Tag Archives: value systems

01 Mar

3 Tips to Help Nourish the Family

As families, we are busy in today’s world. Between work schedules, school schedules and extracurricular activities along with hobbies, church, and family commitments, I often wonder how families keep the rhythm of the family going while keeping everyone connected and happy! It would be easy to be ships passing in the night.

Experts say it’s not about quantity of time, but rather the quality of time spent with children that impact their happiness. Researchers have found that even 5-10 minutes a day of reading or playing with children can have a profound impact on the child’s feeling of connectedness with their parent(s) and their developing self-esteem. A researcher also found this is true especially for adolescents. In other words, spending time with your loved ones matters.

Here are a few easy ways to do that:

1. Cook with your kids and family.
You’re going to be in the kitchen anyways right? Pick meals together, grocery shop or cook together. Make it a big deal if this is an unusual thing for your family. If the kids won’t set foot in the kitchen let alone be seen with you, try it with your spouse. In other words, do something different, go back to a spending a short amount of quality time together. Even 10 minutes of talking while driving to the grocery store can be quality time spent together.

2. Share a meal together.
Set up a routine to have a meal together once a week. Make it special. And turn off the all media!

Letting go of distractions and just being together can be a nurturing experience not only for the family system but also for the soul. It also models for your children how we as a culture maintain our relationships, by spending time together and showing a genuine interest in each other.

Parents: Don’t take it personally if the kids complain or don’t want to participate. Stay the course and keep the routine going. It’s still modeling. And they’ll remember this. I am guessing for some families, this will sound like I am asking you to jump over the moon. It’s not about the task; it’s about the intention. Add the intention to have the family together into the meal and bring it to the table. If you don’t have anything to talk about, talk about food! Everyone loves food. Ask what someone else likes, why they like that, and talk about likes, dislikes, favorite dishes etc.

3. Get outside and play!
Play is one of the healthiest things for children (and I would argue for adults too!).

This is not just about playing a sport; this is designated time away from the regular routine, commitments and demands. It’s shared free time together, unscheduled, random, open time. (Yeh, I know, remember what that is?)

Don’t plan during this time, except for the time itself. Turn off devices and be together. See what comes to mind, ask your children what they would like to do, or come up with some creative ideas together about how to spend your family time.

Walks are great, games are fun, maybe there’s a project that needs family attention and would be more fun to do together. Have each person take weigh in or take turns providing suggestions. Make it fun, then sit back, relax and enjoy your time with your family. You deserve it!


The Right Way to Do Family Time by Jennifer Breheny Wallace, WSJ.com, April 3, 2015

Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity. by Brigid Schulte, WashingtonPost.com, March 28, 2015

Quantity Time Begets Quality Time, and Parents Spend Enough of Both by KJ Dell’Antonia, Motherlode blog on NYTimes.com, MARCH 31, 2015

08 Dec

Money: Holiday Spending

I blew off Black Friday this year. And so did the 5 people I am closest to. It was a consecrated effort on my part. My children watched advertisements on TV and after a few days felt they had to go see what this Black Friday thing was about. They became convinced they had to be a part of it. Then I started getting daily verbal reminders. “We” were going to Black Friday. “We” were suddenly going to go Christmas shopping for all the things they didn’t want to wait another month for. Finally I resorted to posting pictures of all the full parking lots to convince them they didn’t need to go. It was an intervention I had to do. I showed them the pictures of packed shopping malls before the next stage happened: the pleading. I know my poor children would have inundated me with pleas. And then I would have felt obligated to appease them. We all have our weaknesses. I could see where this was going and I know I would have caved.  Three pictures did the trick. No Black Friday for any of us.

I met moms that start their Black Friday shopping right after Thanksgiving dinner. They plan it out, coordinate childcare, put gas in the car, grab their list and warmest jacket, and then head out; to stand in line late at night and shop until everything is off their list. They are the more serious shoppers. Their goal is to not only get through the list but get good deals on most if not all the items on the list. It’s a long night. And it’s cold. I tried it once and wouldn’t do it again. But what do I know? I know I like my sleep. And I like to stay warm. And I hate crowds. And I know there isn’t a single thing in any store that could justify me standing in a line late at night out in the cold. Especially when you can order virtually anything online these days. Or buy gift cards. Clearly I am not up all the deals I am missing. And with all the media hype surrounding Black Friday, it almost felt unpatriotic this year to not shop. But somehow I managed.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Jim Rohn

I will say that I felt guilty for not shopping. How could I possibly feel guilt for saving money? Yet I felt it. As if I was missing a longstanding American tradition. Talk about being brainwashed and values being backwards. I felt guilty because our culture at that moment was celebrating spending money, and I was not. To me the Black Friday deals seem like an attempt to get people to spend money (obviously) through this immense sales campaign. It looks to me like a complex consumer spending program to confirm shoppers are still spending money and to remind us there are twice as many things out there to purchase as there were before. It’s a blackmail campaign; a subtle reminder that we support each other’s businesses, and whether you like it or not, your hard earned money needs to get recirculated back into the system. Which means out of your pocket. The US consumer way of life literally needs our buy in to survive.


Black Friday is the day, the one and only day when things are so cheap (value system) that it makes it ok to spend even more money than you did before. And it’s all going to be ok because you’re also buying for others (value system).  And then you can turn around and do it again on Cyber Monday. What could possibly be wrong with that? You’re helping yourself and your family, and you’re bettering the economy. And with many Americans planning to spend more this year and planning to put most of it on credit, what’s not to like?


Additional recommended reading:

REI Plays With Black Friday PR Fire, Gets Burned on Pymnts.com, Nov.20, 2015

Too many people are pretending to be rich by Trent Hamm, BusinessInsider.com, Nov. 2, 2015

How American consumers shop now by ConsumerReports.org, Sept., 2015

Social Media Analytics Reveal 2014 Holiday Shopping Trends and Insights by Celia Brown, Forbes.com, SAP Voice, Jan. 2, 2015



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