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Parenting and Pain

You do not need to have suffered the loss of a child to know parenting is painful. The pain we feel when our child is hurt, rejected, or fails is as real to us as to that child. Having children is like having a piece of your heart cut out and forever placed in another person. I have recently discovered the poems of Wendell Berry and he describes this feeling in his poem “The Way of Pain”, the pain that comes from love. The Way of Pain by Wendell Berry, 1980 1. For parents, the only way is hard. We who give life give pain. There is no help. Yet we who give pain give love; by pain we learn the extremity of love. 2. I read of Abraham’s sacrifice the Voice required of him, so that he led to the altar and the knife his only son. The beloved life was spared that time, but not the pain. It was the pain that was required. 3. I read of Christ crucified, the only begotten Son sacrificed to flesh and time and all our woe. He died and rose, but who does not tremble for his pain, his loneliness, and the darkness of the sixth hour? Unless we grieve like Mary at His grave, giving Him up as lost, no Easter morning comes. 4. And then I slept, and dreamed the life of my only son was required of me, and I must bring him to the edge of pain, not knowing why. I woke, and yet that pain was true. It brought his life to the full in me. I bore him suffering, with love like the sun, too bright, unsparing, whole. “by pain we learn, the extremity of love.” how very true that is, I love these words. It is impossible to love without suffering pain as well. The two go together. Berry’s words are comforting, when the path is all too painful, too raw. What more can be said. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Lessons from Tom Kitten

We are huge Beatrix Potter fans. Tom Kitten is a firm favourite with the Soldier Boy. And reading it is a little like a glimpse of modern parenthood. It’s true nothing changes under the sun. In Tom Kitten we see an exasperated mother, trying to impress her well-to-do friends; her children suffering the injustice of getting in trouble for a situation not wholly their fault (even though may modern readers may be appalled at the use of smacking!). It’s funny that still today we behave in the same way. We still desperately try to make our domestic circumstances look good to onlookers. I have myself sent noisy children out in the garden to be out of the way, dressed in best clothes, hoping against hope they stay clean, as I get ready- and yes I did feel a pang of empathy for Mrs Tabitha Twitchit. And I think we have all realised at a later date that we have disciplined children unjustly. But what I find so refreshing is that the struggles of modern parents: looking like we have it together, have well disciplined children, feeling the social stress to perform, have always been there. Reading through social media you could think these were modern problems. But they were as much a part of the world of Beatrix Potter as they are today. Mother’s through the ages have been stressed, have had unruly children, nothing changes- you’d think we’d learn to just relax a little. And throughout the ages children have survived their imperfect parents trying to do their best to raise their children. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Striking a Balance

I don’t really like the term “me time”! I think having children means ultimately putting them first. Children simply need parents. They need loved, nurtured, disciplined, stimulated, they need your time. As parents we have to come to that realisation: that our desires cannot rule our lives any more. However, it is not wise to totally sacrifice oneself on the alter of motherhood. Part of being a good mother, is being a wise mother, and a wise mother ensures she is emotionally and spiritually healthy. Our children receive from where we are at, therefore we need to take care of ourselves. Therefore it is important we can find times of refreshing, where we can minister to those parts of our soul which become so wearied by motherhood. It is also important to find people to connect to who we find mutual refreshing with. For me I find myself renewed in nature. Yes I can find refreshing in nature with the children, but time alone, without noise, without demands, is like a refreshing elixir for the soul. I also have certain people, more mature ladies, who I can turn to, who I can draw strength from, and pray with. God made us to need times of rest and refreshing; he also made us to need other people. As mothers we owe it to our children to fill these parts of who we are, in what ever way is right and proper for us. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Follow The Joy

It has shocked me how brutal parenting can be, and as a consequence it is easy to grow hard. During the times when I find myself becoming hard I shout more, cry more, feel overwhelmed, and guilty. Condemnation begins to weigh heavy upon me- I am a terrible parent, I can’t do this, my children will need therapy to “get over” their childhood. And the downward cycle continues. However, I do not want to be this kind of hard mother. Life is life, and the pressures of living will always be there- like death and taxes! I have to find the joy and follow it! Where God is there is joy… I want some of that please, I want some of that for my children. Following the joy may mean overcoming tiredness, apathy, even fear… but you and your household will reap the rewards. Think about the times as a mother you have known joy with your children: is there are pattern? I have noticed I experience joy chiefly when reading with them, and being in nature- surrounded by beauty. So to cultivate joy, I want to increase the amount we read together- not always easy with a broad age range of children, and a 1 year old who likes to throw his books at you when you try to read to big boys! Secondly I need to seek out beauty in nature… my doorstep is slightly limited in beauty. This means the motivation to bundle the four children into the car in search of wild places. Small steps towards intentionally improving everyones lives. Otherwise the drudgery of day to day life can sap the zeal from you and make every one depressed. I don’t want this to be the memories my children have our our home. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Wild Places for Wild Boys

I do think that every family ought to have at least one wild boy… We have the Jedi Boy. These are the boys who can’t sit still, who are always wanting to conquer. I spend a lot of time thinking and trying to manage the heightened testosterone of my boy. All to often we want to put these boys down, try have dampen their energy, their fight. It feels like a balancing act, sometimes we get it right other times I feel I get it wrong. Today I took him to a wild wood, he was armed with his new sword. He ran through the trees, conquered badies. He was free, he could run and be free. Boys need the freedom to be, the freedom to run, to climb, to be who they are. Little boys who can’t sit still should not be made to remain in a small space for extended periods, or they will act up. Coping Strategies for Wildy Boys: 1.Try and facilitate them the room to run about outside at least once a day. 2.Break their lessons up into bite sized chunks. When you see you are losing their interest let them run about for a few minutes. 3.Add kinesthetic learning into their day. For example, when doing our Phonics we had little stories to help enforce the sound, we acted these out. There were also actions for each sound- Jedi Boy found these very helpful. 4.Sometimes allow them to walk about whilst teaching them. 5.Give them some one-to-one time. I find Jedi Boy more than any of the other children responds for quality time alone with one of the key adults in his life: whether that be a parent or grandparent. 6.Make sure they get enough sleep. Such boys live life at top speed. Especially when they are younger they lack the ability to pace themselves, so they tire themselves out. A tired boys is a grumpy, and naughty boy! 7.Take them to wild places, where they can climb trees, paddle in streams, and run with all their might… Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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