The Odd Sock Fallacy

So I have tried to ensure that all 7 of our children not only have socks – without any holes – but that they actually have socks that match. So often I’ve been tempted to grab two pinkish socks and declare them a pair. But yet even in this I know the truth – that if anyone were to have a close look, they would see… odd socks.

socksWe don’t just have a few odd socks lying around, we have an odd sock box!  Oh I have tried it all. I have even tried pinning the socks together in the wash. This not only resulted in me spending my precious time now untangling pins from socks but we now had holes in the socks too.

Yet something keep welling up within – what will others think if they see that my kids socks don’t match? Will they not begin to question what else has unraveled within our home?

Odd socks today and rebellious teenagers tomorrow!

I have however just realised, that in the busyness of our present reality my diligence in the sock department has somewhat slacked in the last while. And to my horror I noticed one of my children at a church meeting with odd socks! But not just odd socks as in two blue socks that weren’t quite the same.

No these were odd socks!

As in one was maroon and the other white with some cartoon character upon it. I must have looked like a fish staring at her feet but when I finally yanked my stare away – oh my – I noticed that the 16 year old next to her also had on odd socks! Slowly the reality, the truth of the situation sank in. She was wearing odd socks and yet their home was not falling apart and these teenagers are some of the most awesome people I know.

It was as if scales had fallen from my eyes.

What else had I perceived as being reality and yet there had been placed over my eyes a warped hue of untruth. I see people’s clothes, homes, cars, holidays and Facebook realities and somehow feel like I know them and are able to contain them within some kind of box and yet the truth is that I cannot define anyone by the colour of their socks.

So as I’m learning to be gentle upon myself and not place my expectations beyond my reality I’m beginning to have grace with those around me too. So please don’t judge my effectiveness as Mommy on my children’s sock co-ordination. In the bigger scheme of life I’m choosing to lay down this battle for sock perfection and instead be real.

No I don’t have everything under control, no I don’t rush out to buy new clothes when a hole is torn climbing a tree, not I can’t stay up every night darning socks and warn knees….

20150117_065840But I can love my children beyond their wildest dreams, pray with them and tuck them in at night, I can chase and tickle them and run around the garden catching falling leaves or stand in awe of a butterfly. I can honestly say that odd socks are no longer able to define me! Instead they are able to free me to see that there is in fact more to this crazy life than being perceived to be a perfect mom. Instead I want to be real and revel in the freedom of odd socks!

Raising Little – Big People

What a privilege it is to be a Mommy and be able to daily watch our little people grow from scrunched bundles of pink to dirty toddlers into lanky teenagers and beyond….. As we navigate this uncharted territory with each individual child I repeatedly remember someone once telling me that, “We are not raising children but adults.” In our homes we don’t have before us a future Big Kid but instead a little Mommy or Daddy, a business owner, an entrepreneur, a farmer, a dancer, an artist, a friend, a home maker, a designer. All these things and so many more are all packaged up – often not so neatly – into these little bundles set before us. So as we discipline and train and mentor our children as much as it feel tedious and that I’m doing this to just have some quiet or order in my day today – we are in fact missing the whole point. All our hard work parenting isn’t about the here and now or today but rather about the “..ever after.” And yet what we do today can deeply impact that to become a “happy” or “disastrous” ever after story.

As I hear my son speak sharply, using harsh, barking commands with his sisters everything within me wants to give him a piece if my mind and send him into a timeout – till he can be nice! Yet what will this gain? How will he know “how to be nice” if I never equip him with the gentler tones to replace those bossy ones that come so naturally to a born leader? I once again gently draw him aside reminding him how you use your voice matters and how it effects  people. We talk about what our home would be like if his daddy spoke to me like he spoke to his sisters. We talk about him being a Daddy and a business owner and how he thinks his family and employees would like to be spoken to. Because the reality is the way he talks to his siblings will overflow into the way he talks to his wife and those around him in his adult life.

