Monday, July 30, 2012


July marks the 12th month and last of the healthy eating post series.
"In early Celtic literature the carrot was known as "honey underground", an apt analogy considering the carrot's wide use as a base-ingredient for cakes and puddings. The Irish make a sweet pudding of it and the Indians bake it in small, sweet cakes called gajar halva. It is part of the Jewish tzimmes, a rosh hashanah dish symbolizing gold coins and prosperity.
The carrot is a native of Afghanistan....
The ubiquitous carrot can vary in colour from red to yellow and even to translucent white. The best however , are rich orange and therefore contain a great amount of carotene, a substance which the human body converts to vitamin A....
There is, in fact truth in what has been described as the old wives' tale that carrots improve the eyesight."
Jack Forsyth's SCRUMPTIOUS TUCKER : Jack Forsyth

Carrot is a good source of Vitamin B and C. It is an excellent supplier of Vitamin A and calcium, low in fat and cholesterol free, low in salt and calories.
Cauliflower is a good source of Vitamin C and B, potassium and calcium. It is fat and cholesterol free, very low in salt and calories.
4 Carrots, 1 Cauliflower, 1 Red Onion, shredded Chicken, 3 cups of White Sauce, Paprika.
Boil water in a large pot, add cauliflower, carrots and onion to the pot - cook 10 mins. 
While cooking make 3 cups of white sauce from butter, flour and milk. Add the chicken to the sauce - this will take up most of the liquid of the sauce.
Lightly butter a large oven dish and when the vegetables are cooked, remove them from the pot and arrange them in the oven dish. Top with the white sauce with chicken. Sprinkle paprika over the top. Put into a 200*c oven and bake for 20mins.
So many people don't like/have never eaten brussels sprouts. If you are one of them, do try this recipe - and I hope you change your mind.
All my kids come back for second helping of these brussels sprouts.
Brussels sprouts originated in ------------- Brussels. When buying them look for the smaller ones as they have the best flavour. The bigger ones have a stronger taste.
Studies both in Japan and in Europe have found that brussels sprouts have anti-cancer properties. High levels of vitamin A,B and C are found in brussels sprouts, along with potassium, iron and fibre. They are cholesterol and fat free, low in salt and calories. 
Two to three brussels sprouts provide you with your daily requirements of vitamin C.
Brussels Sprouts - I cook 4 per adult, 1 Lemon, 2 Eggs - 1 per 2 people, 2 slices wholemeal bread, Olive Oil.
Peel off the outside layers of the brussels sprouts and cut a small slice off the bottom. Make 2 cuts into the base in cross formation - this helps to evenly cook the brussels sprouts through. Hard boil the eggs for 5 mins. Drain off the water and fill with cold water to cool the eggs. Drain off the water and shake the eggs in the pot to crack the shells. Peel and dice the eggs.
Dice the bread into small cubes.
Heat the pan for 1 minute and then add oil and heat a moment longer then add the diced bread and brown in the pan. Turn off heat.
Boil 2cm of water in a pot and when boiling add the brussels sprouts - lid on and cook for 5 mins. Remove them immediately and add to the pot with the bread - turn on the pot and add diced egg and the juice of 1 lemon - lid and shake, cooking only for 1 - 2mins. Serve and eat straight away.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ enjoy cooking and eating some healthy vegetables you don't normally eat.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


"The world stands in more need of justice that charity, and indeed it is the want of justice that renders charity everywhere so necessary." 
Benjamin Rush to John Adams. 1811
"Justice is simply giving what is due, to whom it is due, when it is due.... It is easy to distinguish between just and unjust (people). The just think about what they owe to others. The unjust think about what others owe to them. The just consider how to pay what they owe, while the unjust avoid paying." 
Boyhood and Beyond: Bob Schultz
These principles are not only applicable to to money but are mindsets for life that children, teenagers, parents and adults all practice.
The points and ideas in this post are heavily influenced by the philosophy of Charlotte Mason.
Who am I to show justice to?
We are to show justice, to give what is due, to all people.
Parents, teachers, rulers and governments because they have authority over us and it is their right and our duty.
Brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours and work mates because they are our equals.
Likewise to all people who work for us and to all whose opinions and ways of life are different from our own.
We need to "get our lives in focus and see things as they are." "Ourselves": Charlotte Mason.
