JAN, 2014

Time Changes Everything

Pater Familius Friday

This last week, I shared a wedding photo of me and the mater from August 24, 1990 to my children. All the children, including the young twins, immediately recognized their mother at age 19 in her wedding dress. But when she asked, "Who is that?" and pointed to me, the groom in the black tuxedo, blond curly hair, and probably forty pounds lighter, the younger children had no idea.

"A prince?" said one twin. 

"Look closer," she said.

"Mama's prince?" the other twin said. 

When she told them it was their dad, they were really confused and didn't quite believe it. 

The positive in all of this is that while they have no idea who that guy in the photo is, at least they pegged him as a prince. So, I've got that going for me. 

“Most people don't grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.” —Maya Angelou

By Christopher Robbins, Familius CEO and Pater Familius
JAN, 2014

Three jokes for your dinner table

Just for fun, here are three jokes to share with your kids at the dinner table tonight. We promise they'll laugh (or groan, which is just as good).

Q: What do you call an old snowman?
A: Water!

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Ho ho.
Ho ho who?
You know, your Santa impression could use a little work.

What did one eye say to the other?
“Don’t look now, but something between us smells.”

Source: http://www.rd.com/jokes
JAN, 2014

Go home and love your family

With all that's happening in the world, consider what Mother Teresa wisely said:

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

We agree.
JAN, 2014

Balloons and remembering to laugh

Family life can be tough, so remember to laugh. Here's a tale by Bil Lepp—comedian, storyteller, and Familius author—to start things on the bright side:

"One weekend we hit the road for a three day trip. I’m a professional storyteller and tour often. When they can, my wife and kids join me. At one show a friendly old lady gave my daughter a handful of helium balloons. As we were getting into the van one of the balloons escaped. I watched the balloon head toward the clouds, and then I looked back at my daughter. Her face was locked into that silent, bitter, heartbreaking sob that only four-year-olds can manufacture. I thought she’d been stung by a wasp. Or bitten by a snake. Or that she had just seen her mother carried off by rabid camels. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

She gasped, pointed at the balloon disappearing into the sky, and managed to say, “Oh, Daddy, that… that… that was your favorite balloon!”

Up to that point I hadn’t realized that I had a favorite balloon. I thought I hated all balloons equally. I try not to get too attached to balloons. I thought fast. “No. No,” I said, “this is my favorite balloon.” I snatched a balloon from her remaining handful. “See?” I explained. “Mine has a white ribbon.” I pointed at the balloon now barely visible above the distant tree line. “That one has a blue ribbon.”

“Are you sure?” my daughter asked doubtfully.

“Sure I’m sure.” Parenting is all about lying.

Bil Lepp is author of Muddling Through: Perspectives on Parenting.
JAN, 2014

Children don't keep

Happy Monday! It's the start of another week, and your to-do list might already have more than the next seven days can hold. Before you dive in, take a deep breath and enjoy a fresh take on this beloved poem about what really matters most:

Websites and emails can wait ’til tomorrow
For children grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow
So quiet down, projects,
Phone, go to sleep,
I’m enjoying my children
And children don’t keep.

Poem by Saren Eyre Loosli, contributing author to the forthcoming book Motherhood Realized.
JAN, 2014

Working to be better can keep a family strong

As you reflect on this past week, are there things you would have done differently? Something you want to improve? A person you should forgive? Our friend Michael knows that working to be better can keep a family strong. We like what he emailed to us:

"No family is perfect, but a balanced family is consistent, always working to repair the holes in their lives. They will have sandpaper to smooth out their rough edges and sand to throw on the slippery spots. Working towards, yet never achieving perfection, keeps a family strong."

If you have a piece of family wisdom you'd like to share in our Minute Inspirations, email it to david@familius.com
JAN, 2014

Saturday Home Help: The Bathroom

Cleaning today? Here's our Saturday tip to help you out:

Bathroom drawers and cupboards are often the place in the house most in need of a good purge. It’s easy to remember to clean the refrigerator of expired items, but bathrooms are also full of perishables, and we tend to store them far past their useful life.

The bathroom is small enough that you can afford to take everything out of all the drawers and cabinets at once. Throw away cosmetics, soaps, lotions, and other items past their prime. You will find little you can donate, so a big trash bag is probably in order. Some products, such as sunscreen, might have an expiration date, but most don’t. Here is a guide to approximately how long you can keep bathroom items before they are compromised. Be especially careful with mascara and eyeliner, which can breed dangerous bacteria that you don’t want near your eyes. If you don’t remember how long you’ve had something, out it goes.

Mascara: 3 months
Liquid Eyeliner: 3 months
Eye/Lip Pencils: 1 year (Sharpen frequently)
Liquid Foundation: 3–6 months (Cream foundation can last 4–6 months)
Face Powder: 1 year
Lipstick: 1 year
Nail Polish: 1 year
Moisturizer: 6 months
Lotion in pump container: 1–2 years
Shampoo and conditioner: 1 year
Bar soap: 3 years
Deodorant: 2 years
Sunscreen: 6 months
Self-tanner: 6 months

These excellent tips come from Laura Torres, author of The Organized Mom. Thank you Laura!
JAN, 2014

Sharing Family Stories Strengthens Families

In a March 2013 New York Times article adapted from Bruce Feiler’s book The Secrets of Happy Families (I wish we had published that one), the author mentions that family stories, both good and bad, are critical to family resilience and long-term success. He says that we often see three stories from families:

First: “Son, when we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. We opened a store. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you. ...”

Second: “Sweetheart, we used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”

The third story is the most helpful.  It’s called the oscillating family narrative: “Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.”

Our family stories are what we use to inspire us and bring us together. They are what helps us understand we are not really that unique. We all have successes and challenges. Don’t be afraid of telling all your stories, even those when things didn’t work out. Your resilience and strength in the face of adversity will help future generations. 

Consider The Family Council Guidebook as a way to talk to your family about stories.

JAN, 2014

A second chance to look inside ourselves

To start off your Wednesday, we like this profound pearl of wisdom Jessica Carrasco emailed to us a few weeks ago: "Let's not take our children questioning as insults or lack of trusting, but let's take it as a second chance to look inside us and find the answers we probably didn't get as children."
JAN, 2014

Goals may change

New Year, New You | Day Seven: Goals May Change

"It’s healthy for you to amend your desires as you progress through life. Some of your goals at age twenty will not be the same at age sixty. Enjoy the ride along the way and readjust when you find it necessary.

"When I was a young mother, my children seemed to consume me. When they became more self-sufficient, I returned to school and accomplished my goal to become a therapist. Now, as a grandmother, I’m able to pursue writing interests. I love this time of life and am grateful to have the opportunity to balance my time between family and personal goals.

"Evaluate your place in life and look at your big picture. Be proactive in the direction you want your life to take. Set your long-term goals and fill your days with short-term goals that match what you want to become. Be sure to enjoy each step along the way."

From Christy Monson, author ofBecoming Free: A Woman's Guide to Internal Strength