like for us – what would serve as sort of a Slow Family reminder – a reminder to all of us to slow down, connect and truly enjoy family life. Coming in from the outside world seems like a perfect time to have this reminder – to leave all the mess out there and bring in the connection that we all need and love and desire too. And, aside from the sentiment of it, I also knew whatever we used would have to be kind of rugged, and hold up to sometimes grimy fingers, rugged encounters, the elements and time.

When taking out our Christmas decorations this past month I found, hidden in the bottom of one of the boxes, an aluminum star – simply designed and stamped with the word: PEACE. I got out a nail and a hammer and affixed it smack dab in the middle of the door. Over the past month, ach time we enter, we touch it, and the kids ritual is to tap it three times. Even the other day as we were entering, and my 7 year old stood with her arms full of backpack and coat and other sundry items of a first grader, she looked back at me and said, “Can you tap that for me?” Already it has become ritual. Even if I don’t touch it with my hands, I touch it with my eyes and take in its message.

peace star

The dictionary describes a talisman as anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions. This is precisely what I hope our new star will do – have a powerful influence on our actions as we strive to connect as a family. It’s not always easy to live family life in the connected way we want to live it, but it sure is nice to have this physical reminder of our goal. And a reminder too that we are home. Not the building we live in but the people who dwell here.

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Family Life in a Financial Crisis

A reporter asked us yesterday how families could actually slow down and enjoy family life when maybe the slowing down isn’t their own choice. What if they lost their job and that’s why they couldn’t sign their kid up for dance class? Or what if they are just wrought with worry about the economy and that is the overriding thought that occupies their mind and their time?

The fact of the matter is, whether we have enough money or not, whether we have a job or not, whether we are worried about finances or the future or the now, family life isn’t going to go away. We are still and always going to be in it.  And we have to find ways to function in whatever circumstances we’re in. Though it’s not always easy to put the worry aside, I really believe that in the face of all that fear, lies an opportunity to slow down, connect and find even more ways to enjoy the family life we’re in.

For many families, this slower way is a new way of being together. The financial crisis is giving many of us a lot more time at home as we outsource less for entertainment and activities. For many, suddenly we are at home, all together, with a lot more downtime on our hands.

We can view it as a curse, and spiral with worry about how we don’t have what we used to have. Or we can view it as an opportunity and get creative with how we actually spend the extra time we do have together as a family. The big vacation may be a series of day trips. The weekend plans may be a picnic in a local park or in our own backyard. The summer camp may instead be a week of camp like activities at home. The weekly movie that may once have been in a theater, can be a family night at home and may even end up being a night of family storytelling or singing instead.

It is here. And we are in it. We can obsess about what we don’t have or we can pause and recognize that what we do have is now. With our families. How we choose to view it and deal with it and live it is ours to decide.

If you’re feeling stumped on how to get started, you can download our Slow Family Living workbook that includes a list of 60 things you can do with your family that don’t cost a dime.

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Slow Family Living on the road

We’re making summer plans Carrie and I and part of those plans include a journey to New Jersey and New York – the motherland for both of us. We’re planning some Slow Family classes up there this summer and we are super excited about it. We are planning it out as I write this.

We’ll be offering our Toddler Class, Adding a Second Child, Being with Babies; How to stay calm, sleep more and build a healthy brain, and, of course, our Slow Family Living workshop.

If you are in New Jersey or in New York and have a moms or parents group that might be interested in one of our offerings, please email us and let us know. Perhaps we can add you to the schedule

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We have, available right here on our website, a free Slow Family Living workbook. It is full of the whys, ways and how-tos of slowing things down for your own family, connecting and truly enjoying family life. The workbook has lots of questions for you about how you do things now, how and if they’re working for you, and how you might do them in your ideal slow family life.

People that have downloaded the workbook have really loved it. Some have printed it out and worked through it with their whole family. Others have printed it out and worked through it on their own. Still others have printed it out, admired it, and then set it aside for when they can find the time only to have it get lost in the shuffle of family life.  Sometimes we all just need a little nudge – and that’s just what this Slow Family Living tele-class is all about.

In the tele-class we go through the workbook, asking and answering questions about methods you can implement in your own desire for living a slow family life. We get to the core of your slow ideals and from there cover some brass tacks ways you can slow down, connect and really and truly enjoy family life.

If you want to take time to find more time, the next class is Monday night, April 20th from 8-10 pm central time. Join us if you can. We’d love to have you. Simply download the workbook. Sign up on our website and call in using the code you’ll receive from us. It’s easy. It’s a fun format. And you don’t have to leave your house!

 

(If you are uncertain of how a teleclass works you can read about it here…)

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