Category Archives: Parenting

Parental Zen: How to Keep Your Cool as a Parent #1aDay

Leo provides more great insight on keeping your cool as a parent. I know I’m nowhere near perfect on this, but it’s a good reminder. As he says:

“The main problem is that we have some ideal as parents, of how our kids should behave. We think they should be ideal kids, but in truth they’re not ideal, they’re real. They have faults, just like we do. They need help, they make mistakes, they get angry, they get frustrated. We do too. Let’s figure out how to behave when we make mistakes, get angry, get frustrated, and show the kids how to do this through our example.”

Read the full article here

For The Children’s Sake, Put Down That Smartphone #1aDay

It’s not just kids who are overdoing screen time. Parents are often just as guilty of spending too much time checking smartphones and e-mail — and the consequences for their children can be troubling.

While I’m no angel when it comes to my phone I do make a conscious effort to disable just about every type of notification and not look at it when in the middle of talking to someone (unless it’s to check on something they asked about). If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s the people who have every notification turned on then tell you that they don’t even notice it anymore… well the rest of us who are trying to talk to you do – and so do your kids as this article points out.

Read the full article here

You’re Washing Your Clothes Too Often! (What to Do Instead) #1aDay

My wife is probably going to hate this article, but I did promise a “clean” article after yesterday’s post.

Read the full article here

The Male Dominated Field of Programming #1aDay

Apparently only around 20% to 30% of currently working programmers are female, and in my experience it seems to be closer to 20% than 30%. Still, the post raises some important points especially about behavior.

I want my girls to be able to do anything they are capable of and interested in just like I wish the same for any boy.

Still, regarding the cartoon, I half wonder if the person has ever watched a girl play with a doll. There is more going on in a 5 minute session than I can keep track of when I watch my girls with their dolls… And yes, they also love the “ipad” (aka Kindle Fire).

Read the full article here

Clutterfree with Kids


A few weeks ago I was honored to receive an advanced copy of “Clutterfree with Kids” by Joshua Becker for review. One of the things I appreciate most about Joshua’s writing and articles is that he’s what I consider a “normal” minimalist in that he owns a house, has kids, and has a job. In other words, he’s just like you and me – only he and his family have chosen to live a life of less so that they may appreciate it more. Even better, he rightfully acknowledges that everyone’s brand of minimalism is different.

Regarding the book, I’ll say that if you’ve read one book on minimalism you’ve read them all and this is not a huge exception to the rule, but if you have not this is a great place to start if you consider yourself to be a “normal” person and are interested in how living a life of less can give you more.

I think the key if you’re married is that you have to get your spouse on-board. Otherwise, don’t expect to have a truly “clutterfree” life (not that it’s really even possible with kids). I think the most you can really hope for is a more organized chaos. Making intentional choices like limiting TV or Internet time. Choosing to eat together as a family. Choosing your activities more deliberately. Choosing to travel with less so that you experience more.

To hit on some of the high points, these were a few of my main take-aways…

  • Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it <- Read that again
  • Start with small victories. Don’t tackle the hard things first.
  • Owning less allows us to own higher quality items.
  • Consider the true cost of your purchases – time, maintenance, cleaning
  • Less is different than none.
  • There is more joy to be found in owning less then can ever be found in organizing more.
  • Organizing more never addresses the underlying problem.
  • It is far better to de-own than to declutter.
  • Intentionally or unintentionally we are all minimizing something.
  • Gift giving: take time to let the fads show themselves then purge without concern. Conversely don’t force your ideas on others.
  • Compare downward – many people with less “stuff” are actually happier.

Bottom line, for a couple bucks and a few hours of your time, there are much worse things you could be doing, and on the bright side, it just may change your life. Can’t go wrong with that.

Get the book today

What do you think?

PS: Thanks again Joshua for allowing me to preview the book. I read every word, and it was a good refresher.

Principles, Priorities, and Values – oh my!

Lately I’ve been thinking about the important things to me. What my “principles”, “priorities”, or “values” are. I’m sure I could spout off a number of things, but here are the big ideas that come to mind.

Family
My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I will do anything within my power for my wife and kids. What is the purpose of life without someone or a cause to love?

Goals
Goals keep us moving forward. They give us something to strive for. But don’t confuse a want with a goal. Remember, goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Planning
A dream without a plan is only a wish upon a star, but beware analysis paralysis. Use planning to achieve your goals. And remember, plans change. Change with them.

Disciplined Action
This is where you walk the walk. Achieving any goal or carrying out any plan is primarily a matter of disciplined action. It’s making the hard choices. Doing things you don’t want to do. Doing as you say. Being a role-model.

Routine
The easiest way to maintain disciplined action is through routine. Routine isn’t a dirty word or meant in a negative way. Some might call it a ritual.

Spontaneity (White Space)
Of course once you have planned your disciplined actions and made them a routine it’s amazing how much time you can find for other things. Once you know where the unmovable objects are it’s easy to find the space between. Remember to keep white space in your schedule. You can’t plan everything and if you try to you will drive yourself and those around you crazy. Schedule your priorities. Don’t schedule your life.

Self Control

A friend shared this post from facebook and I thought it worthwhile to pass along…
If we cannot control our own mouths (e.g. we lecture too much, have to prove our point, yell and scream)…how can we expect our children to control their mouths?
If we cannot control our emotions, how can we expect our kids to control their emotions?
… Let’s make 2013 the year we get control of ourselves.
Of course this is sometimes easier said than done as any parent can attest to 🙂