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Building a Family Culture

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There are all kinds of families in the world. There are the families that laugh a lot together and are really loud together in public places. There are the families that never talk and don’t seem to enjoy being around each other.

There are the families that always go on vacations together – they are the talk of the community! Families that are always hiking or outdoors are often seen as adventurous and exotic. Everyone knows the family that plays board and card games together.

The reason we think about families doing certain things is because we intuitively understand that each family has a family culture. WinterPromise wants to help you create your unique family culture so that you can provide a healthy and dynamic family environment for your kids.

What is culture?

On Dictionary.com there are a few ways to use the word culture, but the one that best fits what we are talking about is the 5th definition.

 “. . . the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.”

Every group of people, no matter how small or how large, has a culture. Every community, church, family, group of friends, and social club has a culture. People make culture. Which means even if you are not trying, your family has a culture.

“The behaviors and beliefs.” What your family does and what your family values will dictate your family’s habits, traditions, and patterns. Ask yourself, “Why do we do what we do?” You do everything for a reason, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Do you get pizza every Friday night for the family only because you love pizza? Obviously you love pizza, but you do it for more than that. You love having a casual meal that is a family favorite, where you can watch a movie and just chill. That is a part of family culture. You value something, and it is very different from the family that always gets Chinese and plays Scrabble.

Every family has traditions that form a rhythm to their lives.

Communication reveals a healthy or an unhealthy culture.

Everybody knows that communication is important to the health of any relationship. More than that, the type of communication that happens between people reveals the health of that relationship.

Your family is no different. If the communication in your family is primarily composed of arguments, anger, conflict and rudeness, then most people are going to understand that the family culture is very unhealthy. On the other hand, if your communication is full of laughter, patience, fun, enjoyment, lengthy conversations and investment in others, then most people are going to see an amazing and healthy family culture.

Communication and family culture go hand in hand. If you have good communication, you will probably have a healthy family culture. If you have a healthy family culture, then you will probably have great communication.

Promote good communication. Patience and understanding are key elements, along with forgiveness, in having a family that communicates well. The reason this is so important is that if you have good communication, your family will really love being together. If you see a pattern of poor communication between certain children, make sure you work on that right away. The longer it is let go the harder it is to uproot.

Promote teamwork!

After being able to talk and enjoy each other as a family, you can begin focusing on fine-tuning your family culture. Family isn’t all fun and games. In fact it mostly is not. Being a part of a family usually means conquering projects together, helping family move, fixing a water leak in the basement, making schedules work and etc.

Your family needs to be able to work together well and enjoy working together. Life will be full of to-do’s and being able to work together as a family will be a huge step in creating an amazing family culture.

Working together doesn’t have to be a chore. There are so many times when a family activity or project can turn into an amazing memory. Laughing together, making gentle fun of one another, enjoying success together – these things can all be enjoyed when working together.

Summary

Building a healthy family culture is something most parents want but too often don’t know how to achieve.  You may be asking, “What about fun? Shouldn’t we be talking about fun?” Certainly, fun is a huge part of a healthy family culture. If you can’t have fun together then there is some work to do. Talking about fun, though, does not create a “fun” family culture.

What does create a fun family culture? There is a lot to it, but if you can work together well and communicate in a healthy way, then you will create a fun family culture. Families were designed to work together and to have fun. For most of history the normal way to have fun was to have fun while you worked. Today, things are a little different. We aren’t fighting for survival every day, which means we create categories to describe what we’re doing – like doing something fun or doing work.

We strongly believe that if you create a culture of teamwork and healthy communication your family will have so much fun together!

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Lighten the Load Part 1

Lighten the Load Part 1:
Dealing with the Burdens of a Homeschool Mom

Man with Ridiculous Pile (Done)

Have you ever seen the bicycles that have more than one seat? Big families sometimes use them if younger kids need to be able to keep up with the rest of the family.

These bicycles have two, three or even four seats sometimes! All four seats can pedal to help, but often the younger ones in the family get tired before the rest, which is why they are attached to the parent.

The parent bears the burden of pedaling even when the other riders get tired. They have a lot to bear.

That burden is a normal, healthy burden. Now imagine that on that family bike ride, Mom is pulling 3 younger children on her bike. That’s a lot of riders!