Beyond just managing the way our children talk to one another we have an awesome opportunity to use our daily lives to equip them with business, family, home making, people, leadership and many, many more skills that they can draw from in their adult lives. I send an older child to fetch a younger sibling off the trampoline, ask a 8 year old to make biscuits, request an older sibling to bath, dress and make a bottle for the baby, I require one to call the library to renew the books or another to phone the take away to order dinner. By the age of 10 every child needs to know how to run the home for a day – do and hang the washing, cook 3 meals, look after the younger siblings and such. A challenge each of our children have risen too and been so proud to achieve.

So as I lie on the grass in the park and watch my 13 year old stroll off with his 2 baby sisters in tow – seeing him playing with them and taking such joy in them as well as taking the initiative to take their hands and care for them my heart swells with pride as I see not before my eyes a clumsy, lanky 13 year old but instead a little Daddy. A small man-child growing in his role of leader, provider, carer and protector of those placed within his care.

As I hear my 9 year old ensure that everyone is doing their part to clear and clean the kitchen after dinner I see before me growing a leader and CEO who understands a job well done. As I need to yet again remind an 8 year old to put her clothes in the washing or cupboard I am seeing to the training of a homemaker. As we discuss money spending and saving principles in an aisle in Spar I am witnessing the training of business men and women. When I once again train a tone or attitude used in jest or nastiness toward a sibling we are building good friends and citizens of the world. Don’t be fooled by their size – nothing is ever lost on these little people of ours.

Let us not underestimate these “little people” who right before our eyes have the capacity to change the future through the way they will one day love their families, run their businesses and share their talents with the world around them. So keep on keeping on. Your efforts will reap many a reward in the years to come.

Mommy Tides

Waves

Pulsing forward, relentless, endless, foaming blue, climbing green. Reaching, pulling, tugging forming tide after tide, year after year waves pound and crash. Immediately ripped back from whence they came. Always reaching yet never arriving. Always trying, hoping yet never satisfied. Instead they pull and tug, shape and form the world below them.  Churning sands, crushing shells, throwing creatures from their home upon desolate sands. Striving, striving, driving, driving, pulling, tugging, churning tide after tide, year after year forever restless achieving nothing yet altering everything.

Does this churning, relentless mass reflect parenting, my life, your story? Striving, pulling, churning, tugging. Always trying, trying whilst churning and crushing the world below… Trying to ensure the home is not only well kept but sanctuary to all, including the wandering, distant stranger. Crushing every imaginary fort, artistic pursuit or creative flair in the chase for a perfect home. Trying to ensure manners are blossoming without reaching the broken confused soul beneath the plastic grin? Trying to ensure a solid educational foundation ignoring, hence squelching the quest for true knowledge, curiosity and insight desperate to be heard? Trying to show little ones God, his love, miracles, mercy and grace all the while tugging and pulling their natural gaze from Him toward the parent instead? Trying to create aesthetically and nutritionally awesome meals at the cost of pushing aside little hands and hearts desperate to be involved…. Trying, trying, pulling, pushing, tugging yet achieving nothing. Depositing scraps of sand upon the shores of life only to have the next wave wash it away again.

Above the relentless ocean soars the gull on wing and wind. Instead of the relentless tugging, pulling, scraping, it glides. Free, soaring. It’s nest is tenderly, thoughtful woven together. Built of the strongest sticks lined with the softest down, tenderly, lovingly prepared. Built to just the right size and shape for that year, that season, those tiny birds dependant on Mamma this year.

As our year draws silently toward its close let’s assess where we have been and how we have done it. Tugging, nagging, dragging or tenderly building and weaving something eternally beautiful into the lives of our precious little people.

Then just breath in the sweet salt air – free to all who choose to stop and drink it deep into the well of their being.

Nesting

As we sit and ponder the year behind and the one ahead let’s choose, not just for today but for the future of our children, let’s choose to soar. Instead of year after year tugging and pulling let us take this season to weave, with love, foreknowledge, instinct, care and compassion a nest designed just right in which your family can flourish. A nest that protects and provides warmth yet allows for individual growth and exploration. A nest safely tucked against the cliff, far above the crashing waves and sheltered from the howling storm. A nest keeping everyone safe within the protective boundary of love and acceptance. Then one no longer needs to keep striving, trying, pulling instead one can soar high upon the wings of creativity, free from a lifetime of bondage to this wearisome toil. Knowing for this season all are protected and safe within the boundaries of the nest. We can also rest assure that from this season, fledglings won’t be crushed and maimed but instead fed to flourish so that they too can soar!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Growing a Great People

So the many days rush by blurring into yet another year… “My how they have grown.” “How old are they now?”, “Look he’s taller than you” – yeh… well… almost!

