Blog: Life Management
How Do You Eat An Elephant to Get Organized?
BITE 9 Kids, Pets, and Family Time
First, let's just say, "If you can't keep up with your dishes, dandelions, and your debt, you don't need a dog!" How many of you reading this blog have a dog? How many of you got rid of your dog? (No smiles here please.) I can relate to both because when we had our family dog he was like my baby! I loved that dog. I have to admit though when his time finally came to go to doggie heaven (or wherever dogs go, if anywhere) I felt a great sense of relief at the end of all the work.
Our family dog had 8 years of relatively good health where he wasn't much work and didn't cost us much money but when his diabetes set in so did the work and the bills! I cried the day of his diagnosis thinking we'd be lucky to have him for another year. I must have done a wonderful job of giving him his daily insulin injections (near the end of his life it was twice a day), testing his urine for sugar levels, and making sure he had his special diet because he lived for almost 6 years after diagnosis. When he was finally blind and so feeble that he couldn't even steady his body to relieve himself I knew it "was time." (I won't go into that dreadful day of decision-too painful even in memory.)
Pets are supposed to bring love. In fact, I used to marvel at the times I'd be home all day but when I'd step out to the garage to throw something into the trash can I'd find the dog wiggling and jumping with excitement at the sight of me coming back into the house. "What in the world", I'd think, "I've been here all day!" The family began discussing this phenomenon one day at the Sunday dinner table. We decided what a home full of love we would have if we all greeted each other like the dog did each time we entered the house. To experiment with this new idea we decided that the next person to come to our door would be greeted like the dog.
Up the walk came the little neighbor gal to see our daughter as she did many Sunday afternoons. As she entered the house we all jumped up from the table and began wiggling, panting, and jumping around like the dog to greet her. "Hi Laura!" we all yelled to which she immediately responded, "You guys are nuts!"
Again, the point is that pets bring in love but before you add one to your home-count the cost and I don't mean only to your wallet but, more importantly, to your property, sanity, and your time. (By the way, Christmas is never a good time to bring in a new puppy!) Some say, "Life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies!"
Speaking of kids I guess you could say some of the same things about kids. Maybe you'll relate to this little story from the Reader's Digest, "On a recent visit to the Veterinarian I saw a post card on the bulletin board. It read: Dear Buffy, I hope you're enjoying your stay with Dr. McAfee and being a good dog. Next year you can come with us-and the kids will stay with Dr. McAfee!" Hm-kennels for kids? Naw, I'm just kidding!
Sometimes kids are easier than pets and vice versa. Lest I sound too negative about having kids in your life I'm a big fan of having and raising kids. We truly loved the years of raising our three and now are reaping the rewards of soon-to-be nine wonderful, beautiful, smart (not prejudiced at all, of course) grandkids. I haven't figured out how to skip having the kids and going straight to grandkids but maybe Jay Kessler's comment says it all, "Grandkids are God's gift to you for not killing your kids!" Sometimes not so humorous in today's climate of child abuse so please accept this as I did with tongue in cheek for the many times we wondered why we had them. But for those times I took heart in Dr. James Dobson's words when going through those traumatic teens years, "Just get 'em through!"
When we made the decision to begin having children I decided to stay home and raise them. My theory was that if they turned out weird we would know whom to blame. So, if you happen to know any of our kids and you think they're weird, I'll take full credit for that because I call it creative and am extremely pleased at the way they all turned out!
So, how many of you readers have kids with messy bedrooms? I suspect all of your hands went into the air. Yup, it's part of the package of raising kids. I have profound advice for you, "SHUT THE DOOR!" I hereby give you permission not to give bedroom tours in your home. There's actually a benefit to these messy bedrooms that we learned long ago with our oldest son who rivaled our German son (an exchange student who lived with us for a year or more) for who had the messiest bedroom. We decided to look at the positive of this issue: We'd never have to change the carpet because he walked on his clothes!
By the way, we've found this is a worldwide issue with young people. We had four students live in our home for a year or more each and become part of our family. The other three haled from Brazil, Mexico, and Canada. They all had messy bedrooms!
That's the bad news. The good news is that when your children are young you should take time to teach them the basics of independent living (that is our goal after all.) An oldie but a goodie book to help you do this is 401 Ways to Get Your Kids to Work at Home
by Bonnie McCullough. This book has hundreds of ways to encourage kids to learn these basics in a fun and inspiring way. I don't like any form of work that doesn't have some fun elements to it and kids are the same way. In the book is an excellent "Home Progress Skills Chart" that gives parental guidance to teach them what they can and should learn between ages 2 or 3 to age 18 or 19 so that they can go on to live on their own when the time comes. And for many of you that time is way over due if you still have adult children living under your roof when they could and should be self-supporting. A tip for those of you whose adult children may be back home after college graduation or who are learning a skilled trade: We didn't charge rent when this happened with one of our son's but we did tell him that in lieu of rent we expected him to put that amount into a bank account with the goal of a deposit on a house. In a year he was ready and left our home to purchase and live in his own house.
A couple of other great books to help you train your kids are: How To Really Love Your Child
by Dr. Ross Campbell. This is a small easy to read book that will help you lay a foundation of love with your children. If you don't have a relationship with them you can't teach them anything. In Campbell's book you'll learn about an emotional tank that needs to be filled with four simply profound techniques. In his sequel book, How To Really Love Your Teen
, you'll see how to fill that tank in an appropriate manner for teens and you'll see an Anger Chart that even Mom and Dad can learn from studying.
For young mother's wondering if they're doing what the Lord expects in their role as a parent check out, "God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos
", by Kerri Wyatt Kent. You will be relieved, comforted, and inspired to find that the time and energy spent raising your children is doing the work of the Lord.
Lots more can be said about time spent with a growing family but I'll leave those thoughts for future blogs. I'll end this last, but never least, bite of the elephant with words from the best selling book of all time, The Bible (God's Word), "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
posted on: 12/4/2007 12:00:00 PM by Judy Warmington
category: The Mental Side
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