Fortunately, raising a child is not an exact science. There is a built-in forgiveness factor and hence some room for flexibility. Make more time for your children, especially as they get older. Take frequent looks at your family and its life together. Ask whether you meet your own standards of civility, of morals, of spirituality. Finally, protect your children from losing their childhood prematurely – neither you nor they will regret it.
This quote came to me at an opportune time – just on the heels of a child meltdown I blame on too much sun, swim, lack of rest, lack of preparation, lack of calm and needed introspection, somehow a symbolic moment of the beginnings of summer un-scheduling.
The forgiveness, flexibility, and frequent looks at family speak to me most deeply. One needs to forgive and clean slates that are sullied by weariness, sharp words and looks, squabbles, physical or emotional pain. We must provide routine and structure that allow for flexibility and freedom to address the needs at hand. Flexibility is so tricky; when do we pick our battles? Our hearts tell us, our instincts tell us, but our emotions and fears take hold and often put us in battle mode. Yet frequent looks at our families particularly through the peaceful times will guide us, soothe us, and inform our choices on what is and is not working. An overhaul of bedtimes or mealtimes might be needed.
It is time to protect our own inner children. I feel blessed that I have retained so much of what I treasure about my childhood – my ability to imagine, how I can completely disappear into a landscape of a beloved story, the acting skills honed with reading character voices aloud, using music, lighting, food, and my environment to capture or transform the mood of my home or just my day. I want to preserve and embrace that in my children and offer them a mother that forgives, models strength and flexibility, and frequently focuses on her family so she knows what they need and she needs to promote peace, harmony, and growth.