That our rights are the same as other people's and no more. That what we are owed from others is just the same as what they are owed from us and no more.
What does a just mindset look like?
- a teenagers with a part time job working a full 5 hours for 5 hours pay.
- a child honouring and respecting their parents.
- a team member playing the game with all their effort.
- a student giving the hours of work required by the teacher.
- a parent providing the physical, emotional and mental needs to their 
- a teenager driving the family car and using it in a respectful manner.
- a person honouring their promise to return the call or get onto 
   something today, by doing the deed.
- a family showing their appreciation for the time and effort the cook and 
   the cleaner in the house, invests in their lives.
Martin Luther King gave many speeches throughout America in the 1960's, calling for justice to be done, true freedom to be given, not just to the African American community but for the minority peoples throughout the United States. His famous speech "I Have a Dream" is worth listening to, especially for children over the age of 12. King's word choice and emotion clearly communicate and convict the listener, by opening our mind, to see what everyone owes to one another. This man has no bias, no axe to grind, no want to see his own ethnicity pushed forward at the expense of others. These are marks of justice.
William Wilberforce in Britain, also stood for justice. His years of work in the British parliament to bring about the changes in law which would lead to the abolition of the slave trade, came from Wilberforce's personal conviction that all people were owed a decent and respectable life with freedom. This Sunday, July 29, is the 179th anniversary of Wilberforce's death. As a family we plan to watch the movie "Amazing Grace"
What does an unjust mindset look like?
- a person who holds to the saying 'Never do today what you can put off 
   till tomorrow'. They postpone, put-off, shirk work, procrastinate, use 
   delay tactics, 'Not yet' they say or generally handle doing things at a 
- a student whose work is careless, sloppy, done slip shod in style, or a 
   time waster.
- a person who borrows something from another, but doesn't return it, or 
   returns the object in an unsuitable condition.
- a child who often gets upset thinking about what they didn't get. They 
   constantly complain that things are not fair.
- a person who is always at the front of the line for food or usually grabs
   the best car parks.
- a person who indulges in their newspaper, coffee, game, music... 
   instead of completing their obligations.
- a person who is on a very comfortable salary but will not pay off their 
   student study loan.
- a person who sees situations such as the recent evacuations in fire-
   threatened Colorado, as an opportunity to loot and help themselves to 
   others' possessions.
- a person's comments that find fault with a small defect in another's 
   comments or actions. 
The image at the top of this post, is Botticelli's painting "Calumny". Calumny is the speaking of words that injure others. I am guilty of this, along with many of the above. This is why I want to quote the explanation of this painting as given in Charlotte Mason's book "Ourselves".
".... Botticelli .... puts in the foreground a lady young and fair(Calumny), with a mantle of heavenly blue over a white robe of innocence, but which reveals through slashes the black garment below. She looks composed and drops her eyes as if in regret, whilst in her right hand she drags forward, by the hair of his head, the naked and prostrate figure of Innocence. ....
On either hand are two other beautiful maidens, clothed in fair robes, apparently dressing the hair of Calumny, in reality whispering in her ears. The one is Insidiousness, who by soft persuasive words makes the lies of Calumny look like the truth; and the other is Envy, fair also, for envy of others always takes the guise of fairness and justice to ourselves.
Holding the left wrist of Calumny is the dark cowled figure of Treachery, who stretches out his hand to King Midas upon his throne in order to demand a hearing. His long ears show the character of this king, for falsehood and all her crew, Calumny, Envy, and all the rest are in the end folly. Suspicion whispers into the one and Prejudice in to the other of the long ears of Midas, and he leans his ear now to the one and now to the other, so that their words are the only sounds that can reach him. ....
Quite in the background stands the naked Truth, pure and beautiful, averting her eyes from the evil spectacle and raising her hand to heaven, sure of a hearing there; and between her and tortured Innocence stands the dark figure of Remorse. It would be well to keep a copy of this picture before our eyes ... because it should keep us in mind of many things - that the whole brood of Falsehood, Calumny, Envy, Folly, Prejudice, Suspicion come to us in pleasant places and by insidious ways - that they torture the innocent and drive ... Truth away by the din of many voices in our ears."
Some points to help teach children to want to live a life of justice.
1. Wide and wise reading, both by children and to children. Reading about our own country, other countries, all sorts of occupations, amusements, people from different cultures and time periods of history, people in our world today, along with various other areas of knowledge, helps to feed a mind, giving it plenty from which it can form just opinions.