In the trenches we don’t see or measure these things. We just keep the meals coming and washing folded. Yet truth reigns and another year slips under the radar – hard to measure yet easy to view as friendships deepened, clothes seem to have shrunk as legs have sprouted and confidences have grown.

This Mamma heart swelling with pride as our little troop joined in the Christmas service – violin poised and voices raised. Greeting adults with young manly handshakes and choosing to not take the biggest or be brave enough to say they don’t need yet another slice. Why yes I do see they have grown!

Small army of ours gathered outside on a chilly, windy, Christmas eve dressed as shepherds guarding their little toy flock. Bread poised above a shared pootjie pot of soup. Sparkling eyes, brother banter, voices rising to sing into the Silent Night.

I stand in awe as I survey this festivity our love has created. One Mamma’s heart swollen beyond this created realm.

Sleep evading me I crept out to greet a dark, wet Christmas morn. Enveloped in the predawn the presence of God wrapped around a deep worn heart. Candles flicking Hope into this new season as preparations for the day ahead are being born. One man child emerging from his slumber into the candle light to share his mother’s joy. Unrestrained exuberance digging into his stocking treasure. Full of awe I watch this teetering between unrestrained childishness and embracing the uncharted territory of adulthood as he digs in gleefully, then pauses – looks up grinning, “These were such good ideas for our stockings – Thanks Mom.” Slowly more little souls emerge clutching their loot come join us in the candle light.

Mamma’s heart filled with deep warm oozing love for these great beings from which I daily learn so much. Yet as I survey this my heart breaks. It breaks for my humanity that I carry – how I so easily crumple these precious ones with my careless words and harsh tones. If my Heavenly father spoke and instructed me in the ways I often allow to carelessly slip off my tongue would I want to call him Father? Yet these resilient children of mine look up with eyes brimful of love and endearment. Again my heart breaks. “Father fill me with your wisdom as I raise these souls of yours! Fill me with your thoughts and your words! Fill my well and capacity so deep that my patience expounds all reason and logic.”

As I gingerly reach for each of their gifts they have for me –  from bookmarks to flowers to poems and chubby finger scribbling – each one personally thought of and made just for me, as I watch them thank a sibling for the grapes they have given them or share in the joy of another’s gift – my heart strings pull. Heaven is filled with my prayer – “Oh Father God how did you dare entrust me with these precious children of yours?”

So today as I stand and see the morn of yet another year sprinkling the horizon. As the rays peep over the closing of this chapter and the opening of another new year I cling to the request of Solomon,

“But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people…. So give your servant a discerning  heart to govern your people and to distinguish  between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

“A Great People” – Yes who am I to be entrusted with such as these? Each day this week, month, year – till I begin to get it right – I pray Dear Father help me guard my words and give me wisdom to train these Great People in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it but will instead be ready to do the will of their Father.”  So yes this year they have grown greatly, in all aspects – but above all that they are loved more fiercely by this mamma every day.

 

Mirrors of Me

Deep in conversation with my 7 year old, my attention was suddenly diverted to my ever busy 2 year old.  She was suddenly unusually quiet and standing dead still.  Oh my how  we laughed.  She was standing between my 7 year old and I with her arms crossed imitating the exact posture of her big sister. What an amazing teaching opportunity arose for me to demonstrate to my older daughter that little people will copy us whether we like it or not.

Recently I have been hearing more and more stories of children displaying behaviour which includes the children using sarcasm or humour but the underlying message results in them becoming really mean to others, not only to their peers but to their parents as well. Yes there are many times when the root of this behavioue is obvious.  The child has been bullied or is working through a difficult period in live such as a divorce or death in the family.  Yet there are times when parents and teachers are left baffled, pondering where this attitude – that often comes across as cute in a 3 year old but as something very unpleasant in a 10 year old – could possibly have arrived from?

