Looking back, I can now pinpoint some major decisions that really changed the course for our family. Some weren’t conscious, active decisions, but more gradual, or even me kicking and screaming and banging on closed doors.
It’s important to me to analyze my goals and vision for my family.
Five decisions have changed our lives for the better.
I used to be a teacher. I taught middle school, high school, and university.
Homeschooling my own children has probably been our greatest decision as a family.
School is not necessary.
As a student and a teacher, I had very few good experiences. I wanted better for my children. We’ve experimented with different curricula over the years, and have finally gotten to a comfortable place, with very little scheduling. My kids own their learning experiences, make decisions, and we respect their choices.
We don’t participate in a co-op. We learn at home.
2. Alternative health
We made the shift to primarily alternative methods gradually.
My husband was on several medications that really didn’t improve his health. He was on meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, and a diuretic. We made several lifestyle changes that enabled him to not need those medications anymore, so he gradually weaned off and the doctors gave him the all-clear to quit taking them. He no longer has any health issues other aches and pains and a CPAP.
Our eldest child was diagnosed with ADHD at age 8, but we didn’t like the common methods from the medical community expected to manage that. We sought alternatives and loved all the results.
We use essential oils, cod liver oil, vitamins, exercise, the outdoors, and healthy real foods to be proactive about our physical and mental health.
We do go to doctors if needed – for injuries, and recently, for one of our daughter’s double ear infections. And yes, she took antibiotics. I think this is the first time any of my three younger children ever has!
We made a radical decision to eat much healthier about ten years ago.
I was in “adrenal failure” after the two back-to-back births of my middle daughters and was prescribed many vitamin supplements and a paleo diet (before it was even a thing).
As a family, we added in more whole foods, and lessened our daughters’ intake of certain chemicals, but we didn’t eliminate all processed food.
When we did eliminate the processed foods, we really saw some wonderful improvements in our health, mood, behavior, and energy levels.
The ADHD symptoms mostly went away. Our weight leveled out. Medical labs came back better and rx meds were no longer needed.
We continue to eat mostly natural foods, cheating only occasionally. We all feel so much better because of this!
It’s been an arduous journey to discover my faith.
I didn’t grow up with church or religion other than attending a Lutheran church with my grandma twice a year when she visited. I said a blessing at dinner and a little recited prayer before bed.
As I grew up, I began to realize something was missing and I resented how my dad ridiculed my grandma’s and others’ faith.
I started attending a Pentecostal church with my first husband. It was an extreme introduction to church and so vastly different from my grandma’s Lutheran service. I was swept up in the teachings of the charismatic doctrine.
I experienced some spiritual abuse – for being an outspoken woman, asking questions for understanding, and then shamed for divorce. It was all very confusing and I had few truly wise counselors. Then two different self-proclaimed “Christian” employers abused their positions and fired me for arbitrary reasons when I needed a job the most.
When I met my new husband, I began attending a Presbyterian church at his request since that’s what he grew up with. It was bland and a show for the rich in town.
Moving around so much with the military has exposed our family to several different denominations and church experiences.
We attended a fundamental Baptist church in Hawaii that confirmed everything I don’t want for my family. It was very legalistic and narrow-minded. They even had brochures in the lobby with scriptures supporting how women and children should appear and behave!
Then we attended a Presbyterian church in Utah with an amazing pastor, but little in the way of adult Sunday school. We recently attended a Lutheran church, but it offers little in the way of spiritual growth for our family. The lay leaders are very liberal and the new pastor wants to make a lot of changes and compromises. We’re mostly just bored. We attempted to attend a Presbyterian church when we moved to Ohio, but it was complicit in racism, sexism, capitalism and I had a hard time reconciling that. The leaders were not welcoming or open to growth so we left.
I read a lot and I’m dismayed by the religious best sellers and their outright heretical teachings. So many Christians and churches support these authors and their books, having classes and conferences, spreading these lies that people devour since they don’t know any better. The children and I read devotionals and scripture every morning and evening together.
It’s my job to seek out the truth for my family.
4. Respectful parenting
I’m dealing with my own past and learning how to be more respectful towards my children. I grew up with extremely authoritarian parents, very conditional, walking on eggshells. I want to have a good relationship with my kids. We’ve gone away from punishment and rewards and it’s very liberating. I’ve changed my whole perspective on parenting and it’s very enjoyable. The kids and I have marvelous discussions about all sorts of things. I’m delighted at their interests and how well they get along with each other. I know I’m on the right track, and it feels revolutionary.
I’m now highly aware of other parents when they disrespect their children and it saddens me. I realize that much of Western culture is still steeped in Puritanical beliefs that children should be seen and not heard and are incapable of making decisions even about their own bodies and needs. These beliefs create adults who can’t make decisions without an authority approving it. I should know!
I know from experience that children are very capable and trustworthy.
5. Being debt-free
It’s important to us that we are not tied down financially. We are *this* close to being debt-free! We were once before, a few years ago, but we got sucked back into credit card debt.
This decision greatly affects the way we live in that our priorities are different than most. We focus on investments for the future. We delay instant gratification for longer term benefits. We teach our kids the value of money.
We simplified our needs and purged our stuff to only what we use regularly.
When we desire to make a purchase, we think about it, pray about it, and often wait to see if it is truly needed or if a better deal comes along. Sometimes, the desire goes away or a different opportunity presents itself.
We like to be able to travel frequently. It’s important that I show my kids the world to expand their views and educate them.