Mom has the responsibility to make sure her children can keep up with Dad and her older children. While they are biking though, Mom decides to go up a hill when she could have gone around it. She also decides to move the gears on the bike up, so that the pedaling becomes difficult, and then decides to deflate her tires a little. Would Mom be able to keep up? Would she get tired?

What would you say if you were a part of that family and saw that happening? You would probably say, “What are you doing Mom!? You are making it much harder on yourself than you really need to!”

This is an illustration of how some Homeschool Moms operate while homeschooling. They already have the huge responsibility of making sure that their household runs well and that their children flourish in their education. But those are not the only burdens that Moms tend to bear. There are other things that are added to their plate.

These others burdens that Homeschool Moms experience include:

 

Perfectionism – Requiring personal perfection when it comes to homeschooling, parenting, or homemaking.

Weariness – Moms have so much to do, and a myriad of demands placed upon them, which means that being exhausted will weigh them down.

Personal Expectations – This goes along with perfectionism. Moms place so many expectations upon themselves that sometimes they can be unreasonable. Moms bear the burden of their own expectations, which so often are not met.

Financial Stress – This is one burden that so many deal with. Money is a large piece of what we stress about. We are often burdened with worries of money.

 

This is just a short list of what could be weighing you down. If you let some of these things begin to “pile” up on you, then you will burn out very quickly.

There are some things that we need to worry about. There are some things that we need to be responsible for which can lead to worry. But there are also things that we don’t need to burden ourselves with, but we do anyway!

Next time we will talk about putting everything in its proper place. This will allow you to put aside stress and worry that is wearing you down and affecting your ability to be a Homeschool Mom.

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Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 2

Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 2Pinterest Perfection

Last time we talked about the emotional challenges of Pinterest. We are tempted to expect every project, decoration, DIY, recipe and anything else we find to turn out as perfect as “Pinterest Perfect”

What this can lead to is frustration, or even feelings of inadequacy.

But maybe you do not feel this at all! Maybe you know exactly how, the expectations we put on ourselves because of Pinterest, are not fair. But if you do struggle with this then keep reading!

Today we are going to talk about how to properly think about Pinterest and how to effectively use it. This is not an encyclopedic article on every possible way to use Pinterest, but we will try to give some good advice and let you take it from there!

1. Think of Pinterest as a piece of the puzzle and not the whole puzzle. Pinterest uses pictures to help you find ideas. We are visual creatures when it comes to the internet. Anything that is visually striking catches our eye.

The temptation then, is that when we see an amazing project, all we see is how perfect it is. We see it in its isolated environment on Pinterest. We only see it in all its glory!

Which means, when you go to setup that amazing organizational chart in your kitchen, it doesn’t quite look as perfect as what Pinterest seems to show. The reason is, because your emotions are impacted by so many things in your life! The cleanliness of your house, the mood you are in, the way your children are acting are all part of how you feel about something. If you feel a little overwhelmed, the organizational chart won’t be as impressive.

Your Pinterest project is just one piece of a very big puzzle. Pinterest ONLY shows the perfect project that solves just one problem. Pinterest ONLY shows one amazing picture of everything working in harmony for one moment. Long enough to get a great picture! Your life is so much more than one picture, and in real life things aren’t Pinterest Perfect.

Understand that one Pinterest project will not make you feel good about everything else going on in your life.

2. Look at Pinterest for SPECIFIC NEEDS. Isn’t that what most of us do? Yes, but what tends to happen is that we look at all that Pinterest has to offer and we start to wish all of our lives should look like Pinterest.

We get caught up in the world of Pinterest and compare our world to it. This can lead to a lot of frustration!

Instead, think about Pinterest in a very specific sense. Persevere mentally! Only look for specific needs and more importantly, only compare what you have done with that specific need. Pinterest is a great tool but you should never compare your whole life to Pinterest. Take on small piece and see if anyone else has had an idea and pinned it for that very specific need.

3. Spend enough time on Pinterest to enjoy it, but not enough to be controlled by it. This principle could be used for any social media channel. We are too often controlled by something and not often enough in control. Make sure you understand Pinterest and the very specific role it fills. It is not a standard whereby you measure yourself against the vastness of the internet, but a tool to help you solve specific problems.

