The Second and Third Nights of Christmas: Sacrifice and Generosity

The Second Day of Christmas is often connected to St. Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith (you can read more about this Saint, venerated in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran traditions here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Stephen).   Good King Wenceslas  is also often mentioned in connection with this day(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_King_Wenceslas).  He was a King who went out on The Feast of St. Stephen’s and gave alms to the poor. I am sure many of you are familiar with the traditional song about Good King Wenceslas.

The second and third days of Christmas are ones in which  I am left thinking, pondering and meditation on the role of sacrifice and generosity in parenting.

What can you sacrifice this year in order to be a better parent, a better homemaker for your family?

Sacrifice is not a popular term these days.  People want to have children.  And then they are faced with reality when they realize it is difficult to take your “before children” life and add children and stir.  I wrote about this in my blog post “Raising An Inconvenience” here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/13/the-mini-rant-raising-an-inconvenience/

Here is part of that post:

Mature love and parenting involves you putting your child’s welfare ahead of your own.  I have said it before, and I will say it again: children are messy, noisy, learning, immature.  They don’t sleep like an adult, they don’t reason like an adult, they take a long time to mature and develop (and 7, 8, 9, 10 year-olds are still little!  So I am talking 21 years of growth and development!).  They get sick, they laugh and cry at the wrong times, they fall down, they fight with each other and with you. 

They are also wonderful.  They will show you a spiritual world that you may have forgotten existed.  They will say the funniest things.  No one will love you like a sweet child.

Adjusting to having an infant can be challenging; it can be difficult.  I am very sympathetic to mothers needing support and help.  The choices we make in these early years set the foundation for discipline, for the school years, and later for the teenaged years.  It should make one stop and at least consider different choices rather than just decide on something because it is easiest.  You cannot take your “before children life” and just add children and stir.   Having children should change your life, don’t you think?

As mothers and fathers, it is our privilege and our responsibility to provide our children with a childhood they hopefully won’t have to recover from.  No matter what we do, our children will go their own way as they mature and grow in early adulthood.  But, it is our job to give them the footing to start.  It is our job to guide.  And I don’t know about you, but the development of my children’s  physical, emotional, academic and character is worth me being inconvenienced any day or night of the week!”

Maybe this is the year and the time for you to sacrifice something else: negativity and complaining.

Here are some back posts regarding being a positive mother and promoting kindness in your home:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/11/29/cultivating-gratitude-the-inner-work-of-advent/

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/09/19/day-number-three-of-20-days-toward-being-a-more-mindful-mother/

And probably one of my all-time favorite posts, this one on Kindness: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/03/kindness-in-your-home/

This is the year for you to be GENEROUS with your family.  Be generous with your love, with your smiles and hugs.  Be generous with your laughter and joy.  Your children and family are here to make every day blessed, not a burden!  Be generous with the amount of time you spend with your family, be generous with your graciousness as you take care of your home and your family.

Be generous with yourself.  I see mothers who are so, so very hard on themselves!  Why?  Be kind to yourself, be easy with yourself.   Forgive yourself, move forward and show your children how to do this. 

Try these back posts for help:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/03/18/no-comparison/  and http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/27/forgiving-ourselves/

You are being called to serve!  How are you going to do it?

Much love and many blessings,

Carrie

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6 thoughts on “The Second and Third Nights of Christmas: Sacrifice and Generosity

  1. loving these thoughts – especially as I start preparing for a new year.

    my kids ages are 14, 12 and 10 – I have a feeling I have lots more opportunity to be generous in the years to come.

  2. I’ve been thinking a lot about being more generous to my family by spreading more love and fun into our day. I grew up in a very serious, holiness movement Protestant home, and my husband and I still often struggle with simply enjoying our life — it feels so indulgent. Some days I get so caught up on all the things that I and the children “should” be doing and feeling that I miss the good things that are actually going on.

    I also want to give my children the gift (ha ha) of more involvement in the care of our home. I’ve slipped on requiring their help with cleaning up and taking care of their things and its making me crabby and worn down to be cleaning up after 5 people’s messes.

  3. Carrie – this sentence really stuck me in your post, “As mothers and fathers, it is our privilege and our responsibility to provide our children with a childhood they hopefully won’t have to recover from.”

    Unfortunately, it made me think of a dear friend of mine who had a mother who was very unstable and while my friend has recovered, she still bears so many emotional and psychological scars that she will never be able to get rid of. Very well put. In the end, children don’t need much more than unconditional love & support from their parents and while it’s not always simple, remembering the bigger picture, as you say is key. They do grow way too fast.

    Thank you for your amazing words of wisdom…

    Hugs,
    Jen

  4. maybe this post came at the perfect moment. I admit to feeling down right now with just 3 weeks for my due date I am tired and all the time in a bad mood or well a lot of time, trying to be patient and kind but it seems elusive right now. Thank you for the encouragement.

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