For me, the mother of a large family, life is full a myriad of details. Everyone wears different clothes and it is considered helpful when finished with the laundry to return the right ones, if at all possible. Then there is the matter of three meals a day plus snacks. All the children are so different and getting to know what they like, hate, or couldn’t care less about takes time and effort. Since I home-school, I must add a hundred more details concerning talents and troubles, where some need to improve and others have gifts that should be shared. So does this mean that I spend my day in a blurry haze? Not really. What I have found is that the details are quite helpful; it is the distractions that completely throw me out of whack.
What do I mean by distraction? The stuff that catches my attention but does nothing to enrich my life. There are millions of them. From television programs that teach nothing but rather degrade the people in them as well as the people watching them, movies for the same reason, magazine articles, Internet stuff, hopefully not this one, and all the eye catching, bright, fast moving, attractive fluff that call to us like siren songs, away from the real, important duty of getting to know our children and serving them and the world well.
When we gave up television as a family, we replaced it with reading books aloud in the evening and that has done a great deal to draw us together as a family. We have read all sorts of books, and we will be able to share these memories forever – they bind us in a unique and wonderful way. We talk about the stories and what they mean, what we take away from them, what we like and what we do not like, what helps us and what is not so good for us. We laugh, make predictions, and generally have a great time. We have also gained a better understanding of history, literature, science, culture, and religion by reading together. Replacing distractions with enriching activities has made us stronger because we know each other better, and we discuss differences of opinion rather than running away from them. We encourage growth in writing and drawing because of the stimulating creative atmosphere. If you are interested I have a Frailey Family Book List on my website, and you can see what we have read.
Unfortunately, there is no master list comparing details with distractions, but we can learn by paying attention to what helps us know, love, and serve our families and our God. Take the road less traveled. The details matter.