• BOOKS

    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

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    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.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    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

    1. How do you feel about the amount of screen time your children have?
    2. Did the statistic that shared that kidnapping has not gone up in the past 20 years surprise you at all?
    3. Is calm a word you are striving for in your home?
    4. Out of the phrase: true, kind, necessary, which one do you find you need to implement more in your home?
    5. What are some ways you can make meaningful connections more of a priority in your home?
    6. 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?

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    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

    1. 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!

  • BOOKS

    Simplicity Parenting Book Club – Chapters Four & Five

    Welcome to week three, also known as the second last week of the Simplicity Parenting book club! Next week I will be finishing off the discussion with chapters six and the epilogue.

    If you missed the previous weeks you can see week one here and week two here.

     

    CHAPTER FOUR – RHYTHM

    I used to balk at the word rhythm, conjuring up visuals of an unending boring routine. I truly enjoy change, I welcome, embrace and go looking for change and for so long I was afraid of any word that I viewed as the opposite (rhythm, routine, tradition, etc), but in the last while I’ve actually come to enjoy the idea of rhythm. Oddly, I think it started when I began eating the same breakfast every morning. With one less decision to make each morning my day instantly started out more relaxed than it had been and I started looking for other daily rhythms I could include in my life.

    Where well-established rhythms exist, there is much less parental verbiage, less effort and fewer problems around transitions. – page 103

    Embracing rhythm has been a rather new inclusion into my own life and I am only now starting to introduce rhythms into the lives of my children. The quote above was one that really inspired me to start some rhythms with my children because with homeschooling and being around them all day I get tired of repeating the same things over and over again, I need less parental verbiage in my life.

    A few places I want/am starting to implement this in the lives of my children: morning routine (breakfast, brushing teeth, doing chores, etc), putting things away immediately after playing with them (I foresee us working on this one for a long time) and the bedtime routine. We do have a few daily rhythms already, our strongest one being our lunch routine where I get the food on the table and the kids get our next audiobook set up and we listen as we eat. That’s a routine we’ll be carrying on for quite some time.

    A sense of rhythm in the home can increase these moments of pause. There’s something about being there consistently for kids that allows them to “pick their spots” and open up to you when nothing much is happening. You’re familiar, consistent and predictable. – page 109

     

    I loved the emphasis on relationships in this chapter.

    Relationships are forged in pauses . . . the ordinary, incidental moments that have extraordinary cumulative power. – 113

    Every evening my daughter wants to have our evening chat, with the lights off this is a time where she shares her thoughts and asks questions, and sometimes it even turns into a confessional of things she feels guilty about. This was not a rhythm I set out to make but rather one that she started naturally and we’ve both grown to look forward to.

     

    A sense of rhythm sets a steady beat, but allows for wonderful high notes. Children react to such unexpected pleasures with genuine appreciation. Occasional high notes are welcome against a steady rhythm. Very different from this are the tones of continual escalation. That song, by another name, is entitlement. – page 122

    I was excited to see how much reading stories is a rhythm that has so many benefits. I mean, I knew it did but I often read about them in homeschooling books so to see the same information in a different kind of book was nice.

    Sharing stories and reading with your children is a rhythm that extends  your power as a parent . . . In doing so you offer security and connection – true of the best of rhythms. You also provide magic, with the circle of light from the beside table as the stage. You throw open doors with stories, to other lands, to the magical, to the past and the future; you emphasize the importance of now while introducing the infinite. – page 130

    Most of the reading I do with my children comes during the morning in our homeschool. I take a literature based approach to our schooling so most of what we do is story based. I really love the idea of reading to the kids before bed but as of right now the bedtime routine is one of exhaustion for me and adding something else in is just not possible right now.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER FOUR

    1. What kind of family rhythms do you already have in place?
    2. Are there any rhythms you want to start?
    3. Do you read stories to your kids? What time do you find is best for this?
    4. Do you have any other thoughts on this chapter or are there any quotes that jumped out at you?

     

    CHAPTER FIVE – SCHEDULES

    This chapter was one I was excited about because this is the one area where I feel like I am doing things well. There is the odd week here and there that gets a little busier than I would like but I intentionally keep my calendar fairly open.