The material must challenge the reader to think for themselves, not to have it all given to them. They need to think it out, work it out for themselves. The word 'opinion' literally means 'a thinking'.
2. Use everyday experiences to discuss what IS fair, the personal rights of others, helping children to understand consequences of what they say and do.
eg. When dirt is walked into the house from outside because someone didn't wipe their feet outside the door, explain this means someone is inconvenienced and  has to clean it up. 
       The neglect to contact family or a friend to say you will be late, leads to waiting around, worry and getting irritated. Discuss these normal happenings in the family.
3. To 'think', "we must read, mark, learn and inwardly digest; must listen and consider."  "Ourselves":Charlotte Mason. This is an occupation which takes a life time of practice, so give them space and time to think.
4. Avoid taking the quick route of gaining opinions - picking them up ready-made from those around us. Family discussions can help here, and simply encouraging on-going point number 3.
5. Learn to identify deceptive or unsound arguments. Popular ideas can be unsound, so they too must be thoroughly examined before we take them onboard. Have family discussions.
6. Before forming an opinion about anyone in an important position or place of power, we need to gain a proper understanding of all that being in this role involves.
7. Once we arrive at our opinions , we should hold them with both a feeling of shyness because they have resulted from our thinking, but also we should hold them firmly because these thoughts are our very own property which is the result of our pondering. The wise way to hold opinions is to be open enough to the fact that another view could be sounder than our own.
"It is the chief part of Justice to think Just thoughts about the matters that come before us, and the best and wisest people are those who have brought their minds to bear upon the largest number of subjects, and have learned to think Just thoughts about them all. It is a comfort to know that Justice ... is always at hand to weigh the opinion we allow ourselves to take up."  "Ourselves":Charlotte Mason.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS~ start with a visit to the library and borrow some books on varied subjects, which demand the kids do some thinking. Pick up on the things that happen this week which you could turn into conversations that explain the rights of others and the effects and consequences of what they say and do on others. Give positive feedback to your kids for their behaviour that indicated a Just mindset.

Friday, July 20, 2012


"Library under the treetops invites you to stop and indulge yourself in free outdoor reading! Saturday and Sunday 10am - 8pm."
A couple of weeks ago my son was in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where he found this sign propped up by the river. It's in a great park with a canopy of trees, a perfect place to be, to stop and to read over the summer months.  The library supplied numerous crates of books for kids, magazines, leisure and coffee table books... attracting kids, teenagers, and adults of all ages to sit down on cushions or on the steps to read. - a GREAT idea!!!
In this post I am simply putting out there various comments or quotes on the subject of reading - something we need to pursue and enjoy. 
2012 is the National Year of Reading in Australia. Their website "Love to Read" states - "There are 46% of Australians who can't read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle." 
Charlotte Mason over one hundred years ago wrote, "Our young men and maids do not read unless with the stimulus of a forth coming examination. They are good-natured and pleasant but have no wide range of thought, lofty purpose, little of the magnanimity which is proper for a citizen. Great thoughts and great actions are strange to them.....Therefore the stimuli to greatness, magnanimity,.... we must produce in the ordinary course of education."
The following quote is by Virginia Woolf and was printed over a hundred years ago in The Parents Review magazine. The original article is very long, but I have tried to keep a flow of her thoughts in this quote. Some words and expressions may require thought or the use of a dictionary. I think her comments are challenging and her ideas, which are not commonly heard today, need a new hearing.
"How Should One Read a Book?"
"...The only advice .... that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. ..... After all, what laws can be laid down about books? The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear? Nobody can say. Each must decide that question for himself. To admit authorities.... into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place on what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries. Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions - there we have none.
But to enjoy freedom.... we have of course to control ourselves. ...... Where are we to begin? How are we to bring order into this multitudinous chaos and so get the deepest and widest pleasure from what we read?....
Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds .... Do not dictate to your author; try to become him. Be his fellow worker and accomplice. If you hang back, and reserve and criticize at first, you are preventing yourself from getting the fullest possible value from what you read. But if you open your mind as widely as possible, then signs and hints of almost imperceptible fineness, from the twist and turn of the first sentences, will bring you into the presence of a human being unlike any others. .....
Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelist is doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment with the dangers and difficulties of words. Recall some event that has left a distinct impression on you - how at the corner of the street, perhaps, you passed two people talking. A tree shook; an electric light danced; the tone of the talk was comic, but also tragic; a whole vision, and entire conception, seemed contained in that moment. .....
But when you attempt to reconstruct it in words, you will find that it breaks into a thousand conflicting impressions. Some must be subdued; others emphasized; in the process you will lose, probably, all grasp upon the emotions itself. Then turn from your blurred and littered pages to the opening pages of some great novelist - Defoe, Jane Austen, Hardy.
Now you will be better able to appreciate their mastery. It is not merely that we are in the presence of a different person - Defoe, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy - but that we are living in a different world. Here, in Robinson Crusoe, we are trudging a plain high road; one thing happens after another; .... But if the open air and adventure means everything to Defoe they mean nothing to Jane Austen. Hers is the drawing room, and people talking , and by the many mirrors of their talk revealing their characters. And if .... we turn to Hardy, we are once more spun round. The moors are round us and the stars are above our heads. The other side of the mind is now exposed - the dark side that comes uppermost in solitude .... Our relations are not towards people, but towards Nature and destiny. Yet different as these worlds are, each is consistent with itself. ....
Thus to go from one great novel to another .... is to be wrenched and uprooted; to be thrown this way and then that. To read a novel is a difficult and complex art. You must be capable of not just great fineness of perception, but of great boldness of imagination if you are going to make use of all that the novelist - the great artist - gives you.
But a glance at .... the shelf will show you that writers are very seldom "great artists", far more often a book makes no claim to be a work of art at all. .... are we to refuse to read them because they are not "art"? Or shall we read them but read them in a different way, with a different aim? ....
Biographies and memoirs .... show us people going about their daily affairs, toiling, failing, succeeding, eating hating, loving, until they die. And sometimes as we watch, the house fades and the iron railings vanish and we are out at sea; we are hunting, sailing, fighting; we are among savages and soldiers; we are taking part in great campaigns. ....
How far, we must ask ourselves, is a book influenced by its writer's life - how safe is it to let the man interpret the writer? How far shall we resist or give way to the sympathies ... that the man himself rouses in us ... These are questions that press upon us when we read lives and letters, and we must answer them for ourselves ......
But also we can read such books with another aim, not to throw light on literature, not to become familiar with famous people, but to refresh and exercise our own creative powers. ..... The greater part of our library is nothing but the record of ... fleeting moments in the lives of men, women, and donkeys. Every literature, as it grows old, has its rubbish-heap, its record of vanished moments and forgotten lives ......
None of this has any value; it is negligible in the extreme; yet how absorbing it is now and again to go through the rubbish-heaps and find rings and scissors and broken noses buried in the huge past and try to piece them together while .... the woman fills her pail at the well, and the donkey brays."
To be continued ~
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ read with and to your kids. Go to the library with them and let them borrow up big. Also borrow books that are outside everyone's interest areas - things you know nothing about. I always cruise the kids books aisles and look at the books that the librarian has placed facing out. They are often new books or books that are borrowed a lot. Bring them home and open them up leaving them out ready for reading.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


A distinguished consulting room-
MARGARET sits silent, as an EMINENT DOCTOR checks her blood pressure. The beep of the machine, steady and monotonous until-
DOCTOR Just look straight at me, straight
ahead, that’s it.The Iron Lady - FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT - 8th April 11 (c) Pathe Productions 53
The DOCTOR scribbles some notes, considering-
DOCTOR (CONT’D) Are you noticing night sweats?
DOCTOR Hallucinations?
MARGARET hesitates. She shakes her head. MARGARET
No. Sleep?
MARGARET Yes, I sleep. Four, five hours a
DOCTOR So you wake early?
MARGARET And I stay up late. I always have.
She looks at him as if he really should know this about her. The DOCTOR notes this down.
DOCTOR We just want to keep abreast of
MARGARET Yes. Of course.
DOCTOR Grief is a very natural state.
MARGARET My husband has been gone for
years. Cancer.
DOCTOR Carol says you’ve decided to let
his things go. Probably a good thing.
MARGARET Yes. It was my idea. To Oxfam.
Perfectly good stuff. People can use these things.
The Iron Lady - FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT - 8th April 11 (c) Pathe Productions 54
DOCTOR Still it must be a bit
disorientating. You are bound to be feeling.
