The book Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, M.Ed., asserts that as parents, we can use “the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids.” So far, this book offers a way to reconnect with the hopes and dreams we once had for our family in a practical way. Here are my takeaways from chapter one.
My husband and I have dreams of time spent as a family reading books, being in nature, and exploring together. We dream of having minimal belongings, and choosing what to keep based on items that are beauty and useful. We dream of homeschooling our children and teaching and learning with them in a way that is affirming and validating to each person’s unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. We dream of simplicity and space, both in our schedules and our home, that facilitates growth and ample time to rest and breathe. We dream of challenging each other and our children to be our best selves, and to grow into the most resilient and faithful people we can be.
“Simplification is not just about taking things away. It is about making room, creating space in your life, your intentions, and your heart. With less physical and mental clutter, your attention expands and your awareness deepens.”
So far in my parenting journey, I have been protective of the family schedules and in creating the rhythms of our daily life. I have been striving to keep clutter from overtaking our spaces and our time. It is hard, but important work. Simplicity Parenting points out the cultural normal when it says, “We are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too much speed.”
As adults, we have gotten used to the pace of society, even if in our case it’s begrudgingly so. Again, this book wisely points out that “a certain pace or volume of ‘stuff’ may be tolerable for adults, while it is intolerable, or problematic, for the kids” and yet, “our parenting may be affected by too much clutter and stress, just as our children’s behavior is.” As parents, this spurs us on towards continuing the work of simplifying and decluttering our lives in an effort to create a well-being within the family.
Do what’s doable
“In terms of areas to change I usually see two categories: what is important and what is doable. What seems the most important is usually not; what is most doable is the place to begin. If you do enough that is doable, you will get to the important, and your motivation will be fueled by your success.”
This is true in my experience. Each small victory is immensely motivating and compels me to do the next step and then the next. And with each victory comes more peace in our home and a greater sense of well-being in our family.
“Imagine your home as a place where time moves a little slower…where those we love know it, by virtue of our attention, protection, and appreciation”