    This chapter really reaffirmed some of the decisions I’ve made to not enroll my kids into a bunch of different extra curricular activities at this age even though so many of their peers are.

    I don’t believe a child’s love of an activity protects them from the stress of doing too much of it, too young I think an interest, if genuine, is sustainable over time. What’s more, a healthy interest requires time and the ballast of leisure and other interests for it to deepen and endure. – page 138

    While my kids have done some extra curricular activities in the past we limit it to a maximum of one a season. This last year they both took a homeschool fencing class in January to March and then in the spring May & June my daughter played softball, something she has wanted to do for years and my son decided he didn’t want to do anything, a choice I was totally okay with!

    For this school year we are not enrolling the kids in any extra curricular and instead I want to focus on meaningful connections with those around us instead.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

    Meaningful connections at great-grandma’s house.

     

    Think of boredom as a “gift” . . . boredom is often the precursor to creativity. Think of a bridge between “doing nothing” and the sort of deep creative play we talked about. The bridge is almost always paved with (the frustration of) boredom. “I’m bored.” Now that is when something interesting usually happens. – page 142

     

    Anticipating gratification, rather than expecting or demanding it, strengthens a child’s will. Impulsivity, wanting everything now, leaves the will weak, flaccid. As a child lives with anticipation, as it strengthens over time, so too does their sense of themselves, their ego. It’s ironic, isn’t it? In our on-demand culture it’s easy to forget what tremendous power can develop through waiting. – page 149

    I so agree with this above quote, I never understand people who take their kids on surprise trips because the anticipation is usually at least half of the fun!

     

    Ordinary days are the sustaining notes of daily life. They are the notes that allow high notes to be high and low notes to be low; they provide tone and texture. If a child’s happiness is not hinged on the high notes – not hinged on exceptional events or having exceptional talents – then they have a true gift. An exceptional character. They may be able to live their life with an appreciation for the moment, for the simple pleasures of an ordinary day. Can you imagine anything better? – page 153

    I had never thought about ordinary days this way before and yet I feel like it is so accurate. While grand adventures are fun they wouldn’t be fun if they were an every day thing, you need the ordinary to make the grand adventures feel larger than life.

     

    Self-directed play builds multiple and emotional intelligences. It fosters the skills necessary to navigate an uncertain future, one that will demand increasing flexibility and creative problem solving. Play is not an old-fashioned thing of the past. Unstructured play – and plenty of it – is a developmental necessity for kids. – page 158

    Free play is so fun for kids and fun to watch as a parent. Some weeks my kids are better at this than others and this last week has been one where they have been off playing together for hours on end, making house boats and endless other imaginative play.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER FIVE

    1. Are there some ways you can add more free, unscheduled time into your child’s day?
    2. Are there different areas in your schedule where you need to simplify?
    3. How can you model the importance of downtime and balance?
    4. Do you have any other thoughts on this chapter or are there any quotes that jumped out at you?
  • BOOKS

    Simplicity Parenting Book Club – Chapters Two & Three

    I just finished reading through the book earlier this week and I am excited to chat about all the chapters. Today we will be discussing chapters two and three.

    Here’s what’s coming up in the next two weeks:

    September 19 – chapters 4 & 5
    September 26 – chapter 6 & epilogue

    What I love about re-reading books is how different sections and quotes jump out at me each time. Unfortunately the first time I read through this one I read a library book but there have been times before when I’ve read a book I own a few times over and I try to use a different color of highlighter as I go through and it is fun to see what jumps out at me each time.

     

    Simplicity Parenting online book club discussion for chapters two and three

     

    CHAPTER TWO – SOUL FEVER

    I found the idea of soul fever an interesting one. My son is very prone to febrile seizures so whenever he has a fever we are on very high alert, if only we were on such alert when it came to soul fevers!

    I found the difference between how introverted children and extroverted children deal with soul fevers fascinating because I love personality tests and am a pretty strong introvert myself. That being said, I don’t necessarily agree with the descriptions of how each type of child deals with soul fever, I think what is described in the book: introverts withdrawing and extroverts responding with anger may be their public responses I think at home, where they are more comfortable children can act either way.

