I had a lot of time to think and observe this past week. I love to people watch and Disney is people watching extreme.
I started to notice a trend. Children at Disney that had no idea how to occupy their every waking moment without electronics. Seriously. We stood in line for hours and hours by the time you added it all up. And as I looked around I saw children watching movies on phones, portable DVD players and playing all kinds of electronic games. Literally, children were rushing through the rides and attractions to get back to their electronics!
I noticed families on vacation that weren't even speaking to each other. I noticed families with a pained look on their face as they were "forced" to spend time together. I overheard a mother tell her child "I can't wait until we are home and I can drop you off at daycare!"
And I started thinking about what makes our family different...
1. Brandon and I see children as blessings. I can't say this enough. Children aren't burdens. They are glorious gifts from above. They come complete with their own little quirks and personalities. Children are FUN. It was amazing to watch my children as their eyes lit up in amazement at the sights and sounds. Complete amazement.
2. We spend a lot of time together. My children don't see their siblings as annoyances or rivals. They rarely argue and if they do, they quickly make up because they don't like to be on the outs. We eat three meals together with everyone in attendance-- including Daddy! And we crave MORE time together than what we already get. The girls share a bedroom and recently begged me to never make them sleep in separate rooms.
3. We don't rely on electronics to keep our children entertained. Our children watch less than 2 hours a week of television. And we only hit the two hour mark if we watch a movie.. together! Lainey received a gameboy (refurbished!) with a few games (used!) for her 7th birthday that she plays every so often. But she really would rather play with her siblings. We play board games and read. We are creative. It was amazing how our children really started playing when we limited TV!
4. We control the messages that our children hear and challenge the ones that slip by. One message we are constantly told is "You can't give your children everything if you have a large family." We challenge that. Why would I want to give a child everything? How do you define everything? Does giving your child everything help or hurt them in the long run? What happened to delayed gratification? Hard work? Counting the blessings you do have? Earning something yourself? If I give my children everything, what is their motivation? Sorry, I don't want to raise my children expecting to be entitled to everything, at least not everything as the world defines it.
Long story short, I fell in love with my family all over again this last week. I love each and every member of our family for who they are and I'm excited to see who each child becomes. Each addition to our family has added another layer to our family make up. We are by no means perfect but I couldn't be more pleased with the direction our family is heading.