Monday, October 3, 2011

30-Day Fast: Final Week Check In

Well, we're in our final week. I don't feel like 30 days has been long enough in some ways. Both good things and struggles have come from our time of screen-free living, and I'll do a sort of final tally here...

First, our oldest dog, Joker, whom we had with us for thirteen years, and who was about 15 years old died this last month. That was a blow. As we watched various struggles surface in his health, and thought they were only attributable to old age, we determined that we could handle it - he went deaf, then incontinent, then blind... soon after the blindness became apparent though, he began to have seizures and they showed the vet that he was in advanced stages of brain cancer that could not be cured. At that point, we gave him relief. The seizures were coming around every 3 to 5 minutes at that point and he was exhausted. As painful as it was to put him down, we knew it was right when his face showed the relief he so desperately needed.


Our old boy just last April - still pretty spry




I miss our old boy, and our lone remaining dog, Oscar, misses him too. But more than that, Joker's death has me thinking. We think little of euthanizing an animal who is in pain, but there is debate over how long to keep a person that we love who is in similar straights. Please do not misunderstand when I say this. I am not arguing in favor of euthanasia. In fact, I am as adamantly against that as I am against abortion, really. But at the same time, having to say goodbye to our old friend did get me thinking about where I stand on issues of that sort. Having been off-screen just before his death though means that I know without doubt that he received more time and affection than he might have otherwise. He got more walks, more scratches, more love and attention simply because we were aware of his advancing age. How much more time might we give to the people in our lives if we're not staring at an electronic device?

In the last month, I struggled to stay off of reading the many blogs that I follow (darn those RSS feeds!) In one blog - which I just cannot find right now - the writer mentioned that home schooling her children puts a spotlight on interpersonal issues that the family might be having. The point was that if the children of the house are away at school during the day, issues between the children may not be readily apparent until the issue is chronic and damaging to the relationship. However, when Mom is with her children all day, every day, any issues will be seen more quickly and can be dealt with in a timely manner.


We're still struggling with *ahem* "socialization." One of the first things that people who are not familiar with home schooling mention is socialization: "What about socialization?" Well, I can tell you that when there are five children in the house, socialization does happen! 

Sometimes it's a rocky road, and this past month has been pretty rocky! Each of our children are in a phase of "I want to be with the 'big kids'." And on different levels. Maestro would like to be in with the activities of the 14-year-olds; Smeagol doesn't understand why his friends (mostly now 10 years old) don't enjoy the same games lately; Bruiser wants to be counted in on the games that Smeagol and Maestro play... and Buttercup is "five." She always corrects us when we say she is two. "I'm five."

While each child is working through such similar stages, I see the issues as they come (sometimes hitting me smack on the forehead!) and can deal with them - or try to, anyway - more readily. I suppose this helps somewhere because when I take the kids out with me, they are usually reasonably well behaved.

I made it about three weeks through my little fast when I began to miss having something to watch or listen to while doing dishes and cleaning up in the quiet of the night. Full Confession: I caved once and watched ??? some movie. In truth, it was not remarkable enough to remember what it was I watched, though I know I could go back and look it up on Netflix and find out what it was. That tells me something though - my own viewing habits are not what they should be if what I am watching is so mind-numbing and time wasting as to not remember anything about it. And my memory is a struggle without adding in useless bits! 

I did find out about a show I'd like to look at. Apparently the Dugger Family (yes, the one with the 19 kids) has a TLC show. I would like to know what she does for her disciplinary measures. By all that I've read, she doesn't shout/yell, she doesn't spank them, they are well-behaved and God-fearing/following. In short, they are much of what I'd like my own children to be. She is the type of disciplinarian that I would like to be, creating the tidy, shout/yell-free home that I'd like my home to be. So I'd like to look into what she has put out to see if maybe there are some tips there that I can use. I don't see adopting all of their methods, but if it makes it so I yell less, have more patience and have respectful children, I am for that.

One goal I had in taking this Fast was to get a major work project nearly completed (my final deadline is October 15) and I managed some big steps in progress on that. A goal Maestro set (as mentioned in the last post) was to sell $100 in Boy Scout popcorn each day - he has sold $1,250 to date, with eight days left to go. Though he won't reach the $3,000 mark, he can still reach the $2,000 mark to earn the prize he wants (an iPod Nano.) Smeagol has started working on two books that will come out later on - I am confident in that. One is a cookbook, one is a surprise, but I think he can really go somewhere with these two ideas. Jeff has been working on the Den and making it a really cool place for us to spend time throughout the winter... 


The point is that there are many good things that have begun during our time of fasting from screens. I am reluctant to leave this behind. I want these progresses to continue. I intend to find a way to make that happen. I just saw today that another blog I follow has a series starting on Making Your Home a Haven and her first idea is to light a candle every day and when you pass that candle throughout the day, say a prayer for something, or someone, in your life. I like that - so here I go to light a candle and make my house tidy and enjoy my children. 

... 

... 

and Spinster Beth - I'll get to those Scrabble turns this evening too!

We made it to the Air Force ball as well - our 17th year

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