One of our family traditions has been our Wall of Thankfullness during the month of November. We cut and color seasonal shapes, one for each person, for each day of the month. Each day we write something we are thankful for on a cutout and hang it on the wall. It has been a fun tradition to create with our children. It also allows for a wonderful keepsake for their treasure chests. As parents we have had the pleasure of watching our children’s hearts and minds develop through their precious words. A thankful note might go from, “I’m thankful for peanut butter” to “I am thankful for my family and friends”. A new-found tradition for both myself and my husband it has also served as a point of reflection. We are reminded of how our children see the world through their tender hearts. It also offers as a tool to encourage thankfulness within our own hearts.
The other day as the children and I were traveling home I had flipped to a radio talk show and gave a listen about current politics. The expert offered an insightful perspective that I found applicable to every aspect of life. She was discussing how in todays modern politics the main goal is to get as many “got ya” jabs at your opposition as possible while ignoring the responsiblity to show accountability for our own convictions and actions. She went on to say that just because someone had a certain mindset fifteen years ago and no longer shares that view today does not make them a hypocrite. They have simply evolved as a person and through reflection, research or natural maturation and their ideals changed. We as human beings all have that right to change how we feel about a subject. It doesn’t make us a liar, it simply means we’ve had a change of heart and are by all accounts entitled to that.
Having the pleasure of being a mother for 11 years now, I see this play out on a daily basis. Our outlook on life issues, both big and small are directly determined by our own mind-set. This fact is not subjective to the young, I feel that I have grown ten-fold since becoming a mother. My children usher me through a constant state of evolution. Learning, growing, changing. They are and forever will be my greatest teachers. I consider it a previledge to be their mother and to have the ability to be with them on a constant basis. Ideals that I held fifteen years ago have dramatically changed through learning opportunities brought about by being their mother. I no longer feel the same way about many issues: schooling, dating, overall child-rearing and even marital structure. I choose to have the outlook on parenting as a blessing and as the greatest responsiblity that will ever be bestowed upon me. It breaks my heart when someone stops me at the market (even on my worst days) and tells me they don’t know how I can handle five children because they only have two and can’t stand them. I understand frustration, we all reach that point at times, but for the life of me, I cannot understand their contempt toward parenthood. These children did not asked to be brought into the world. As parents our choices (directly or indirectly) brought them here. We owe them the best of ourselves. We are our children’s greatest teachers. They are constantly watching to see how we react to any given situation. You have two choices, to handle it with grace and dignity and accept that good and bad are parallel in life…or you can kick and scream and say horrible things that you can never take back. If you choose the later as your reaction, don’t be surprised when your children react the same way to their life challenges. We as parents have the unique opportunity to cultivate supremely optimistic children who genuinely love life. If along the way you should slip and fall in your parenting it does not mean you are a failure. It simply means you are temporarily delayed in your stewardship responsibilities. Offer sincere apologies for your inactions and start anew. Each dawn brings the opportunity to do better than we did the day before.
Today, I am giving thanks for the ability to be a constant force in our children’s lives. I have the opportunity to constantly train their hearts and minds with the principles in which we believe. One of the greatest factors in our choice to homeschool was that we desired to be the main influence in our children’s lives. As their mother I had a deep desire to have my children around me as much as possible. I choose to embrace the fact that we as parents have eighteen short years to guide our children. In the overall span of their lives those eighteen years are minuscule yet deeply defining. I choose to make them my priority because of that fact. I know that in a blink of an eye they will be grown and starting their own families. I made that commitment before their birth knowing full well that my ‘personal time’ would be non existent and I don’t mind. I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I am truely blessed.