good life – by karolyn corey
Part of cultivating a good life is ensuring each family member feels loved!
When my hubby and I were dating and discussing marriage, we talked a lot about our future and what it would look like, especially blending two families. Together we would have five kids – ages 13, 11, 9, 8, and 8. My hubby dove into searching, studying, and reading articles, books, anything he could get his hands on about blending a family successfully. The common thread to everything he read was making each family member feel individually loved and important. I thought about this and how this sentiment isn’t any different in a “regular” non-blended family. Here are a few ideas we have come up with, which hopefully will spur some more ideas that you can try in your own family.
If you haven’t read the book, The 5 Love Languages of Kids by Gary D. Chapman, I highly recommend it. He suggests that each of us have a “language” that makes us feel loved – someone doing something for us or someone spending time with us, etc. Our job as parents is to learn what that “language” is and express it to each of our children in his or her own particular way. Another great book (I am a reading teacher; I love books!) is YES DAY by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. In the book, the kids have a day where everything they ask their parents, they are given the answer YES! (within reason, of course…) Some examples may include, “Can we have pancakes for breakfast?” YES! “Mom, can you play this game with me?” YES! You get the idea — nothing extravagant, but to them it is huge!
We try to make sure we are spending some fun one-on-one time with each kiddo, whether it is a date night or just getting to stay up 10 minutes later than the other kids to play a game. Game nights are fun for the whole family and we give each child a turn choosing the game that we all play (the current favorite is “Scum”). When we have “together” time in the car, it is a great opportunity to interview the kids, asking them random “What’s your favorite ____?” or “Would you rather ______?” questions. On a recent, longer road trip, my husband asked each of us for a list of some of our favorite songs to make a “Trip Mix” CD. The long trip went by a little faster as the kids would start to yell out which songs they thought would be next and their eyes would light up when one of their songs came on.
Kids won’t always be happy, but as parents we should do everything we can to make sure our kids ALWAYS know they are loved and an integral part of our family. When we take a little extra time to pay special attention to the individual needs of our kids, we can help them realize how special they are and how important they are to everyone else in the family.
Note from Becky
Some of you might remember this post where a guy named Ryan proposed to the love of his life with a Project Life® Mini Album. So yeah, he’s kinda famous in Project Lifer’s minds for one of the best proposal stories ever. His bride is Karolyn and they’ve now been married just over three months. They are newlyweds figuring out how to blend their two families, and I get to witness their awesomeness on a regular basis.
We’ve known Karolyn 15 years and to this day, she remains one of my very dearest friends. She’s a teacher (one of the best on the planet), constantly serving those around her, a fantastic mother, the life of the party in our social circles, and a seriously beautiful person – inside and out. And she’s one of the first people who comes to mind when I think about what it means to cultivate a good life. Karolyn has had her share of trials, including divorce, but she never, ever wavered from her faith and her commitment to do good. I’m so blessed to have her as a significant part of my life.
Photo by Kim Skinner