 

WinterPromise

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Translating Pinterest to Real Life: Part 1

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If you have a Pinterest account you are like millions of other people. You may use it to keep track of photos. You could be one of those people that it turns out to be your big pile of internet ideas and “junk.”

A39WB3 Piles of household rubbish at a recycling depot in Berlin Germany

You may also be a DIY fanatic that crawls all over Pinterest looking for that perfect project that will turn your hole-in-the-wall closet into an HGTV masterpiece. You could be the person looking for that perfect word of encouragement to get you through the day. Whatever you use Pinterest for, something seems to be not quite right.  When you do something that is inspired by Pinterest, your finished product doesn’t quite seem to be all that Pinterest promised. It is not exactly perfect. Things did not go nearly as smoothly as it seemed they would or the finished product is not quite what you wanted.

What you see in front of you is not quite what you see on your tablet or computer. It may look or turn out looking exactly the way it should, but something is not quite right.

The frustration you are sensing with Pinterest is that you do not have the “Pinterest Life.” You have a real life.  You have a busy, rushed, distracted, and sometimes out-of-control life.

At the core of the problem is this: Pinterest pictures the perfect finished project without the issues of everyday life. Pinterest is an isolated picture of a perfect project, chores chart, organizational strategy or inspiring quote.

Which means, when you try to replicate that Pinterest Perfection, you come up with something not quite Pinterest Perfect because your life is not Pinterest Perfect. It just doesn’t quite meet your expectations.

This reality can be very frustrating. Your life will never be quite what it needs to be for Pinterest Perfect to be attained. This may lead to frustration, feelings of inadequacy or even helplessness. If you don’t ever feel these things then this post is not for you, but if you ever struggle with measuring yourself against what you see on Pinterest, we want to help!

Pinterest can be a really effective tool. But it is not effective if you have expectations that lead to frustrations. We want to give you the right perspective on Pinterest and using it as a tool in your life.

Find out next time!

WinterPromise

 

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The Foundation of Friendship

Foundation of Friendship

Having a strong group of friends is a deep need that we all have. We all need friends in our lives that help us, encourage us, listen to us, enjoy life with us, laugh with us, cry with us and etc. We need those kind of friends.

The question is: How do we get those kind of friends? How do we put ourselves in a position to have the close group of friends that we want?

The answer is by BEING the type of person that those around you would want to be your friend. Being a person that others find admirable, respectable and worthy of friendship is the first place to start. You will not always get along with everyone you know the same way, but being a person that interests and attracts others to you is a great place to start.

Your friendships and friends will have a lot of different characteristics and aspects. Friends/friendships are like a good house. You need a lot of different things to make a great house-windows, nice doors, closet space, spacious rooms, nice kitchen etc. But if your house has all these things but it doesn’t have a solid foundation then you have a flawed house. It is the same way with friends and friendships. You may have a lot of things but if certain things are non-existent there is only so far you can go in your friendship.

What is that one thing that each friend and friendship should have?

This one aspect of friendship that every friend should possess is the capacity and the desire to sacrifice for the other person. Being someone that is willing to sacrifice for you is invaluable and vital to any close friendship. Everyone wants a friend that will give something up to be there for us when we need them. Everyone wants a friend that is willing to help us out even if there is nothing in it for them. That is a true friend.

If that is a friend that you want, doesn’t it make sense to be that kind of person for others? If you want that sacrificial friend, we would suggest that you aspire to be that for the people in your life. If there are certain people that you want to grow closer to, then do something for them that means something to them. Be there when they need somebody, even when it is inconvenient or causes you to miss out on something.

Be sacrificial.

When you begin to do that for others you will attract people that want that and in so doing you will create friendships based on personal sacrifice.

Think about someone in your life that you consider a great friend, and reflect on how much they have sacrificed for you? (time, money, babysitting, helping you with projects) If there is someone you want to grow in your friendship with, ask yourself: in what ways can I sacrifice for them?

This will open the door to true and enduring friendships.

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The Value of Friendships: Types of Friends

The Value of Friendships: Types of Friends

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Friends. It is a classic TV sitcom about a group of friends trying to make their way through their 20’s in New York City. American enjoyed watching them for 10 seasons! Why was Friends such a hit? One of the reasons it was such a hit was because it reminded all of us, who watched, that our friendships mean so much to us.  It reminded us that one of the key aspects of our lives is our friendships.

