31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Three

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  constancy .   Read on for more

There are two ways I like to think of constancy in relation to discipline, and parents feeling even-keeled.  One is the constancy of being together.  One mother remarked the other day that since she pulled her child out of school and started homeschooling, they actually were getting along a lot better then they had before.  There was a lot less yelling in their home.  I think this is because constancy of the heart matters, and it is the heart of discipline and it is the heart of connecting and being together.  You don’t have to yell if you are relaxed and feeling joyful and as if things are going well.  These feelings come from being connected to those in your family, and I think yelling is actually a sign to pull our children in, to focus on our homes instead of the typical reaction of pushing away.

The other way I like to think of constancy is in how consistent we are being with following through.  Many mothers get upset and say they end up yelling because they asked the first five times and no one appeared to listen.  If you want to make a request, be constant in the follow through of walking up to your child, getting down and looking in your child’s eyes, and talking softly and respectfully.  That is constancy in communication at its best.

Many blessings,

Carrie

 

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-Two

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  quiet .   Read on for more

When our world is fast-paced, harried and stressed, it can not only be hard to hear ourselves over all of the physical and mental noise.  We can also become part of that harshness with our gestures, with our voice that is raised or yelling, with our impatience that our request to our children was not acted upon the first time we asked.

What would happen if moments of silence and quiet were taken in reverence?

What would happen if instead of yelling up the stairs for the children to come down and eat, that you walked up the stairs, got the attention of your children, looked them in the eye, and made your request quietly?

What would happen if you interspersed moments of quiet into your day – a lighting of a candle with a prayer at mealtimes, a pause for quiet stories or conversational exchanges or a lullaby at bedtime, a time to listen to the birds together in quiet, a time for quiet rest in the middle of the day?

If your home is a place of yelling, a way to decrease that is to increase how many moments of quiet are interspersed  in the day.  Stand in front of your children, look them in the eye, and speak softly to them.  It will become contagious for the whole house as the people in your home model your actions and behaviors.

Many blessings,
Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty-One

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  expert.  Read on for more….

Yesterday I was doing a little light (LOL) reading in the book “Core Curriculum for Lactation Consultant Practice.”  I have to re-certify my IBCLC credentials this summer, and am trying to get  a jump start on a little review.  One of the sentences I came across was this one, “If research does not exist, expert opinion should guide practice.”

It really got me to thinking about another realm of my life – parenting, (and even homeschooling, too, but I will save that for later). When we feel as if things are amiss in our families, it is all too easy to assume someone else has the answer for us.  In this digital age of instant answer, it is easy to post a question and get instant responses.

But, perhaps the real deal is that if we really believed that we are the experts on our own families, if we really felt as if being the expert meant the key was within us, would we be so quick to post?  If we really had a guiding philosophy to our family and a way we wanted to approach things, wouldn’t we take a few moments and just meditate on what was going on in our lives for a few minutes each day?  Maybe if we did this for a week before firing off a question, we would have the answer within ourselves.

I am not disrespectful of the fact that mothers provide tremendous support to each other, and I am so very grateful for the mothers who have mentored me along the way.  Most of my mother mentors have come from La Leche League, but I also have had mentors that were dear friends and each brought a beautiful piece I needed in the season of life where I was.  Nearly all my mentoring has occurred in person, and I feel so extremely lucky that way.   There are some voices on the Internet that I have also learned an awful lot from, and am grateful for those women as well – Elizabeth Foss is one of my favorites, along with some of the wise mothers who have been in Waldorf homeschooling for a very long time.  But I am also grateful for my faith, for being quiet, and those moments where I really could discern the answer within myself.  I think we all need the time to hear the expert within us.

So, gather the information, but realize you must filter it through your own expert lens for your own family. If someone says something that completely grates on you, don’t immediately discount it.  Perhaps ask yourself why it is so.  Is this an area you need to explore, or is it so far away from your philosophy that you can discount it easily?

Believe that you are the expert, and feel empowered that you have the answers for your family.   Find your own voice.

Blessings,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Twenty

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you:  expectation .   Read on for more

As peaceful parents, I think we need to work within the realm of expectation.  We should expect that our homes will have their very realistic moments of upset or stress, but also that the majority of the time the children (and us!) will get along in love.  We are family, and family is about love and being connected.

Breathe that in for a moment.  It can be easy to lose sight of that, and yet, family is really about love.  It is about loving the depths of someone, child or adult, even in their darkest moments, and coming out together on the other side of that.  It is about open communication and respecting the dignity of all persons in the household.  It is about love and connection.

What do we do when family life is not meeting this expectation of love?  I think we need to look at our expectations -  are they realistic for where the children are or where our family is at this moment?

Some parents have written me and remarked that there seems to be a wide disparity of developmental expectations/behavior out on the Internet.  I can only comment on what I have found to be helpful – the Gesell Institute books (“Your One-Year-Old”, “Your Two-Year-Old”, etc) and website, and the perspective of development found in Waldorf education.

When we have expectations that are realistic in childhood development, we can then look at our role in this endeavor of connecting and guiding.  Are we trying to micromanage, so to speak, what is happening in our homes and in the lives of our children? Or are we not stepping in when we really need to be and then things are just blowing up?  The balance is oh so important.

Many blessings,

Carrie

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Nineteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: ho-hum.   Read on for more

Many mothers tell me they have boundaries, but the children rail against the boundaries, and then they end up yelling or giving in.  I am going to suggest to you that you are teaching your child how to guide him or herself; that is the ultimate goal of parenting.  You are also setting the tone in your home for the foundation of developmental change.  Parenting a teenager is much different than parenting a two-year –old (although some mothers have told me the teenaged years are the new two-year-old year!), but yet you are laying the foundation for the future in the early years.

Ho-hum, and learning to let go of your end of the rope, is such an important skill to learn. If you apply all the things we have talked about , and you are really spending time with your child and loving and connecting to your child with warmth (not just barking orders at them or yelling!), and you are consistent, fair and just with your boundaries, then the boundaries for the big things are there. Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Eighteen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: boundaries.   Read on for more

If you take the values and priorities of your family, you will automatically find the places where boundaries matter.  Boundaries will matter because they will help back up your vision for your family.  It is not enough to say that you don’t want yelling in your home.  It must be what you value and want to promote instead of yelling.  This will help help you be “relentless” (remember that word from day six in this series?)  in your pursuit.

Boundaries are also exceedingly important because many mothers tell me that they are, in fact, patient….the first ten times they deal with an issue or challenge with their children.  It is by the time the child has looked for the boundary for the twentieth or fiftieth time that they begin to yell.

The important thing with boundaries is to – Continue reading

31 Days to the Inner Rhythm of the Heart: Day Seventeen

Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress.  In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: joy.   Read on for more

Mothers with one child tell me that often how their family life “feels” revolves around the moods of their only child; it has such a big impact on the family.  Mothers with multiple children often find it difficult and feel stressed to see their multiple children going through developmental phases and stages that they feel puts the entire family into disequilibrium.  In either situation, it seems as if the sheer joy of parenting is lost and the focus is on the negative.

Finding the joy can often be as simple as shaking up the everyday routine.  It may involve ditching the regular plans and going out to play in the snow, heading out for a hike, or doing something together that really builds up the connection and love between everyone.

This is not to “ignore” behaviors you find challenging within your family, but is to give you a chance to hit a “reset” button.  Sometimes we all, even as parents, need this second chance to Continue reading