I will never forget when as a new mom I was deeply concerned about my 7 month old son.  He had just cut his first two teeth and he kept biting his lip. With these tiny munchers he managed to cut his lip quite badly. The clinic sister adviced what cream to use but we were at a loss how to stop this habit he had formed. A few weeks later, whilst driving to work, I looked into the rearview mirror and what did I see? I was biting my bottom lip!  Oh my, without knowing it the stess of Mommyhood had been kept well under tap and yet it was leaking out in this new habit and our baby boy was copying it!

If we begin dig down into the archives of  our memories and dust off the cobwebs, looking back at the life of a child. You will recall that when only a few weeks old, your baby mimiced a tongue being stuck out. By a few months they would copy sounds that you made. They smile when you smile and clap as you clap. Your child will learn to speak the language you speak, dress how you dress and will usually participate in the religion and social activities such as sport or music that their family values.

Again and again I have heard of a child who is adopted or lives with a step parent  be told how much they look like this parent. The reality is that they often don’t look any thing alike instead, the child so closely mimics the adult’s mannerisms that it actually presents itself as the parent and child looking a like. Humour, vocabulary, a gait, attitude to work and all other behaviours are not born with but instead learnt from those around us. The way we walk and talk was not chosen but rather picked up over years and years of subconsciously immitating those around us.

Looking back at our sweet, little person who is developing this nasty streak that has baffeled parents and teachers alike. Could the cure lie not in psychology or medication but instead a good look at who they are spending time with? It may well be other children – often older than themselves – books they are reading, computer games they are playing or movies they are watching. Or it may even be coming from home.  Most of us consider our homes and especially ourselves as being no threat to our precious little people.  Yet as I learnt with our baby boy, they are watching us all the time. Often we mean no harm and yet a simple expression of our stress, a reaction to a car driving too slowly or the irritation with the morning routine, is infact instilling within our children attitudes and habits for life. They don’t understand or appreciate that we are in a stressful situation or that our sarcasm is simply a form of humour.

So as difficult and as unpleasant as it is, when our children begin displaying distasteful behaviours, attitudes, reactions or mannerisms – before we start pointing fingers let us take the time to look at ourselves and see if infact a few adjustments in our attitudes or habits need to be honed. They see and hear all that we do and as much as I tell my children to do as I say and not as I do, they just keep copying me!

AAAAHHH – My Ears Hurt

A quiet moment snapped between the craziness of life. A moment of pure uninterrupted thought. A moment, a mere spell of seconds or maybe an hour – until Mom is once again on call. Who would have ever thought of the pure blissful joy of meagre silence, of a consecutive string of orderly thought, being a sanctuary of sanity?  Silence – coherent and my mind fully attentive upon the task at hand I can breathe, once again finding a glimpse of myself!

Before becoming Mom, I had known the stress and strain facing a parent. The sleepless nights, homework, paying more to dine out, as well as being responsible for another person. Never however had I realised that my biggest parenting hurdle was going to be the many little voices in my head. The voice needing some milk, the one telling me they need the loo, the voice arguing over a toy, the voice wanting to know where they left their jacket. So often….. aaaahhhhh…. STOP! My ears – they hurt.

Parenting and raising these little people takes us by surprise. The surprise of our greatest difficulties and strains – the least of which we would have considered and the surprise of the joy discovered in learning to tie a shoelace or noticing a flower in the breeze. Or the pure bliss of silence.

A silence that feeds one deep into the spirit, a silence that warms the soul and draws one out, empowers one to look up and see the warm rays once again. The silence that equips one to breath long and deep, long and deep…. raising one back to your former self. Equipping and enabling one to once again rise up and take up the baton of Mom.

The solitude clears the fog, washes clear the perspective. It enables one to once again hear through the clutter of the needs and wants to the pure, undiluted, “I love yous.”

