Community, Mental Health

Raising Children and Productivity

Lindy is a young Mum to two energetic boys. Lindy’s house is orderly and tidy, and Lindy works part time in a local law firm. The boys go to Daycare when she is at work, and she reports they love the activities there. Even so, she ensures she makes up for the time away from them, by rewarding them with an extra special outing or activity, on the weekends.

Every day she keeps their young minds busy by taking them out to parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities or plays. They are rarely at home.  Twice a week, they are enrolled in Early Music tuition and next year they will join a junior football team. She is also considering Maths tutoring so that will have a head start on their peers, at school. Lindy wants them to grow up to be motivated and ambitious individuals, living life and experiencing the opportunities she missed during her childhood.

But is she doing the right thing for her boys?

Are the boys benefiting from all these scheduled activities?

Or are they being raised with the expectation that entertainment will be provided, each and every day?  Will they thrive on this daily dose of stimulation, or come to expect it as a birthright? Could they even become victims of information overload?

Some experts now think it’s essential for our mental well-being to make time to relax, unwind and do nothing. But, isn’t that a tad boring? Won’t the kids get into mischief? Do young children really need down time at all? And what about us? Do we really NEED some down time away from the “bling” of notification tones? What is the value of downtime, anyway?

Confucius has some words of wisdom: –

“Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous” – Confucius

As well as Confucius, Forbes offers some insights –

“Introspection and reflection have become lost arts” as we are unable to resist the temptation to ‘just finish this’ or ‘find out that.’

With vast amounts of information at our fingertips, who needs to memorize facts at all?

“Working harder is not necessarily working smarter. In fact  slacking off and setting aside regular periods of ‘doing nothing’ may be the best thing we can do to induce states of mind that nurture our imagination and improve our mental health. “

https://www.forbes.com/sites/insead/2014/07/01/the-importance-of-doing-nothing/#354e533e75e4

Does free-time sound appealing to you? Works for me. Schedule time for Feet up, drink in hand, and letting one’s mind free-wheel. Muting notifications of course.

I hope Lindy and her two boys are listening.

Something to Ponder About

stpa logo
Community

Sunday Sayings – Children and Parenting

Stacia Taunscher quote

Sayings, quotes and proverbs offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way a relay runner might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

sunday sayings

If you are a parent of a young child, you might worry about what your child may or may not do with their life. Often these concerns are unfounded, and the universe sorts everything out in time. Sometimes it doesn’t and we need to listen to our gut feelings, follow up and intervene. But how much intervention is really beneficial?

children parents Vigeland sculpture


‘What parents whisper, their children shout!”


~ Dutch proverb



children

It is a difficult task to know the boundary between what might be considered a helicopter/over-protective parent and on the flip side, a casual approach to child rearing that allows a child to develop without any sort of intervention.

Children are like wet cement – whatever falls on them makes an impression.”

— Haim Ginott, child psychologist

I think most parents try to find that middle ground. Each child’s needs are so uniquely individual.

Christmas gift

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs, quotes and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

LeggyPeggy and I read a relevant article about children, parenting and boredom, that I shared recently on Sunday Sayings. It makes for interesting reading and started me thinking: –

Have we become slaves to the potential to our children? Do we wish them to succeed so much that we bend over backwards in providing the best opportunities for them?

In doing so, have we prevented them from experiencing opportunities that might assist them to become more self-reliant and independent?

as the article suggests.

Teach your children early not to pass the blame or make excuses, but to take responsibility for their actions.”


–Eric Greitens


“Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Today on Sunday Sayings, I am looking at several thoughts on the subject and would love to hear your opinions. You may strongly disagree or agree. Everyone’s opinion is important.

What do you make of the words shared today?


They are invariably Something to Ponder About

logo

 

Community

Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdom

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

quotes 20180105_210611

 

We deem those men remarkable who think as we do.

Great men are not always wise

Unknown

 

 

What do you make of this week’s sayings? Do you agree?

How do we define a wise man?

Join in the discussion by leaving a comment below.

Blog
Now posting on Fridays

Community

Proverbial Friday – Global Wisdoms

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

Another Polish Proverb in the series is up for discussion this week.

troll

What reaches the mother’s heart will only reach the father’s knees

~ Polish Proverb

Pol Torun 20160629_124751

This Week’s Quote

Continuing on with the theme of remaining grateful and positive, it sounds like Oprah Winfrey has also discovered this key to finding contentment.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.

