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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Functional Family: BHNs

As I was reading the next section of "The Functional Family" by James MacArthur, the house phone rang.  Not feeling my best, I didn't jump up and get it.  Then the cell phone rang, so I knew it must be something important.

It was #4 calling from the school.  "Mom, I have a really bad headache."  "Oh buddy, I'm sorry.  Do you think you can handle it for two more hours until school's out?"  "Yah.  I have P.E. next.  Maybe the running and fresh air'll be good for me."

His headaches have become somewhat chronic.  The rest of us have bad stomachs, and he's not complaining of that.

This isn't the first "headache" phone call I've received from him in the past month.  I think this may be number four or five.

The funny thing was that as I read the MacArthur speech, I realized what was happening.  He was getting one of his what MacArthur refers to as "BHNs" met.  BHN = Basic Human Need.

Along with writing on our children's blackboards, MacArthur states, "The best place to address basic human needs is in the family.  Children believe what they hear and learn in the family--whether it be for good or not.  You as parents have a lot of power.  Use it carefully."

Magic AND power.

He goes on to say, "A BHN...is something a human being MUST have to grow and develop and be emotionally healthy."

MacArthur mentions four basic human needs:
  • The need to feel:  Significant, Important, Worthwhile, and Valuable

The principle here, according to MacArthur, is "you know human beings want to feel important, significant, worthwhile and valuable--and you consciously and intentionally find ways to help them feel that way."

image credit: http://projectconnecta-gain.blogspot.com/
#3 just asked me what significant meant.  Here's a definition for you:  "Sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention; noteworthy."

image credit: http://usvise.com/
It's funny.  MacArthur says we should "Celebrate" our children.  As I read that, I think of many people I know who do just that.  There's a woman in our ward who has now had most of her children head off to college, but the one thing I can say about her is she's a pro at celebrating her children.  I have noticed, every time I've been in her home, new love notes to and from her children posted on the refrigerator.  I've also noticed how rarely does a negative word leave her lips.  Her children are amazing people, and I'm sure it's because their parents have written countless and endless positive, uplifting things on their blackboards since birth.  A friend I've met through blogging, Julie, celebrates her children.  She goes out of her way to make sure each child, on holidays, has a special outfit to wear.  She goes to every activity and videotapes her kids.  She is her kids' biggest cheerleader.  Julie is also very good at taking care of herself at the same time--she has a very active social life.  She's got so  much going right.  Another blogging friend, LeAnn, does this now for her grandchildren.  It's uplifting to see the impact her cheerful attitude has carried over generations.

I'm grateful for so many good examples right in front of me.  I want to learn to celebrate my children more.

We, the Warden and I, have been working on writing more positives on our children's blackboards, but I think this principle of helping our children feel important, significant, worthwhile and valuable adds a little extra punch to the blackboard.  For example, #3 just got home and is complaining of the same symptoms I had at 4am.  She went into the room she shares with #7, and #7, who was supposed to be napping, wouldn't leave #3 alone.  #3 came trudging into my room with her blanket and pillow saying, "Ugh!  #7 won't let me sleep.  She keeps saying, 'You okay?  You no feeling good?  Ooh..."

I told #3 what a beautiful job she's doing as #7's big sister.  #3 is a very compassionate person and takes care of everyone in our house when they're sick.  No one can do it quite like she can--she just has that skill of knowing people's needs and meeting them.  I told her how wonderful it was that she's teaching those same compassionate ways to her sister.

#6 took care of something for me and put it away.  I thanked him and said, "I'm so grateful to have a son like you."  Over the top?  Maybe, but I'd much rather he have the entire message from my heart than just a "thank you."  I don't want anything left for him to guess at.  I need to add that extra touch.

I'm glad that #4 knows that when he calls me from school to complain about a headache that I'm here for him.  I'm glad he knows that I may not bail him out, but I'm happy to be aware of how he's feeling and that I'll be here with ibuprofen in hand when he gets home from school.

There's nothing I want more than to have my kids know they can talk to me.


Crazymamaof6 said...

Aww, thanks Julie for the shout out. You are one of the best mom's I know. You're a huge example to me baking and cooking and taking such awesome care of your kids, everyday!

Julia Shinkle said...

I love everthing about this post! : )

The Adventurer said...

Welcome to the NOBH and it was nice to meet your children:)

Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams said...

Hi Julie. I am always impressed with mothers of many children. What a dynamic and multi-task requiring way of life. I also impressed by the thought and planning you put into being positive. In a world so overwhelming and busy even that requires planning, but it is perfectly possible. Reading your post I can't help but think of my mother (she raised 8 and 2 foster children!). I have one child.

Kara said...

Hi Julie...thank you for joining us a NOBH :)

KJ said...

Just found you through NOBH and have added you to my google reader based on this one post.
I love it!!

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