Last week our ducted heating unit broke. We have had to replace the whole unit as there were some massive cracks in the heating exchange causing carbon monoxide to be blown into our home. A huge bill we hadn’t expected. A great outcome is that now we are no longer at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning!!
Whilst waiting nearly a week for the unit to be replaced, we have been making do with snuggling up under blankets and finding that lying in bed under the quilts is the warmest and cosiest place to read. This afternoon, before it became too cold and I resorted to lying under the doona covers, I was watching Matey playing with his Lego whilst I was reading the kids their history book. He was in his snow gear for warmth, sitting on the floor, contentedly building with his Lego. I was reminded how you need the right environment for growth. Just as plants need light, warmth and water, so we as humans require certain conditions for optimal growth. We can still grow in certain areas, but in aiming for optimal growth, there are several things that can assist.
Considering physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual growth as the main areas, I started pondering what would help each of my family members in those areas. I encourage you this week to look at which area stands out most to you to look at first with your children and brainstorm what they could do with having more of.
Some examples I quickly thought of were:
- Physical – nutrition, activity, warmth, health, adequate sleep, safe environment,
- Intellectual – ability to read, books, appropriate challenges and stimulus,
- Emotional – love, kind words, positive and uplifting comments, good physical contact, joy, laughter, feeling valued, having a voice,
- Social – friends, interaction with others, time alone, fun
- Spiritual – relationship with God/spiritual being larger than yourself,
On reflecting on our family life at the moment, one of the big improvements for us (apart from getting the heating unit fixed so that we are in a warm environment), is probably more positive and encouraging affirmations. I am always amazed at how the kids respond when they receive appropriate encouragement. My natural instinct is to focus on the negative and highlight it. I can easily and quickly tell you everything that I think is wrong with my family and their behaviour. Instead, I need to be aware that my children respond far better to positive affirmation and respond accordingly. Even sitting here in our study, I can see a poster on the wall listing 103 ways to verbally praise your children. Statements that I wouldn’t normally use like:
- Now you’re flying
- You’re spectacular
- Great discovery
- What an imagination
- You brighten my day
- You made my day
- I’m proud of you
- You are really responsible
- You’re a joy
- You are important
- I trust you
What about you? What would be one thing that you could concentrate on this coming week to improve your family’s environment for growth?