Rules seem so out of vogue. People don’t like rules. But, boundaries and expectations are good for us and lead us to a happier, more peaceful life.
I’m a child of the 70’s.
I was raised in a time in America when families prayed together. They gathered around the dinner table and shared meals. Extended families gathered for holidays. We played outside until it was dark or we stayed inside reading book after book. I wouldn’t say that we were more innocent; we just didn’t have the technology to know everything that was going on in the world.
As an adult, and when hubby and I were blessed with our first child, I knew I wanted to give my kids the kind of childhood I had experienced. I wanted to slow time and not rush them into adulthood.
It’s really not all that hard to keep the innocence for our kids. It just takes the will to go against the pressures of the world. C.S. Lewis spoke wisely when he wrote, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” Boom. There it is. Don’t let your happiness depend on something that is material. Something that is worldly. Learn to be happy. Period. Just. Be. Happy.
Here are the rules that hubby and I tried to live by when our children were born and still seek to follow today:
Rules for a More Peaceful Life
- Keep our eyes focused on Christ and not worldly desires
- Give thanks and pray together
- Eat dinner together each night
- Say “no” with little regret
- Be present in the lives of those we love
- Be grateful for what we have been given
Worldly Desires ~ No Thank You
For sure, seeking what others have is the road to nowhere. By remembering to be happy with where I am at in my life, and by teaching that lesson to my kids, we’ve been able to be genuinely happy for others when they get the new, shiny “thing” while not becoming jealous. It isn’t that we don’t buy things we want; it’s just we want less because we’re quite happy with what we have. Do you find yourself comparing your place in life to those you don’t even know on social media? Have you ever imagined things in reverse? What does your life look like compared to someone waiting on the blessing of kids or someone who hasn’t found the love of their life? Every single one of us has something to be grateful for and not one of those things is a worldly possession.
Make time to eat together
Eating dinner together each night has always been a must for me. I want to know what’s going on with my kids. I want them to see me bow my head and listen as hubby leads us in prayer and as he gives thanks to God. My daughter needs to learn that, even though I am strong and capable, I am led by the man God made for me. It isn’t a weakness that he leads; it is as God intended. And, I need my son to learn how to lead a family. How to act like a man and be responsible. How to serve and protect his own family one day. How to lead his family to Christ. I want to foster friendship between my kids so they remember always that they have each other, even if/when others disappoint them. I don’t care how busy life becomes, we eat together and we leave cell phones on the counter!
Learn to Say “NO”
Running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Have you ever wondered where sayings like that even come from? But imagine that for one second with me, won’t you. Well, the poor guy can’t see anymore and he’s scrambling around (cause, you know, no head). He’s frantic… Ok, well, that’s enough imagining. Too gruesome. You do not want to be looking like that chicken, do you? Well, then, learn to limit the activities you commit to. Don’t sign your kids up for every activity. They’ll be better off running around in your backyard together than taking a gymnastics class. I promise!
Kids need down time and rest time. Too often, we believe the lie that the world preaches that our kids will be behind or not be good enough if we don’t expose them to every opportunity they’re presented. Well, no. Running around to every dance, gym, piano, voice, art… class is not going to make for a happy child. Drawing at your kitchen table is way cooler than learning from an art teacher. Kids don’t have to be fluent in Chinese to succeed in this world.
Be Present and Be Grateful
The number 1 lesson I would teach younger moms is to embrace your days, the moments in each day. Do you remember when Andy from “The Office” said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.“? To me, that was such a sad statement.
Whether you’re changing diapers one after the other or you’re helping wipe the noses of first grade soccer stars as they play on a cold field during a too-early Saturday morning when you’d rather be in bed or you’re playing chauffeur back-and-forth to school, you are living in the good old days of motherhood. Blink, and that time has passed. Don’t rush it. Thank God for it. Bow your head humbly and ask for patience when you need to BUT don’t grumble about being a mom. Sing praises over your day and see the brightness in each situation.
There you go. Our family’s rules to a more peaceful, appreciative life. I seek to be a grateful person. Someone who happily recognizes all of the many blessings which have been bestowed upon me. Not the big home and not the crap that fills it but the love and time that we’ve been given to spend the days with each other. Those are blessings, my friends!