If you missed yesterday’s post and our last “shift” on our “Sheltering in PEACE” journey, click here: remove the SHADOW cast on the future and instill HOPE for tomorrow!
It’s been obvious for decades that our society (kids in tow) are becoming increasingly more dissatisfied, dissolutioned, and depressed with each passing year. One look at the state of mental health in our country, and ever-increasingly the world over, and it is easy to see that something has gone terribly wrong. What is less obvious and more difficult to pinpoint is the cause. Could it be the fear-mongering media? The increasingly terrifying movies and violent video games? The unattainable pseudo-reality that is tube-fed (boob-tube that is) to us through TV and social media day after day? The increased stress and societal pressures at school and at work? Lack of quality time at home with family? Lack of community? A society driven by materialism and status? Arguably, it is a combination of many or all of the above.
It seems that now, more than ever, our children are growing up in a smoggy cloud of dissatisfaction, believing that their world is mostly bad, that their futures are most likely doomed, that the earth is ultimately plummeting toward its own destruction. Perhaps some of us believe this, too. Perhaps some of us are even passing this belief on to our children; an inheritance of fear and hopelessness!
“Do you love the times you live in?” When I first read this question in Kim John Payne’s Simplicity Parenting, I was somewhat gutted. I’ve always been an old soul, and I have to admit that I often grudge the modern waltz . . . or . . . rave. I love books with yellowed pages, black and white movies, social events that are seen as “outdated”. The words “classic” and “vintage” have been staples in our son’s vocabulary since he was three. And now, with the COVID19 pandemic and worldwide worry . . . I’ve lusted after decades gone by a few times, I must admit. But I’ve been making an effort over the last year or so since I first read this question. Love is a choice, after all . . . or so they say. Even as my husband and I share with our kids our preference for a slower pace of life and a “home-made is better-made” perspective, I am working on not disparaging the modern world to our kids in the process. I have been intentionally bringing to light the myriad of blessings that we have because of our modern advances and technologies. I want our children to be thankful for their place and purpose on the timeline of history, even as they determine for themselves which “norms” to follow or not.
“Too much information does not ‘prepare’ a child for a complicated world; it paralyzes them. . . This doesn’t mean we should fit our children with rose-colored glasses. I am not saying we should avoid any discussion of the challenges of our time. Nor does it mean that children can’t recover, and grow in strength and resiliency, from hardships they experience in their early years. But our adult anxieties and concerns should not be the atmosphere, a haze of too much information, that they breathe. Children need to know that theirs is a good world. They need to feel that, sheltered by those they love, they are where they should be. They have a place, in a time and a world of hope and promise.” -Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting
As much as I love the excerpt above, and adore Simplicity Parenting as a whole, the phrase “theirs is a good world” only slightly resonates with me. I don’t really believe that ours is “a good world” but rather that our world reflects (even dimly) a good and faithful God. When it comes to luck and chance versus plan and providence, I’m not sure which requires more faith to believe in. But whatever you believe, and regardless of what (if any) faith you choose to impart to your children, I think we can all agree that our children desperately need to have hope for tomorrow, to believe that they have a purpose and a future.
~7 Ways to Instill Hope for Tomorrow as a Family~
1.) Start a “Good News Club!”
Choose a set time or anchor for your family to share good news each day. For our family, we most easily keep our rituals when they are attached to a meal. “Good News Club” is excellent dinner-time conversation. It could also occur at bedtime or before or after a read-aloud book. Whenever you choose to add it to your day, have each member of the family share a piece of good news, one at a time. The good news can be a small personal achievement, a family success, an inspiring event that happened in the community, or something good gleaned from the news.
2.) Add a “Thankfuls” ritual to your day:
We usually do this before we say “grace” at dinner. Each family member very briefly says something that he or she is thankful for. Other times we have done this as we are tucking the kids into bed. It is a simple but profound way to shift the perspective of a day.
3.) Make During & After COVID Collages:
Look through magazines and cut out images for a “During COVID Collage” and an “After COVID Collage.” The “during” collage should focus on things that you and your kids have enjoyed during quarantine/isolation or goals/activities to do before isolation ends. The “after” collage should focus on which things you and your kids miss the most, are most looking forward to, or things you want to start doing when isolation ends.
4.) Do little things to make your kids laugh each day:
Take a tip from “Elf on the Shelf” and use a little humor and excitement to liven up your day (without the creepy watching and reporting to Santa thing). Use a particular toy or collection of toys that your child loves. Place them in odd places, doing silly or mischievous things each day for your kids to discover in the morning. Draw a mustache, tongue, crown, or unicorn horn on the bathroom mirror to adorn your child’s head when they brush their teeth. Play summer-camp style pranks on your tween or teen. Laughter is the best medicine.
5.) Read books to your kids with hope-filled endings:
For books that will help instill hope, click here: “Isolation Blues” Bibliotherapy & Book Lists (for kids of all ages)
6.) Have a BLACKOUT DAY!
Growing up, our electricity went out . . . a lot. So I learned early on just how valuable electricity truly is. Apply that experience to modern day, with no tv, phones, or screens of any kind, and I can’t think of a better way to help your kids not take technology for granted!
7.) Tell your kids stories from your life about when something bad brought about something good:
Every season has its struggle, every generation has had its war . . . and our children need to understand that the sun still rises in the morning.
Click here for: Do you know the Ice Cream Man? + 19 ways the Coronavirus Pandemic is affecting personal growth
Thanks for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~