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Simplicity Parenting Book Club – Chapter Six & Epilogue
Welcome to our last Simplicity Parenting book club discussion! You can view also view discussion one, two and three.
I’ve really enjoyed re-reading this book and am glad that I have it to re-read over the years. My copy is now all highlighted up and I’m sure I’ll be borrowing it out to friends.
Thank you to everyone who joined in for this online book club! Now, let’s get on to the last couple of chapters . . .
CHAPTER SIX – FILTERING OUT THE ADULT WORLD
The pressure is off when childhood is no longer seen as an “enrichment opportunity” but instead as an unfolding experience – an ecology – with its own pace and natural systems. – page 165
Since I was re-reading this book I feel like I should have remembered that “Andy” wasn’t an uncle at all, but actually the television, but I totally forgot. This book was written nine years ago and it’s amazing how much the idea of “television” has really changed since then. Us, as well as many people I know, no longer subscribe to any kind of cable service but instead just use Netflix. The benefit of Netflix is you that you can have more control over what your kids are watching, and, no commercials!
A critical step in simplifying your children’s daily lives is to simplify the “screens” in your home. – page 168
Even the idea of “screens” has changed, where it used to be more TV and video games now there are tablets and phones that are taking up an increasing amount of a child’s time.
Michael Gurian, author of The Mind of Boys, has pointed out how the passivity of television is especially worrisome for young boys, whose brain growth is particularly dependent on physical movement. – page 172
Reduce your exposure to media, and particularly media news. – page 180
The section about helicopter parenting was very fascinating to me. I don’t pay attention to the news much because I find it can get consuming and make me worry but the stats on how kidnappings (by strangers) haven’t gotten any more frequent in the last twenty years was incredibly surprising to me. I always say that I trust my kids, but I don’t trust other people and this actually helped to put a lot of my fears to rest.
Our relation to media and technology is not an “all or nothing” or “one size fits all” proposition, just as our needs – as children and adults – vary greatly. And as parents, we have control over media’s place in our homes, and in our children’s daily lives. We can do without ; we can set and enforce limits. We can harness the power of less. – page 173
Why did Laura and Mary do what Pa said? The short answer is this: Pa didn’t say too much . . . Several of the suggestions and tips that I offer to help parents back out of over-involvement boil down to this: say less. – page 185
The above quote and this one really go together to me:
The word I often hear from dads is calm. A sense of calm is what they strive to provide to the joint task of child rearing. – page 195
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of saying less and a feeling of calm since reading this chapter and while it is one I can say 100% that I agree with, having it play out is a lot harder. Bot my children talked well at a young age and I think part of that was because I was doing what we are told to do as parents: talking out everything you are doing for your children; “Now mom is going to put your shoes on and then we are going to go for a walk . . . .” And I am pretty sure I have continued the habit of talking out a lot of what I am doing (obviously not to the same extent), I’m not sure if it is because of that or because I’ve always been a talker (my kindergarten report card says so, so it must be true). But now I have two kids who talk constantly and it’s exhausting, especially when one of those kids doesn’t do so well at self entertaining and when he sister is doing something on her own he will follow me around and chatter my ear off. While I don’t want to squelch his personality or appear uninterested I want to teach him: true, kind, and mostly necessary.
I think the idea of true, kind, necessary can go for both parents and children and it’s definitely something we need to work on.
As we multitask, this might be one of our most difficult tasks: to just notice, to quietly bear witness. To be a parent is to have one’s attention split several ways in any given situation, and we often try to bridge our fractured focus with words, As a result, it is very powerful when we are able to acknowledge something quietly, to not fill the space with words; to not bend, bolster, or embellish. To turn away from the email, the phone, or the next important thing, and to over – even briefly – our full and silent attention. – page 187
Like I mentioned last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about meaningful connection, which involves full attention and less distraction. For a person who highly values productivity this can be a hard lesson to follow through on but it is something I am trying to be more aware of.
