Tuesday, October 16, 2012
After my shower this morning, I came downstairs to begin my day. I had done some soul-searching last night after a wonderful talk with my husband, and I felt like I had once again pushed "course correction" on my life's dashboard.
Already written on my legal yellow pad were some notes for the day: lots of To Dos, menus for meals, and ideas / things to think about. Despite all my good intentions, though, I felt myself being pulled magnet-like toward my laptop ("just" to check email and facebook), my TV news channel of choice (what happened in politics overnight??), my cell phone (any texts yet?), and even my Bose radio (local talk radio...).
I had to consciously about-face myself away from these things so I could try to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost guide my day's beginning efforts. What was needful this morning? How could I put "first things first" and not be bombarded by the world before the clock even struck 7:00am?
After a quick but heartfelt prayer while I stood in my family room, and a remembering of what I was to be about this day, I squashed that addictive pull to all things plugged-in, and returned my list. Oh yeah, here's where I wanted to start:
* I ran back upstairs and hopped on the scale for the first time in a long time. I confronted the dial square-on, no excuses. Another starting point in my continual effort to gain control over this physical body of mine, and then recorded on my yellow pad.
* Next, to the kitchen sink to wash, tear, and salad-spin some wonderful greens for the next few days: a perfect head of Boston lettuce, beautiful red-leaf lettuce, a handful of fresh, chopped parsley and green onions. Spun, into a big Ziploc bag, into the fridge, and ready for future quick salads.
* Beautiful instrumental CD on to welcome the family downstairs for breakfast. Today, slow-simmering Snoqualmie Falls oatmeal with vanilla soymilk, chopped pecans and bananas, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.
* A beginning load of whites into the washing machine.
Thirty minutes of perfect and productive little tasks got my morning off on the right foot ... today! (Yesterday was a completely different story, but happy to say, I'm now moving forward again!!)
I read an article recently about most churches' falling attendance, and how some are restructuring their Sunday meetings. They are trying to reappeal to families who feel they don't have time to devote an hour to church on Sundays, or feel like it has lost its relevance, or that it's just plain boring. In order to win back members, some churches are offering shorter, thirty-minute services, or a meeting comprised largely of live rock band music, or of interactive activities for children built-in to the service. According to this article, these things are slowly working and pews are beginning to fill up again.
This really got me thinking: ANY amount of church is a wonderful thing, but are we and our children so busy and plugged-in and entertainment-driven that we are no longer willing to, or capable of, devote(ing) Sunday to the Lord? How have we gone from living the commandment of "keeping the Sabbath day holy" as many of our grandparents did, to an hour of regular Sunday worship, to a quick in-and-out service so that we can get back to our weekend? What are we teaching our children about the value and beauty in worshipping the Lord, of learning to be still for real periods of time so that the Spirit can speak to us, and of sacrificing our immediate wants for something greater? Has our need to be entertained first hurt our abilities to be introspective and quiet and open to being led by a Higher Power?
This is something that all modern families struggle with, I think. I've had many conversations with friends over the years about how to push back the world and remember family togetherness and personal spirituality: family prayer, reading out-loud, playing board games, working on projects, and just plain old talking and laughing together are ideas we have discussed. When my little family makes the effort to do these things, there is a joy that permeates the walls of our home that is nearly tangible, we remember why we love each other so much, and are more cognizant of the blessings of God in our lives. When we don't, stress overtakes, tempers can flare, and we can feel like we're on parallel paths with our loved ones...heading the same general direction, but seperately and uninspired.
Our fourteen year-old daughter is a terrific young lady with many talents and strengths, and she is also, in some ways, a very typical teenager. She loves staying up on friends' lives via Instagram, texting, and Facebook, she's familiar with many of the latest youtube videos, she DVRs her favorite TV shows for future watching, and she loves updating her music playlist on her phone. Her nimble fingers can find her favorite radio station on the car stereo before I have even closed my door. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
It takes a constant and sometimes firm hand, with lots of behind-the-scenes prayers of her father and I, to teach her to embrace the good things in our technology-based world without forgetting the simple things that bring true happiness. Our daughter and her peers get figuratively thrown to the wolves in the public high school every day, and it is vital that they each know who they are, what they stand for, and from where they draw their inner strength, so they can navigate those school halls with confidence and success. This is undoubtedly one of my husband's and my greatest focuses right now.
Things that help keep our family headed in the right direction:
**daily family scripture study
**daily family AND one-on-one conversations
**daily family meals (breakfast AND dinner when possible)
**daily family prayer, morning and evening
**daily homework sessions
**daily household or yard jobs
**regular family FUN!
Obviously, the operative words in the little list above are the words "daily" and "family". The trick is to not let life get too busy that we run out of time to do the important things. And our rule is that cell phones are off-limits for all of us during these sacred family times. We are EACH slowly learning to become more disciplined and selective in our plugging-in to the world, to be more in-tune spiritually, and to better value and safeguard our time together. Some days are better than others, but WE ARE TRYING.
What does your family do to stay focused on things of greatest importance? How do you set guidelines for technology in your home?? If you could offer one or two of your best tips, what would they be???