Monday, August 8, 2011

Large Family Logistics, Chapters 1-9

The 4 Moms with 35 Kids are blogging through the book Large Family Logistics this month, with a linky for others to participate.  I thought it would be fun to join in at least some, because I've been slowly working through the book myself.  As a special treat, author Kim Brenneman is also blogging through with them. 
Last Thursday, they blogged about the first part of the book (through chapter 17), which discusses a lot of foundational things that are good to keep in mind.  I'm just now getting to posting some of my own thoughts about this section, along with some quotes:

I really like her encouraging tone, and the emphasis on tying things back to the Bible.

I appreciate that she also felt in her own life the lack of developing good habits for running a household, through practice and training as she was growing up, and that she struggled and had to learn these things herself (although since she grew up on a farm and did have regular chores, she was at least a couple steps ahead of where I was when I started my family).  I also appreciate the thought she had of wanting her own daughters to be in a better-prepared position than she was, and I'm encouraged by the fact that she feels she's accomplishing this, as that is what I also want to do for my girls.  And of course I'm glad that she wrote the book for others, like me.  Thanks, Kim!

Chapter 1: The Wise Woman
I appreciate her desire to be grounded in the Word, realizing the importance of this, and being a godly woman, which includes supporting her husband's priorities and serving her household.
A couple quotes:
"We must start with the right foundation, or our efforts will fall short."
Speaking of Proverbs 31:10: "A jewel such as a ruby is an extraordinary rock that goes through quite a process to become what it is -- both from its discovery to its careful refinement when it shines with striking beauty."
"Being a Wise Woman is God's plan for us -- isn't that encouraging?  And the path to wisdom is laid out in His Word.  It comes when we fear God and learn to know Him more fully.  It comes when we see our work as wives and mothers as He sees it... as a high and noble calling that bears eternal fruit.  Whenever we embrace this vision and put it into action, our labors are appreciated, blessed, and rewarded."

Chapter 2:  Goals
I liked seeing her detailed goal-setting steps on some specific examples (exercise and hospitality) and the categories she uses for setting goals in areas of her life. 

Chapter 3:  Systems
Good thoughts in this short chapter.  She touches more on things related to this later, but here lays a foundation for really looking at what exactly is going on in your household, writing it down in extreme detail even, and then making conscious and systematic effort to reorder it the way you want it and teach the family how it's supposed to work. 
Also, this very true quote: "Systems don't work if you don't work the systems."  Which is a nice transition to the next chapter...

Chapter 4:  Self-Discipline
Her realization that self-discipline is key is good, and the link to habit-formation (that it makes self-discipline easier), but she's gentle at the same time as tough, encouraging us to take small steps over time and add to them gradually, not trying to do too much at once (like I'm always doing, ahem).
"Learning self-discipline starts with keeping our eyes constantly on the goal."  Very scriptural concept.

Chapter 5:  Attitude Is Critical
Lots of good thoughts here.  I appreciate her thoughts on "perfectionism," a term which I've been pondering in recent years as to how exactly to view it.  I think her thoughts are fairly similar to mine, overall.  I do think there can be cases where at least some of the thoughts people commonly express concerning the "perfectionist" mentality have some truth to them, although I prefer more Biblical language in speaking of it and more Biblical solutions for such cases as well.  But I appreciated this section.  A quote:  "When the world tells us to quit being perfectionists, we need to respond in God's terms and strive to be perfect like Him."

In this same chapter, she discusses obedience being a choice, and I agree with the thrust of this.  I probably wouldn't tell my children that they must say "I'll try my hardest" as she does, just because I'm kind of a nut and I never really got that statement -- tended to overanalyze it, as in, "Well, what IS my hardest?"  I also fear that sort of thing leading down the path that we tend to think of as the classic "perfectionist" case.  However, I do think it's a good idea to not let them habitually complain that they "can't," or to allow ourselves to do that, either -- whether we verbalize it or just kind of assume a defeatest attitude.  We ought to have an attitude of courage and faith.  Easier said than done sometimes.   

She also mentions that our own attitudes are critical, because children will follow our example.   This is something that should be obvious, yet I find that it's all too easy to lose sight of when applying it to daily life.  Quote:  "Is the law of kindness on your tongue?  How often do you sigh?"

Chapter 6:  Where Does the Time Go?
She recommends what I've seen and heard recommended elsewhere, to write down how long you spend doing everything you do for a few days, and then analyze the record to see how long things took for more accurate scheduling, where you might be wasting time or where you could rearrange things, etc.  She's right, it is a good exercise, and I've done it before, but usually not long enough or detailed enough.  I did it this time for more days, trying to pay more attention to detail. Trouble is I'm a little spacey and not the most time-conscious person, so for me this exercise should really probably be assigned at least an entire week.  And it's a huge hassle.  Plus you take up a lot of time just writing stuff down.  But it is a good exercise in spite of these things, I do agree, and I'm thinking I need to do more of it at some point and this time write down what my children are doing at intervals also, which she also recommends.   I found it challenging enough to just write down things I was doing myself at first.

Chapter 7:  The Interrupted Day
"The constant barrage of interruptions have the ability to upend a day.  Sometimes you can make a recovery.  Sometimes you need to spread a task out through the week to get back on track, and sometimes it's one thing after the other, and life spirals into chaos.  You 'lose.'  Or at least it appears that you lose, but in reality, God gives many lessons in trials."
Excellent quote.  And I couldn't agree more about the challenge interruptions can be for a mom, especially a mom of many.  And I'll add that they can be compounded when your husband works at home and you are additionally both tempted to interrupt each other randomly throughout the day.   I have literally timed intervals between interruptions in my house before, and if I do nothing to make efforts to limit them, they often come in a fairly constant stream every couple minutes, or less!
So, a few more things to keep in mind from this chapter that were good for me:
"An interrupted day is God's plan for the life of a mother."  That's a little hard to swallow, but little people seem to specialize in interruptions, and God gave us those precious little people. 
Kim says that when interruptions come, think of them as God's will for you, consider what He may want you to learn from them, or what the children can learn, and to consider that God may be blessing you through this interruption in some way.
"Being upset about interrupted plans is, in essence, fighting with God."  Ouch.
"When we depend on Him, He equips us with the grace to deal with interruptions."  Good thoughts.

Chapter 8: The Psalms -- Your Spiritual Multivitamin
Reasons to read the Psalms frequently, for yourself and to your children also.  I like the Psalms and generally agree, although I think there's of course a lot to be gained from the rest of the Bible too -- not that I think Kim would disagree with that. 

Chapter 9:  Give Your Children a Work Ethic
"Hard physical work builds character.  Once you have done hard work, everything else comes much easier."  Another Biblical concept.  "It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth" (Lamentations 3:27).
She gives thoughts on helping your children establish a good work ethic here. 
"Always be encouraging, inspiring, and thankful."  Good reminder for me -- I find it easy to be impatient with the training, reminding, etc.
"Establishing a solid work ethic in your family takes focus, but the reward is great -- children who are prepared to take on the responsibilities of caring for their own families someday."

Okay, I'm going to have to call it quits for now and post just this much.  17 chapters is a lot to cover in one post, in my opinion!  Go see thoughts from others at this link-up if you want more.  And/or purchase the book for yourself.  I recommend it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment