Sigh. Have you all missed me? I missed all of you…
Well, this past Easter week was a crazy blur on the outside with many activities, many things going on in life that needed my attention: the children and their activities at this time of year is extremely busy with rhythmic gymnastics competitions and church choir and the annual church musical. It is also a busy time of year for the position I hold in a breastfeeding organization. There is also our sweet but busy toddler, and decisions to be made about remodeling our home or selling it.
But inward I felt silent. Most of all, my heart is continually with my father, who is battling cancer. There are many difficulties on that front, the least of which is being very far away from him. We all returned to my home state in March and will be heading back there soon.
God knows these things in my life. And what came from my talks with God at this point actually was a bit surprising: it was this very distinct picture of my oldest daughter, now ten and a half. She has changed so much from the beginning of the school year, the beginning of fourth grade until now. Ten and a half still is the very heart of childhood, but at least in her case, I can see the glimpses of the woman she will be. And in the midst of all these different things going on, the message I got was to capture this time with her, that this time is very sweet and precious.
There are so many things to teach our children before they no longer live with us and are out on there own. I feel we can do a good job in many areas– after all, homeschooling the way we do is full of vigorous academics, plus the practical work of the hands in handwork, cooking, cleaning, gardening, and other domestic arts – and in the fine arts that enrich the soul.
But there are also the very practical things I want to impart regarding marriage, family, the struggles and challenges most young women face today. I may be sensitive to this because my mother died when I was young and didn’t get to impart any of her ideas on these subjects to me,( although I was fortunate to have other family members who did). It was underscored for me this week when an close friend of my close friend died and she was younger than me, leaving behind two children.
What are you doing with your children’s hearts? Are you layering in conversations with them about the important things in life? Many times these moments happen as we spend time with our children and things naturally arise, but I also wanted to have a bit more of a systematic approach with this picture I had laid on my heart.
I had a great opportunity on Easter Friday to have an hour and fifteen minutes with just my oldest daughter and I seized it. We have had conversations before about good health, smoking and alcohol and drug use, pregnancy and childbirth, the needs of the infant, a little bit about child development, menstruation….but we touched on some new areas today in our time.
My brief “systematic list of things about life” looks somewhat like this, and much of it will come up in what I model and more directly as my daughter becomes older….
- The Proverbs 31 Woman – a model for us as women
- The Foundation of Christian Life – going to church, having a personal relationship with Christ through reading the Bible, prayer, memorizing Scripture, using the lives of the Saints as a model for our lives, the Fruits of the Spirit, the role of obedience and sacrifice in the Christian life, stewardship
- Marriage, Children – how does a career fit into this? Choosing a mate is the most important decision in life, so I want to layer in about “dating” and relationships with the opposite sex prior to marriage, husbands, taking care of husbands, intimacy and respect in marriage, the joy and gift that children are, practical steps in building a family life
- Serving Others, boundaries in serving others
- Respecting yourself and others
- How to Communicate/Conflict Resolution
- Health – whole foods and how to prepare, drug use and abuse, homeopathy and chiropractic, exercise, the role of sleep, care before, during and after the menstrual cycle, the importance of rhythm for health, fertility
- Money – budgeting, how to handle money
- Modesty in dress
- The Christian idea of beauty, the difference between inward and outward beauty
- Designing a wardrobe, natural skin care and body care
You might wonder how to put together a list like this that reflects your family’s values. I stated with the catechism of our faith, my own beliefs as influenced by La Leche League and attachment parenting and childhood development, the resource “Polished Cornerstones”, a Christian publication for mothers and daughters available through Doorposts, and the book “5 Conversation You Must Have With Your Daughter” by Vicki Courtney. This list is not complete nor reflective of everything we think, but it is a good place to start. Perhaps you can design your own thoughts for what wisdom you would like to impart to your older children.
Love to you all,