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We need Boundaries - Issue 316
September 27, 2013
Hi there! ....

This week: Jess came home! Wahoo!! She had a fantastic time in Uganda and was full of stories and excitement about all the things she saw and did. This week she gets her photos sorted so we can have a good visual – she took over 1000 photos on her 2 day safari!!

Last weekend I surprised myself (and my family and friends) and took a women’s self-defence course. I was glad a friend came with me, but it was a lot of fun. People have asked me why – and there were a few reasons - one of which I wanted to check it out to see if it is something I thought my girls should do (and it was – though they were both out of town), and also I feel it is important to keep learning new things (and it was certainly something new!!)

Last week Naomi was in Darwin for a netball competition. It was a new experience for her – living with a big group of girls for 5 days! She did a few city things – like shopping, restaurants and movies so that was a lot of fun for her. Unfortunately they didn’t do so well with the netball – but it all goes down to experience.

Live life with your kids!

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

We need Boundaries

We often see boundaries as a limitation but I prefer to see a boundary as something that helps us do the right thing. We can see these limitations as a negative thing, something that restricts us, or we can see the limitation as something that keeps us in a good place. How do you see your boundaries?

Are we, as parents, even aware that we have boundaries? This is a good thing to think about and then be able to talk to your kids. Boundaries are not an issue for childhood; boundaries are with us for life. We are never free to do whatever. The law is a boundary, our inner values is a boundary as too, is God’s Word.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between Peter’s boundaries and mine. Peter has a long list of clients. They phone and book him for a job. They tell him how big the job is; he arranges a time to be there. This becomes a boundary for him – for him to be in a good spot (employed) he needs to be there. He can’t be somewhere else, he can’t simply not turn up. All employment situations are a boundary.

My boundaries look different though. I don’t have an employer expecting me to do the right thing. In that sense, I am my own boss. I set my boundaries. That’s not strictly true – in that there are expectations on me by other people – my husband, my kids and any other initiative that I am involved in but in the day to day workings of my home, I’m the boss of me!

I can sit here in my pjays and browse the internet till I hear someone drive up the driveway. I can ignore the dust and clutter. I can talk on the phone till my kids break something and really demand my attention. I can eat the whole block of chocolate and watch a movie marathon midweek. Obviously doing all of those things on one given day is going to spell complete disaster – but ultimately I could if I wanted to.

Of course there would be consequences. I never have to face the issue of being ‘sacked’ or having my pay docked – but there are consequences. And I’m sure we all know the consequences – the kids get ratty, often destructive (not necessarily violently so, stuff just happens), the house becomes a disaster zone, relationships are jaggered; generally speaking peace in the home is gone.

These things are the consequences of me stepping outside of my boundaries. I have found this to be one of the most challenging things with staying at home, especially with homeschooling as well. I need to set my own boundaries – I need to ensure that I do the right thing.

Our boundaries need to come from knowing what is the right thing for me to do at this time of my life. Just as boundaries we place around our children take into account their age and abilities, so to do any boundaries we set for ourselves. We need to remember a correct definition of boundary – not a limitation for limitations sake, but rather something that will help us do the right thing.

  • Waking time – if I am to do all that I want to do in my morning routine I need to wake at a certain time.
  • Get off the computer – this is a boundary I often break to my detriment, but I know I need to get off the computer by a set time for things to go well in our day. And I have installed an app that reminds me of how much time I’ve spent outside this boundary, and it can come to a place where it blocks me completely!
  • A routine that I have thought out and typed up. A routine helps me see all that I have to achieve today, gives me purpose for sticking with doing what is right
  • Timers and Alarms to remind me of time ticking over
  • Scales in the bathroom, help monitor my eating and exercise
  • People coming over – yes, this is a big one – invite someone over and the house gets cleaned real quick!! An external prompt to do the right thing.
  • A friend who asks me how I’m doing, or what I’m reading, or how my exercise is going. Accountability helps us do the right thing.
  • A commitment to not go to bed so angry I can’t talk to my husband (reality is we may not sort out the issue, but we can sort out our love for each other)

Boundaries help me do the right thing in every area of my life – my relationships, how I spend my time, how I look after my body, how I spend our money etc. Boundaries that help me do the right thing whatever I am doing.

With much freedom comes much responsibility. As a stay at home mum, I have freedom to direct my days. Am I using my time, my skills, my talents to the best of my ability? Am I wasting them? Now usually when you read that type of statement the theme is that you need to get out there, prove yourself, make a mark on the world etc etc etc. But that isn’t what I’m saying – We need to use our time, skills, talents to reach the goals we have at this time in our life.

For me, this time of my life my goals include

  • Teaching and training my children
  • Maintaining a home that is comfortable to live in, and inviting to visit
  • To nurture my family and friends with hospitality (food, shelter and love)
  • To grow myself by learning new things and trying new experiences (but not by letting go of my other goals)
  • To be a blessing to the people in my life: family, friends, and the people I meet

The character trait of virtue is defined - the moral excellence evident in my life as I consistently do what is right (Character First). Do I consistently do what is right? Or do I ignore some of my responsibilities for the pleasure of the moment? Do I do the barest minimum just to scrape by? Do I do what I do to impress others, or be true to myself? Do I live by the standards that are in my heart?

A few weeks ago I talked about Virtue with the teens at our homeschool co-op and encouraged them to see the boundaries in their life, not as limitations but rather as a tool that helps them do the right thing. I encouraged them, that at the moment their parents are placing the boundaries around their life – monitoring what they do with their time, what movies they watch, what music they listen to etc, but that they need to start setting some boundaries themselves – choosing to do the right thing, and knowing that they need boundaries around them to help them.

The same goes for me. I need to know what the right thing is, be committed to doing it, and find whatever I need to help me be consistent.

During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I've written:

Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

  • Too Old to Play? - Play time looks different to the older child but it still plays a significant part of their learning experiences.

Check out other homeschool and parenting issues over at my website, Lifestyle Homeschool

My Bookshop

Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

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.

Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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Until next week

Belinda Letchford
Living life with her kids in Australia!

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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter

Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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