Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Large Family Logistics Annotations

So, I ordered Large Family Logistics over the summer and had it read in a little over a week. I couldn't put it down. Kim Brenneman is a mother to a large family (9 children, I'm pretty sure) and she wrote this book for her daughters so that someday, they may take her advice, learn from her life as a mother and glean what they can as they too become mothers someday. I love they way Kim shares the ups and downs of being a mother, how she remains Biblically centered, quotes Scripture and how she breaks down the book into several specific chapters on raising a family, keeping a home, homeschooling and basic managing skills. So many girls today are not being taught the simplistics of keeping up a home and running a family. It's sad, really. We're too busy! We're too busy to teach some of the most important things our little girls will need to be truly successful in life. Thanks Kim for writing this and I hope to collect one of these books for each of my own daughters and give it to them as they ready themselves to raise a family, God-willing. *Please note that this book is not for mothers who have 9 or more children. Although I have four, I found this book totally applicable and would find it applicable to any mother no matter how many children you have.

I've written down annotations for the book and this post, I'll share chapters 1-12 (scroll down if you don't want to read the chapter titles). The chapters that are covered in Kim's book are as follows:

Chapter 1 - The Wise Woman

2 - goals

3 - Systems

4 - Self-Discipline

5 - Attitude is Critical

6 - Where Does the Time Go?

7 - The Interrupted Day

8 - The Psalms-Your Spiritual Multi-Vitamin

9 - Give Your Children a Work Ethic

10 - Repeating Yourself?

11 - Teaching a New Chore

12 - Rejecting Me-Centeredness, Redeeming Time Alone

13 - Life with Littles

14 - Baby Balance

15 - The Family Dynamic

16 - Your Own Personal Spa

17 - Dress for Success


18 - Your Home Management Book

19 - Laundry Day

20 - Kitchen Day

21 - Office Day

22 - Town Day

23 - Cleanign DAy

24 - Deep Cleaning

25 - Gardening Day

26 - The Lord's Day

27 - Tea Party Day

28 - Morning and Evening Routines

29 - Meal Time Routines

30 - Table Time

31 - 15 Minutes of Phonics

32 - Quiet Time

33 - Read Aloud Time

34 - Afternoon Chore Time

35 - Bathroom Management

36 - Bedroom Management

37 - The Children's Hour

38 - Family Worship

39 - Home Crafts

40 - Homeschooling the Large Family

41 - Health and Wellness

42 - Teh Playroom

43 - Feast Night

44 - Meal Planning

45 - Project Day

46 - Pregnancy and Preparing for Baby

47 - The Buddy System

Appendix A - Coping While Exhausted and Overwhelmed

Appendix B - Moving Beyond Survival Mode

Chapter 1: The Wise Woman
Breaking down the Proverbs 31 woman.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Chapter 2: Goals
Set clearly defined goals for yourself and your family (with your husband, of coarse).
Some goals may be...learning how better to train your children, growing spiritually in the Word, goals in marriage, exercise, hospitality, etc.
Write them down. Have steps planned out for each goal. Make them monthly, focusing on one per month if you like.

Chapter 3: Systems
Kim shares on how to work through a new method while teaching a new thing:
1. Show them how to do it, demonstrate the protocol.
2. Watch them do it, giving correction.
3. Let them do it unsupervised with you checking later, and give further instruction if needed.
4. Require independent work with occasional checks; if they begin to be sloppy (they are human), then start over.
“Systems don’t work if you don’t work the system.” (Kim’s husband)

Chapter 4: Self-Discipline
“You can have wisdom on how to rightly live and have the most refined set of goals and well-tuned system in the world on how to get there, but if you don’t pursue your goals and implement your plan, your ideas are next to worthless.” Kim

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Be like Jesus!

Chapter 5: Attitude is Critical
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
Jeremiah 17:9, Psalm 119:10, Matthew 15:8, Numbers 14:18 (anger), James 1:20 (anger)
Obedience is a CHOICE!
“I once heard a speaker at a mother-daughter retreat tell us mothers to get in line with Jesus and that our daughters would follow our lead. If our children see us being Sunday Christians, then theywon’t take Christianity seriously, and church will just be a Sunday social club.” Kim

Chapter 6: Where Does the Time Go?
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under the heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Kim shares how to break down your day and tips for managing time wisely.

Chapter 7: The Interrupted Day
There will be days when things don’t go as planned. There are interruptions, but you have to make the choice whether to recover and get back in the saddle, or sulk. Attitude is everything!
(Note: I had one of those days yesterday when we had a totally fun-packed day, but we came home and the house was a MESS and I had to get dinner ready and the house cleaned in 1 HOUR. I pulled the troops together, we tidied up the house and I made a quick dinner. We also had enough time to light candles, put on some dinner music and set the table with pretty dishes. Rob never knew our day was so chaotic! I was so close to just having a “pizza night” and cleaning after the kids went to bed, but we pulled it together and we recovered. So happy we did.)

Proverbs 16:1-9…An interrupted day is God’s plan for the life of a mother!!!

Chapter 8: The Psalms – Your Spiritual Multi-Vitamin
Go to sleep with a Psalm. Wake up to a Psalm. Even if you can’t have an in-depth study to start or end the day, at least get some of the Word and some prayer time in.

