Are you feeling a bit grumbly right now, looking about at a house strewn with holiday decorations, new holiday gifts that don’t have a home yet, the vestiges of company and entertaining, the children running about and no rhythm to speak of going on?
‘Tis the time of year.
Sometimes all of us stop and think and want to whine and complain: “But I don’t WANT to be the one to set the tone in my home! Why can’t it be someone else!”
“Why can’t it be my spouse?”
Well, because if you are mother reading this, you know small children under the age of 9 are rather tied into your energy.
“Why can’t it be grandma? Grandma lives with us, let it be her to set the tone! Really!”
Uh, grandma can give you The Wisdom of Tradition, but she has raised her own family and now it is your turn to raise yours.
“Oh, drat. I know, let the CHILDREN set the tone! That’ll do it!”
No, really, YOU must do this. The children cannot do it. You have many more years of living, of experience, of wisdom to guide them. They are full of emotional excess, of raging willing and feeling.
You must set the tone in your home. Because you can either set it intentionally or unintentionally. But you are the one doing it!
I wrote a post about this awhile back in which I likened this to being the Queen of Your Home. In that post (http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/12/19/cultivating-how-to-hold-the-space-the-inner-work-of-advent/) I said:
“If you were the Queen, you would not be running around like a chicken with your head cut off (my great-grandmother’s saying!), trying to accommodate three or four children’s wishes and desires of any given moment. Instead, you would be calm and collected. You would have a kind way but a Queenly Way. You would probably think before you decreed something, and you probably would not explain the heck out of yourself……
You would not be swept away by the torrents of wee ones’ tantrums and emotion because you would know your number one job would be to hold the balance when your child cannot hold it for themselves. This does not mean to be an unemotional rock, but it does mean you can understand how words can be just words, feelings can change on a dime and if you can just hold on, your child will eventually calm down. You will understand that you are being a rock for your child to hold onto so the torrent of emotion doesn’t escalate for the child.
Again, this does not mean being unfeeling! You can hold your child, pat your child, move your child, but you may not fall apart with your child as they fall apart. You may not unleash your own torrent of emotion on a small child and expect them to not crumple in front of you. Behavior that is not fabulous in an under-9 child generally needs to be treated in the same ho-hum tone you would use to ask a child to pick up a book off the floor. Then you can move into having the child FIX his poor action, because the child is a WILLING and DOING being at this point. He needs to DO to fix it! But he cannot fix it if he is falling apart and you are falling apart with him! He is learning, help him!
For children over the age of 9, as Queen you would realize feelings are predominant. Feelings were also important before, but feelings were more in an undifferentiated kind of state. Now feelings are so specific! Being Queen, you would be able to hear feelings expressed immaturely ( meaning not always in a way pleasing to the Queen’s ears!) and still be able to be a calm rock with a ho-hum attitude to help the child learn to fix this challenge! Feelings can be acknowledged without judgment because most of all, The Queen is a problem-solver, and if she can model being calm, solving the problem, being respectful, then the child will as well!
For children over the age of 14, they are interested in your thoughts, in the nature of constructing an argument, in your thoughts and why you think that and how you got there in your thinking. It is hard! Don’t you remember being a teenager?
Barbara Coloroso, in her book, “Kids Are Worth It! Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline” : “If you are raising adolescents, you are in a high-risk category for a coronary. You’re up against someone dealing with a major hormone attack: feet are too big, hands are too big, bodies are too big or too small, voices are up, voices are down, zits are coming out all over their faces. They come to the front door, all smiles; two minutes later they are in the bathroom crying. You ask what happened. “She used my comb.” “He wore my shirt.” “She didn’t call like she said she would.” Are we going to make it through this? Yes, but we can’t keep hooking in to our kids’ adrenaline.”
A Queen is the Ultimate Helper, problem-solver, balancer, peacemaker.
Can you be that Queen for a day?”
No, really you must step up, even if you are whining and kicking and complaining and screaming INSIDE and be the one to be calm and carry on!
Smile, you can do this for your family!
Tackle your most important priorities first and do it with a good attitude. Pray; get your house in order; assess where your children are and get your plan for parenting and homeschooling in order.
Be the keeper of your time this year, 2011. Find your values and your priorities and plan your time around those. Look carefully at commitments outside of your family; look carefully at what nurtures community for your children.
Be calm and carry on!
Many blessings to make 2011 a year of DOING,