31 Days of Teaching Old-Fashioned Values Through Reading: Introduction

reading resized

{art: Reading by Lamplight by George Clausen}

31 days graphic 2

{Don’t miss my list of 50-Plus Beautiful Read-Alouds for Little Ones!}

 

I love this generation.

I love this era and the opportunities it brings us.

I love the now.

I’m also a traditionalist. I love old things and old ways. And I think we’d be wise to keep the best parts of the past while living joyfully in the present and looking hopefully toward the future.

Purpose intro quote

While many, many families are teaching their kids good values, I would say that the culture as a whole doesn’t embrace these values as strongly as it once did.

Are there still families who teach their children truthfulness, respect, courage, kindness, and a good work ethic? Certainly! I know some of these families.

They come from all walks of life. They’re good moms and dads. They sky is not falling.

If you’re one of these parents, then I hope this little series will give you some new tools for teaching old-fashioned values.

When I was a kid, my parents intentionally taught me many of these. I will say, though, that the most powerful reinforcer of these lessons are books we read aloud together, and books that we owned that I read alone.

Most of these books were old: antique poetry books, vintage school readers, and reprints of literature from the past. Others were more up-to-date. Since becoming a mom, I’ve found even more treasures that convey good values far more powerfully than a parental lecture.

Over the next month I want to share some of these resources with you. From stirring poems to inspiring quotes to stories and biographies (many free in the public domain!), as well as beautiful pieces of art, you’ll be equipped with resources that will drive home the good things you want to build in the lives of your children.

I’ll be quick to say that “good values” and “good character” aren’t things we do, but conditions of the heart. A person can be generous yet cruel with his words, or industrious but prideful.

So our goal is not to create a list of behaviors for our kids to check off to please us. Our goal should be to gently guide their hearts toward inner spiritual transformation that will demonstrate good values and character.

values intro graphic 3

But part of this is reinforcing the beauty and importance of these values. I hope that the resources I’m sharing will help accomplish that.

Edgar Guest, my favorite poet, sums it up like this in his poem Education:

I think that I would rather teach a child
The joys of kindness than long hours to spend
Poring o’er multiple and dividend;
How differing natures may be reconciled
Rather than just how cost accounts are filed;
How to live bravely to its end
Rather than how one fortress to defend,
Or how gold coins once gathered can be piled.

There is an education of the mind
Which all require and parents early start,
But there is training of a nobler kind
And that’s the education of the heart.
Lessons that are most difficult to give
Are faith and courage and the way to live.

(If you’re as smitten by Guest’s poetry as I am, you can purchase Collected Verses of Edgar A. Guest here.)

This series is part of 31 Days. 

Here are links to the rest of this series:

31 days graphic button

 

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

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Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

 

What to Do When You Don’t Have a Pinterest House

imperfect table collage final

Embrace imperfection.

It’s been said thousands of times before, I’m sure. But the message of our culture needs to be counterbalanced again and again and again.

We live in a Pinterest world. I’ve been in many homes that really do look just like a magazine, and not because they were expecting company. We hold ourselves to that expectation because we have seen it so long and so often (hello, HGTV marathon!) that it’s become the new normal.

I love Pinterest. And I am all for making a beautiful home. Nothing wrong with that.  There’s nothing wrong with creating that Pinterest home if you want to, if it comes easily to you, if it brings you joy.  I’m not knocking that.

imperfection couch

But…illusions of perfect homes can be as damaging to us as homemakers as airbrushed models are to our teenaged daughters. We see these illusions in magazines, blogs, and Pinterest. We think that’s normal and if we can’t achieve it, we’re failing.

The false image of perfect homes is seductive. Don’t fall prey to the lie.

Real life isn’t like that, especially if you have little kids. In real life, things are messy, things break, the cups are mismatched, and you forget to buy toilet paper, and there’s no room in the budget to replace the shabby recliner.

It’s OK. Here’s what we should remember.

Our value doesn’t come from how beautiful and perfect our homes are. You are not a better mom or a better woman if your home is Pinterest-worthy.

imperfection quote

A wonderful childhood isn’t made of decorating and perfection. It’s made of love.

Our kids will remember family suppers around the rickety dining table, well-worn read-alouds (with toddler scribbles on the covers?), baking cookies together (and burning them sometimes), camping in jeans with busted-out knees, cuddling together under a faded quilt…real life happens in the ragged, imperfect places.

