Gaining Clarity

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.

Blessings,

Carrie

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34 thoughts on “Gaining Clarity

  1. I stand by everything you said here and know that it really begins with my own work/center. I have not read your blog from the beginning but would be happy to help in any way I can. I love your blog and can never thank you enough for your championing me and my whole family.
    THANK YOU

  2. I really missed reading your blog. I have only been reading for a few months but the information I have gained has made huge positive changes for our family. Many blessings!

  3. What a thoughtful post. I like all those points you mentioned, especially the point about not being hurried. I was thinking about this today as my toddler is potty training and seems so happy about it at home, but is upset when we are out and she needs to go. She is also my baby who says “home!” every time we are out because she just wants to go home.

  4. Carrie,
    I’ve said before, and it’s still true, that your posts here are incredible, inspiring, and better than a whole library shelf of parenting books. Love you and your work, and I’m so grateful that you find time for it on top of mothering your own family!

  5. Carrie,
    Your blog is so inspiring to me and my family and your help has always been so very much appreciated, …..but I think you know that!
    I do not know when you started writing your blog, but I have been following all your writings since 3 or so years I think, so if there is anything I can do, let me know.
    Would love to help!
    Warmly,
    Maggie

  6. You know I have been a reader since the beginning and always look forward to your insight! I can certainly understand the pressure you may feel (and have witnessed many blogs close because of it) and hope that if balance is what you are seeking, it is attained! You are a blessing to this “community” and I am ever so grateful!

  7. Dear Carrie – Your thoughtfulness and love shine through in your words. Sometimes I forgot that we haven’t ever met, because often such a strong impression of you fills my heart when I read things you have written. I’m going to spend some time pondering this list too.

  8. The story with Elijah was one of our readings today and Father preached on it! He said that sometimes we don’t ask God for small things because we don’t think God would care. He sometimes gives them to us anyway because He remembers even the small things. Elijah saw this care for the little things in God’s coming in the quiet wind and not in the big storms and earthquakes. Wishing you lots of important quiet moments.

  9. Carrie I really want to thank you for all the time and energy you have put into this blog. I have been following your blog since it was almost new and I was a new parent. I don’t even remember how I found it. You have helped me become a better parent. When I am struggling parenting, especially with my step daughter, you help me find clarity in who I need to be as a parent and re-look at my struggles in another light, so I can either relax with the behavior, it is age appropriate or find a creative solution to dealing with the behavior.
    I don’t know what you have been going through, but I a sure you will find your way. I know God can throw a good curve ball.
    Blessings, Tami

  10. I’m so glad you are back and that you got re-charged! Yes, you may be just a mom, doing your best, but you have wisdom and a gift for writing. You sharing your thoughts on family and parenting is so inspiring to me and obviously to others! Your blog reminds me of a quote by Mary Engelbriet: “It is the sweet and simple things in life which are the real ones, after all.” You write about sweet and simple things, and you challenge me to slow down and savor the time I have with my little ones. It is so refreshing in this fast paced and flashy world!! :)

  11. Welcome back Carrie! I love the A. A. Milne Pooh stories and your “Summer of Muddled Thought” made me smile and think of Pooh in his Thoughtful Spot. :-) I second… a wonderful and very thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Ahhh, Carrie. So happy to have you back. I did miss you. And I am also so glad you took time to sit in the fertile soil of silence. You could ask me for anything and I would figure out how to get it to you, even a guest post-lol.

    A champion for children, yes. A champion for mothers, that too. You walk the talk lady, and you do it with truth, love and grace. Bless you for that and a million other things.

    May peace come to you in the form most nurturing to you.

    love-liza

  13. Dear Carrie, thank you for taking the time to make available your website and blogs. It inspires and motivates many of us daily in our journey as homeschooling parents. Blessings, Madeleine. – Australia

  14. Dear Carrie,

    I totally agree with what Adire has written, “…..better than a whole library shelf of parenting books……” You are a blessing to us mothers and our children. I still need a lot of work to do within me; and your writings always guide me to the path that I need to take. I cannot thank you enough. As you are such a constant presence in the background as I raise my son, I have deep gratitude for you. God bless you and your family.