If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

–Oprah Winfrey

I find the Polish proverb a little intriguing. Could it refer to the warm, nourishing nature of Mothers, and by contrast, the disciplinarian, less emotional style of parenting by some fathers? Or is that too simplistically gender specific? I don’t have a time frame to give this proverb a historical context, however I suspect it comes from an age long gone.

What explanation can you make of it?

Oprah clearly has much to be thankful for, but it is refreshing to hear a celebrity that is not so fixated on wealth or hungry for more.  What do you think?

Something Proverbial to Ponder About

River boats art
Ethereal
Community

Proverbial Friday and Global Wisdom

Proverbs and sayings often provide us with wise words from all corners of the world. 

Best savoured a little at a time, I find there to be profound wisdom in the words and marvel at how they succinctly communicate messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures.

They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

raindrops 20150618_071310 

The WordPress community really is amazingly giving, as two bloggers have indirectly contributed to this week’s ‘Proverbial Friday’ post.

The proverb this week, comes from a book generously given to me, by LeggyPeggy.

Whilst short in length, this proverb originated in religious texts (NB. I am not at all religious), and yet it made me ponder the intrinsic nature of strength, versus wisdom.

“Wisdom is better than strength.” [Ecclesiastes]

 

Mt Pilatus

 

Strength is often considered an asset in life. There are those who say, that the weak or submissive are left behind.  We are encouraged to take the initiative, be on the front foot, be pro-active and assertive. We are warned that we might be left behind, cast aside in the wake of others in financial or intellectual achievement, in progress, or in personal growth. But this proverb made me stop and consider this a little deeper.

Should strength be the first and foremost goal? Should strength be valued at all? For strength without wisdom, can even be dangerous. History tells us that some leaders had strength but little wisdom.

What do you make of the proverb’s words?

The quote this week comes from a dear blogger friend, Ineke from Iscrap2, who recently published her memoir with these inspiring words, for parents, on the inside front page:

bear and happy girl

“The best thing you can give your children,

next to good habits,

are good memories”

– Sydney Harris

Birthday

Do you agree with Sydney Harris? Or is there some other value, more important than habits and memories that parents should share with their children?

Join in the conversation and let me know your thoughts.

PicsArt_06-09-08.43.48

Now posting on Fridays

Some words to Ponder About

–  Amanda

 

 

Forestwood.designs on Instagram

Forestwoodfolk on Twitter

Forestwoodfolk on Pinterest

 

Community

No Dead bodies – Just a True Story of Courage and Love

 Quite unusually, I’ve been reading a book that has no dead bodies contained within its pages.

(See my book review page here for the lists of crime fiction novels I usually read). 

Biographies of interesting people, are also on my book shelf, but the title of this book, given to me by a work colleague, did not give me any clue as to the intensity of the story within.

 

Horse boy is the story of one family’s journey to heal their severely autistic son. Conventional western therapies were yielding little success and their son’s tantrums and neurological trauma appeared to be  increasing, exponentially.  Spurred on by an accidental discovery that Rowan had a special gift with horses, the family embarks on a monumental adventure that takes them to the outer regions of Mongolia. 

Continue reading “No Dead bodies – Just a True Story of Courage and Love”

salmon pie
Community

What’s for Dinner? – Salmon [Fiesta Friday]

I think it must be a common family scenario, but I’m not sure?

Location: A suburban family kitchen. Time: 5pm, any day of the week. The pantry door swings open and shut several times; a low groan is emitted from a junior family member, quickly followed by a, “There’s nothing to eat,” kind of mantra.  As the cook of the house, my first reaction, to hearing this mantra, is to ignore it and keep working. I find that is best.

But as each family member wanders into the kitchen, clearly starving and desperate for a crumb of sustenance after a long day at work, my resolve wavers.  Collectively, their next move is to inspect the pantry, a second time, with the due diligence of police detectives at a crime scene, and it is then they hit me with the ‘kicker’, that eternal question, the one that makes me inwardly cringe………..

This is me inwardly cringing
This is me inwardly cringing

“What’s for dinner, Mum?”

