So our family didn't start off as "New Age" or "enlightened" in the least. In fact we were your average military family who both worked, kids were in daycare, television always on, read the news everyday, as well as big on consumerism, vanity and cynicism. I would like to say we didn't know any better but I think there has always been a part of me that knew better and just chose to suppress it at that time.
It wasn't until we got to Hawaii (about 6 years ago) that the reality of how we were living hit us like a ton of bricks. They say your children are your toughest teachers and I have to agree. When my oldest son started coming home with a brand new (offensive) vocabulary from his public school friends, and completely devoted himself to television choices and life styles that cringed on my nerves, it forced me to look at what we were allowing our kids to become. Especially when the younger boys started following the example of their older brother.
When you as the parent shift an evolve faster than your children or your spouse, how do you make those drastic changes without alienating anyone? That's one I am still learning. But I knew that no matter what I did, I had to get my husband on board first or nothing would go the way I was hoping it would. So DH and I started to attend spiritual family meetings and seminars, read books, and watched documentaries together on how to live in a conscious state with our children. Some of the BIG reoccurring key points was media... TURN OFF YOUR TV! Well, seeing as though TV had become some sort of appendage for all of us (especially the kids), this was not an easy thing to do. As part of the "weening process" we set up "no technology weekends", which was literally that. No phones, computer, TV, video games, etc for an entire weekend. Instead we played games, read books, cooked meals together, went to the park, beach...even doing chores around the house was pleasant without the noise and distractions. DH and I found ourselves dreading the weekend's end as we didn't want to have to check our email or phones or see what the rest of the world was doing. It was so nice just to be "unplugged". The kids however have taken a longer "coming to terms" arrangement with our media diet. But I notice that they are happier and much more well behaved during our "no technology weekends" than they are when we are living in the media chaos.
Our other big challenge was food. When we were our former selves, we ate out a lot and pretty much practiced the "if it looks good, we eat it" approach. This turned into lots of fast and processed foods that we became highly addicted to (some of us still are). I (being the revolutionary in the family) decided to take the jump first and started to change my diet and my food choices by looking at the overall picture of my health (which was poor to say the least) instead of my old normal go to of "how fat do I look in my clothes" approach. Hubby jumped on board pretty quickly afterward because he started to notice how well I was looking and how much happier I was (though he is still fighting with smoking). I began to conquer all of my addictions...sugar, caffeine, processed foods, grease, etc... and slowly but surely I have gotten to a point (it took about a steady year and a half) where my body WANTS the good nourishing foods and the thought of anything unhealthy actually makes me feel sick. Now how do you turn that into something your kids can also accomplish for themselves? It hasn't been easy. I wouldn't be able to do any of this if I wasn't a SAHM (stay at home mom) with them. I basically cook all their meals, 3 times a day except when the older two are at school. This is where the problem comes in. What their school feeds them I wouldn't even have in my house plus the pressure of their friends to have all the latest junk food (among other things) and giving it to them by the bags full (which I take away). The younger two stay at home with me and they have mostly been a part of the overall shift of the family in a positive way since it's pretty much all they've known. But my oldest ones are fighting it and sometimes it's a loosing battle for all of us. Now I can go into the whole "why don't you pack their lunch" stuff but it's a long and daunting story, the gist is...they have to eat at school. Which is why starting next year, all of my children will be staring homeschooling with me and I hope that that will be the time that we come together as a family and continue upwards and outward growth in positive directions. I really think it will. But I have to say, I am dreading the "detox" of my oldest children off of the processed sugar trains they've been on.
There are many other challenges we face besides media and food, but these come to mind as the biggest ones. But as long as we grow as a family together, I am sure there isn't anything we can't do together, ALL of us. And I look forward to the day we are truly all free of these influences. It feels soooo soon!