This year has been so amazing so far. I've just felt this incredible amount of growth and although it can be overwhelming and exhausting, it is mostly just invigorating and wonderful.
I'm reading a couple of really good, interesting books this week (I visited one of my favorite bookstores - my mother-in-law's house - Thanks Gigi!) One book that I am really enjoying is called "Rediscover Catholicism: A spiritual guide to living with passion and purpose", by Matthew Kelly. This book is powerful regardless of your religion or spiritual beliefs - actually the sub-title says so much about its message, everyone wants to live with passion and purpose, right?!
Anyways, I'm not ready yet to do a review or analysis yet but I wanted to share one quote that has had a huge impact on me this past week. In the chapter about saints Kelly talks about Mother Teresa and there is a quote about her.
"For the moment you were with her, there was only you and her. She wasn't looking over your shoulder to see what was happening around you. You had her full attention. It was as if nothing else existed to her except you."
Wow. How amazing is that? And what if we all treated each other with that much love and respect?
I know that I write a lot about parenting and my radical ideas of treating our children in exactly this way. But the truth is that I often fall short. I'm often not present - on my phone or computer, on the phone (ha, just realized I said PHONE twice - how appropriate... to clear things up, the first phone refers to my iPhone, and the second our "land" line - which is really digital - but I digress), reading a book... whatever the current distraction might be. But I've felt a new calmness settling in around and inside of me lately.
I've mentioned a few times this year how ON FIRE I've been. And that is an amazing thing! But when I'm on fire I have a tendency to be in motion too and always trying to get something done or moving on to the next thing.
Then, more recently I had a little bit of a depression in my mood and activity. I lost my way a bit. I just got back from a visit to my home-town. The kids and I stayed with my parents, visiting family and friends for 2 weeks. Coming back is always an adjustment too. But I feel like I really got back to myself and what's most important to me.
So, I feel like I am slowly swinging back into a really healthy balance. I'm no longer concerned that my new found love of writing is going to disappear. (It's here to stay! I'm not running out of ideas anytime soon. :) I'm also realizing that I really just need to BE with my kids the majority of the time - especially because we are choosing to home-school. This is not a new revelation or rocket-science - but I also know that sometimes we "know" something in our heads before our hearts embrace it, and because of this our actions lag behind what we know is right. That's why we must at once be patient with ourselves while always striving to improve.
So, my point is (I swear I have one!), that for whatever reason this particular quote about Mother Teresa made something CLICK for me, and it is transforming our lives again in the most beautiful way. I want my kids to feel that way about me - to feel like I am giving them my complete, undivided attention and love. That *they* are the most important part of my day - not my facebook newsfeed, not my latest blog post, and not the gazillions of cute pictures OF THEM that I haven't had time to do anything with. I haven't even needed to print this quote out or put it anywhere, it just keeps popping up in my brain reminding me... slow down, breathe, trust, listen, smile, love... LIVE.
This is a public service announcement. Adults and parents everywhere are being advised that your children *will* get upset, say unkind things, act in ways (that you consider) unreasonable, want attention from you when you are either unable or unwilling to give it, and do many other things that is generally considered "poor" behavior - and (this is the important part) - they will do this REGARDLESS OF YOUR PARENTING STYLE.
Yep, you heard me right. (And you heard it here first! Right?!) It doesn't matter if you are an attachment parent, an authoritarian dictator, a spineless pushover, or 2012's Super-Mom of the year - you will have to deal with behavior that is unpleasant and (seemingly) undesirable.
So the question is, what are you going to do when faced with the inevitable? What kind of human being are you going to *choose* to be? Are you going to get out of your comfort zone and try something new, radical, and different? Or are you going to do what everyone else does, what was done to you when you were a child, what you think you "should" do?
I keep hearing people say that "parenting today is what's wrong with the world" and that "children today have no discipline" and on and on. What if when our children struggle they were met with true love and compassion and actually LISTENED to? What lessons would they learn? How would they react when others were having a hard time - if that is what they experienced? What if when our children behave in a way that makes us angry or uncomfortable or is just plain inconvenient, *we* are the ones who actually need to learn a lesson and change our behavior?
FYI - punishment isn't working. If it was we would have solved these issues by now. But maybe these issues aren't "problems" and maybe they don't need to be "solved". Maybe these are all learning opportunities and when we try to open our hearts, even as we feel them contracting, we will learn even more than our children.
Listen, I get it. It's HARD sometimes to do the loving thing. We get annoyed, and have needs and feelings too. But we are the adults and so we must commit ourselves to acting as such. And when we make mistakes or behave poorly ourselves then we admit it and try to do better. That's what children are here to do. To be children and to show us how we can be better.
The answer is always love. It always has been and always will be. We all know it deep down inside too. Stop being scared - scared of the future and what your child *might* be tomorrow. Start loving the person they are in front of you RIGHT NOW. I promise you won't regret it.
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.