Saturday, August 11, 2007

Calm and Compassionate children

I recently finished reading the book "Calm and compassionate children, a handbook" by Susan Usha Dermond. It is a book that I would recommend parents reading. It had a lot of neat stuff in it that really makes you think. There are some things that I dd not agree with and would watch out for. There was some new age feeling undertones in part of it and she seemed to think as long as you prayed or had faith in something that it was all right even if it wasn't God.
Here are some of the things that she said are important for having calm and compassionate children:
  • Have routines and special traditions. Kid's thrive on routine, it helps them to stay well balance and not have to worry about what is coming next in life. Special traditions or celebrations are something that they really look forward to and remember for a long time. Special traditions do not have to be at all expensive it is just something that you put meaning too. Something that I have started since reading the book is singing to wake my kids up, I have been singing songs like "Oh what a beautiful morning", "Good morning, good morning, good morning" and "It's a happy day". It has helped us all to start the day in a better mood.
  • Spend time in Nature. Everything in nature is given to us by God and He has made it beautiful. It helps our children if they can really appreciate that gift. Something we enjoy doing is finding special, beautiful things that God has made and telling the rest of the family about it and all going to see it. She encourages you to really take the time to see and hear and smell the things in nature. Something else that has been fun for us this summer is identifying wildflowers using a handbook.
  • Reading. Reading can evoke emotions and imagination and creativity in a way that movies are unable to. Be sure to have good books that will lead your children right. Reading aloud is important for kids to gain a real love of reading.
  • Pets or special toys. This is something we are lacking in as we own no animals. She says that pets help to really teach children compassion for others. She thinks stuffies or dolls can do that in some ways too. My kids do get to be around pets at their grandparents but maybe I should get them a cat like they would like.
  • Good thinking. She labels this "High mindedness". She is talking about prayer, praise (to God and others) and just thinking the best about others and situations. You can help your children by always noticing aloud the good and beautiful things around you. She does recommend shielding young children from violent news, movies and things like that. Remember to spend time with your children "counting your many blessings" and be sure not to be an example of a complainer!
  • Good Music. She recommends using calming music if your children are ever uptight about a situation. I have yet to consciously try this but it sounds like it would work. She recommends bluegrass or band music to get your kids going and active, and she doesn't recommend rock music.
  • Outlets for Physical Energy. Kids are not made to be still all the time. They need to get out and play and really use up some energy so that they can be calm and quiet at other times. My kids love just riding bikes around the lane, building forts out in the woods and many other things that wear them out. This doesn't need to be structured in fact it is good if it is not, they just need to be able to play.
  • Concentrating on Calmness. She talks about the need to think about being calm and to work towards that goal. To have self-control something which is a fruit of the spirit and is very necessary for our day to day life but which is also lacking in many people.
  • Silence. This is one thing that I really enjoyed reading about because this has been something I have always felt was important. I have never enjoyed being in a place that has background noise going. Some people like to have the TV or radio going all the time and just visit while it is going. She really recommends limiting your time with media going. Also have a time set aside that is for being quiet. At our house we have a hour and a half rest time each day where everybody is supposed to be silent whether they are sleeping or not. It has been very helpful for our family to be able to be ready for the afternoon and evening.
  • Faith. If children don't have a faith in a God who cares for them, is watching over them and will help them to have the strength they need for each day, imagine how much harder it would be for them to be calm and compassionate when they face adversity. God is the answer to all our problems.
  • Environment. Children are precious, tender, very mold able people. We need to be sure that they are not exposed to things that will mold them in the wrong direction. That is why I chose to homeschool, strictly limit TV watching, feed them healthy and low sugar foods and keep a very close eye on who they associate with.

I really did enjoy this book and recommend reading it as there is way more in there than I touched on. She has practical ideas for implementing each of the things mentioned.


betsy said...

Abbi, I noticed your comment about maybe getting a cat for your kids. My Aunt Amy is moving to Columbus, Ohio, with her family, and they need to find a home for Scooby, described on the Blanshan website as a well-behaved, neutered cat. :) Apparently they need to find a place for him before they move, and they're just giving him away if you're interested. Personally I recommend dogs. We've loved having Sajak around, and all the kids that come over seem really enthralled with him. But I know that dogs aren't for everyone, especially if you live in town.

pogren said...

I really enjoy your site. I have written a book called Creating Happy Memories. It is all about creating memories and traditions that equire the investment of time NOT money. I would love to send you a copy. How could I acomplish this? The book is available on Amazon, but I would like o send you a free copy for your review. Pam from South Bend IN

Abbi said...

I would love to read and review your book. You can e-mail me at with your phone number and I can call and give you my address.
Thanks much! Abbi

Susan Dermond said...

Hi, Abbi,

This is the author of Calm and Compassionate Children. I enjoyed reading your synthesis of the book so much. It inspires me that a parent like you read it and made it her own.

Abbi, I guess I can be described as "new agey," but I agree with you completely that God is the ultimate answer to our problems. I wanted to speak about faith in the book without alienating those who doubt because their children too could benefit from my suggestions.

Thank you so much for your comments. I loved your Tips for Living Productively. Your children are blessed!

Abbi said...

Though it has been many years now since I wrote this post and you the comment I want to let you know how much fun it was for me to get this comment from you. Thanks for explaining some things a little more and thanks for writing your book!


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