    I actually didn’t highlight a whole lot in this chapter except in the Bringing them Close section, there I highlighted two sentences:

    Sometimes a child who is “off their game” does not need pampering so much as a quiet assurance of our presence and availability. – page 46

    And also:

    When your child seems to deserve affection least, that’s when they need is most. – page 48

    I think these two quotes jumped out at me because they aren’t my natural tendency. I definitely tend to lean more toward the cold, independent, always-having-something-on-the-go kind of parent, which feels absolutely awful to write but I’m not naturally an affectionate, snugly person which is something my children often desire from me.

    That being said, I do make time and space for my children, it has naturally happened that the evenings, when the lights are out and I am tucking them into bed, their thoughts; their fears, their dreams, etc, all come tumbling out. When this first happened with my daughter I really wanted to shush her and just get her to sleep because I was also exhausted but now I have learned to start the bedtime routine a little earlier so we have time for this unleashing of all the thoughts.

    By simplifying we take clear, consistent steps to provide our child what they need – time, ease, and compassion – to process what is bothering them. – page 50

    Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of meaningful connections, something I will probably write about in the upcoming discussions but I really want to be more intentional with my interactions with my children (and others) and make them connections rather than something more passive.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER TWO

    1. What kind of indications do your children usually show when they are overwhelmed?
    2. How do you “bring them close”?
    3. What steps do you feel you need to take after reading this chapter?
    4. Any other thoughts on chapter two?

     

    Simplicity Parenting online book club discussion for chapters two and three

     

    CHAPTER THREE – ENVIRONMENT

    This chapter is one I can really understand. I am a highly sensitive person raising a highly sensitive child and I know that environment can play a huge role in helping eliminate occurrences of overload.

    Ever since my daughter was about three I’ve been hyper-aware of visual clutter. I mean to say I became aware that I was hyper aware. That probably sounds ridiculous but it was at that point that I realize how much visual clutter affected me mentally and emotionally. As a result I’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of stuff in our home and especially the visual clutter.

    It’s not an easy road to walk though. We have this awesome pipe shelf that I love and earlier this year we bought an awesome bookcase that looks gorgeous full of colorful books but honestly, it all becomes too much for me. I originally had them located beside each other and that was way too much, I’ve now moved them so I can only look at one at a time and that has helped tremendously. But honestly, knowing what I know now, I never would have got my husband to build the pipe shelf nor would I have purchased the bookcase if I would have realized how much the visual busyness would affect me.

     

    Simplicity Parenting online book club discussion for chapters two and three

     

    Should I even start talking about Lego? We are at this really unique place where my daughter is just about to turn eight and has realized she doesn’t need many toys. But Lego? That’s the exception. She always wants more Lego. Plus, any parent can attest that no matter how much you try Lego hardly ever stays in its designated space and never does it stay off the floor. I’ve come to accept this for the most part. To help myself out I keep the Lego in an area of the house I don’t go to often but when I do need to go there I’m instantly overwhelmed. And when it comes time to clean up I know my daughter feels the same way.

    I’ve even noticed the overwhelm that is felt when it is time for the kids to clean their rooms. Even though we try to keep most toys out of their room and try to get them to clean it once a day if friends come over and it ends up looking like a tornado went through the kids end up needing help to get started in the cleaning or they don’t even know where to begin.

    Phew, if you could see how quickly I typed all that up you would realize that I feel very strongly about this!

    Here is the paradigm shift that I am suggesting for toys: Less is more. No special toys, or quantity of toys, is necessary to develop a child’s imagination. Children use and grow their imaginations quite naturally. They only need time to do so. Plenty of open-ended time, and mental ease. – page 62

    I’ve noticed something interesting over the last few years. As I’ve tried to scale back the toys my children have I’ve looked up a number of different lists that claim to have a list of toys that each minimalist family should have, except the list ends up being so long! Now, each of the toys listed are great, they are opened ended toys like blocks, dress up clothes, dolls, art materials, books, vehicles, etc, but each “toy” includes at least a handful, for example, “blocks” often comes in sets of at least 50-100, art materials . . . don’t even get me started! It’s all great stuff but it all adds up. And I’m not judging here, we still have more toys than I want (and I have more stuff than I need) but even people who claim to be “minimalists” can still end up with a mountain of toys.

