Lately parenting has been a bit rough around here. I’ve been homesick and needed some time out to get my perspective back. I was reflecting on all of this and realized that there are four things that I need as a person in order to be a good parent.
Daily Spiritual Practices: This is kind of a “duh!” for me because not only have I been taught that time with God is important all my life, but I know this is true from personal experience! What I’m realizing though is that some time spent in devotions in the morning is not enough. I need to somehow structure our day so that we (and I) are constantly recentering ourselves on our faith and the ways in which is informs how we live.
Continuing Education: Not only do I need to review and replenish my own knowledge of the subjects the children are learning in school but I also need to be studying those things that will make me a better parent and teacher. I need to be reading and evaluating parenting books, reading articles on changes in understanding of how children learn and at least looking at pictures of ways to structure our household to facilitate exploration and curiosity.
In addition I need to study the children: who are they? why do they react the way they do? what’s hard for them? what’s easy? and what do we do about it all? I need to log these things and review them in order to teach and guide them well.
Creative Expression: Not just writing and blogging but also using my creative gifts to make the atmosphere that we desire in the home. How do I use my gifts to beautify our home, express emotions, or bring calm to areas of chaos? These things effect my mood and my mood sets the tone for the family.
Time for Integration: Finally, I need time to integrate the three areas above. To evaluate and analyze what we are doing and how it’s working, to figure out how to incorporate new ideas and to give old patterns that are working well enough energy to be continued.
Right now our common life as a family doesn’t allow for some of these things to happen regularly and where I do have time to do some of them I find it hard to apply that time to these four needs.
There is always the “tyranny of the (apparently) urgent”, the daily stuff that must be done if we are to function, but I am beginning to wonder if I haven’t got things backwards. Sure, there is always housework that could profitably done, and I tend to put off other things in favor of the housework or become so discouraged by it all that I sit on the internet or with a book and am neither creative nor productive!
Does it have to be an either/or thing? What if a sane, happy mama, led to a peaceful household where the members loved to serve each other and so the necessary work got done and not at the expense of the creative? Is that even possible?
I don’t know…but I intend to find out!