MARGARET What? What am I ‘bound to be
The DOCTOR looks up from his note taking, hearing the quiet challenge in MARGARET’s voice.
MARGARET (CONT’D) People don’t ‘think’ any more.
They ‘feel’. ‘How are you feeling?’ ‘Oh I don’t feel comfortable with that’ ‘Oh, I’m so sorry but we, the group were feeling...’ D’you know, one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than thoughts and ideas.
(beat) Now thoughts and ideas. That interests me.
(beat) Ask me what I am thinking-
The DOCTOR hesitates, letting MARGARET settle until-
DOCTOR What are you thinking, Margaret?
MARGARET looks at the DOCTOR, quietly struggling with a fury, threatening to unleash-
MARGARET Watch your thoughts, for they
become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. My father always said that.
(beat) And I think I am fine.
(beat) But I do so appreciate your kind concern.
The sudden and persistent buzz of an intercom-
MARGARET (CONT’D) Oh, do please answer that.
The Iron Lady - FINAL SHOOTING SCRIPT - 8th April 11 (c) Pathe Productions 55
MARGARET holds his gaze, with quiet unwavering steel unsettling the DOCTOR a little.
MARGARET (CONT’D) It might be someone who needs you.
The DOCTOR reluctantly answers his intercom-
From 'THE IRON LADY' movie.
I love this scene in the movie "The Iron Lady". The progressive development of our thoughts eventually influencing our destiny, is a quote from Thomas a Kempis, which I quoted 3 posts back "PARENTS TEACH RESPECT BY TRAINING" Week 88 Quote 88
In this post, I want to discuss the reference Margaret Thatcher made in the movie, to thoughts and ideas. I want to ask you to consider how substantial your personal thoughts and ideas are, because they have immense influence on the ideas and thoughts developing in your children.
A short criticism! I am not a facebook person, though I am on it so I can see my kids photographs from their travels. Facebook itself is fine, what appalls me is the way it is used by some people, even adults, to publicly display private conversations, even hostile feelings through angry words. These people must be ignorant to the distress and disastrous damage they are causing - to their own reputation, to the reputation of the one they are aiming their comments at, to their family and children who read or hear about it.
Where does this behaviour come from? Some would say they have a lack of self control-true. In the case of women, it would be said that it's hormonal-true. Therapy and more medication, however are only part of the solution. A vital part of a cure is found in the thoughts and ideas we choose to surround ourselves with. 
How great are your ideas?
What is an idea?
It is something which when it comes to a person, leaves behind a vivid mental picture which has the force or power to grow and grow. As it does this it feeds on and connects onto other things in our mind which to us relate. The mind has an 'appetite' for ideas. The process or development of an idea, just as the selection of what is an interesting idea, is individual, unique to each person.
This is how the mind takes up an idea, it "strikes us, seizes hold of us, catches hold of us, impresses us and at last, if it is big enough, possesses us." A Philosophy of Education: Charlotte Mason. You may wish to read my post  "HOW A PARENT'S LIFE INSPIRES THEIR CHILD'S LIFE" Week 39 Quote 39 to understand the process more.
Parents have the responsibility in caring and bringing up their children, to nourish children with ideas - great ideas.
The writer Coleridge suggests that the mind needs to be previously prepared to receive great ideas. Our routine home life contributes immensely to this, providing the rain, sunshine and soil for ideas to grow in.
Jessica Watson in her book "True Spirit", tells of her mother reading Jesse Martin's book, "Lionheart". "It was as if something clicked in my mind. This guy wasn't a superhero, he wasn't privileged in any way, ....he definitely wasn't old. Jesse was a normal, everyday person who had a dream and decided to make it happen. He was someone I could relate to and it made me wonder....Could I do it? Could I sail around the world on my own?" The idea grew and eventually was actioned when Jessica at 16 , circumnavigated the world alone in 2010. Jessica's siblings heard that same book read but they didn't find the same idea or seed.
"There is no way of escape for parents; they must needs be as 'inspirers' to their children, because about them hangs, as its atmosphere about a planet, the thought-environment of the child from which he derives those enduring ideas which express themselves as a life-long 'appetency' (natural tendency of longing) towards things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine." Parents and Children: Charlotte Mason.
How great are your ideas?
Why does the mind need ideas?
