I’m not going to lie, this one was a tough one for me to get through. The author’s daughter described her mom in the book, as “stuck in 1973”. I felt that vibe at times. The author is conservation and active in social justice issues. While her obsession with color coding her family and making her kids sign various pledges felt extreme (and weird), I kept reading. I kept reading even though there were things I would never try with my kids and things that I straight up disagreed with. I kept reading, because I like books that make me “squirmy” and slightly uncomfortable. I learn from those books, even if at the time they are occasionally painful to read through. This book touched on a great variety of issues, how they impact our children, and how we should be addressing them with our children. Just a few of the topics included: respect for the environment, the impact of media, money and materialism, sex and body image, faith, and diversity. We should be tackling these topics with our kids, but wow, it’s not easy! The best part of the book were the thought provoking reflection questions at the end of each chapter and the author’s children’s’ response to each chapter.
Book Worm Wednesday: Top 10 Tidbits:
Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference: Helping Your Family Live with Integrity, Value Simplicity, and Care for Others
By Susan Vogt
1.) “Tough love is not about being vindictive but about showing children the natural or logical consequences of their actions. They learn that love doesn’t mean always rescuing someone from mistakes and foolishness but letting that person learn the hard way sometimes. Tough love helps children face the realities of cause and effect.”
It’s so hard as parents to think about our little people failing! We don’t want them to ever feel pain or embarrassment. We want to bubble wrap their little bodies for physical protection and always be there to auto-correct any awkward moments. But, in our hearts, we know we have to leave a little room, a little opening, to allow them to learn and figure things out by themselves. In the future, we won’t always be there to protect them from failure. We know they will learn from failure. So, we might need to show a little tough love, but I’m thinking for now, tough love followed by a hug.
2.) “No one likes to see their child lie or steal, but most kids at least try it when they are young. When my husband and I suspected lying we would tell the child that there would be a punishment for what they did wrong but there would be a bigger punishment if he or she lied to cover it up.”
I thought this was a smart way to deal with lying. There will be a punishment for what you did wrong, but lying about it will make it worse (aka bigger punishment).
3.) “If you are too busy with too many other life goals, your kids can become an obstacle to those goals.”
This was a good reminder that right now, as a mother of young children, my most important “life goal” is raising them.
4.) Theme: Learning to Say No
I imagine this keeps getting more difficult as children get older and they become involved in more activities. You want your children involved and active in things that interest them. You want them to meet people from these activities and make lots of friends. It’s tough to know how much is too much? To answer that question, you really have to consider what your priorities are as a family. Is it okay that you never eat dinner because everyone gets home late from school activities? Is it okay to skip Wednesday faith formation, because football practice goes late? Maybe, but not if family dinners and faith formation are in your family’s top priorities. When you figure out as a family what is most important to your family, it is easier to know when to say “no” to things that fall outside of those priorities.
5.) “Ultimately children benefit from our ‘presence’ rather than our ‘presents’.”
Amen! Gifts of time spent together will always be more valuable to children than material things (even more valuable than that awesome gigantic Olaf stuffed animal we saw in the store today). You can’t buy memories. This can be a hard sell however, because we live in a materialistic world that is convinced the only giving worth giving is stuff versus time. Why does a gift have to be wrapped up in a box? Why can’t it just be an awesome visit to the zoo with grandma and grandpa!?
6.) Theme: Desensitization to violence and sex from media
I remember saying a few seasons ago how thankful I was that Dancing With the Stars was on television. And, how it was so nice to watch a show that celebrated dancing instead of some of the other negative themes on TV. Sure, there was the occasional male shirt yanked off or a few too many design cutouts in the female dancer outfits, but it wasn’t often and it was always a little shocking. Today, I wouldn’t be able to let my kids safely watch the show the entire way through and I’d rather my hubby not watch it! Just don’t watch it then right? Well, I love dancing and while it is packed with uncomfortably skimpy outfits and at times just shy of sex on the dance floor, it still seems more innocent that option B, which would be about something like solving a violent murder or rape case. The point I’m trying to make is that the more we watch this stuff, the more we are desensitized to it and not shocked by it. Our little ones will need us here to help set limits and protect them from negative media themes.
7.) Theme: Raising Peacemakers
I never really thought about raising “peacemakers” and how it starts at home. Of course we want to raise level-headed, kind children who care about others and stand up for what is right. So, when I, as mom, lose my temper and yell at my children, I’m teaching them to verbally fight. Peace starts with momma. Good reminder.
8.) “One of the best things my mother ever did for me was give me someone other than herself to talk to.”
The author’s daughter said the above when describing her relationship with her godmother. I’m book-marking this for the teen years when mom might be public enemy number one!
9.) Theme: Ritualize Important Events
Children can find comfort in repetition and traditions; it also gives them something to look forward to.
10.) “What are your passions or concerns that can stretch your family beyond the walls of your home?”
I like this! As parents, we each have unique passions and concerns. As children are learning their own, why not share yours.
Thanks for reading!