I am soaking in Ann Kroeker's wisdom, and I hope you are also encouraged and challenged by her book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families*. She wrote based on her own experience of raising four young children (at that time, ages 6 to 13). Now, several years later, her oldest daughter is in college.
If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Ann, please read it, here, to discover what prompted her and her family to dramatically change their pace of life.
4. You mention flexing with technology--do you regret loosening up on that?
I’m really glad we stayed firm on our restrictions when they were little—so much research reveals technology’s negative effects on young children.
But as they grew, as I said, we loosened up, and now my eldest daughter, who showed herself adept at technology and computers, is now studying computer science at college. If we had never allowed exposure to computers, she would have been at a disadvantage, maybe never discovering this aptitude.
Similarly, my next-oldest is skilled with photo editing, graphic design, and is exploring film editing—again, that would not have been possible without giving her time, resources, and access to experiment. However, I strongly recommend a protective, filtering program like NetNanny and later something like Covenant Eyes or Safe Eyes.
With regard to cell phones, we are allowing kids to have cell phones with texting by age 13 (we lowered it from 16) IF they have the money to pay for the monthly add-on fee. The privilege comes with the caveat that the parents can take away that privilege at any time, if the child abuses the use.
Our youngest does not have any kind of phone yet. He's 12.
The 16-year-old has a phone with texting, but she doesn’t have a smart phone with continuous Internet access. That, we don't allow until age 18. We've had problems that we've had to address, but we felt that they would benefit from learning self-control and self-regulation with guidance from us. And having the phones means they can contact us when they are out and about.
5. Do you do any outside activities at all?
For years we resisted joining a speech and debate club that was a good fit with our values—we resisted because the impact on family time felt almost like a travel sport in terms of time commitments and out-of-town tournaments. We felt like we couldn’t sustain that when the kids were young, but now that our youngest is 12, he can compete.
We don’t have to herd little ones and worry where they are at every moment, so we waited until the time was right and joined. What a wonderful experience! We’re so glad to be part of this club, but now we have a taste of what travel sports and activities are like.
I’m convinced we did the right thing waiting; and yet, I see why very family has to decide what’s right for them. 6. I appreciated how you quoted Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest to remind us to not compare our family with another family. We each have to “walk in the light of the vision” God has given us. Besides prayer, which you mention, what else helps you to not compare?Good question! The older I get, the more confident I am in the path God has us on and the less I worry about others’ opinions.
Also, seeing the kids blossom and knowing that we did them no harm—that, rather, we gave them the best possible childhood we could offer—helps me relax and stop comparing. That’s not to say it’s been perfect; it’s just the best we could offer following what we believed God was directing. In my friend Jennifer Dukes Lee's book Love Idol, she tackles this very issue—how seeking the approval of others is an idol that keeps us from living only for the approval of God. Comparing ourselves to others elevates the other people too high and makes us want to be them instead of be the person God’s created us to be. So perhaps just having people like Jennifer remind us to keep our eyes on the Lord, and memorizing Scripture to that effect, can bring our minds back to gaze upon God and things above, not on earthly things.
Ann is giving away a second copy of her book on Thursday.
To enter the second giveaway: 1) Leave a comment about which of Ann's answers resonated with you, or a question for Ann about a slower lifestyle - this counts as one entry; 2) Share this giveaway on social media, and let me know in the comments as each share counts as an additional entry; 3) If you are already a subscriber, or you subscribed - let me know in the comments as that counts as an additional entry; 4) leave your e-mail on the Disqus form so we can contact you if you win.
If you entered the first giveaway, and did not win, you are automatically entered in this second giveaway.
The giveaway will end Thursday (3/27/14) at 5 p.m. PST. The winner will be picked by random and announced later that day.
Congratulations to Alecia S. for winning Ann's book in the first giveaway. And congratulations to Ceil R. for winning the second book.
If you missed Part 1 of my interview with Ann about her book, Not So Fast: Slow Down Solutions For Frenzied Families, you can read it here.
Then on Friday, March 28, I will share what I learned in March. I look forward to reading what you learned in March.
Thanks for being here. I appreciate your presence.
Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol, available now, and instigator of #TellHisStory. (I get my copy tomorrow.)
Linking with the lovely Holley Gerth of #coffeeforyourheart...read Holley's encouraging words here.
Linking with encouraging friend Lyli Dunbar's Thought Provoking Thursday