Often when we're feeling down we spend our money. Shopping, eating out, or going to a movie is a temporary fix for low spirits. Instead, try some free feel good activities that can be done with the entire family.
Until the fall, many people don't give much thought to voting. Yet, there's a little lingering guilt for those who don't hit the polls yearly. It's something you know you should do, but often life and its hectic schedule gets in the way. Don't let it.
Bringing a child to vote and explaining not only the importance but the privilege of it brings about a feeling of accomplishment. Whether your candidate wins or loses, you made a difference by voting. Talk to older children about difficulties that people overcame to acquire that right, and talk about other countries that still fight and dream about the opportunity. (Or just remind yourself before deciding that there isn't enough time to visit the polls this year.)
I will never forget reading a magazine article about another country's violent outbreaks during election time. My then four-year-old asked why the people in the picture were running. When I told him that it was because other men were chasing them away when they tried to vote he thought a moment and said with complete innocence, "We voted at the church, and those ladies didn't chase us away." No, they didn't, and that felt good.
Beyond the normal glass bottles and aluminum cans that most townships collect weekly, try recycling everything. It takes some devotion to change a few habits, but after a few weeks it becomes a habit. Wouldn't it be wonderful to habitually feel good about what you do? Each time I would hear about the depletion of our resources, I'd feel a little guilty about the reams of office paper I used or the literal ton of junk mail I received each year. Now, I know these things aren't burdening landfills, and I feel great.
Organize your recycling. Label one of your garbage cans as a 'paper only' can. Then, throw all of your junk mail and catalogs in it as well as grocery lists, receipts, school papers, and paper shreddings. Also, select a large box or a plastic bin to recycle paperboard. Paperboard is cardboard other than corrugated, such as cereal boxes and most packaging of household products. I've recruited a plastic tote as my paperboard bin beside my garbage can, and I'm amazed at how much paperboard our family throws out. Add to your stacks phone books, newspapers, and corrugated cardboard.
Then, designate one day a month as recycling drop-off day and make it a family affair. Each person can be in charge of a specific recycled item. You'll be amazed at how much less trash you put at the curb each week.
As a family, learn a new language. Practice the language together through tapes and books from the library. Reward members of the house for speaking the language at home, and encourage one another along the way.
Then, plan an evening reflecting the culture of the country whose language you're studying. Include themed food and a movie. You'll feel great about expanding your horizons and you can only benefit from the family time and the knowledge gained in the experience.
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