Friday, August 14, 2009

My summer of building a sense of community.

God has spent the last 6 months changing me. He has made me question my values, thought process and priorities. I guess I probably asked for it. I pray with my children every night and ask God to help me and my husband to be the best parents for our individual children that we can be. I can see He is doing just that.

Values: Why do I have the values I do? Where do they stem from? Are they from God, peers, books, parents? You can get values from all sorts of different places but are they all lined up with God and the Bible? After evaluating my values I asked myself :what I am doing to make sure those values are passed on to my children? If these things are improtant enough for me as an adult to live by then surely my children will benefit from them. How much better for them to learn these things young then to, as I did, have to spend the first decade of adulthood questioning, confused and searching. What an advantage at life will they possess. They will be leaps and bounds ahead of their peers. Yes they will still need to search out their own path and life but it is like giving them a gps to help them figure it out. Are GPS's wrong sometimes? Yes, sometimes they will lead you to dead ends or get you completely lost but they do have a veiw of the world that we do not and cannot get.

Thought Process: Why do I do what I do? Where did I get this idea that providing my children with all the toys that they wanted was the best way to parent them? That making sure they do not go without was so very important? Why do I feel so pressured to put my children in soccer, gymnastics, swimming lessons and even school for that matter? Am I the one really making the choices or is it this idea that my children should have the equal opportunities. Like the union for children...ha. I came to the conclusion that NO it was not me making these decision it was this "idea" or "picture" that was in my mind of what "all" parents do. My desire to be the best parent that I could was getting mixed up with thinking that meant giving my children the best. If John(generalizing here) was in soccer at the age of 4 then my children should be too. I mean I wouldn't want them to not be able to play soccer right? If Suzy was in preschool at 3 then I should have my children in school by 3 right? Oh the power of peer pressure does not end with high school. Oh and the dreaded one; well every one sends their children to kindergarten. We actually condition us and our children from before they are even born that when they are 5 they go to school. That is just what people do so no reason to question that right? Well I found out this summer that I disagree. Not with the idea of sending your children off to kindergarten. That is a personal and family decision that only you can make. I disagree that we should not question the "norm". Why are we so afraid to do some thing out of the ordinary. I mean why does it hurt to question the "norm"? I think I would be a healthy practice of people to look at why they do what they do with their family, work, money, spouse, children. What is the basis of the decisions we make. You may come out to the same conclusion in the end but at least then you know why! How many of us have had the wonderful priveledge of parenting an inquisitive 2-3 year old child that asked 50476 times a day "but Mommy why"? It can be monotonous even annoying to the point of questioning ones sanity. Maybe the little creative untrained minds are onto something. Maybe we should be a bit more patient in answering them and even answering with the question "well why do you think that is?". I mean don't get me wrong I am not a supporter of the free thinking crowd that what ever you think goes. On the contrary I want to make sure that why I do things is because it is what God wants for me!

Priorities: boy oh boy this is a big one. I get sick of hearing the phrase "I am so busy" or even worse "I am TOO busy". We all have the same amount of time given to us. We all have alot to accomplish in that time provided. We all make the time for the things that are important to us. So next time you find yourself thinking or about to say "I am too busy" try replacing that with "that is just not as important to me as ____(fill in what is taking that slot of time up)" Then I think you will really start to see what are your priorities and whether or not they are in the correct order. I know I did. I realized I spent so much of my time getting things done being involved or having my children involved in things that people, relationships were pretty low on the list. Don't see what I mean??? Let me ask you, have you ever found yourself thinking I am around people all day long why do I still feel lonely??? That is exactly what I mean. I felt that way for a long time. I can tell you with changes I have made that past few months I no longer feel that anymore. I started changing, slowing down my life, making hard choices of cutting things out, and saying NO. I made sure I wasn't too busy for people. That was a big one for me. I never wanted to fill my life and scheduele so much that I didn't have enough time in my week to teach my children or be available for friends. I have alot more work to do on that front. I am not a naturally thoughtful person and with this busy busy mentality there was no time to bake cookies for an elderly neighbor or write a note to a hurting friend or even when a friends says they are stressed or sad to find a way that I can help. So I am trying to train myself that those things are a PRIORITY.

I feel as americans we have lost a sense of community. We are surrounded by people but we are still lonely. I have found that those things have not been lost they just have not been important enough to us to develop. So that is how I have spent my summer building my community and being at peace with where my life is.

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