Let go of the need to have everything just so, coordinated, flawless. Scuffs, tears, and spills are part of life. See the beauty in them. Don’t be held captive by unrealistic expectations.

That old term “house proud” is nothing to be proud of. Keep your home hygienic, of course, and as tidy as you can, but if you’re going to set a crazy-high standard, let it be in your relationships with your family.

You’ll never regret it!

Have you ever felt discontent with your home because it didn’t look like a magazine?  Like your neighbor’s?  How did you handle that?

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

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Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

Tuesday Poetry Tea Time: Figure It Out for Yourself by George Washington Carver

children leaves

{art: Clara M. Burd}

I’m deviating a bit from my Edgar Guest streak to share this wonderful poem by George Washington Carver.

Figure it out for yourself, my lad,
You’ve all that the greatest of men have had;
Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes,
And a brain to use if you would be wise,
With this equipment they all began–
So start from the top and say, I CAN.

Look them over, the wise and the great,
They take their food from a common plate,
And similar knives and forks they use,
With similar laces they tie their shoes;
The world considers them brave and smart,
But you’ve all they had when they made their start.

You can triumph and come to skill,
You can be great if you only will;
You’re well equipped for what fight you choose,
You have arms and legs and a brain to use;
And the man who has risen great deeds to do
Began his life with no more than you.

You are the handicap you must face,
You are the one who must choose your place.
You must say where you want to go,
How much you will study the truth to know;
God has equipped you for life, but He
Lets you decide what you want to be.

Courage must come from the soul within
The man must furnish the will to win.
So figure it out for yourself my lad,
You were born with all that the great have had;
With your equipment they all began,
Get hold of yourself and say, ‘I CAN.’

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

Lovely Weekend Reads 9.20.14

weekend reads

 

I’m highlighting ONE person this week, one of my favorite bloggers–my sister!  She has written an outstanding series on eating disorders and compulsions surrounding food, in a transparent and helpful way.  If you’ve ever struggled with your relationship with food, it’s a must-read.

 

Part 1: the if only’s

Part 2: why i have ditched diets

Part 3: kindness

Part 4: mindful

Part 5: embracing emotion

Part 6: when i fail…and a few resources

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

The Frugal Pantry: Kale

frugal pantry graphic

Years ago, I tried a kale recipe.  Yuck.  It was horrible. I didn’t try kale again for a long time, even though you can purchase a big bag for just a couple bucks.  Or even though it’s one of the easiest winter veggies to grow.

Then the store was out of our usual collard greens, and I decided to give the much-hyped kale one more try.

Oh goodness.  I was smitten.

I don’t want you to miss out, so here are some delicious kale recipes for you.

 

kale soup

Spicy Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup from The Candid Appetite

 

kale salad

Summer Chickpea Kale Salad With Feta, Olives, and Basil from In Pursuit of More

 

kale chips

Kale Chips from Mac and Molly

 

kale chicken casserole

Chicken and Kale Casserole from A Zesty Bite

 

kale minestrone

Quinoa Kale Minestrone from Cooking Classy

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

A Little Housekeeping

woman stairs

This is mostly to let you know that I’ll be joining The Nester’s 31 Days project in October.  I’ve attempted this for several years and each year October was the month for epic crises and it all fell apart.  Well, this year I am more prepared!  I have nearly all of my posts written and they’ll soon be in the queue just waiting to be published.

This year I’m writing on a topic near and dear to my heart…teaching our children old-fashioned values through reading.  I’ll be highlighting some of my very favorite resources that teach strong values such as industriousness, caring, stick-to-it-iveness, and creativity in an engaging way. Ultimately good values come from a right heart, but inspiration and encouragement tends to come through stories.

Don’t forget to check out my list of over 50 beautiful read-alouds for little ones. I’ll be adding to the list and creating lists for other age groups as well.

Have a happy Wednesday, my friends!

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

{art: William McGregor Paxton}

Tuesday Poetry Teatime: A Wonderful World by Edgar Guest

wonderful world graphic

It’s a wonderful world when you sum it all up,
And we ought to be glad we are in it;
The fellow who drinks from old Misery’s cup
Gets the goblet of joy the next minute.
In a wonderful way
In the course of a day
Strange changes occur as by magic,
There are solemn and sad things
And joyful and glad things,
And things that are comic and tragic.