     

    Simplicity Parenting online book club discussion for chapters two and three

     

    One thing we do in this stage where the kids still have more toys than I like is we place most of them in a room with the toys in bins and we rotate them as the kids ask, similar to the toy library mentioned in the book. Actually, if they want something out they need to let me know and they exchange that for a toy they already have out. It’s a good system for this stage in life and it helps keep the visual clutter lower, plus it helps me realize which toys they play with (the ones they ask for often) and which ones they don’t (the ones that just sit in the room).

    The less exposure a child has to media, especially television, the less vulnerable they will be to advertising’s intentional and unintentional messages. – page 58

    I find the above quote to be very true, and even taking it a step further, I’ve noticed that since my children don’t attend school they don’t come home asking for things they have heard other kids talking about. There have been a few popular, “fad” toys in the last year that my children haven’t even asked for because they not only didn’t seem them on TV (we have Netflix, so no commercials!) but they also haven’t heard about them from their friends at school.

    If one speedy race car is a delight, that does not meant that three of them will be delight cubed. – page 74

    I have yet to figure out how to avoid over-gifting from well intentioned grandparents and great-grandparents. At this point it is just something we accept and if it something that they move on from quickly we end up donating it to our local thrift store.

    Over all when it comes to toys I’ve come to the realization that I know exactly how many toys children need: ZERO. My kids can play with receipts, plates, a table, blankets, etc, etc, it doesn’t have to be a “toy” to be fun. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we will be going down to zero toys, though I am tempted to most days, but it’s just a reminder that we don’t need to constantly be buying, buying, buying.

     

    Simplicity Parenting online book club discussion for chapters two and three

     

    That all being said, books are definitely my weakness and I felt really called out in the books section of this chapter. When talking about the kid who was blasting through the Magic Tree House series he said “not reading as much as consuming” (page 87), I can definitely see that as an issue in our house, and that is all my fault. Since reading this section a few weeks ago I’ve intentionally been requesting less books from the library and my daughter has been re-reading the books she owns that she loves, without the pressure of knowing the books are going back to the library in a couple of weeks.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER THREE

    1. What kind of toys do you find the hardest to get rid of?
    2. Is there a way you can help simplify your children’s rooms to make them a more restful place?
    3. What steps do you feel you need to take after reading this chapter?
    4. Any other thoughts on chapter three?

     

    That’s all for these two chapters! I’ll be back next week to share my thoughts on chapters four and five. Now you can share your thoughts in the comment section below, I’ll be sure to reply to your comments!

  • BOOKS,  INTENTION,  MOTHER CULTURE,  PARENTING

    Simplicity Parenting Book Club – Introduction & Chapter One

    Welcome to the first week of our Simplicity Parenting book club! This week will be be chatting about the introduction and chapter 1, here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:

    September 12 – chapters 2 & 3
    September 19 – chapters 4 & 5
    September 26 – chapter 6 & epilogue

    This book was a re-read for me. I believe I read it for the first time about four years ago. What I really enjoy about the book is how practical and straight forward it is. The idea of simplicity parenting is not a hard one to grasp but it can be a difficult one to actually follow through on.

    While this book is (to my knowledge) not written by Christians and I think it is the kind of book that Christians and non-Christians alike can learn from. I actually think a lot of the ideas in the book are very biblical; Jesus himself had hardly any possessions and one of my favorite parables is when he tells the rich, young ruler to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. Obviously your heart and motives have a lot to do with it but I think this book can be a great reality check for a lot of parents.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    HOW THIS BOOK CLUB WORKS

    I am going to share some of my thoughts on these chapters and ask a few questions throughout the post, I would love it if you would leave your thoughts and responses in the comment section below. It would work even better if you can make sure to come back and see if others have replied to your thoughts as well, let’s keep the discussion going! There is also the option to subscribe to comments so you can be sure to get emails when others comment on this post and your comment.

