Monday, August 1, 2011

On Not Overly-Busying Our Children

I love how Ann Voskamp points out in her book One Thousand Gifts the concept of, "Empty to fill." That seems to be a theme over the past few weeks.

We're going on our third week of this vacation emptied of scheduled activities and agendas - full of new adventures and relationship.

Although I know it, this time away has shown me the value of not overly-busying our children. Our children have been thriving on space to explore, time to use their imaginations, experiences to share in with one another, time to just be together and problem solve together, and time to keep a momentum in their play and relationship.

Just one of the things we have implemented on this trip, in our duration in one location, has been our own reading program with prizes to keep it exciting, using Brown Paper Packages fantastic system.

Prize Basket:
Robby went straight to the beach, this morning, to explore with the binoculars he selected.  

Included in that prize box are, "Date with mom/dad to the ice cream parlor," certificates - another special little nugget to fill our time.
Robby has cruised through all four of his Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station books and I have been reading Alexa the cutest little chapter book series, Natalie.
We have been going to the library for other books to read to Drew and Madeline and picked up the first two Little House on the Prairie books, which we have been reading as a family. 
"I'm Pa and you can be Ma and Madeline can be baby Carrie." Robby and Alexa negotiate before bed last night.

Robby has also informed me that he wants to make maple syrup over snow (to harden like candy) on his birthday because his birthday is in the winter like it was in the book. Suddenly, Pokeman and Bakugan isn't the only way to celebrate a birthday!

It just warms my heart to watch them re-enact a good book we just read - to play together imaginatively and to have an appreciation for the hard work it used to take to live. There is so much value to be gained in reading a good book together.

This all sounds a little like a no-brainer to me as I write it, but no. Our lives can get very choppy at home, coming and going. Yes, that is life. And it is only going to get busier as our children get older. But we can be intentional now about how much we put on their plate.

There is no better way to learn about life, love, service, and relationship; no better way to prepare one to go out into the world knowing who they are, what exactly they have to offer, and what is truly important than within the circle of time spent with family.

Created for a reason.

A gift at your fingertips.

#135-#155 of thankfulness for

the soft, silky touch of an infants cheek against mine
songs around the fire pit
sunny weekends
Observing the heart of a nearly five-year-old
watching her full of adoration for her aunt and new baby
small hands holding and kissing their infant cousin
special times with sister and brother in-law
great grandma
leisure days
sitting with children reading through Little House in the Big Woods and other books
crab hunting on the beach
jelly fish
new friends
good conversation
legs learning to walk
hearts growing in love

working my way to One Thousand Gifts and beyond of gratitude and linking up with Multitudes on Mondays at Holy Experience, Sol Deo Gloria at Finding Heaven, and Playdates at The Wellspring

Finding Heaven


  1. Theresa,
    Ah, yes, it's with good intentions that we fill our schedules and theirs, but really all the busyness, just makes it possible for us to enjoy, and we end up angry that we are running so much or entertaining so often.

    Yep, next summer will be different for our fam. Less, less, less.

  2. I couldn't agree more!!!! Less is more. Thank you for sharing.

  3. This sounds like my house...except my little boy is talking almost non stop about camping since he got ALL the camping books out of library! Hehehe! It's all he draws, talks about, dreams about. MomE isn't a camping kind of gal...but DadE has promised a tent excursion in the backyard. Thanks for this encouragement today!!

  4. Your summer sounds so refreshing! I'm learning to live with my children embracing the simple and slow as well. My 7 year old, and even 3 year old, have been enjoying Little House on the Prairie books this summer. It's sweet to share with them books I enjoyed as a girl.

  5. Empty to fill. Yes, this is such wisdom. We all need time and space to explore, just like your littles. Sometimes we recognize it for our children but not for ourselves. Nothing like family read aloud time to slow a gal down and breathe some life. I really enjoyed reading this post today!

  6. Sounds like the perfect vacation. It is imperative that we slow down and see...really see. And no greater way to spend the time than pouring over a book together. Love it...thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog today :)

  7. "Little House in the Big Woods" is one of the first books I read independently as a child.

    When our children were little and we lived without running water in a cabin for a year (but that's another story), I read them the whole series, just as you are doing. Such blessing in slowing down and taking time to just "be."

  8. I think that it must take practice for little ones who are used to being entertained for them to entertain themselves. I really struggle with this!

  9. oh, i love this beautiful reminder... to sit still with our children, to explore and learn with them... thank you.

  10. I love you words and your list, makes me want to visit the beach. Less is definitely more! Thanks for visiting my blog today. Many blessings!

  11. Yes and Amen! Less is most definitely more. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

  12. The intentional decisions that you have made as parents to slow down, to be, to have relationship, to read great books . . . ah, they will reap big rewards.

    ps. I often have a small warning :-). My book loving girls always get apartments on the third floor with no elevator . . . and we have carted together all those boxes and boxes and boxes of books. (Will Kindle and Nook really change this?)



  13. Beautifully expressed and even more beautifully lived out by example! I struggled against the tide to over busy my children during our raising years, and I have never once regretted the times that I was successful.

    And of course, that is our favorite family series. First, I read it to them, and then my husband read it. They have each reread it themselves more than once too. You just don't outgrown LIW.


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