Friday, August 12, 2011

Teach Them When You Sit in Your House: Sixteen Cents Buys a Lot of Love! (rerun from Jan 2010)

You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

         “A penny for your thoughts; a nickel for a hug; and a dime if you tell me that you love me.”

We have talked at length over the past year and a half about communicating with our kids. And how communication is a strong form of "teaching when..." The ditty above is a little chant that we used to say to our kids to remind them that we want to talk to them, that they are valuable to us, that we love them "ten million times infinity and beyond." From this saying, a valuable “object lesson” developed and tied the heartstrings of my son and me in a special way some ten to twenty years ago.

The rest of that jingle (after the infamous "penny for your thoughts") goes on to offer not only a penny for what the person is thinking, but also a nickel for a hug and ten cents if he or she says “I love you.”

Sixteen cents… a meager amount of change that elicits warm feelings (and, I admit, a few tears of longing) as I write this. Our oldest son and I used to take the “penny for your thoughts” a little further when he was a little boy—and repeat the rest of the jingle to each other, complete with a big hug and special “I love you.”

As Joshua grew up, we would occasionally remind each other of how much we love to talk—and how much we care for each other by giving each other sixteen cents. When he was in high school and worked part time, I would wake up in the morning to find him off to work—with a penny, a nickel, and a dime lying on my desk. When he would open his lunch box, he would sometimes find sixteen cents taped to the inside of his pail. Not enough money to buy lunch, for sure, but enough money to know that Mom will be waiting on him ready to talk when he gets home from work.

What objects might have special meaning to you and your child? Is there a special item that you can attach unique meaning to for one or more of your children? Is there a trinket, heart, words to a song, picture of the two of you, favorite picture book, etc. that can be utilized as an object “just for the two of you”?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teach Them Diligently When You Sit in Your House: Techno-Free Zones

“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” Deuteronomy 6:7

I have mentioned on here over and over the blessings we have received by not having television stations for at least twenty-eight of our thirty years of marriage. (We tried it a couple of times for a few months.) Now there is so much more to contend with than television programming!

That is why we advocate a techno-free zone for family talking times--a spot or two in which you sit with no technology drawing you away from the people you are supposed to be spending time with! For us, this means gathering in the living room (where we have no computers; we don't have a television, so it's mostly just one of the four computers vying for our attention--besides cell phones, of course!). We put away our cells and just sit and "be." (We also like to gather around the dining room table for games in the evenings and our room (with the laptops closed!) late at night..and don't forget around the fire or the porch!)

If there is one thing I love to do with our kids--it is "being." Today Ray called from work to double check our schedule for the ten days that Kara is home--and he said it once again, "We have to have three or four evenings to just 'be.' We can't book every moment she is home."

Just being...being together...being family...being there for each other...being a sounding board...being whatever our kids need--preferably in a techno-free zone sometimes!