Hello from Woombie Founder Karen Barski! I am so excited to start this blog on parenting and entrepreneurialism! A little about me, I am the mom to 5 unique children, ages 11-24 years old. All quite sassy, fierce, lovable and little entrepreneurs. All with really good hearts, which is ultimately the most I could ever ask for. I am not going to pretend parenting it is easy or that my 5 kiddos are perfect, but I am proud. Very proud. Stay tuned for weekly continuations, and feel free to email me with any questions @ Karen@Woombie.com
xx Karen Barski, RN, BSN • Mom of 5, Wife to Stash
• Level 4 Reiki Master • Law of Attraction Coach • Meditation Instructor • Emotion Code Practitioner • Infant Care Specialist • President of Woombie USA •
Raising Out of the Box Kids, Part 1
We all know that raising kids can be a challenge! We raise them to be kind, to be honest, to be savvy, intelligent, creative, strong, motivated, and spiritual- to be many, many things, and most of all, to be ‘themselves‘. When raising our children, we never expect perfection, but the goal is always expansion– sometimes baby steps, sometimes in leaps and bounds. Let’s face it, a parent’s job is damn hard. We want more for our children than what we had, and just expect more these days in our “fast paced everything” world! There are school pressures, sports pressures, peer pressures and internet pressures- among other things. In this blog, we will take small weekly steps geared towards raising ‘out of the box’ extraordinary and spirited kids.
I was definitely NOT born with a silver spoon, in fact my first job was at the age of 11 around the neighborhood. Babysitting, picking up sticks in neighbors’ yards, pet sitting- you name it! Work ethic is probably not something you are just ‘born’ with; it is something absorbed from your surroundings- observed but also taught. If your desires are large enough, your work ethics and motivation to succeed will follow suit due to the motivation.
TIP #1- Work’em! Give your kids a job at home, and do NOT pay them! As a family unit, you want to teach your kids that helping out is not for hire, it is expected. I do not believe in allowance. Being part of the family unit comes with responsibility, and ‘evening the load’ of the family helps to keep the stress level down and not put too much weight on other members. After the children master “at home” responsibility, have them go out to safe neighbors or family and ask for a paid job- maybe watering their plants as they travel, walking their dogs, babysitting or mommy’s helper, picking up sticks in the yard, etc.
Our kids were born with entrepreneurial parents- attending trade shows, shaking hands with adults. In the beginning, we taught them something simple. When you greet an adult, you make eye contact and shake hands. I cannot tell you how many complements we receive because our children can shake the hand of an adult and make eye contact.
TIP #2- Acknowledge your elders. Make eye contact at the very least and say hello when meeting or greeting! In a professional setting, shake hands. They may feel uncomfortable at first and rebel, but you have to start with BASICS. It’s ok!
My family lives a conventional/unconventional life. Conventional, meaning that all of the core values and lessons are instilled during upbringing- honesty, faith, character, virtues, etc… What makes it also ‘unconventional’ then? NOT following suit with what everyone else is doing ‘just because’. We are born with an internal guidance system that gets muted when we are not silent enough to listen.
TIP #3: Learn your Virtues! In our home, we wrote each virtue on a little wooden disk (I purchased a bag of round wooden chips from Amazon.com) and each day they picked a chip to “practice”. All of the children would practice the same virtue that day, whether it is pride, bravery, or honesty. We also call the virtues having “Good Character”.
A little about Virtues: Aristotle was a Greek Philosopher, a student of Plato who was responsible for major contributions for metaphysics to ethics, aesthetics and politics. He believed that the function of a human was to engage in an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. Aristotle thought that there were two overriding virtues, intellectual and moral. The intellectual virtues he claimed were acquired by inheritance and education and the moral ones through the imitation of practice and habit. The highest virtue, according to Aristotle was intellectual contemplation. In addition, there are an additional 12 virtues that can also be attributed to Aristotle and they are as follows:
- Courage – bravery and valor
- Temperance – self-control and restraint
- Liberality – big heart, charity and generosity
- Magnificence – radiance, joie de vivre
- Pride – self-satisfaction
- Honor – respect, reverence, admiration
- Good Temper – equanimity, level-headedness
- Friendliness – conviviality and sociability
- Truthfulness – honesty, frankness and candor
- Wit – sense of humor – meaninglessness and absurdity
- Friendship – camaraderie and companionship
- Justice – impartiality, evenhandedness and fairness
In the Catholic Church there are 7 Virtues:
- Faith is belief in the right things (including the virtues!).
- Hope is taking a positive future view, that good will prevail.
- Charity is concern for, and active helping of, others.
- Fortitude is never giving up.
- Justice is being fair and equitable with others.
- Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
- Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things that are not needed.
Whatever set of Virtues you choose, this is a great start!
This next bit is for you, mom or dad!
When I tell people that we homeschool our kids (most years) and travel worldwide with them to have fun and simply ‘expand’ our minds, we always get the same response… “But HOW???” or “I could never…”To that, I say EASY! And it is easy, most days. However, to have a travel lifestyle, you need to have a bit of freedom. I have found that it is easiest when you are your own boss. When you are an entrepreneur yourself, making your schedule to suit YOU, it is magical. If not, you always have a long summer!
BTW—- I write this blog during a 6-week family trip throughout Europe which started July 10, 2019
Follow your internal guidance, asking what it is that you really want- for yourself, and for your family. We all have an inner voice, although sometimes it is muffled by the “noise” of daily life and stressors. Start with something small, but in early stages your inner voice may be telling you to learn Yoga or meditate, to plant a garden, or read a particular book. But in regards to our child, maybe to begin a spiritual practice, go to the park, or take every Sunday to unplug and play games with the family (BTW, this is big in Danish culture, called “Hugge”, pronounced “hoo-ga”, which means “a quality of coziness (feeling warm, comfortable, and safe) that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, or spending time at home with your family.”
My guidance told me to travel with my kids and give them the gift of seeing the world as it really is, not from books or tales, but from their own eyes. Traveling…. seeing hunger and abundance, wealth and poverty, beauty and devastation, confusion and clarity, diversity yet connection- this contrast makes our world feel true and authentic. My guidance in the past several months pulls me to relocate, start a small farm and teach my family about sustainability and plant-based life.
See you next week!
Karen Barski, RN, BSN
Mom of 5, Wife to Stash
Level 4 Reiki Master • Law of Attraction Coach • Meditation Instructor • Emotion Code Practitioner • Infant Care Specialist
President of Woombie USA • Karen Barski Designs LLC