The Sweetest Year of Parenting

 

The sweetest year of parenting isn’t based upon an age of your child.  ALL of the ages are wonderful, despite what you might read about the “six/seven year transformation” or the “nine year change” or the “twelve year change”.  All of the things that happen during those developmental peaks are necessary in order for our children to grow, mature, learn and be able to handle themselves as adults out in the world.  This is not a cause to parent from fear or anger during these stages.  Instead, focus on the relationship between you and your child that you want to preserve and protect for adulthood.  Find your sweetest year of parenting yet.

Some things that make the sweetest year of parenting for me is when I Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: August

 

Anchor:  a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.

When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability.  An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm.  If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year.  If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not yet ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.

I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts, which has led to the creation of this series.  Now we are extending our mood of celebration into August!  I wrote about  August last year  as well. It is interesting to see how the same month can feel the same in so many ways, and yet so different.

This is the month that I associate with heat, rain showers, lakes, blackberries, anticipation, and the quality of  humility.  It is a month where fall peaks around the corner in some ways and we know school and more regular rhythm is indeed on its way! Continue reading

Tea and Conversation With Our Daughter–Part Two

 

I wrote the very first part of this post quite some time ago here.  Back then, I had a small idea about topics where I thought I might like to speak into our daughter’s life over time, just layering in things here and there.  When I wrote that post, our oldest daughter was ten and a half.  Now she is turning thirteen in a few weeks, and I can see she is  really within that wonderful beginning of the  realm of thinking;  a time of the  beginnings of  cause and effect in a thoughtful, mindful way; a time of  moving from feelings into “what-choices-do-I-make-off-of-these-feelings”; a time of snippets of moving from love into duty, with glimpses of ideals and values that I suspect will blossom so much more in the later teenaged years.

When my daughter was younger, it was all about modeling, and also the doing work of the household and garden.  Now that she is older, it is still about  all of those things, but we can start to have some thoughtful  discussions and reading.  This was the little list I started out with in that old post, and I wanted to share with you all some of the resources I have found to address these topics.  (Some of these are Christian, because I am Christian, but many of them are also easily adaptable to many belief systems). Continue reading

The Rant: Kind Children For Life

 

(I would like to thank my friend Molly for brainstorming with me for this post!)

Earlier this week, I was at the pool  with some beautiful mother friends, and one of them mentioned a recent article in the Washington Post about raising kind children.  You can read  this article , and I highly suggest you do.   I have read it over.  And over. And over.

 

What is most stunning to me about this article is this particular statement:

About 80 percent of the youth in the study said their parents were more concerned with their achievement or happiness than whether they cared for others. The interviewees were also three times more likely to agree that “My parents are prouder if I get good grades in my classes than if I’m a caring community member in class and school.”

 

Don’t get me wrong; like most parents I would like my children to be happy and to have a happy life doing what they love.  But, to have this at the expense of or exclusion of caring about others is totally disagreeable to me.  Kindness and love really and truly is the pinnacle of the human being.   It is to be found within ourselves, and how we hear and interact with the other.

 

How or why would this be happening?  Eighty percent is an incredibly high number!  I was pondering this, and this quote from the sweet little book “Wonderful Ways to Love a Teen….even when it seems impossible” by Judy Ford, M.S.W. popped into my head:

 

Some parents tell me that weeks go by without their saying anything more than hello and good-bye to their teenagers, not because they haven’t wanted to be with one another, but because their lives are loaded with demands and obligations.  The years from junior high to high school can be one big blur.  Soon the kids are graduating, and you barely remember what happened.

 

Children need to have kindness modeled for them everyday in their interactions; they need to be connected enough to their parents that their parents will help guide them in the tougher places and situations that often come up especially for middle schoolers and high schoolers; they need to have balance and time to breathe – not a schedule so packed in with rigorous academics and extracurricular activities that the home just becomes a “home base” on the way off to somewhere else.   If we can slow down and connect, then we can work on kindness.  But that requires time to talk, listen, exchange ideas.

