Friday, January 25, 2013

Drawing Lines

Ok, had to come and share this too - chapter 8 "Family Government" -Before the US existed, New Amsterdam was here, a colony settled by the Dutch.  They were left by the king of the Netherlands to govern themselves.  They made good roads, homes, and a popular seaport which was one of the biggest trade centers in America.  Now quoting from page 78:

"After a while of governing themselves, and having no real rules, the citizens of New Amsterdam became lazy.  They let their homes and roads fall into disrepair (sounds like my messy house!), they started letting their animals run loose in the city, they never attended church, and they started drinking heavily.  Crime went up, and the city fell into ruin.  Without a vision of what they wanted New Amsterdam to be like, and without any set boundaries for living and making choices, the people floundered as governors of their city.

"When things hit a low point in New Amsterdam, the king of the Netherlands sent over a new governor to straighten things out.  His name was Peter Stuyvesant.  Stuyvesant immediately drew lines between what was good acceptable behavior and what was bad inappropriate behavior.  He made consequences for wrong actions, instituted days of worship, and rules for how the city must be kept in repair.  People were held accountable for their actions under his rule.  At first the people resisted and mocked his strict leadership, (my kids might resist these changes...) but after a short time of boundaries and standards, the people were happier (Happiness? Happiness is good...), more successful in business and family relationships (Success?!  Well, that sounds good too!) and enjoyed his leadership.  Ultimately a street was named for this hard nosed Dutchman.  The people were grateful for Stuyvesant's rules and consequences, because then they were able to learn that a person, or people, must learn to govern themselves strictly according to what is right an what is wrong in order to find success in their governing.

"After some years, the Duke of York won a battle against the Dutch settlers and new Amsterdam as changed to New York.

"It's easy to see from these Dutch settlers that a people left to govern themselves with no rules, vision, values, or consequences, will eventually stray from the productive path to happiness."

Ok, so there's a quote, and as I read it first and then again as I typed it, I just had bells ringing in my head the whole time - ding-ding-ding!  There's the answer, Tiff!  We've got values, but no real rules or consequences, we kinda just make those up as we go, and then end up struggling to enforce those consequences or defend them as the kids compare them to past consequences we gave (which I can never remember but the kids always seem to).  We need clearly defined boundaries!  We need a plan, a vision!  Kids get anxious if they don't know what the day will bring or what their responsibilities are each day.  "Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18

I have 8 kids, and yes that's a lot.  (Feels like more on some days than others...)  And with another baby on the way, I know things are not going to slow down or calm down or get any easier any time in the next 10 years, possibly ever?  So, self, you've got to get a handle on this. We've got to have a plan so we can manage ourselves or we're always going to be surviving instead of thriving.  I want to thrive, dream, have the happiest home I can, a place where there is a feeling my kids love.  Tonight we're going on a little overnight trip up Ogden canyon.  I am going to bring this book and a notepad and we're going to talk about our vision and plan our Christmas party in 20 years and talk about what makes our home happy, what they want, what my kids wish for in our home.  I want their dreams of home to be real, and I bet they are right inline with mine.  We just need to write them down, have a vision, then have a plan of how to get there with rules, values, and consequences.  I liked these Duggar family guidelines, we'll probably modify/merge them with some of the Peck family's rules as we write our family rules.


  1. FYI, the quoted text is a fabrication. The people of New Amsterdam were an industrious and hardworking people, and made tons of money. The reason the king appointed a new governor is that they were keeping most of the money rather than sending it home to the Netherlands. He was upset that he wasn't getting paid enough taxes!

  2. I didn't research the history of it before I posted, just liked the analogy. I don't have a book about it, but my google search (true research!) didn't seem to suggest the city was falling apart... hmm. Too bad she didn't leave a reference for where she got her information. Thanks for the comment.


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