    We are all learning and growing as parents so let’s remember to be respectful of others on this journey. Disagreeing with someone is fine but let’s keep things polite, don’t post a comment you wouldn’t say out loud in front of other people.

     

    INTRODUCTION

    The introduction was pretty short but there were a few things that stuck out to me this chapter . . .

    First of all the statistic that said “children have lost more than twelve hours of free time a week in the past two decades.” This stat came from David Elkind’s book, The Power of Play, I tried to find the exact stats that shared exactly how much free time children had two decades ago and how much they have now but I couldn’t find any definite numbers.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    Since I couldn’t find any specific numbers I started thinking about how much free time my children have. Right away I see that we are at a huge advantage in this area because we homeschool. While many school children around us spend 30-60 minutes a day on the bus and then six hours at school my children complete all their school work in less than two hours, already giving them the advantage of at least four extra hours each day, and if I’m honest, most days those extra hours are spent in free play.

    I thought this line from the introduction sums up the entire book very well:

    Simplification is often about “doing” less, and trusting more. Trusting that -if they have the time and security- children will explore their worlds in the way, and at a pace, that works best for them. – page XIII

    We have become a culture that over-parents our children and a huge part of simplicity parenting is taking a step back, saying no to many things (even good things) so that our children have space to be children.

     

    QUESTIONS FOR THE INTRODUCTION

    1. How many hours do you children spend in free time each week? How could you increase this number?
    2. Any other thoughts on the introduction?

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    CHAPTER ONE – WHY SIMPLIFY

    There has been this amazing phenomena of more in the last 10-15 years. I think it came on us so slowly that many of us didn’t even see it coming (and many don’t even know it is here). If you think back to your childhood chances are you had a lot more than your parents did when they were young, but compare what you had to what your children have now, I’m guessing for most of us we would have to admit our children have more.

    The thing is, it’s fun to give. More is fun, until it’s not . . .

    There is a big part of me that wishes I could play the more game. I wish I could want a huge, perfect house and a brand new vehicle, a camper with regular trips to the lake. I wish I wanted all the clothes and to look perfect all the time. But honestly, I don’t.

    We started to play the more game shortly after we were married. We started out as broke newlyweds with my husband fresh out of college in a low paying job and me in university full time. We lived in a house trailer that leaked in the spring and the furnace broke in the winter. And when the house shifted in the winter the front door would become so jammed it was next to impossible to open the door. The floor in the bathroom was obviously rotting under the linoleum because the toilet was crooked and it always felt like you were going to fall through.

    We started at what I would call pretty near the bottom. We lived month to month as we struggled to afford our tiny mortgage but over the next few years Jared got a better job and I finished university and started working. All of a sudden the money was coming in! We sold that trashy trailer and moved into something bigger and better. And it wasn’t long before we wanted something better than that.

    Once you start playing the more game it doesn’t stop unless you make it.

    And I’m ready to stop it.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    Reasons I want to simplify:

    • to give more
    • to travel more
    • to be intentional with my time and money
    • to be intentional with motherhood during this season
    • to have more of less

    When you simplify a child’s “world”, you prepare the way for positive change and growth. This preparatory work is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information and too much speed. – page 5

    I am excited to change life so it is no longer built on the “four pillars of too much”. I’ve been working on these for the past few years and have come a long way but still feel like I have farther to go.

    The pillar of “too much speed” is not usually a problem for me. I’m an introvert and know it so I intentionally build a lot of white space into my week. Sure, there are the odd weeks where it seems like everything is happening at the same time (holidays are usually the worst) but it helps knowing those aren’t long seasons.

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    LET’S TALK TOYS

    Before having children I did not realize that toys would be such an issue. By “such an issue” I mean, keeping them to a minimum! It seems nearly every place we go gives out toys these days: the dentist, the grocery story, the restaurant, and those are just on regular days, never mind what happens when a child has a birthday or it’s Christmas!