So Mom when all the little voices are briefly silent, for that brief fleeting moment, grasp the silent reprieve – drink deep, breath deep – fill your Being. Then once again the voices bombard but in them you are able to hear. Hear with clarity not only the need and want but the truth. “I need YOU, I want YOU. You are my all. I love you Mom.”

7 Kids – Are you Nuts?

Birthing your sixth child is not something one does regularly.  It’s not something to which many people can relate or something that people happily accept. It is rather something of an enigma, a point of discussion and debate. Something beyond our comfort realm that reaches into the corners of morality, ethics, philosophy and religion.

Realising I may yet again be pregnant was something that I would not, could not let take hold of my reality. The faintest suspicion was expelled to the furthest corners of my consciousness.  Honestly – who has 6 babies and in our case this in total amounts to 7 children!  Who does that sort of thing and why??

Well I can tell you this – not us!

Yes we can be a bit extreme… We try to eat organic food,  we don’t have a TV, we homeschool our children but so do lots of other people. But 7 children – um no!  I mean we discussed this at our pre-marriage sessions – “how many children… “I’m pretty sure that was thrown in there along next to working out a budget, which side of the bed you sleep on and how you going to choose where to spend Christmas. I’m not sure what we decided then but I do know the answer was not 7! We could have pushed 3. But 7 was never part of the reality,  the plan or what we imagined to be our life.  Yet here we are today holding the miracle of our 6th baby!

So why have another baby, why choose to wander along this path less traveled, why take on all this controversy when you can choose not to?

Well as I lie here looking at this 6th little baba…  reflecting upon the last 12 years…  What has been and what could have been…. all I hear wafting through my thoughts are the words of the old hymn writer, “This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long..'”

Having 6 babies doesn’t boil down to a debate at to whether this is the right or wrong way to live or if having a big family is a good or bad thing – instead it simply boils down to that this is Our Story, Our Song – our path that needs to lead to none other than simple daily praise of our Savior.

As with all stories and songs they have good parts and bad parts, pieces that flow in perfect harmony as well as discord and sadness. Parts are often clear, perfect and beautiful but other times they are murky and ugly. So why 6 babies? Honestly – I can’t give an answer –  instead all I can say is that this baby girl is an integral part of our story and song, which exists for no other purpose than to sing praise to our “Saviour all the day long.”

Gone is the head light terror that wrapped itself upon my soul at the realisation of yet another little person.  The fear of family and society,  the fear of finance, the fear of health and well being have all faded into simplistic, undiluted awe.  An awe beyond our wildest dreams.  An awe in which another little treasure has mysteriously found her way into this world.  A baby girl that brings with her our next chapter but also her own story and song.  One of which is still to be written but we have already seen the prelude to.  What an honour,  what a privilege to be apart of this tapestry that so often looks messy and incomplete. A jumble of confusion filled with dirty clothes and dishes,  left over toast, arguing children,  burnt supper and frazzled patents  –  and yet each of these threads are pulling together. The radiant happy yellow, the fear of red, trouble of brown, glow of pink rosiness – becoming intertwined, wrapped together,  creating one picture on one page in the story of our world, a page dedicated to our family,  our story and our song.  Stepping back only then does one see just how clearly, altogether the patterns intertwine into something that will sing the praise of our Savior all the day long.

So yes 7 children it is! Not planned but instead predestined by the master designer.  A plan bigger than ourselves,  stretched beyond our intentions or expectations, a plan marked out before our conception. So this may seem messy and unrehearsed. Filled with moments of hysterical laughter and blistered feet.  But walk with us as we live this story and song that is being written not by us by one who holds the script close to His heart, revealing to us only one scene at a time….

Parenting For Eternity

Someone recently posted a blog asking parents how they discipline, train and disciple their children. So many answers, so many opinions, so many philosophies – most totally contradicting one another – my head was swimming! So how do we know what is right? What are the chances of us doing a “good job” in raising children that not only “behave well” but children who choose to do what is right, even when they don’t feel like it, just because it is right. How do we raise children to think of and consider others before themselves? Children who have an undying, personal love for God, the earth and those around them, Children who are passionate and expressive, strong yet compassionate and gentle?

Honestly I don’t know!

