I am back from vacation. Did you all miss me? I am feeling grateful and gracious these days (more about that in a later post), but I wanted to talk about what I did on my vacation: I kept silent quite a bit, I prayed, and I thought.
It doesn’t sound super exciting, does it? But it was, to me, a time and a moment to gain clarity over several issues that I have been wrestling with this summer. In some ways, this summer has been a Summer of Muddled Thought, of transformation and growth to be sure, but at times perplexing and challenging and just muddy. I guess it really has just been an extension of “The Overwhelming Year”, if you all remember that post and its follow-up post.
I had two things that really came together this past week and juxtaposed themselves on top of each other. I love it when life does that, don’t you?
The first thing was regarding this practice of silence. I was reminded this week of the story of Elijah in the Bible, and even those of you without a Judeo-Christian background will appreciate this. Elijah was a prophet, and he became the only prophet left. The Lord said he would come and pass by him. So Elijah stood on the mountain in front of the Lord. And then a strong wind came and the mountain blew apart and large rocks broke in front of the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was silence, and that was when Elijah knew to go out and talk to the Lord and listen for what the Lord wanted him to do. I love that story, and I think it reminds us to find the silence. Metropolitan Anthony also talks about this in his book, “Beginning to Pray”, which I reviewed on this blog.
The second thing that happened was that an acquaintance emailed me and in the email she called me “a champion for children”. That was very high praise, I felt very humbled, very surprised by it. Maybe even a bit dismayed. It seems like a large weight in some ways; I am just another mother trying to figure things out, just like you. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I am willing to ask and I am willing to explore. But I guess that did help me gain clarity. Beyond philosophy, beyond beliefs, opinions, what do children really need today?
So in the silence I sat and I pondered about what the children really need. I pondered:.
- How life for children under the age of nine, in these days, needs someone to keep saying that it needs to slow down.
- That certain things come in at certain ages based upon age and development.
- That the family is still the best unit of socialization.
- That building close community is paramount, and especially that a community formed through religion can help carry so many things in life.
- That religion is your way of life in every moment of the home and that counts in a huge way. Children need a religious life.
- That small children learn best through their bodies and by doing things in a rhythmic manner in the day, the week and the year.
- That less really is more; less toys, less stuff; less running around.
- That children deserve parents who are calm, who have time, who are not angry, who can guide them and not just punish. Parents who can put an arm around that child and say what is not right, but more importantly, how to make it right.
- That mothering is important and sets the tone for the family life.
- That we model for our children what we want them to be.
- That work in childhood is so important. Real, honest-to-goodness work and responsibility.
- That boundaries are still something so misused and abused; from having no boundaries at all to being completely authoritarian with no feeling heart for the immaturity of the child. Boundaries are a huge piece of the parenting puzzle.
- That balance is another large piece in parenting; and how the small child often needs help with balancing
- That homeschooling with bringing in academics in the first grade at the age of six and a half or seven, to me, is still the healthiest choice for children. Homeschooling and learning through art is also important in this day and age. I personally still like Waldorf Education. It makes sense to me developmentally. It may not to you. If that is the case, then don’t use it. Take what works for your family.
- And most of all, that love is the answer. Love for one another, even when we don’t agree, love for our children when we guide them, love replacing anger in parenting, making love a basis of the decisions we make; consistently diminishing ourselves in order to love others.
So the one thing I know for sure: this is and always has been, a parenting blog about things that help our children to be healthy in body, soul and spirit. It is about peaceful parenting for hectic times, and hopefully provides some inspiration for growing healthy future adults.
If you have been reading this blog since the beginning, I want to thank you. I would also love it if you are a mother of children over the age of 9 or a mother who had no religious path and now has a strong one, would you consider emailing me at The Parenting Passageway at the bottom of the About page so I can ask a question for your consideration? Thank you, dear reader!
Glad to be back.