Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Behind the Scenes with the Knudsen Family

We're hoping to bring you periodic interviews to give an inside peek at the home life of families we admire at Bloom. Today we get to hear from Jordan (Knudsen) Mangum about what life was like in her home growing up (did you know she grew up with Katy Dill and Ann Jones? Sisters!) We love all these women and wanted to know more about the family they came from. Jordan was kind enough to fill us in. Enjoy!

Your family seems to have a culture of closeness and support (I've blog-linked around to a few of your siblings and love the birthday tributes you write to each other). What kinds of things happened in your home to foster that kind of closeness? How do you maintain it now that you're grown and spread all over the world?

Two words come to mind: sincerity and respect. Of course, growing up and even now there is always an element of "teasing" that exists between siblings. But, now and growing up, sarcasm and pushing sensitive buttons wasn't really tolerated. My parents were always sincere and respectful to us and that has carried over into the relationships we have with each other.

You all seem to have a love of/talent for the artistic, creative, beautiful things of life. Did your home/family life help cultivate this? How? Did you create together as a family? Did you observe the creativity of your parents? How was creativity of all kinds encouraged?

Both my parents are artists for a living. It was natural, I think, that some of that love (and I would say need) for the aesthetic rubbed off onto their children. We had a drawing room adjacent to the laundry room where we had unlimited supplies with which to create. We were encouraged in school projects to tap into that creativity. But, it wasn't just "creating" but it was creating something original. From student officer campaign posters, to book reports, to dioramas, we were gently prodded to think of and make something no one else had made. I feel like this is an important part of creating (the thinking part) that is sometimes overlooked in this world of craft kits and DIY tutorials.

From your experience in your own family and from your observations of other strong families, what kinds of practices/principles do you think strong, unified, loving families are built upon?

Spend time together doing out of the ordinary things. This is where the good bonds are formed. Shared memories apart from the usual routine. Gather, gather, gather. Eat, eat, eat. And share spiritual and personal experience together. Help each other along this path by those means. Gather, eat, and share together. It's a lost art.
Tell us about both work and play in your family growing up. Chores? Responsibilities? Jobs outside the home? Expectations about who paid for what? And also, recreation? Vacations? Fun traditions?

We always had chores. In the summer, when school was out we had "hour jobs." We had the choice of going to my Dad (for outdoor chores) or my mom (for household duties). Deadheading flowers in the garden, windex-ing all the windows, organizing cupboards, there was a wide variety of choices. We had to spend one hour each day (except Saturday when regular chores were done, and Sunday). After our hour was up we were free to do what we pleased with our long summer days.

All six of us siblings paid for our own college education. Growing up we had a small allowance and anything we chose to put in the bank, my parents would match. This was an effort towards a "college fund" of sorts. I think this was a fabulous and practical way of teaching one to value one's education and not take for granted that privilege.

Thanks so much Jordan. Isn't it fascinating to learn about the inner-workings of a family? We hope you think so, too. More to come!


k a t y said...

Well said, Jord. I find myself implementing what mom and dad more and more. They did it right.

Bloom said...

SOOO much great stuff here. I love that idea of 'hour chores.' And what a cool idea to match the amount of $ your children save.