The “I’m Stresses Psalm”…(131) O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”

Chapter 9: Give Your Children a Work Ethic
“The principal cause of boredom is the hatred of work. People are trained from childhood to hate it. Parents often feel guilty about making children do anything but the merest gestures toward work. Perhaps the children are required to make their beds and, in feeble and half-hearted fashion, tidy up their rooms once a month or so. But take full responsibility to clear the table, load the dishwasher, scrub the pots, wipe the counters? How many have the courage to ask this of a ten-year-old? It would be to omuch to ask of many ten-year-olds because parents have seriously asked nothing of them when they were two or three. Children quickly pick up the parents’ negative attitudes toward work and think of it as something most sedulously to be avoided.” – Elizabeth Elliot

Kim laughs as she has read chores suggested for multiple ages from other sources. She says, “Scraping hog floors didn’t make the list?”  She touches on how farm kids work hard and have a lot of dirty work. Hard physical work builds character. Practicing character traits happens with work and provides opportunities to see the rewards. She also touches on how boys need physical work (chopping firewood, mending fences, pruning trees/bushes, digging holes, etc.), start YOUNG so it’s habit-forming and expected, don’t expect children to do the quality of work that an adult would but to encourage them to do excellent work. Study God’s Word and what it says about work. Set a goal such as going for a treat when the work is done well. Older children will help teach the younger ones attitude, character traits, and the chore. Be sure to teach the older children WELL. Teach children to be helpful when you visit others’ homes or social events. Teach them to ask the host/hostess “Is there anything I can do to help?”

Some verses on work:
Proverbs 6:6
Proverbs 10:26
Proverbs 13:4
Proverbs 14:23
Proverbs 18:9
Proverbs 20:4
Proverbs 20:13
Proverbs 21:17
Proverbs 22:29
Proverbs 24:30-34
Proverbs 26:13-16
Proverbs 27:1
I Corinthians 4:2
Philippians 4:13
Colossians 3:22-23
II Thessalonians 3:10
I Timothy 5:8

Motto: “We work before we play.”

Chapter 10: Repeating Yourself?
We fall into this habit a lot, repeating ourselves louder with each direction when children should obey the first time we ask. We are busy moms and we’re great at multi-tasking, but child discipline isn’t something that can be multi-tasked. We need to stop and focus. We need to train ourselves to hear ourselves. It’s hard, but repeating ourselves is training our children to continue in disobedience.

Train children to respond with “Yes, ma’am” when they’ve heard you give an instruction. That signals to you that they heard you. Make eye contact with them if you have to give the instruction again so that they have clearly heard you.

When men focus their attention in loving or disciplining a child, it is beautiful. We need to take a lesson from the men here!

Role play attentiveness!

Perhaps you are instructing a child and there is bickering going on the next room. Assuming there’s not a major crisis, focus and finish with the first child. Then go to the bickering children and give instruction and discipline there.

If you have a friend whose child-rearing standards are different, and who brings you down, get some space from her. Misery loves company, and you need to choose encouragers to be with, not the miserable. Don’t be the one who drags others down; be an encourager! (Prov. 13:20b) Spend limited time with that person because bad influences will undo your children’s training.

Chapter 11: Teaching a New Chore
“Inspect what you expect”

1. Tell them
2. Show them
3. Do it with them
4. Supervised practice
5. Independent practice

Do not expect a child to do a chore well when you have only done the first two steps with them. It can take a long time to get from Step One to Step Five, depending on the child and the specific chore.

Make it a fun event…the teaching of a new chore. Celebrate with a treat!

You should never treat your children like slaves or your personal minions. The goal is to raise a godly seed.
Don’t complain…Philippians 2:14
Do your work unto the Lord…Colossians 3:23
A cheerful heart is good medicine…Prov. 15:13
Do more than the minimum required…Colossians 1:10

Remember that attitude is everything and little eyes are always watching you and how your attitude is towards work.

Chapter 12: Rejecting Me-Centeredness, Redeeming Time Alone
Motherhood is a life of sacrifice; it is a life poured out for our children. So what are we to do to get some space from it all? When we are honest with ourselves, we know that it is not “Me Time” we need or a “Girl’s Night Out”. Children are not a burden to escape or endure; they are a blessing that drives us to Christ because we are incapable of parenting well without Him. God is who we need. While there are helpful strategies we can employ in order to have a more peaceful day with our children, the number one thing we must do is to deny Self and cling to the cross.

Early morning silence can be a balm to the soul. Sit by the fire with a coffee/tea and Bible in hand. God doesn’t always give us a beautiful start to every day though. If kiddos are up early, read the Bible to them. Deuteronomy 6 (the Sh’ma) is always great for the whole family to appreciate God’s gift of beauty and quiet in the morning.

Naptime is also another good time to have quiet time to yourself to read the Bible, do a quiet craft or take a nap yourself. Keep your focus right by honoring God with your Quiet Time. Yet don’t let Quiet Time itself become an idol.

Evening…your bedside table is a good place to keep those most important things to rejuvenate your life. Your Bible and a prayer journal should always be there awaiting you.

Relationships – Make Jesus your best friend! A stay-at-home mom can easily miss the interaction of friends and it can be a lonely job at times. It can also be the best job in the world.

Friendships – There are good ones and bad ones. The Bible is chocked full of examples.

I love how Kim breaks down relationships/friendships…God first, then husband, then nurturing our children. Don’t let friends take over these relationships. There’s a reason God has set family relationships as priority. If friendships with other mothers are taking over our relationships to our God and immediate family, then we need to prioritize. However, if you’re never leaving home to fellowship with other like-minded ladies as well as older sisters in Christ, then you won’t have a chance to grow such as Titus 2 says. If you find that your friends are not making godly decisions, you may want to rethink that friendship. (Romans 14:19; I Corinthians 14:26)

*I'll be sharing remaining chapter annotations in the future so stay tuned! ;)

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