Five Minute Friday: Tree – Living and Playing

It’s Friday again and that can only mean one thing:  Yes, it’s time for Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday.  Five minutes of unedited writing inspired by a given word.  Today’s word is tree.

Here goes…

Tree.

The mighty oak which towers above.  A sprouting seed creeping towards the sky, vulnerable to trampling feet and hungry teeth.

Tree.

A 7 year old’s hiding place from an angry mother.  A cosy nook for a lonely owl or family of woodlice.

Tree.

Nature’s own climbing frame. A place to swing and play.

Tree.

A watchman for all time.  Through life, loves, wars. Change.

Tree.

Homeless wildlife. Flattened Forests.  Paper scattered.

Tree.

A new house.  A shopping centre.  Concrete jungles. 

Tree.

 

 

 

 

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Five Minute Friday: Truth

Thanks Lisa-Jo Baker for today’s Five Minute Friday: truth. 

This is a tricky one!

Truth.  It’s a funny word.  We hold it in such high regard, yet we all seem to not only attach different meanings to it, but also adapt those meaning to suite our current needs.  Everyone’s truth is indeed different, especially when it’s so open to being edited!

So does truth really exist and, if it doesn’t, should we place such a high value on it, especially with our children?

‘Tell the truth.’ we demand when they argue and we want to get to the bottom of who smashed the window, or drew on the wall.  They tell us and yet we insist they’re lying.  We question, we interrogate, pick holes in their story as though they’re a criminal under oath rather than a willful child.  Whatever they tell us, we punish them anyway.  We know, we tell ourselves as parents, what happened.  We were children once.   So where is the incentive for them to tell us the truth if we’ve already made up our minds?

Then, not half an hour later, we find ourselves ten minutes late to meet someone.

“Sorry we’re late, the traffic was bad.” We apologise with a little white lie to disguise the fact that we were behind because the toddler wouldn’t eat his lunch, we forgot our coats or were still chatting on the phone when we should have been in the car.  The traffic was bad but it shouldn’t really have held us up.  So is half-tale really the truth?  We give our children such mixed messages, rarely bother to explain and then criticise and punish when they get it wrong.

As adults, lots of us believe it is ok to tell a small untruth to spare someone’s feelings or to avoid an argument.  We’ve had those ‘new’ shoes for ages or that new hair cut looks lovely on our friend but when children do the same, we talk to them about liars having their tongues cut out or sing rhymes about their pants being on fire.

We claim to have a greater understanding of truth; we say that we can tell when truth is important and when it is best not to voice it, but is this really true?  We want to avoid an argument or spare someone’s feelings but aren’t we just trying to avoid an awkward moment for ourselves?  I’m not saying we never should tell white lies, I’m ashamed to say I do it myself all the time.

But I am saying this.  Children need modelled behaviour.  They copy us, look up to us, we are their shining example.  And what they do need is consistency.  If we’re going to hold up truth as a beacon of all that is right, surely we owe it to our children to be truthful ourselves or at least be consistent in what we say truth is?

Or, if we are prefer to keep those lines muddied with a few fibs here and there, we should credit children with enough intelligence to explain to them why instead of punishing them when they try to work it out themselves.

 

Five minute Friday: Together. In an age of social media, why are we less connected than ever?

I haven’t seen these challenges Lisa Jo Baker but have today found her wonderful encouraging site through the equally encouraging Called to be Home.  I’m not a Christian myself but I find the posts on Called to be Home inspirational and love reading about the activities and learning that goes on in her household.

Challenge:  To write for 5 minutes, unedited about the word given.  This week the topic is:  TOGETHER

Anyway, timer is ready to start so here goes…

Together is a word that conjures up ideas of closeness:  A family snuggled together on a couch, babes in their mother’s arms, solidarity, loyalty.  It suggests a united stance, a bond.  Connectedness.

Yet it can so easily hide the truth, the sadness behind.  We talk about families who have stayed together, somewhat of a rarity in these days of broken homes, but we constantly hear stories on the news about families who never eat together.  I read recently that 25% of British families don’t have a dining table.  Now of course they might eat at the breakfast bar or on the couch (although then of course, the tv is likely to be blaring out) but the reality is that so many families don’t sit together.  In days gone by, the family would make the effort to sit together at meal times.  It was the one time when everyone could catch up with everyone else.  What happened in everyone’s day?  Did anyone hear about that story on the news?  Who was really proud of an achievement or upset about something?  Cynicism leads me to believe that even if a lot of families were to sit together, most would communicate more through their mobile phones in a series of lols and winky faces rather than engage in any quality discussion with the family.

I hear shouts of, “But we talk all the time, we live together for goodness’ sake.  So what if we don’t eat together – our mouths are full, we wouldn’t chat!” But in an ever time deficient society, parents, spouses, children so often seem to pass each other like ships in the night.  Ships that are perhaps on opposite sides of a vast ocean.

Kids don’t want to be seen with their parents and parents sadly, don’t often want to be seen with their kids.  In lots of authorities in England, half term starts today and I have heard desperate cries from many parents.  “Why do they need a break?  They have only just gone back after the summer! Roll on a-week-on-monday!”

Have we forgotten what together means?  Do so many of us spend so little quality time together that the mere suggestion of it frightens us so we avoid it at all costs.  How ironic that with the boom in technology, the constantly expanding network of social media and other means of staying connected, that we are actually less together than ever!