And it is not only them. So attuned to hearing the ‘What’s for dinner?’ mantra, the canine members of my family become edgy at this hour too, and begin to pace up and down at the kitchen entrance, chiming in, in their own special way, to pressure me for food.

It is at this point, I have to steel myself and feign deafness, [clearly unsuccessfully], as I am always asked a second time, a little more urgently, “Hey, Mum. What’s for dinner?”

“Salmon,” I have to say, on this particular day, albeit through slightly gritted teeth, to which the response is anything from a contorted grimace, (coming from the fish-hating child), to unenthusiastic moans/yawns from the adolescent man-child/children.

canned_salmon_l1
Source:http://img.thrfun.com/img/089/862/canned_salmon_l1.jpg

Salmon!

It may be the ‘Steak and three veg’ of the hipster movement,  and it’s almost certainly still a popular dinner for both the weight-conscious and the seafood lovers of the world, but in my family, salmon is, ostensibly, boring and unappetizing, for dinner. [I can’t understand this, myself.] Now, thanks to a dear friend sharing her treasured family recipe with me, I can serve a seriously good Salmon Pie, that effectively nips the ‘What’s for Dinner’ groans, in the bud.

I hope you feel tempted to try it for yourself. It may just be something you ponder about for dinner.

2016-04-14 13.49.54

Salmon Pie

[Salmon is considered by some to one of the world’s healthiest foods, and contains Vitamin B12, D, Niacin, Omega -3 fatty acids, Phosphorus and Vitamin B6]

To make the Pie Crust:

1 and 1/2 cups of Plain All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1 cup Grated Cheese (I use tasty)

125 g Butter

Method:

Rub butter into flour, until it is well mixed. It should still be crumbly at this point, not mixed up together into a dough*

*[A food processor is the easiest way to do this, especially if the butter has not yet softened].

Press 3/4 of this mix into a greased pie dish with your fingers, to form the base and sides of the pie. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the mix for the topping.

Pie Filling:

220 grams Salmon (flaked and boned)

I Onion, finely chopped

3 Eggs

375 g Sour Cream

1/2 cup Grated Cheese

2 drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour on top of the base.

Crumble the remaining 1/4 of  the pie crust mix over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180° Celsius or until slightly browned.

Allow to cool and serve warm with a Garden/Greek salad or cold.

 

 Linking to FiestaFriday.net

For more fantastic menu ideas visit:

hostessatheart

toozesty.wordpress.com

Community, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Advice

Advice – Who Really Wants It?

Imagine you are walking through a shopping centre, casually gazing at the items in the store windows, when you see a mother attempting to calm and placate a wailing two year old child. The child thrashes his legs and arms whilst the mother tries to regain control of the situation. The child then explodes in full tantrum mode reaching ear piercing levels.

What do you and other onlookers say?

In any regular shopping centre, you might hear whispers like:

Just give him a good smack,” or

“They should control their child!

or even,

“Keep them at home when they are like that!”

Cruel unhelpful judgements and advice.

I feel sure that Mum would love to hear these words,

“Can I help you in any way?”

Judgements

On another day,  you might see a shy child clinging to his mother, refusing to participate in an activity; virtually hiding behind his mother’s skirt.

Friends, family and even educators might comment:

“I would not put up with that,”

“She lets him/her get away with too much,”

“He is spoiling him/her,”

or,

“She’s far too anxious – she needs to get out out from his shell.”

Weekly Proverb

Insignificant damage accumulates.

German Proverb

Parents and Carers often try to manage their child’s behaviour using a variety of techniques and a good dose of trial and error. At the same time, most parent would want to encourage their child in participating in social activities.

In the above case of the tantruming or introverted child, a wise elderly lady leaned over from her seat and gave the Mum a helpful suggestion in reference to the judgmental onlookers:-

“Don’t mind them, your child will fly when he is ready.

Venting those Pent up Emotions

I have heard many pieces of advice in the past, and I have even been guilty of some judgmental comments in my younger years b.c., (i.e. before children). As time passed, it became very apparent if someone wanted advice, they would ask for it.

Many people don’t want any kind of unsolicited advice, particularly with reference to child rearing. They merely want to vent their pent up feelings, be it anger or frustration. It may even be their chosen way to communicate that they would like some assistance, but are too proud to ask for it.

They want someone to listen to them, just for a moment.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All.