It’s a wonderful world, full of wonderful things,
No two days alike in their passing;
Some new joy or sorrow the rising sun brings,
Some new charm the former outclassing.
And yesterday’s glad
Are perhaps today’s sad,
And yesterday’s poor may be wealthy;
Oh, the changes are quick,
Even yesterday’s sick
May today or tomorrow be healthy.

It’s a wonderful world, for we never can tell
What for us has the morrow in store;
Things happen as though by some magical spell
That never have happened before.
And nobody knows
Or can ever disclose
What the joy of the future may be;
But of one thing I ‘m sure,
Despite all we endure
‘T will be worth while to hang on and see.

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

Favorite Read-Alouds for Little Ones

childrens books graphic 2

I have been asked quite a few times for recommendations of good books to read little ones.  If you want to move beyond Disney character books and the like, here is a list of 39 beautiful books with great illustrations to feed your child’s heart.  I’ll be adding to this list, so check back!

tme to keep

A Time to Keep

1 is One

A is for Anabelle

Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh

Raggedy Ann Stories

Raggedy Andy Stories

Blueberries for Sal

One Morning in Maine

Make Way for Ducklings

Lentil

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

The Night Before Christmas

Peter Rabbit Series by Beatrix Potter: 23 Books

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

The Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series:

flicka ricka dicka cake

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Bake a Cake

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the New Skates

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka, and the Strawberries

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Big Red Hen

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Three Kittens

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Little Dog

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka Go to Market

The Snipp, Snapp, Snurr Series:

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Gingerbread

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr Learn to Swim

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Red Shoes

snipp snapp snurr

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Big Surprise

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Buttered Bread

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Yellow Sled

Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Reindeer

The Frances Books:

Bedtime for Frances

Bread and Jam for Frances

A Baby Sister for Frances

A Bargain for Frances

Best Friends for Frances

This is part of Cozy Homeschooling, an ongoing series.  For the rest of the Cozy Homeschooling posts, click here.

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom

 

 

 

Lovely Weekend Links

weekend reads

 

“I understand that many people find validation working at their paid job. Many love the social aspect of work. But it does not suit everyone. So I want to say this very clearly – we all need to work to pay for our own place to live – either by buying a home or renting one; we all need to furnish our homes, buy clothes, pay for transport and education. I get that, I’ve done it. But once that start is made, there is a lot of value in a couple splitting the work they do with one remaining in the workforce and one working at home and raising children while creating sustainable, domestic work practises. I have done many things in my life. I’ve raised a family, I have a degree, I’ve run my own business, I do understand the financial framework we all live within. But I have to tell you that domestic work is meaningful and fulfilling and until I came home and worked here to keep my home running smoothly, I’d never been this happy. I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Working for a Living and Working for a Life (Down to Earth)

 

“But other than these, few passages mention the parent-child relationship specifically, leading many to conclude that, for the most part, the Bible must leave us to figure out this parenting thing on our own—an understandable conclusion.

That is, until we remember that children are people.

Because if children are people, then they are also our neighbors. This means that every scriptural imperative that speaks to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves suddenly comes to bear on how we parent.”

Our Children, Our Neighbors (Village Church)

 

“I think this difference between sending and taking has been huge in terms of certain successes we’ve had here in our homeschool. For example, I’ve had mothers ask him how I “got” a child to do certain things — make entries in a commonplace book or a book of centuries, keep a nature notebook, or study Latin. It was only through the course of conversation that I realized that the difference was that I was doing these things myself before asking my children to do them.”

Being Bossy is Not the Same as Leading (Afterthoughts)

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I’d like to invite you to like me on Facebook , or follow me on Twitter , Pinterest or Instagram.

I’ll be excited to see you there!

{this post contains affiliate links}

Stephanie Recommends:

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

linking with: Mondays… Marriage Motherhood and Missions, Mom’s the Word I Love to Hear, Mommy Moments, A Mama’s Story, Modest Mom, TuesdaysTitus 2sdays, Cornerstone Confessions, Hip Homeschool Moms Wednesdays…Whole Hearted Mom, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Thursdays…Graced Simplicity, I Choose Joy, Thriving Thursday, Hope in Every Season, Jenni Mullinix, The Deliberate Mom