In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep it to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.

- Tao Te Ching -

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Dreaded ‘D’ Word in Any Marriage: DIVORCE


Do you ever think about divorce?  According to divorcestatistics.org, the divorce rate in America for first marriages is 41%, 60% for second and 73% for third marriages.  The divorce rate for couples with children is 40%, while those without children 66%.  Generally speaking, it is said that 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Do happily married people ever think about divorce?  I don’t know, but I do.  I want to remain happily married.  Just looking at my extended family alone, the odds in favor of divorce is very high: my grandmother is divorced, my aunts and uncles, my mother-in-law, her sister, my father-in-law twice…  So, I do think of divorce and the fragility of marriage:
  • how easy it is to break the bond;
  • what, how and why things go wrong; and
  • the hard work it requires to keep a happy marriage.

For couples with children who divorce, not only does divorce mean dissolving a marriage, but also a family.  Admittedly, my husband and I agree that children don’t bring a couple together – but can pull them apart.  There is less time together as husband and wife, for ‘me’ time and sleep.  There is more time devoted to being ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and bringing up baby.  It is so easy for the ‘family’ to take over the ‘marriage’.

So, in the past year, I decided to really think about my relationship with my husband and our family unit.  How can I help my marriage and my family pursue long-term happiness?  

This is the equation I came up with:


Love, Health, Mind and Spirit, and Resources
+
Time for myself, my husband, my child and my community
=
HAPPY MARRIAGE
+
HAPPY FAMILY


I pinpointed four issues important in creating a strong happy family: Love, Health, Mind and Spirit, and Resources.

  1. LOVE is most important because love binds the marriage and the family together and sets the tone for our everyday existence.  The goal is to experience each other’s company, be sensitive, responsive, trust, respect, honor and love each other, and to prioritize bonding time together.

  1. HEALTH is next because we could not physically live and enjoy being together without it.  The goal is to focus on the family’s nutritive diet, proper exercise, quality sleep and daily outdoor time in nature.

  1. MIND AND SPIRIT directs our lives together.  The goal is to focus on growing together – not apart: play and learn together, teach and challenge each other, communicate openly and share information with each other.

  1. RESOURCES allow us to create more of what we already have and enjoy.  Resources could mean money, but also work, knowledge, networks, and relationships.  Everyone contributes, however big or small, to the resources of the family.

TIME is an important resource and I need to set aside constructive time daily for:

  1. MYSELF, for without making time for myself, I cannot be happy.

  1. MY SPOUSE, for without OUR happiness, our marriage cannot be happy.

  1. MY CHILD, for without love and attention, our family cannot be happy.

  1. OUR COMMUNITY, for the family needs to be part of the community.

I have my plan and I will follow it.  If there are any bumps on the road, and I suspect there always are, I can ask: what failed us in the past, what are we doing now and how can we do it better.  Then, I can modify my plan accordingly.  I love being married.  I love being a wife and mother.  I love my family.  I hate to think that passive complacency could cause any harm to what I have worked so hard to have.  I will work to keep far away fom that dreaded ‘D’ word.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Why Attachment Parenting is increasingly important today.

Psychology Today's article entitled "The Decline of Children and the Moral Sense: Problems that used to be rare are becoming mainstream" describes why Attachment Parenting is important: positive outcomes for babies who  

• "nursed frequently;

• held, touched, or kept near others almost constantly;

• frequently cared for by individuals [adults] other than their mothers (fathers and grandmothers, in particular) though seldom by older siblings;

• experience prompt responses to their fusses and cries;

• and enjoy multiage [free] play groups in early childhood.

• along with natural childbirth

• and 2-5 years of breastfeeding...

...others are documenting the effects of these practices on child outcomes and finding relations to intelligence, cooperation, conscience, empathy, self-control, aggression and depression."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Star Wars Exhibit


 

I planned on non-violence in our home... but I guess I wasn't savvy to boys and how they play.  Well, Star Wars is a BIG thing in our house.   We wake up to "Let's Play Star Wars!!!"  We play and study Star Wars ALL DAY and include math and language games in our play. Our green smoothies become Gungin or Yoda juice.  Our son has even incorporated Star Wars characters into his bedtime.  So - yes, it's unbelieveably Star Wars 24-7!


We've just recently watched all the movies too, except Episode III (which seemed a little more violent than the others). So it seemed appropriate to visit The US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama for the traveling Star Wars exhibit.  It is the first time the exhibit has been in the South East USA and it will end in about 3 weeks.  There are more than 80 costumes, models and props from all six Star Wars films.  It is a small exhibit and I wish they had more educational material available at the shop.  Needless to say, our son was thrilled to be there.  I guess that was the reason for us going in the first place!
 

Rocks

There is a small quaint once-jail-now-museum called Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum in Franklin, North Carolina chock full of different rocks and crystals, as well as educational materials.  It is run by volunteers and makes a wonderful visit if you are ever in the area.  Outdoors is a small sand area where kids (or adults) can dig for their own rocks as well.  We also stopped at Jackson Hole Gem Mine to find some raw gems, but we had much more fun at the Franklin Gem Museum, which was free(!).

Different rocks and crystals under UV light at the Franklin Gem Museum.

 
Mining for treasures under water

Sifting

Our Finds 

 
Amethyst, aventurine, citrine, quartz, moon stone, garnet, topaz