Sunday Evening Post - Your Children Want You
A number of summers ago we embarked on our first Charlotte Mason Study Guild meeting. We, a group of 10 moms and myself began a treasured journey to better know the methods and philosophies of Miss Mason. We gathered at our church's parish hall with our children in tow that early July morning, and opened the meeting with "How's everyone doing?" Most of us, half heartily said that we were doing "ok". The tones from most of us were weary, weary, and even a bit more weary than that, myself very much included. Some of the moms had good reason to be tired. They had little ones under a year old who spent the night howling at the moon refusing to sleep. Some moms had stress too high with daily worries that wouldn't allow them to sleep. But underlining it all, our tiredness was most certainly coming from doing way too much of everything. And if we weren't doing too much physically, we were doing too much mentally. Yes, even in those rare moments when our body actually has stopped, and the outside noises had diminish, and we should have a hush about us, we realize that there is still noise, but it's coming from inside our heads. (Is it any wonder that we are all sure that we have ADD and/or the early stages of Alzheimer's?)
This constant movement either outside or inside ourselves is absolutely felt by everyone, but especially those we live with. Our children feel it the most as they quite accurately can read us better than anyone, and they parrot our emotions and our actions for better or for worse.
So what's a poor mom to do...
Well, it's time to take a step back because when all is said and done, the best curriculum, the best book, the best lesson plan, the best schedule, (and even the best school) in the world can not replace YOU. Your children (your family) want you...they want your smile, your time, your hugs, your attention, they want you. They want to make and have memories with you. April Perry from The Power of Moms says, "There’s this crazy phenomenon going on right now. Good, devoted mothers get on Pinterest . . . and blogs . . . and Facebook . . . and Twitter . . . and then they flip through parenting magazines and TV channels (full of advertisements and media hype) . . . and they’re convinced they are not enough. Reflecting on this discouragement we so often feel, we must realized that my family doesn’t care about what is on Pinterest. They care about ." Yes, your children want you. Just you, as best you can. Not the half listening you, the half looking at you, you, not the glance up for a moment, you, they want YOU!
In the crazed modern world of ours with too much of everything, the biggest one, distraction, try your best just for today to slow yourself down. When anyone; children, spouse, neighbor, anyone, talks to you just for today put down whatever you are doing and look them in the eye and smile while they talk to you. (Smile is key. My daughter likes to video record me on her phone just for fun when I am not looking, and my expression often in the video is a scowl. Yikes! When did I turn into Oscar the Grouch with a turn down mouth and angry eyes.) So relax your face and smile.
Also try today to bring your children close for a quiet moment on a couch, on porch steps, on the rug in your family room, somewhere. No agenda, no questions, no real conversation necessarily, just hold them close in a quiet moment. Enjoy a stolen moment of quiet and unrushed. And then, do I dare say, try this with your....husband. I know I am getting crazy now, but could they, too, use a little bit of you, probably so. They are needing our encouragement and our smile as much as anyone. The world is hard out there and they need you to remind them (even just for one moment) that you are on their side. (no need to say anything, a hug speaks volumes.)
And lastly, You need you. Find a moment to sit alone somewhere quiet sometime in the next 24 hours just for a few moments. (somewhere in a 24 hr. period there is quiet so look for it.) The house will not fall to pieces and the kids won't set it on fire in just a few moments. (a good fire needs at least 8-10 min. to really get going, I looked it up, so you have a least 7 min., right?) Just listen to the world around you. Maybe you'll hear a bird off in the distance or a dog barking in the yard next door, or cars rushing to their destinations, or the wind in the branches, or maybe the clock ticking. Smile, relax, and thank God for your life in whatever stage it's in, whatever season of life. Take a moment for you and gently offer thanks. (even the prisoners in the Nazi's concentration camps thanked God, right? Right!)
So dear friends, it's time to move on to rest for the night. And please know that I write all these things not from a place of arrival and expertise, but from a place on the road. I am walking right next to you, not miles ahead. And I write these things as my "to do" list as well. Thank you for going with me, it's nice to not go alone. Have a blessed rest, my friends, God love you. Until tomorrow...