CHANNEL 4 PICTURE PUBLICITY 124 Horseferry Road London SW1P 2TX 020 7306 8685 FRIENDS: The One with the Late Thanksgiving Friends Year 10 Episode 8 "THE ONE WITH THE LATE THANKSGIVING" Medium shot of Matt LeBlanc as Joey, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel, David Schwimmer as Ross, Matthew Perry as Chandler and Courteney Cox as Monica. Tx:26/03/2004 This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 programme publicity purposes in connection with the current broadcast of the programme(s) featured in the national and local press and listings. Not to be reproduced or redistributed for any use or in any medium not set out above (including the internet or other electronic form) without the prior written consent of Channel 4 Picture Publicity 020 7306 8685

Another reason that Friends made such a big impact on America is because most of us don’t have the friendships that Friends seemed to make us want.

The friendship seen on Friends were the kind we all we wanted to some degree. They were authentic. They accepted each other for who they were. They laughed a lot together. They always head each other’s backs. They played jokes on each other. They knew exactly what bothered each other and how to annoy one another in fun. They had difficult conversations together. They endured hardship together. They ate meals together regularly. They had fun all the time it seemed! Friends showed us what we all wanted.

The problem is that you have a busy and full life. Your family is your #1 responsibility and it takes up a lot of your time. After dealing with all that you need to take care of you are exhausted and don’t want to do anything else but sit and relax. The idea of adding something to your life is daunting, but you need to think about it.

As we have written about before, you must plan and prioritize anything you want or need to get done. You need friendships. You may not need as many as someone else but you need them. Which means you will need to plan some part of your weekly or monthly schedule around making this happen.

For anyone trying to reinvest themselves in friendships or if you have moved recently and have no friends where you live, we want to be able to provide you with some advice.

In this post we want to provide you with some categories and labels for different friends you may have so that you can figure out where your friendships are or what friends you should try to have. These are only to be taken as a general guide and it needs to be understood that this list is not exhaustive. This list is intended to help you understand your own friendships.

 

Friends

The Low-Key Friend
This friend is the one that you don’t have to be doing anything and can just spend time together. Often this type of friendship is a starting point for any close friendship you may have. If you can just sit and talk and have a great time, or if you really enjoy them being around while you’re doing chores or housework then you have a really stable friend and one worth keeping. This friend tends to hear your heart when difficult things are going on but they also hear about your blessings as well. These are often the best kind of friend!

 

The Exciting or Event-Driven Friend
This friend is the opposite of the friend above. This is the friend that either you only encounter at events or activities or this friend always wants to go DO something while spending time together. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact this can be a really healthy friendship for you if you don’t get out much! Either they want to go to a restaurant, go shopping, show you something new they have, meet at a dinner party, go see a movie etc.  This friend is less stable but always knows how to make you smile.

 

The Helpful Friend
This friend is always up for helping you out. If you are painting a room, they are there to help. If you need some help with chores because you are way behind, they love to help. This friend shows their friendship and care for you through helpful actions. That means they also enjoy having you help them out with projects or to-do lists that they need done. This kind of friendship is also another element of many close friendships.

 

The Mutual-Interests Friend
This friend is the person that enjoys talking about the same things as you. If you have a hobby, they probably love it too. The reason you get along so well is because you share the same interests. If you go shopping together, there is never a need to compromise or scheme on where to go in a specific store because you want to see the same things! Your clothes are similar, you love all the same movies, your hobbies are similar and you understand each other!

Those are a few of the major categories. Our friends often overlap into a few different categories or even one friend can make up all these categories but like most people you have at least a few friends that cover these categories. What friends do you have that fit into these categories? Do you have a lot of one kind of friend or many friends that fit into specific categories?

The Right Mindset to Be Productive

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Choosing the Right Mindset to Accomplish Your Goals

A person that aims at nothing, is sure to hit it.

This famous piece of advice is often not followed.  What usually happens is either we have too many goals or we never focus on the goals that must accomplished. We have a tendency to not make a specific plan for a specific goal, and because we don’t have a plan we fail to accomplish much of what we set out to do! These ways of thinking usually lead to a week where you wish you had accomplished more.

