Happy, healthy families - August 2018

The Chase Family - 1999

When my boys were young, switching from our relaxed, easy summer days back to school days meant getting them to wear clothes again. They would literally come to breakfast on the first day of school in bathing suits and flip-flops. My own back-to-school memories—of the days when my sister and I spent all week deciding what we would wear on the first day of school—were long gone. Instead, with four boys, it was visions of sending them to the torture chamber of long pants, new shoes and socks that smothered their toes.

It was only after our family adopted a new puppy that I came up with a clever scheme to fight those morning battles: if the boys finished their breakfast and got properly dressed in time, they could walk the puppy to the park with me before school. That set the pace for the rest of the year. No more painful school mornings!

As a working parent, I traveled frequently, and I remember thinking of layovers and flight delays as luxuries—the only times I had a moment of peace to read and think. Children and busy schedules can take their toll on a family. “Simplified Parenting,” page 28, explores how to raise children with less stress and more fun, offering a fresh look at “should dos” versus “want tos,” and how to stay cool, calm and connected. Our interview with Norwegian explorer and entrepreneur Erling Kagge, page 32, drives that message deeper as he shares his understanding of the human need for silence. And “A Kinder Heart,” page 24, offers a meditative practice for getting into a relaxed, present state that can help us enjoy what’s important in family life.

Years ago, such practices opened my eyes and my heart to seize the opportunity to become a Natural Awakenings publisher. I gave up my traveling job, settled in to working from home and embraced a less hectic, more balanced relationship with my children. Instead of having my usual Chewbacca temper tantrums, I began handling things much better—oh, and so did my kids. By working while they were sleeping, I was now able to be present when my children needed me. They no longer needed me to plan a full schedule of extracurricular activities for them, as I had whenever I was working or out of town. We spent more time at home, playing in the yard and having long talks about the universe. The difference in our health was also noticeable; we had fewer sick days and more energy and focus. We also accomplished more in shorter time slots. Of course, my duties as a publisher for Natural Awakenings led me to learn more about conscious living, which in turn inspired us to stay the course. 

I encourage any of you who feel the same sort of stress to seek alternatives in your daily lives, finding ways to simplify and investing only in activities that bring you peace and joy. I hope you’ll find inspiration in our monthly articles, and if you ever have trouble finding an issue of Natural Awakenings, consider our monthly subscription. You can sign up to receive the print copy in your mailbox each month for the cost of shipping and handling, or the digital copy in your inbox for free. 

For the love of happy, healthy families,

Scott and Daralyn Chase

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