12 Jan 2015

The Hockely Family and Literacy

Life is fun

Life is also busy, scrambling chaos. For Dean and Deb Hockley, the busy day to day includes getting three active kids between the ages of 9 and 13 to and from school and their many activities. Recently, Deb’s parents moved in with them. With seven people and three dogs, the Hockley household is always moving, and always a blast.

“Mornings can be a bit of a scramble,” says Deb. “Between getting lunches ready, and getting our schedules for the day straightened out, getting out the door is always an adventure.”

All three of Deb’s children are heavily involved in sports as well. A quick calculation reminds Deb that they spend nearly 30 hours a week in a hockey rink.

“We are teammates,” says Deb. “Not only on the sports teams we’re involved with, but with each other. Family is a team!”

The benefits of learning from sport is something Deb sees in her children every day. From learning about the importance of physical activity and nutrition, to learning how to focus and listen, and developing a sense of discipline and respect, sport offers an extended opportunity for her children to develop as people.

“They are really amazing,” she beams. “They are becoming such strong individuals through these experiences.”

Learning through experience

As her children develop a strong skillset through their involvement in sports, Deb and her husband keep learning about parenting as they go.

“Literacy and learning is something you think about a lot when you become a parent,” says Deb, “you realize your kids are always learning, and you must always be learning too.”

Raising kids is all about literacy

Sometimes it feels bigger than it really is. Literacy, it seems, is a huge word to describe what is really a fundamental and vital skill.

“There is so much to learn about being a parent and it isn’t always easy,” notes Deb, “but it is a relief to realize there is always something new to learn and someone new to learn from.”

One of the biggest hurdles for many parents is the increasing use of technology – computers, phones, or tablets. Parents need to stay on pace to continue to understand this technology, and communicate the importance of boundaries with their children.

“Technology always has a way of creeping in. Monitoring every little thing is impossible, but having the ability to know what kinds of things to keep an eye out for, and maintaining open lines of communication is so important,” says Deb. “Thankfully, our kids have always wanted to be active in our family. They want to spend time with us – talking, laughing, and sharing – without always wanting a TV or a device to play with.”

Family time is sacred time

“Families need to learn to value all they do together – and this really comes down to some of the most basic literacy skills,” says Deb.

Spending time together, however the time is spent, creates so much value for parents and children.

“We approach our daily routine with an attempt to recognize that everything we do has value and purpose,” says Deb. “It’s hard, but we need to learn to be great listeners for our children, and teach them to listen to us, too.”

Deb recognizes how all of these things connect back to the basic building blocks for learning, and how family literacy programs through READ Saskatoon help make this possible.

“Their programs are for everyone,” says Deb. “They strengthen our community by strengthening families. And my life is enriched by volunteering with them. It is empowering to feel like I am helping Saskatoon be a better community. That I am helping people, and helping myself, be better and stronger. This is possible because of my time spent with READ Saskatoon.”

Simple is best

Through the chaotic lifestyle the Hockleys lead, Deb never forgets that the simplest actions of family life are the most powerful. Everyday activities not only provide an opportunity to learn and grow, but to become closer as a family.

It doesn’t take much. From those hectic mornings of making lunches or sorting our schedules, to exploring all the city has to offer, to the simple fun of playing a board game and laughing together, everything we do together is an opportunity to learn.

“Yes, we’re complicated. Yes, we’re busy. But we make the time, and take the time. And in the end, this helps us all learn and grow – as individuals, as a family, and in the circle of friends who are our community.”

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