One way in which this type of thinking fails is because of the insurmountable number of goals. You can become overwhelmed and struggle to focus your energy because you feel the pressure of so many responsibilities.  Another way our faulty thinking fails is because we don’t have a clear plan that will lead us to accomplishing any of our goals.  An illustration of this would be having more than one recipe planned for dinner, or having nothing planned for dinner.  That kind of thinking will not get dinner cooked! Dinner would be a mixture of half-finished recipes or it would be a pizza night. (You children may say that is one benefit of a failed plan!)

Too often we pattern our thinking after one of the examples above.  We either burden ourselves with too many goals or we are too tired to plan for anything.  It is not something we try to do but something that happens when we don’t take initiative in our lives.  We don’t try to do it but it is something that happens when we don’t try!  We do not go into our week choosing to not have a plan or focusing on too much.  This happens because we have busy lives and we get tired.

These posts is not meant to be a manual for “how to accomplish your goals from start to finish” but a kick starter to put yourself in the right mindset and thinking pattern.  If you think correctly and plan accordingly, your success can be very high!  We are going to break down your goals into three categories.

(1) Necessities – The aspects or our week that must be done for our families to function at all.

(2) Essential Tasks – These are not necessary to keep “the ship afloat” but they do need to get done.

(3) Unique Ventures – These things could be anything from a hobby.

You must plan but you must also prioritize.  Next time we will look at some tips on how to prioritize these three categories to have a productive week.

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Free Yourself from the Burden of Expectations

Morning's With WinterPromise

Free Yourself from the Burden of Expectations

Thursday 8/13/2015

 

It happens every year.  You are almost done with your summer break and it has been anything but a break. You are exhausted from all the summer travels, family get-togethers, beach days, and your kids bored more often than not.

 

At this point you are ready for the school year to begin. Finally your children will have a structured time and direction doing something productive!  School can be a huge relief for a lot of Homeschool Moms.

 

It isn’t all roses though.  You may be excited about the relief from the busyness of summer, but you are nervous about the challenges and responsibilities of teaching your children.  That can feel like a huge burden! There are so many questions to answer and things to do, where do you even begin!? Questions like these need to be answered:

 

  •  What curriculum will I use?
  •  Will all my kids learn and grow together and still have their needs met?
  •  How much can I spend this year?
  •  Do I have all that my children need to meet state standards?

 

These are questions that need to be answered, and that isn’t even counting the burden you put on yourself to be “Super Mom” while you homeschool!  Super Mom needs to be able to…

 

  • Be more organized this year!
  • Meal plan like everyone else does on Pinterest!
  • Save the family money wherever possible!
  • Not make a mistake when I correct my children.
  • Manage household chores, always smiling!
  • Get up every morning 30 minutes early to spend time with God
  • Be more involved at church and in the community!
  • Teach my high schooler to drive!
  • Clean out the closets more regularly!

 

And the list goes on!  The anxieties never stop it seems.  The burdens we put on ourselves never end.

 

We cannot answer all these worries and burdens in one article but we would like to speak a word of encouragement to our Moms.

 

Joy is not found at the end of the journey, but in the path taken.

 

We too often put the weight of success in our homeschooling upon ourselves.  We strive too often for “Pinterest Perfect” and lose focus on what really matters.  We all understand homeschooling is not a cookie-cutter endeavor, but we don’t seem to apply that principle to our definition of success.  You will not find true joy in seeing your children, or yourself, meet a certain checklist.

 

True joy is found in growing with your children as they grow.  Encouraging them and gently pushing them to learn, stretch themselves, and experience new things.  Where are you supposed to end up when all is said and done? Only you know that!  Every year this is going to be different for every family, and you are the one that knows your family best.

 

You will not get everything done that you want to.

 

Shocking, right? This is not power-positive thinking.  No, but it is a reality check that you need.  This year you have so many goals for you, your family and your homeschooling.  Probably some were mentioned in the lists above.  But you need to be ok with the possibility, and even the probability that you will not get it all done.

 

This is not an indictment against you or your ability to homeschool.  This is an encouragement to focus on the things that matter most.  The rest will work itself out, and you will not want to have all your “lists checked” at the end of the next school year but miss out on slowing down and journeying with your children.  Strive to roll with the punches, manage the potholes, and get support from your family through it all.

 

You got this Mom. Not because you will get this perfectly, but because your Mom.