Today is the end of Thanksgiving Vacation and all our kids will be back from visits with family and sponsors. Tomorrow everybody will be back in school and we have to try to get back into the groove and finish out this semester before Christmas Vacation gets here in three weeks. My most difficult time of the year.
For many of our children, they have spent the last week being indulged and generally goofing off with little structure and discipline. Which isn’t really a bad thing and I am glad they have an opportunity to experience things outside of the home and spend time with their birth families and others that care about them, but getting the structure and routine going again is a little difficult especially when the kids know Christmas Vacation is only three weeks away.
For those that are reading this and asking why are you so concerned with structure and discipline, I will explain. The amount of discipline needed to function as a group increases with the size of the group. This was a principle I learned in the military but is also something I have had confirmed from interaction with several large families (I have known several families with 8 and more birth children).
Basically the principle works like this. In a small group less discipline is required for the group to function. Two people can be walking down the street and talking without any real structure. It is fairly easy to tell when the other person is done talking and when it is appropriate for you to talk. It is easy to read non-verbal queues from the other person and you can easily account for the others where abouts.
On the other hand a large group requires a great deal of discipline and structure in order for it to function orderly. For example at a seminar or government meeting there has to be order. There is a leader that directs the function. There are rules for being recognized and having the opportunity to speak. There are rules requiring that individuals be quite while others are speaking, that you not be running around the room and causing a disruption, and that you treat others with respect. Without rules, procedures and agendas these situations would be chaos.
In a large family or in our case a family type unit we need structure and discipline for the same reason to avoid chaos. We have schedules, we have charts, we have chores, we have rules – not because we are mean evil people that want to oppress children, but because we need them to have peace and harmony.
And honestly we do, except this time of the year when it seems we are in a constant state of transition. Fortunately it only comes once a year and only lasts for about a month and a half.