    I actually have a post on here from last year where I did an experiment where I took my kids’ toys away. It was a great experiment and really worked to show us all that the kids play with the same few toys and definitely don’t need the heaps that society teaches us they need. (I also have a free Eliminating Kids Clutter course that is similar to the toy elimination process in the book).

    My kids are at a fun stage where they actually realize they only want a select few toys instead of everything they see. Now if I could just get them to see that while they love Lego and play with it for hours each day, they don’t need all the Lego.

    The problem in our house though is not getting rid of toys but keeping them out of the house. I think we’ll talk a bit more about this in future chapters to come.

    I completely agree with these statements:

    By reducing mental and physical clutter, simplification increases a family’s ability to flow together, to focus and deepen their attention, to realign their lives with their dreams. – page 23

    Yet simplification is not just about taking things away. It is about making room, creating space in your life, your intentions, and your heart. With less physical and mental clutter, your attention expands and your awareness deepens. – page 34

     

    Simplicity Parenting Online Book Club

     

    QUESTIONS FOR CHAPTER ONE

    1. What are your reasons for wanting to simplify?
    2. Which of the “four pillars of too much” do you find you struggle with the most? And which, if any, is the easiest?
    3. What were your perceived family values before having children? Are you actually living by them now?
    4. Have you decluttered your kids’ toys? How did the process go?
    5. Do you have any other thoughts on chapter one?

     

    Thanks for joining me for the first week of the Simplicity Parenting book club! Go ahead and leave your comments below, I am excited for the discussion to start and for the discussions we will have over the next few weeks.

  • BOOKS,  MOTHER CULTURE

    Simplicity Parenting – A Free Online Book Club

    You know those books that people just rave and rave about? Simplicity Parenting is one of those books.

    I read it for myself a number of years ago and really enjoyed it and have been meaning to read it again it as we have been in this season in our family life right now where I think it would be the perfect time to re-read it.

    The sub-title for the book is: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – seriously, what parent doesn’t want that?!

    I took a poll in my Instagram stories a few days ago and asked if a) people would be interested in having an online book club with this book and b) if they would prefer for the book club to be in August or September.

    The response was amazing, lots of you were interested in the book club but the month was split almost 50/50 with September just a little ahead. Since September gives people a little more time to get their hands on the book I will officially be hosting a Simplicity Parenting Book Club here on the blog in September!

     

    Free Simplicity Parenting online book club for moms!

     

    I’ve hosted a few online book clubs before, some on Instagram, some in the courses section of this site but this time I made the decision to keep it as easy as possible for everyone and each week I will be sharing my thoughts on the book and asking questions here on the blog in regular blog post form and you can chime in via the comment section.

    The posts/discussion will be weekly, I am just waiting for my copy of the book and then I will share the complete reading/discussion schedule.

    Update! Here’s the discussion schedule:

    September 5 – introduction & chapter 1
    September 12 – chapters 2 & 3
    September 19 – chapters 4 & 5
    September 26 – chapter 6 & epilogue

    Want a little more info about the book? I pulled this from Amazon 😉 :

    Simplicity Parenting offers inspiration, ideas, and a blueprint for change:

    • Streamline your home environment. Reduce the amount of toys, books, and clutter—as well as the lights, sounds, and general sensory overload.
    • Establish rhythms and rituals. Discover ways to ease daily tensions, create battle-free mealtimes and bedtimes, and tell if your child is overwhelmed.
    • Schedule a break in the schedule. Establish intervals of calm and connection in your child’s daily torrent of constant doing.
    • Scale back on media and parental involvement. Manage your children’s “screen time” to limit the endless deluge of information and stimulation.

    A manifesto for protecting the grace of childhood, Simplicity Parenting is an eloquent guide to bringing new rhythms to bear on the lifelong art of raising children.

    If you would like to join the book club just fill in your name and email address in the form below and I’ll email out the reading and discussion schedule as soon as I have it planned and I will email you each week in September when that weeks discussion is up.

    If you have ideas for our next book club after this one leave a comment below!

     

    UPDATE: We read and discussed the book club in September! You can check out the posts below:

    introduction & chapter 1
    chapters 2 & 3
    chapters 4 & 5
    chapter 6 & epilogue

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