 

I have been writing about kindness for a long time; you can see this 2009 post.   The Washington Post article had some good points to make; another resource I would like to point out is Zoe Weil’s 2003 book, “Above All, Be Kind.”  Weil’s book is focused upon humane education and educated decisions regarding consumerism.  Her book is divided into sections by age, including birth through age 6, the years of 7-12 and the teenaged years.  A constant focus on respect, reverence, responsibility, (as often mentioned in Waldorf Education and also a focus  in Weil’s book), is a promising way to lay a foundation for kindness, no matter what the age of your child.  Author Weil uses reverence as a focus in the early years, respect as a focus in the middle years, and responsibility as a focus for the teenaged years.

 

Above all, we must embody what we want our children to see.  We must slow down life enough that the pressure of outside activities and achievements does not become more important than showing love and kindness to others.  All the achievement in the world cannot really buy happiness, yet kindness often has a magic of its very own.

 

In this age where we are bombarded with information about parenting, discipline, how to navigate school, sports and friends, we can lose sight of  the the most important lesson of all in relating to each other: kindness.

Blessings,

Carrie

The Slow Summer

 

Eileen over at Little Acorn Learning is doing a whole series on the slow summer.  You can see one of her blog posts regarding this subject here.  There was also an interesting post about “banishing the playdate” that recently came across my Facebook page.  Part of what the author wrote about wasn’t perhaps particular to summer, but what I personally hold dear from summer – biking around to see who was out and could play.  You can read that blog post about spontaneous play  here.

 

I think slowing the summer down is so important.   Think back to Continue reading

Monthly Anchor Points: July

 

 

Anchor:  a person or thing that can be relied on for support, stability, or security; mainstay: Hope was his only anchor.

When we work to become the author of own family life, we take on the authority to provide our spouse and children and ourselves stability.  An effective way to do this is through the use of rhythm.  If you have small children, it takes time to build a family rhythm that encompasses the year.  If you are homeschooling older children and also have younger children not yet ready for formal learning, the cycle of the year through the seasons and through your religious year becomes the number one tool you have for family unity, for family identity, for stability.

I wrote about my homeschool planning method of marking seasonal and liturgical ideas down for each month in past posts, which has led to the creation of this series.  Now we are extending our mood of celebration into July!

 

July has always been an interesting month for me.  My personal energy has often Continue reading

What I Am Enjoying Right Now

 

Each summer has its own particular feel and energy.  In the past, I used to always feel like there was “July Doldrums”.  Last summer was a summer full of community and fun, and there wasn’t really a “July Doldrums” but there was a bit of emptiness as I recovered from two years of loss.  This summer, we are doing active things, but I  have often felt tired.  I think this has to do with planning homeschooling for three children while also  studying for a major re-certification exam at the end of this month; my head is so wrapped up it is like my body is kayaking but my head is digesting all this information!  LOL.  I have been feeling more energized this week after taking the children camping with a dear friend of mine and her children, and coming to a point in my planning and studying that most of it is done! Yay!

So, I wanted to share some things I am enjoying right now.  One thing of delight is that we are planning a trip to the beach in September after Labor Day.  So, I have been enjoying reading about the Georgia Coast.  I think we are going to go into Florida for our beach week, but a lot of the warm Atlantic Ocean wildlife is similar.  I  have always wanted to get “The Treasure Cave:  Sea Tales of Tiptoes Lightly” by Reg Down to bring with us to the beach to read, so I am excited for that.  We will also bring games and puzzles (and our eyes to watch the stars as part of our seventh grader’s astronomy block!  Less light pollution!)

We have been enjoying checking out the National and State Parks in our state as we work on badge requirements for a Civil War badge, a Get Outdoors Badge and a Junior Ranger Badge.  These badges are a great way to discover your state!  You can see the National Parks Foundation link here:  http://www.nationalparks.org/connect/npf-kids/junior-rangers

I have been enjoying church.  There is something lovely about the time between Pentecost and the new church year.  I have been thinking about this post:  http://www.episcopalcafe.com/daily/church_year/no_ordinary_time.php. Some in the Episcopal Church refer to this time as “Ordinary Time” like our Roman Catholic friends, but the Book of Common Prayer does not name this season. The monks of Taize call this time “The Time of the Church” and I like that.  The Feast of the Dormition of St. Mary is a feast I am contemplating (August 15) and the loveliest ways to celebrate in our home.

Here are some links I have been enjoying out and about on the Internet: Continue reading