For: Beyond the Physical

When I was growing up, I never tried calamari.  Or cottage cheese.  Or duck.  Or tomato juice.

Why?

Because my mom didn’t like those things.

Since I was her child, and she was not interested in eating those things, I didn’t eat them either.  I didn’t even try them.

It’s pretty typical, right?

My kids don’t eat…… beef tongue.  Hamburger Helper.  Hot Pockets.  White Castle.  Why?  Because I don’t eat them.

We tend to expose our children to the things we deem as exposable.  The things that are good, in our opinion.  It’s mostly subjective, of course.  But it’s our job as parents to be discerning, and we think we’re doing a pretty good job.

But how about spiritually?

We each go on an individual spiritual journey throughout our lives, don’t we?  Even those that suppress it have made deliberate efforts to do so as a result of something or other.

Should the exposure of spiritual things to our children be similar to the exposure of food?  We show them the things we can personally palate, but hide the others?

The truth is…..

They’re going to find their own way.  Somehow and someday.  Our children will go on their own spiritual journey.  It might be happening now, or maybe 20 years from now.  But the questions of the meaning of all ‘this’ will surface.

And so I wonder:  perhaps we should be offering to walk that journey together.  Giving wisdom and guidance along the way, even if only in questions to help them discover truths on their own.

Perhaps we don’t let our lack of knowledge, lack of faith, or fear to hinder what could be a wonderful thing for our child, our family, ourselves.  Perhaps we open the door.  Even just a crack at first.

This month, let’s ask our kids some questions.  Things that go beyond the physical.  Things of the heart.   Let’s help our children zero in to find the goodness in the human race.  Specifically, what does that look like and where does it come from?

There is no concrete goal this month.  Except to get conversation, and thoughts, going.  It has potential to be the most beautiful conversations, and life-transforming thoughts that eventually turn into action.  Let’s give it a try.

For: Security

July’s theme is going to challenge me.  Maybe you, too.

Not because it’s so difficult.  But because it’s so……. deliberate.  I have a strange feeling it’s going to step all over my toes.

I’ve been thinking of this for a while now.  Skirting over the top of the issue, really.  “That’s a good one!” I thought.  But I’ve been hesitant to dig into it, a little afraid of what I’d see in myself once I started typing.

The theme is simple enough.  Security.  It’s kind of a big deal.

From birth, children take note of the world around them.  They learn very quickly how their behavior will trigger responses, either good or bad, from those around them.  They grow, the world they experience grows with them as their perspective widens, and slowly they have real opportunity to learn that they can rely on certain people/things/events to support them, or that they are on their own for various needs, if not nearly all of them.

Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Placing “needs” as a pyramid in which one cannot progress to the next level before absolute confidence that current needs are being met, it suggests that lack of security in our lives hinders progress to grow and mature.

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Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs

 

Growing and maturing, self-actualization, becoming people who positively influence the world, and so on….. are what I’m looking to achieve with these people who are smaller than me, so I’m kind of interested in how to make that happen.

I’m convinced that a more concerted effort to providing security has to be at the foundation of my offering as a parent.

“Easy peasy!” you say.  Oh I know!  There’s daily food, nagging to shower somewhat regularly, a roof to protect, and blankets to warm.  Lots of security there.  We even say “I love you” all the time.  We offer nice holiday meals.  Pay for soccer and dance.  Get them to school mostly on time.  I know.

But what about a deeper security?  Security that says:

* I will love you absolutely no matter what.

* Your parents will actively love each other, and stay together, through thick and thin.  I realize that many of us need a variation of this …. so vary it.  But don’t ignore it.

* You are worth more than the clothes and activities we pay for.  I will engage regularly with you in crazy quality time – reading, playing simple catch, a daily walk, etc.

* Our discipline is black and white.  We will not bend and sway with changing moods and pleas.  We know this prepares you for the big, unbending world you’ll encounter later in life.

* How about security of emotion while we’re at it?  

Honestly, some of these things are not easy for me.  Unbending discipline?  Pllleeeaaasssse.  My discipline is entirely bending!  Give me a good excuse and I’m quick to whisk it behind us.  Let’s just move on from this unpleasantness!  But goodness…. is that really the right thing to do?  Not only does it set my child up for huge disappointment when a future employer doesn’t work the same way, but it creates a stressful environment in the meantime as my child has to constantly weigh and consider whether a certain behavior will be deemed “incorrect” that day (and whether they can talk their way out of it).

Look, I’m all about coloring outside the lines.  Creativity.  Allowing my kids to explore and learn on their own.  Even still….. I’m convinced that a solid foundation of security in their lives will uphold all they attempt to grow and build as they progress through theirs.

The challenge for July:

Find 2, just 2, solid (really solid) areas of security that you can work on improving for yourself and your children.  Honestly — if it feels uncomfortable, those are probably the areas that need it the most.  (sigh)  Which is why we’re only choosing 2.  (thank goodness)

Let’s make it deliberate.  Let’s write it down someplace.  Don’t skip that part!  And while it’s our challenge for July, let’s take it day by day.  “Today I commit to these two areas,” we’ll say each morning, and we’ll take tomorrow when it comes.

I’m really looking forward to this month.  As much as I’m squirming in my chair right now.  Some days will look better than others.  But I’m going to try….. and so are you.  Security that runs deep for our children.  We won’t regret the effort.

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