PARENTING

Just Enough, Please!

We’re not a super outdoorsy family. We like a contained, safe environment with a touch of sunlight and wind. Throw in a some gorgeous flowers, several cute animals, a comfy spot to sit and we’re good to go. Well recently the kids and I ventured out to our local Butterfly Museum to get a dose of the above mentioned scene. We greatly anticipated the soft, feather like creatures floating by, landing on our shoulders, and posing for the camera.

 

However, it was a bit more than a few of my kids expected.

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Halle flew through the door and down the concrete stairs of the Butterfly Museum without a care expecting a dose of heaven.

 

Until I hollered, “Halle, look up!”

 

The flying ceiling caught her off guard and she ducked and screamed and ran for cover. Which proved to be her next problem…



There is no cover in a Butterfly Museum. There are only trees covered in butterflies, and rocks covered in butterflies, and platforms layered with more butterflies. Not a happy situation for someone trying to ESCAPE butterflies!

 

The scene was rather comical. She thought she wanted to be surrounded by butterflies, but when her wish came true, she realized it frightened her.

 

Then there was my 13-year-old dressed in red. We missed the memo stating that butterflies flock to red like delicate bulls out of an open gate looking for a place to land.  She was in a constant state of swatting the back of her shirt, “Is that my tag or a butterfly? Check again!

 

She learned that a few butterflies is fun, but thousands can be troublesome.

 

My husband and I have been known to joke that if a little is good, then a WHOLE LOT must be better. That practice has gotten us in trouble more times than we’ll admit.

 

It’s gotten most of us in trouble, if we’ll be honest.

 

I think of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the little boy that gorged himself on Chocolate. A little was good, so he ate A LOT!

 

Greed is in our human nature and it steals peace, joy and happiness from us. Contentment is a choice. It’s a choice that frees the soul to live a full, happy life in whatever circumstance.

 

When the Apostle Paul was in prison he was content. He was cold and hungry, yet he practiced contentment. (Philippians 4:11)

 

John Bunyan, the author or Pilgrim’s Progress wrote that great book in a filthy prison cell unfit for even an animal to live. Yet, he did not spend his days grumbling about what he lacked, he rested in what he had- life, pen and paper – and in turn gave the world the second greatest book ever written (In my opinion.)

 

Discontentment feeds greed, which steals joy and spoils families. If we have food and shelter, we have all we need. Make a list of all the extras God has blessed you with and consider sharing them with others. The list might look something like this:

 

24 pairs of shoes

A closet full of clothes

A drawer full of jewelry

A refrigerator stuffed with food

A car (or 3)

More kitchen tools than cabinet space

More dishes than people to feed in a week.

More home accessories than can be dusted in an hour.

Just enough can be the biggest blessing when it comes to stuff. Having an abundance is not a bad thing, until it becomes a burden. If you feel weighed down and burdened by too much laundry and too much dusting then consider (Acts 20:35) “Its more blessed to give than to receive,” and start blessing your neighbors. We can’t take wood, hay and stubble with us when we die, so why spend so much time worrying about it? Give away that which you don’t need. Too much can over take a life with responsibility and stress. Stuff takes up space, money and time.  We own it, so we must insure it, maintain it, move it, keep up with it, think about….

Would you rather dust your stuff or fly to Italy? Consider how much time and money you want to spend on stuff and then make adjustments and experience freedom. Bigger and more does not necessarily equate to better.

SO many times we strive to obtain that which we think we want, only to discover that it ‘s not what we thought, having lost that which was really important in the process. If you are in debt, stretched for time and burdened with things, consider shedding some wood, hay and stubble. Trim down your material responsibilities and save or the extra money that is freed up. Bless those closest to you with more time and bless those in need with your stuff.

 

Shed some stuff…REST in CONTENTMENT and find JOY in the process.

Imaginary Friends

We are avid readers around here. I try to teach my kids to read a wide variety of genres so they won’t have lopsided brains, I tell them. (Just kidding, sort of.) I want them to learn how to think and to be conversationalist, so if you ever meet a boring Bonin, it’s not my fault! I tried! But the most important step for me as a home school mom is to talk to my kids about the author’s point of view, to help them dig deep. Where are they coming from? What do we know about the author that would have shaped him to write it? I want my kids to THINK! Not to just digest!

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So here’s a little story I wrote to show that how we train our children matters:

The elementary school child stands outside the classroom door ANXIOUS on this first day. A sweaty palm clasps the cold metal door knob and questions flood:


Will they like me?


What if I’m the only one in clothes like this?


What if EVERYONE is buying lunch and I’m the only one with a lunch box?


What if I don’t know the answers?

What if… what it…


Fears, doubts, and self-insecurities creep through the brain. Trembling for a brief moment the child remembers his mother’s counsel to talk to his imaginary friend, “He’ll tell you what to do. He knows the answers and will guide you.”


The new made up friend encourages him to walk through the door on this morning and assures him that that everything will be fine. The invisible buddy gives similar advice the child’s mother gives.


The young child calls his new friend Wiz and learns to seek Wiz’s wisdom and advice in situations, self-doubt, insecurities and more. Wiz guides him, relaxes him, and helps the child reach deep inside his inner self for instruction and peace. Wiz calms fears.

Wiz is fictitious yet very real to the young child. The child’s concerned mom wants the best for her off spring and dreams of success in her son’s life, both now and as an adult.  In her quest to help him cope with changes and daily stress she follows the advice of a professional child physiologist-an expert and assists her son in adopting an imaginary guide. Pretend is an important game for children. Playing pretend is actually a child’s work; it’s how they grow, but let’s break down the exercise of putting an imaginary friend as an authority or guide.


As the questions become more serious, the stress greater, the decisions weightier, the made- up wisdom giver is not a sustainable source of guidance. Confusion and darkness will be his companions if he has not learned to seek wisdom from the One who has all the answers. We would not go to a blacksmith for direction on how to bake a cake; we head straight to a baker. And we should teach our children where to go to find wisdom. The bible is full of ancient wisdom and even if you are not a Christian, biblical principals work for a successful life.

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Psalms 118:8.

Why not just point our kids to the Creator who made them in the first place? It makes more sense to teach them to talk to God rather than an imaginary friend with no background in counseling. He, the One who made us, will comfort and guide them (and us) better than any fictitious character. Pinky promise!