It’s a misnomer to think that we are “sharing” with our children when we include them in adult conversations about adult concerns. Sharing suggests an equal and mutual exchange, one that is impossible for a child to offer and unfair for an adult to expect. – page 189
This is another section that hits home for me. I have one child who is very observant and will pick up on conversations that are not meant for her that are going on around her. Often you won’t even know that she was listening until later when she will ask for clarification on something you were talking about. This can be tricky because we are not intentionally trying to include her in the conversations but she is just so aware of what is going on around her. We have recently tried to make more of an effort to have these conversations out of her earshot.
QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER SIX
- How do you feel about the amount of screen time your children have?
- Did the statistic that shared that kidnapping has not gone up in the past 20 years surprise you at all?
- Is calm a word you are striving for in your home?
- Out of the phrase: true, kind, necessary, which one do you find you need to implement more in your home?
- What are some ways you can make meaningful connections more of a priority in your home?
- Do you tend to include your kids in adult conversation too much? Or do you have a child that has a tendency to pick up on conversations that weren’t meant for their ears?
EPILOGUE – SIMPLICITY PARENTING TO GO
The process of simplification – a shifting of a family’s core axis = is usually driven by a parent’s simple desire to protect the ease and wonder of their child’s early years. I’ve seen the wisdom of starting small, of beginning with the possible, relishing the results, and allowing success to then fuel the process. I’ve found that what works best is to simplify the child’s life first: to declutter their overloaded rooms, diets and schedules, and to increase the rhythm and regularity of the home. – page 211
I feel like Simplicity Parenting is an ongoing journey. We need to make a point to pause frequently and check to see if we have overloaded our lives too much and if there are areas where we need to simplify. I don’t think it’s a level we achieve and then we no longer need to try, but it’s more like a journey we are continually on.
QUESTIONS FOR THE EPILOGUE
- Any other comments or thoughts on the book?
And that’s it for Simplicity Parenting! Thank you to all who joined in for this book club!
1. Screen time goal is little to none before the age of two. The trouble I am going to have with this is my husband’s focus on screens for entertainment. Any free moment there is a show he has to catch up on or a game he has to play. I struggle discussing it because it feels like nagging. I just don’t want tv and video games to be the thing to do in free time and we lead by example.
2. I am actually not surprised that kidnapping has not increased. Reason being that parents are less trusting of their children when outside. They are constantly being watched and hand held. I did find the statistics about the runaways and custody battle very interesting.
3. Calm would be how I hope to describe our lives tomorrow, one year, 5 years etc. This would be my dream. Too much activity causes increase in anxiety. Constantly Worrying if things will go as planned.
I have some relatives who speak to their recently 4 yr old son with long explanations, repeated requests and cajoling. He is a good kid but I know he has tune them out.
4. True, kind and necessary.
Kind could use some work. It runs over into the unnecessary category as well. We have the habit of discussing things in a very judgmental manner. I know we need to change now since our tone and attitude can be picked up by my son even at an early age.
5. I notice Meaningful connections when no words are necessary. Playing in the backyard and just smiling and encouraging my son to touch the crunchy dead leaf again. Something as simple as being present while he discovers his world can feel very deep.
6. Right now we are free with our adult conversation. He is onle one and doesn’t understand but that will change without a red flag to alert us. Starting good habits early may save is stress later on.
I already feel I need to reread to absorb more simplicity attitudes. I know I will need to review in the years to come and hopefully it will be proactive and not in response to things getting out of hand in one way or another. If only I could get my husband to read it!
Thanks so much for joining in on the discussion, Erika! I’m excited that you are starting to think about Simplicity Parenting while your little guy is so young! It’s harder to undo what you’ve started than to never start at all, especially when it comes to stuff like screen time – a good book on this topic is The Tech-Wise Family. They pretty much didn’t have screens until their kids were 10 and while that sounds like a great idea I think it would be a lot harder to go from having screen to getting rid of them instead of starting the journey without them. That being said, this week we were watching this amazing documentary about Canadian animals and we learned so much. “Screens” can be very different – there is passive watching, there is engaging and their is also knowledge gaining screens.
Enjoy your simplicity parenting journey!