In ‘venting,‘ many of us appear to be going through a process of working out what is best for us. A kind of self-evaluation and problem- solving.

One person’s solution might be quite different from the next person.

Because after all, we are all very different from one another. We are all individuals. Thus, every person’s solution will naturally also be very different from the next.

One size doesn’t fit all.

In commenting about the tantruming boy up above, the older lady was letting the boy’s Mum know that things will be okay; in time, things will work out:- To Trust in one’s gut instincts.

Her focus was on the outcome for the child, rather than judging the quality of the parenting, or the perceived inaction of the parent or carer.

She appeared to focus her comment, on the outcome for the child, rather than judging the action of the parent, or perceived inaction.”

It so happens that child later turned out to have a diagnosis of autism.

Would the disapproving onlookers have given the same reproachful response, if only they knew that? Wpuld they still be so critical? Or would they shy away from the situation more?

If we offer up advice or suggestions when they are unsolicited,  we are only looking through one prism – our eyes. 

It may not be the other person’s truth, even if it is yours.

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

Unknown

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that you wouldn’t give to anyone else?

I invite you to join in on the discussion by leaving a comment.

Something to Ponder About this Sunday.

stpa logo
Community

Why Do Some Kids Throw / Chew Toys or Over – Eat?

Early development and exploration is all about putting items into the mouth in order to explore the world. Some kids will want to eat everything in sight, despite being well fed with nutritionally sound meals. Why is this?

Having something in our mouth is a very primitive, calming tool. In utero, babies often suck their thumb, and after birth soothe themselves by being bottle or breast fed. But some have a greater need for sucking, mouthing objects, chewing or eating everything in reach. This may be a dummy or bottle teat, a toy or spoon, their own clothes (shirt collars and ribbons/ties are often chewed), and in older children, it might be a pen, or gum.

Chewing is really a way for infants and children to self-soothe, but also a way for them to seek out additional opportunities to get oral information about their environment. Some children have a stronger than average sensory need for this kind of feedback and it is these children who might continue to exhibit chewing,  in an attempt to regulate their sensory systems.

Ferry ride from Hell..no Wellington....to serenity of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Chewing on items also provides a lot of deep pressure and ‘proprioception’ * (sense of body position in space), especially to the jaw and facial muscles. Some children will chew in order to gain this understanding of their jaw’s positions in space, particularly if they don’t get this feedback easily through eating, or if they are not able to tolerate solid food which requires chewing, (due to age or health status). In addition, children who suffer anxiety, and some of those on the autistic spectrum might display a greater need for feedback of oral sensory information than most of the population and in doing so are attempting to regulate their sensory systems or self-soothe.

Furthermore, I have noticed some children can become a bit ‘obsessed’ with food, and tend to over-eat despite not being hungry, looking for anything to eat at all hours of the day. Food seems to occupy their every waking thoughts. They are frequently overweight.  Is it possible these children are also seeking extra sensory input through eating?

  • Proprioception: body’s position in space as well as the force we are exerting or the speed of a movement. A child that seeks out body awareness information might pat animals with too much force, frequently bump or push other children, or frequently break things by pressing or pushing too hard on them.

What can be done?

Excess chewing/eating:

If Kids are chewing on a spoon or constantly eating – an alternative might be to replace the object with crushed ice, cubes of ice, or very crunchy, chewy foods, depending on the age and health status of the child.

Throwing items (Casting):

As well as pushing, pulling and squeezing items, throwing items helps provide the muscles and joints with additional body awareness information and proprioceptive input. Throwing toys may give a child an increase in the amount of  ‘body awareness’ information through his arms and shoulders, much in the same way other children get this information from running or jumping. If they are not able to run or jump, they might try to attain it through other means. This has implications for the mainstream behavioral management for these children.

Proprioception (and balance) can be increased by:

Weighted products – which may assist in providing additional information to the muscles and joints, providing extra body awareness information.

(Lap buddies, weighted blankets, weighted toys.  – but never more than 10 % of body weight)

Vibrating items – this provides input to the muscles – these are often used in therapy or special needs settings

Swimming

A wobble board

A Lycra suit or wrap gives significant sensory input due to its stretch properties

Lots of cuddles, squeezes and hugs – a great way for parents to help (and you can never overdose on hugs).

Children such as these are not just being “naughty.”

Something to Ponder About