But…

I know someone who does! Someone who not only knows all these answers but also knows each of my children personally. For this reason I do believe that the biggest, most important investment I made into parenting my children wasn’t buying the latest jungle gym or saving for a dream holiday but rather seeking my heavenly father for wisdom in raising the little people he has put into our care. Through the years He has gently guided, encouraged, rebuked and corrected our parenting and we have learned so many valuable lessons along the way.

So what I’ll share with you here are a few things we have found to be fundamental to parenting our children…

I remember, when our first child was a baby, hearing someone say that they did not allow fighting in their home. This took made me so a double take. Made me sit up an listen. Made me stop and consider all I knew about family, siblings and raising children. “Not allow it!?” As I processed this information I began to realise that as parents we are given our homes to “have dominion over”, to rule and reign. We have the right to determine the atmosphere, the attitudes, expectations and out play of bevaiour with this space we had been given dominion over. With this in mind we set out to determine what we wanted to have our family and home look like.We set high expectations for our children with regards to their bahaviour and attitudes toward one another. One of these is that our speech is to always be full of grace – love, forgiveness, patience and understanding.

Now setting the expectations and obtaining them were 2 separate things and in different seasons, for different children working towards them has meant different approaches. Ultimately when they are very little it meant removing them from a room, or sitting looking at a wall, till they could chose to talk nicely, chose to be kind or chose to change their attitude. As they became older and now knew the expectations we would ask them to “try again” when they used a harsh tone or were mean to someone else. This also often came hand in hand with role play and practicing how they will behave in a situation.

This set them up with a picture in their head of what was an appropriate response rather than just disciplining or punishing them for “being naughty” – leaving them with no idea on how to rectify their behaviour.

As the years have rolled by many situations have simply been spoken through. With the older children we have discussed how you respond when a friend leaves you out or says something hurtful. How to ensure a new child feels accepted in a group or that the boy who scores his own goal in soccer is not made to feel embarrassed. These discussions have once again set them up with an appropriate, loving response rather than leaving them to figure it out all on their own.

I remember hearing years later of another family who would not allow their children to entertain the idea of being a “teenager” due to the connotations, expectations and liberation this word presented but that they would rather become a “young adult” – an adult in training. This immediately changed the expected behavior and attitude of the child from one of reckless, selfishness to one of responsibility and maturity. With this in mind we started speaking of these things with our young children so that by the time they reach 13 they know what the expectation is of them. They look forward to being embraced into the “adult” world and their behaviour grows into this expectation.

God obviously also plays a vital role in all this as our children look to Him as their guide and as their personal relationship with him grows so does their desire to live in a way that honours him.

So no we don’t have all the answers and don’t always get things right. Yet we have learned, through God’s wisdom and guidance, that parenting is not about discipline but rather exception and then training, discipleship and mentoring a child into becoming all they were made to be.

 

Coming Home

Nagging and Nagging. Deliberate disobedience! Fighting. Arguing. Nastiness. I could no longer recognise my home. As I escaped to do some shopping I found myself walking the aisles dreading going back home. What had happened? After 12 years how could everything so quickly have fallen apart? How could my sweet, helpful children be the same people as these back lashing, nasty creatures that had slipped into our life?

Pacing up and down the pasta aisle my fervent prayers we met with a still, honest answer. I had neglected Being Mom. As much as I didn’t want to hear the truth I chose to look into the cold eyes of reality and take stock of my heart and focus in life. As I pushed the trolley past the milk I realised that unless I “came home” not only physically but emotionally too I would be setting out to “tear down my house.”

It wasn’t as if I had neglected my children. I spent almost every hour of every day with them and yet – when I chose to see the truth – even in being with them I had been absent. We have had the awesome privilege of setting up a homeschool learning centre. This has been an amazing adventure that we as a family had embarked upon as a ministry and we stand in awe of how God has used it to affect so many people’s lives. My children loved coming to do school at the centre. They had so much fun playing with the other children and all the art and crafts, science experiments and great things we offer there. I was there with them all morning. So how could anything have really changed?