  15. I have only been reading your blog for a short time but it always makes me take a deep breath and relax. I think its mostly shown me that I need to slow down and gently guide my children. Thanks so much for your thoughtful posts!!!
    Robin

  16. Hi Carrie, I have been reading for about two years, I think. I’ve also gone back and read (and re-read in many cases) your older posts. You are such a wonderful presence in my life and the life of my family. Each day when I read your posts, I am renewed and ready to face the challenges and joys of parenting two (soon to be three) small children. I am so glad that your time away from this space has served you well. Know that all of your readers missed you and are so happy to have you back! Thank you for all you do.
    Lindsay

  17. Yes! Yes! Yes! You are my go-to. . . my guide. . .my inspiration. You help me to remember to breathe, to be silent, and to remember why it is so important for children not to be rushed through childhood. You are the calm, and the voice of reason in my world with overscheduled friends and playmates. Thank you for all of your post. Thank you for all of the encouragement. And know that you are refueling mamas and families out here in this hectic world and we are finding (with help from your tips, kind words, and thoughts) peace within ourselves and with our family unit. Yes, may God bless you and yours for all of the hard work you do for us. Thank you.

  18. Carrie, your posts are always inspiring and helpful, and this is no exception. Glad you gained clarity on your vacation, and thank you for the reminder to sit, breathe, take time for reflection, and for that great reminder of what children really need. Thank you for devoting time to this awesome blog; I have gained much insight from you!

    ~Mia

  19. I second everything written here. Whenever my husband is having a hard time with parenting and our 6-year-old’s development (read: snarkiness, agression, belligerence) I tell him to go to The Parenting Passageway, which he calls “The Parenting Portal” lol!

  20. Carrie, your blog has helped me so much. As I tap in to read your latest post you always seem to have the answer to what is going on in my life, right at that very moment! Amazing! I thank you so much for the time you devote to sharing your thoughts and wisdom with others. (It has made a diiference to my life and is so truly appreciated.)

    I just wanted to ask a question about your comments on religion. ‘Children need a religious life’. I was brought up with no religion or beliefs and find it quite hard to try and be religious right now. I feel like an imposter when I venture into the religious world. I don’t feel strongly enough to persue the many avenues out there. I am however trying to be more ‘spiritual’ – meditation etc does this count? How can I get my children more involved? I dont want my children to be ‘missing out’, but not knowing where to go or how to begin, having no connection to religious life is playing heavily on my mind.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Glad you’re back – no pressure, just continue what you are doing – a blessing x

    Taira

  21. Glad you’re back! My oldest is turning 9 in 6 weeks. I just read Encountering the self by Hermann Koepke. Wow, what an eyeopener!! I’d be happy to answer a question but not sure if I’m eligible until he turns 9 formally :)

    Thank you for your great work here – champion of children, I love that. You’re doing a wonderful job and I hope you get the encouragement and motivation you need to keep going. I am so grateful for this blog!

  22. Hi Carrie
    I agree with everything said. I have been reading from almost the beginning and have many favorite posts I keep re-reading. I enjoy the information about developmental stages and the reminders about self development. I love it that you quote from Steiner’s own work and seem to have a deep understanding for his writing. You make Steiner more accessible and made us pursue a Waldorf education, for which I will always be grateful.

  23. Carrie,
    Thank you for your reply.
    I am not sure what has happened but I havent recevived the email that you sent me. Please could you resend? Many thanks.
    Taira

  24. I have just arrived at your blog this evening for the first time and am so happy to have found your words of wisdom. I’ll be back! Thank you for taking the time to share your insights. May many blessings be returned to you.
    Mandy

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