The body needs food to develop and grow. The mind also needs sustenance for it to increase and be strong. " .... children are well equipped to deal with ideas; and explanations, questions, amplifications are unnecessary and wearisome. Children have a natural appetite for knowledge which is informed with thought. They bring imagination, judgment and the various so-called 'faculties' to bear upon a new idea pretty much as the gastric juices act upon a food ration." A Philosophy of Education:Charlotte Mason.
"Our business is to give children the great ideas of life, of religion, history, science, but it is the ideas we must give, clothed upon with facts as they occur, and must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses." A Philosophy of Education:Charlotte Mason.
"They (children) experience all the things they hear and read of; these enter them and are their life; and thus it is that ideas feed the mind in the most literal sense of the word, "feed". " A Philosophy of Education:Charlotte Mason.
Reading this you may respond that your child would be totally disinterested if you tried to read a book to them. You could help the situation by looking at your routines of home life and by asking yourself how you could become an 'inspirer'. Consider too if you need to pull back on directing their thinking - you don't need to help them chew the food they eat, likewise you don't need to explain or talk about matters which they are able to understand for themselves. Have confidence in your child and let them think for themselves, your job is to provide the great 'food'.
How great are your ideas?
Where do you find ideas?
As already said, your home environment and routines are filled with opportunities for a child to find great ideas. They require large quantities and in great variety.
The main source for great ideas is found through reading books of quality. Books about the different areas of life, culture and traditions, travel, literature in its various forms, history, religion, all the fields of science, music, the visual and performing arts, crafts, sport.... variety. Then the mind of the child has copious material to sort, arrange, select, reject, classify... all on its own. This gives the mind strength to struggle with the pathetic ideas in life which come along, and hopefully because of its substantial diet, it will choose to reject the impulse of living a life, as Margaret Thatcher said, based on how one feels alone.
An amazing experience happens when a person reads - it is them and the material and ideas of the book alone, an intimate connection. In the case of a child that intimacy is greater as their mind is learning and gathering at a far greater level than an adult's. Hence the need for "direct and immediate impact of great minds on ... a child." Books with ideas written by people with great ideas. The gaining of knowledge and great ideas "... is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind ..... thought, we know breeds thought; it is as vital thought touches our minds that our ideas are vitalized, and out of our ideas comes our conduct of life." "A child must read to know." A Philosophy of Education:Charlotte Mason.
Back to Coleridge, "From the first ..... idea as from a seed, successive ideas germinate." The ideas we surrounds ourselves with or accept, form our opinions and attitudes which we live by. This is why we need to give our children access to great ideas so that the empty, peer-pressured, short-sighted, self-centred, manipulative ideas that present themselves everyday, will be recognized by our children for what they are - counterfeit. And our children will choose to step aside and not be sucked-in by them.
This situation is illustrated in the movie, "Lions for Lambs", where a student, Todd, is encouraged and pressed in discussion with his university professor, to stop being apathetic, as he repeatedly asks the question What are you willing to do for what you believe? In a critique of the movie, Lisa Pease says, "'Lions for Lambs' challenges each of us to live more consciously, to make deliberate choices, rather that to sit back and let choices be made for us through our passivity."
Another movie which works in this same area, is "The Lady" (photo at the top of the post is from this movie), the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest in her Yangoon home for years while she worked to support Burma's democracy movement. The sacrifice of family and a couple for a higher cause.
How great are your ideas?
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ do you intend to prepare a meal for your family to eat tonight? And tomorrow, will there be 3 square meals so they grow up healthy and strong? The mind too needs its square meals, everyday, not casual, meagre offerings.
Your local library probably has books with great ideas. Borrow some every week, leave them open around the house so a curious eye can find them. It may take time, but persevere.
"No phrase is more .... promising than, 'I have and idea'; we rise to such an opening as trout to a well-chosen fly." A Philosophy of Education:Charlotte Mason.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


This is the 3rd and final post in the series on how parents can teach respect.
"You have to be quiet, the baby is sleeping"
"Granny is coming, so we won't build a camp in the living room."
"Dad has had a difficult day, so we aren't going to read a book together now. He's resting now. Could you maybe help dry the dishes so it's nice and tidy when he gets up?"
"Mrs X is crying because her daughter has cancer. She'll feel comforted if we cook her a good dinner tonight."
"I'm sorry the toddler ruined your model village you built with your blocks. I guess you feel pretty mad! Tomorrow I'll let you build in my bedroom, and we can close the door."