Yet how silently and quickly the downward spiral had descended upon us! The symptoms I was now desperately trying to escape from were in fact my children desperately crying out not just for their mom to be around be for her to be present and her heart to be beating alongside theirs.  As I slowed my trolley I knew the truth. Yes I had been physically present with them but my focus had been on the other children. Always pushing my own aside, telling them I’d help them later at home – a later which in fact never came. With us rushing out in the morning we no longer sat and savoured breakfast. The afternoons were a flurry of extra murals. By the evening I was prepping for the next day – time only for bath, supper and bed. No stories or snuggle time. Mom was stretched beyond and having so many people relying on her she let her own slip between her fingers.

In a haze I left the shop and silently began the journey home. My mind full of all that now needed to take place for me to once again return home. God in his love and grace speedily sent me two amazing facilitators to run with lessons at the facilitation centre. They have been such a blessing and have done such a marvelous job. With that I was able to quickly return home. Back to lengthy breakfasts, one on one reading and maths lessons with my weaker children, stories outside in the sun, cuddles when a knee or heart was sore. Healthy food once again began to appear on our table and within days all the nastiness disappeared. Yes, my children do still fight and they still don’t clean their rooms when asked but those things were always there. It’s the grating, antagonising and deliberate disobedience that has all vanished as a vapour that never was.

This Mommy has now learned the truth of Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” And by keeping God close by my side I do trust to keep walking in wisdom.

Learning Beside Mama

Toy Train Set 084Despite popular belief that children should spent as much time as possible socialising with their peer group, there are always easy and fun ways to include them into what we, the big people, are doing. It is at these times, when children work side by side with adults, that they learn more than when left alone with a room full of toys. Yes, a pretend tea set or train set allows them to spend time imagining all sorts of games. Through pretend play children develop their concept of who they are and how society and relationships as a whole fits together. Make believe is a fundamental part of childhood. However, toys don’t specifically allow a child to learn life skills that they will need in daily life. A child may be able to cut up play dough to make a dolls dinner, however, cutting a cucumber and adding it to the salad for dinner gives the activity meaning and purpose. Instead of just pretending to be useful and playing a role they are engaging in real life activities that make them feel useful and a part of the family. This gives them a sense of belonging and importance.

From the age of two or three years – under adult supervision – a child can be given a cutting board and a blunt knife, to cut up fruit and vegetables. Start off with soft fruit such as a banana, or paw-paw so that they don’t need much effort or co-ordination. From about three years children have enough co-ordination to start peeling carrots. Children as young as two years can learn to break an egg. Simply place a bowl under a mug and break the egg into the mug and if it misses the egg lands in the bowl. You may need to stick your fingers into the shell with them a few times and scoop out the shell bits. However, by being a part of the family unit in such a meaningful way from the beginning develops children to want to help as they get older. Incorporate your child in all your household chores such as hanging up and folding washing, washing dishes – you do the glass ones and they do the plastic ones. From the time they can walk children can help put dishes away and pick up toys. All these are not only training your child in vital life skills but also building an attitude of service and responsibility. Children love feeling that they are trusted and needed, therefore by giving them the responsibility of feeding a pet or wiping a table builds their self-esteem too. As children are included in the household activity they feel needed and loved.

Sjouwen van melkbusen / Children helping out a...

These times of working together as a team deepen family relationships, build friendships and encourage siblings to make a plan and work together for the good of the family. Children don’t need to be bribed and rewarded for helping keep the home running smoothly instead you may have natural consequences such as if they haven’t fed the dog they may not have their supper. Or the family can’t go out to the park until all the responsibilities are completed.

December is such a wonderful time as Christmas creates so many of these co-working opportunities. It is however also a stressful, busy time. One therefore has to determine before each morning if little people will be playing a big part in our day and if so we need to dress with an extra layer of patience each morning.

Family is such a special and wonderful concept. It is designed to train and teach a child in so many ways and yet we get caught up in babying children, pampering them and rushing to meet their needs. Instead we should see children as a part of the family. By drawing our children into the centre of the home action, we are not only preparing them for life and teaching them many important skills but they grow up secure feeling needed, valued and loved too.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...