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It is just Slackness - Issue 226
November 18, 2011
Hi there! ....



This week Last Saturday our homeschool co-op had their end of year wrap up. Usually we have a pool party and dinner together but this year we’ve been working on drama and decided to have a drama night with three short plays followed by dinner. Over the last few weeks so many people in town are really sick and one by one our little actors caught one of the many things going around. By lunch time on Saturday we wondered if we would have to cancel – but we ended up with enough people well enough – the show must go on!! We made a few siblings and cousins understudies and had a fantastic evening. It was great to see the kids grow in confidence over the course of the year as they interacted with each other, shared ideas, built on imaginations and polished off their skills.

In a couple of weeks Peter and I will be travelling to Queensland for a family wedding and I have a spare day in Gatton. I would like to invite any readers who are free on Thursday, 1st December, and who live in that region to join me for coffee at the new McDonalds in Gatton at 10.00am. I will be there till 12.30ish. This will just be a casual mum’s morning with no agenda other than to chat and get to know each other. Kids of course welcome, which is why I’ve chosen a McDonalds with a playground. If you are planning to come could you please fill in this form. Thanks.

Live life with your kids!

If you are an Australian reader I would appreciate you reading this special request.



It's just Slackness

If you were to look around your home or more importantly around your children's hearts would you see slackness?
  • Slackness is when things aren't quite right - an attitude of nearly, but not quite.
  • Slackness is doing enough to get by but not anywhere near excellence.
I've been sensing some slackness around here lately. People are doing the bare minimum but they are not really showing responsibility, and certainly not showing initiative.

What brings slackness into our home?

  • I get distracted, busy or tired and I don't keep people accountable
  • As a family we are too busy and are never at home with enough time and energy to do a good job
  • The routine is messed up
What will turn things around?
  • Knowing what is important. Knowing what standard you want to live by.
  • Keeping myself focused. Just because my children can do something doesn't mean they will. I need to hold them accountable. I need to be onto it!
  • While we are talking about being focused and accountable - if I was focused on my own responsibilities then things would go better with the kids’ attitudes. Instead I get distracted and let time lapse. I need to either hold myself accountable or give my children the freedom to hold me accountable (and encourage me to stay on track). This is something for those with older children to seriously consider.
  • Practice what they know or retrain what you thought they should know! Sometimes we just have to go over it again! We have to outline our expectations, show them how it is done, and give them time to practice with your close supervision. We need to do this so they know and that we know that they know and that they know that we know that they know!!
  • Slow down, make time for the important things. The important things are, more often than not, the things that get squeezed into the left over time slots. This should be the other way around - we should do the important things and then see how much time we have left for anything else.
The attitude of the heart
Slackness is an attitude of the heart. I could address it by focusing on a variety of different character traits: responsibility, initiative, diligence, thoroughness. But in thinking about it I'm going to look at Virtue.

Character First defines virtue as: demonstrating honesty and integrity in my life by doing what is right.
Or
Moral excellence evident in my life as I consistently do what is right.

Each one of us in my family know what is right – what is right when it comes to being on the computer, what is right when it comes to cleaning up after dinner properly, what is right when it comes to our lessons/studies. There is a ‘what is right’ question for every action we take.

Some lessons to teach my children

  • Do it unto God – God is always watching. What standard does He want for our choices? What behaviour will glorify Him?
  • See the consequences of your lack of virtue – How does it affect you? How does it affect others?
  • Boundaries keep us doing the right thing. What are our boundaries? Do we set boundaries on our self? Or are we only familiar with the boundary set by an authority? Living within our boundaries maintains our integrity.
  • Accountability – What is it? What is the benefit? Who are we accountable to? God – Parents – other authorities – each other?
  • Do we know ‘what is right’ for various situations? Expand our conversation to fit older children. There are ‘what is right’ questions for life skills as well as moral situations.
  • Study words like: excellence, integrity, standards

Note: These lesson thoughts are simply thoughts I've put together for my family - they are for older children or for our own heart. Teaching younger children I would use the phrase "always doing what is right". Build on that phrase alone both in instruction time as well as in training - what is right? Did you choose to do right? How can you fix what you've done so it is right?

Sometimes when we look at our family with honest eyes we can be overwhelmed with what needs to be done. We need to have the discernment in this case to choose one area and work on it. Slackness pervades our life – we will find slack attitudes and actions in so many little areas. The best way to combat this is to pick one and address it. I believe as we practice in this one area, the idea of virtue, excellence and integrity will grip my children’s heart and will be put into practice in other areas. If not, we will move onto another area of practice in a little while.

The other thing I find helpful to do – especially as my children have grown older is to tell them what I’ve observed, and what I want us to work on. This gives them the opportunity to see what is in their heart and see what you are planning as an opportunity to work on it themselves. This is very important if children are going to start being responsible for their own heart, attitudes and actions.

This idea of slackness vs virtue is equally valid for us as parents. We need to be sure that slackness doesn’t take a hold in our own personal life or in our parenting. Let me remind you of one of the definitions I stated at the beginning:

Virtue: Moral excellence evident in my life
as I consistently do what is right.

As a parent, do I consistently do what is right? Of course I don’t, just like my children don’t. But I need to be aware that there are right things to do. As a parent, I need to be responsible with my time and energy, I need to guard my mind and imagination, I need to spend time in the Word …. These are the right things to do in the eyes of God. Can we be honest and humble enough to recognise our own weaknesses as we help our children recognise theirs?

Heart change takes time – don’t give up!


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Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.





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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!


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