Friday, August 21, 2015

Weekend Priorities

Do you plan your weekends, or do you just let them happen? Are they your time to relax and unwind, or do they have a sense of purpose?

We all need a chance to recover from what can often be overwhelmingly exhausting weekdays, but there must be more to a weekend than that. Does the weekend present you with the opportunity to do a few things that you want to do, rather than just what you have to do? If so, what makes the list? How do you set your priorities?

I'd suggest that if the things you choose to do on your weekend do not enrich your life and the lives of those you care about, then you probably should rethink your choices. Are you choosing to spend your time with the people that matter most in your life, or are you filling your circles with those who are convenient or socially popular?  

Do you go out of your way to do what is right, or are you more concerned with being seen to do what is the social norm according to celebrities, the media, and advertising?

If your weekends aren't filled with the people you love, and your activities don't better the health, safety, happiness, and prosperity of yourself, your family, and those around you, then what can possibly be motivating your choices? Selfishness? Greed? Depravity? 

If you live to the age of 90, you will have a mere 3,588 weekends between the ages of 21 and 90. That's not as many as it sounds, they are fleeting. Use them wisely. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Lost Art of Reading

When was the last time you read a book to a child? Wholeheartedly immersing yourself in the story, making up silly voices, interacting, and discussing what you've read? I fear this "art" of storytelling is slowly vanishing from the skill sets of an overwhelmingly large portion of the population. 

Are we too busy? Surely not. Captivating the hearts and minds of our little ones, must always be a priority. 

Are we too lazy? Perhaps. Shall we read our children a book? Nah, there is an app for that. Just because there is an easier way to achieve a somewhat similar result, doesn't mean it is the best way. It is by far, a poor substitute for family interaction. 

If we wait too long to develop this crucial interaction, our children will no longer be interested. You'll have a much more difficult time getting their attention and keeping it. After all, they are becoming increasingly technologically driven and expect just about everything they see and touch to interact right back. Their attention spans are diminishing, and the humble story is having more and more trouble holding their focus. 

Make reading with your kids an important part of your day as much as theirs. Imagine for a moment just how much their concentration and oral comprehension skills will improve, if you are able to captivate them with little more than the written word, the sound of your voice, and a picture now and then. 

Those precious memories you generate will be long lasting, and the skills you help them develop, will benefit them a life time. 

Buy a book, borrow one, or make up your own tale. What's important is that YOU take part, and not a machine. 

Happy Reading Folks!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Paying Twice for Exercise

In the not too distant past, people were active. People worked physically hard, both in and outside their homes, and often at work too. 

Folks cooked their meals from raw ingredients. They didn't reheat them or cook from frozen. They rarely ate out or purchased take-out, and they certainly didn't have food delivery services on speed dial. Many families even grew much of what they ate, in their own back yards.

People cleaned their own houses. They did their own chores, washed their own cars, did their own laundry, and even mowed their own lawn. Yes... It was a time of true DIY. 

But what do we have now?

So many people do so precious little of their own physically demanding work. They hire cleaners for their homes. Have other people do their laundry. Pay a regular service to cut the grass, pull the weeds and tidy the garden.  They rarely cook, and when they do, it's more appropriately described as reheating. 

Then there is work. Oh yes... Those long days of sitting down behind a desk. Sure it is draining and damaging to posture, eye sight, and a whole pile of other parts of the body, but it can hardly be described as calorie burning. 

So when it comes to calorie burning manual labor, we as a society, do less at home and work. And then what?

After spending all our hard earned money, paying other people to do things we really ought to do for ourselves, we worry we aren't getting enough exercise. So we pay even more money to a gym or personal trainer to help us burn calories. 

We work longer hours, to make more money, to pay other people to do our physically demanding chores. Only to bemoan our lack of time to get to the gym to burn those calories and make use of those expensive gym memberships. 

Here's a thought folks...
Why don't we spend more time with our families, and do these chores together.  Make them fun. Pass on valuable, practical life skills from generation to generation. Generate a sense of pride in a job well done, and an appreciation for the effort required to complete the task. You'll soon find people being able to relate to each other and enjoy each other's company, without having to be "entertained" while doing so. 

You will burn more calories, develop better relationships, save money, and gain skills that are slowly slipping away from the average family. 

What's not to like?  

It works for my family. Maybe it will work for yours too?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Why I Mow the Lawn

My husband is a wonderful gentleman, who always looks out for my best interests. He is also much larger than I am, so when it comes to matters of perceived heavy lifting or strenuous chores, he can not fathom why I would want to do them, when he is able. In the case of most such activities, I gladly leave matters to him, but mowing the lawn is different.  

I actually want to mow the lawn. Most people think I'm odd and don't understand (especially the neighbours that have witnessed me cut the grass pregnant, wearing a dress, and in heels), but there are many reasons why it sounds like a good idea to me: 

• We have a small yard and a very light-weight, battery operated mower (easier to push than a laden stroller), so the matter of physical difficulty is certainly a perception and not reality.  

• If I can afford my boys some dedicated "Daddy time" playing basketball, then I'm delighted to do so. If I can be outside gardening and sneaking a peek at their delight, without intruding on their fun, then all the better. Our family is together and that makes me happy.  

• It's fresh air and exercise.  

• We seem to spend so much of our modern lives seemingly spinning our wheels, that it's nice to do a simple, fast, task that yields a clearly visible result.  

Most people can understand or possibly even relate to many of the reasons I've listed above, but now is where I usually tend to lose most folks... 

• It's relaxing!  

I'm a person who doesn't relax easily. My mind is almost constantly racing and juggling many topics at once. Telling me to "relax" is like putting someone afraid of heights, at the top of a cliff, and telling them not to look down. Sure, my mind will still juggle dozens of topics at once while mowing the lawn, but at least it does so quite a bit slower while mowing the lawn.  

Perhaps it is the glorious monotony of the task, or the patterns that begin to emerge in the grass with every pass. Maybe it's the fresh air and exercise. Maybe it's hearing my boys giggle while playing with Daddy just a few steps away. These things make me calmer, dare I say it... perhaps even slightly "relaxed"? 

I like to mow the lawn. I know that makes me a little odd, but I'm ok with that.