"We miss Daddy. It will never be the same as having a father right here with us. Yet God has promised special help to us in our family. He will help us know what to do."
"FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE" : Susan Schaeffer Macaulay 
In this post I'm dealing with the way we live as being a tool to teach respect. There are 2 points :~
1.  Children need to grow up in reality to learn respect. 
We live in a time where on one hand many children have endless safety and protection devises so they won't get harmed, and on the other, they have less hours contact in the week with their parents than previous generations. These children are not given the benefit of growing up in reality. Children from a young age need to experience reality so they are equipped to live as adults in the real world. Living in reality develops many characteristic traits, including respect.
  ~ practicing and learning self control
  ~ accepting and working with their plans which didn't workout or succeed
  ~ loving and caring for someone in need
  ~ loving and caring for someone who has hurt them
The quote at the beginning of this post, has 6 examples of children experiencing the realities and frustrations that are part of life in families. These 6 scenarios put forward a range of character qualities that are being shown to the child for them to adopt.
         ~  obedience to the parent's decision
         ~  self control
         ~  understanding and sensing how another person feels - empathy
         ~  selflessness or service for another's benefit
         ~  preparedness to try again after failure or interruption
         ~  owning grief as normal
         ~  trusting that assistance will come
and so on.......
Too often children are oblivious or screened off to the troubles and hardships of others. But if parents guide them how to respond to these 'hard' areas of life, they give their children 'eyes' to see and 'tools' to develop respect for others. The way we speak to our children about everyday situations, can open their mind and heart to learn how to respectfully think on others' circumstances, and how to demonstrate that respect in action.
As the quote indicates, learning respect through growing up in reality is not planned-in, it just happens. So we need to look out for occasions and use them to widen our child's understanding of people and life. The more we practice the better we become.
The 2nd tool we can use to teach respect through the way we live, is :~
2.  To have a respectful attitude to our family.
Here are 5 areas you can consider when thinking about the degree of respect in your family.
(A) A respectful attitude between parents.
       How we speak to our spouse - the words we choose and tones of voice.
       Giving eye contact and attention in conversation to our spouse.
       'Standing up' for the other, protecting their honour....
(B) Respect toward each family member.
       How we speak to each member of the family - the words we choose and tones of voice.
       Giving eye contact and attention in conversation to each family member.
       'Standing up' for all those in our family, protecting their honour...
You may find help from Chapman and Campbell's Love Language book series, for children, teens and couples.
(C) Attention and time we put into being together.
       This doesn't need to be expensive or complicated. Children can help plan and cook a simple meal and creatively set the table. The fact that they are part of the whole procedure gives children a strong feel and memory of family together times. The same full family involvement in planning a family holiday or a day's outing has the same positive effect. The family all being together, choosing to make family top priority, being attentive to one another, foregoing work commitments, friends, personal leisure... for this occasion, is what it is all about. The food and setting are secondary tools to help the family to be happily connected.
(D) A stable and positive home atmosphere.
       These are the regular patterns that are dependable in a family - They can be annual events, such as every summer we go to the beach house or have family Christmas Day together. They can be weekly events, such as Friday night takeaways with a funny movie, the Saturday morning BBQ breakfast outside year through. They can be daily events, such as eating at the table together every night and hearing about everyone's day.
(E) The recognition of what is the higher priority at the moment.
       At times as parents our priority is to push our jobs, relaxation, plans.. to the side and answer our child's question, watch them ride the bike, allow the game to move into the tidied lounge. But how do you identify if this is the occasion or the higher priority at the moment? It is hard but you can ask yourself -
  * Is this moment or occasion going to be important to the child?
  * Is there really an urgency to get my work done now?
  * Is it a top priority or is there any reason to keep the lounge super tidy today/could we re-tidy it together afterwards?
  * In the last week have I been involved in what my child is wanting to show me?Am I tuned-in to him?
The practice of each of these facets builds an attitude of respect within the family.
Remember the most powerful way to teach respect is to lead by example, so ~
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ concentrate on how much respect you are demonstrating in your relationship with your spouse or partner. Even if you are separated from your child's other parent, it's crucial that the way you speak of and to them and what you say about them in your child's hearing, be respectful. If you dishonour your child's other parent you not only hurt your child, but also harm their growing perspective of what respect is. You can disagree with your spouse and still remain respectful, even if only for the sake of the role they hold as the other parent of your child.