Monday, August 23, 2010

Freedom and Children

Freedom, I have recently come to realize, is very important to a child's developement. I'm not talking about freedom for a two-year-old to wander the neighborhood unsupervised, or freedom for an eight-year-old to eat as many cookies as he wants. But age-appropriate freedom in a controlled, fairly safe environment is really priceless. Of course we have all seen the damage done by parents who never supervise their children, but just as damaging can be well-meaning parents who constantly hover over their children, watching and commenting on the child's every action. How can a child learn self-confidence and good decision making skills if they are never allowed to make those desicions by themselves? Sure, they will encounter tough situations and probably take part in a good deal of fairly dangerous play (climbing high trees, oh my!), but if they are never allowed these opportunities then how will they learn to think for themselves? To make too many free-play opportunities off-limits is to tell the child that they cannot be trusted to make good decisions. To supervise their every move is to teach them to be dependent upon the attention of others. To correct every minor mistake prevents the child from learning from their own errors, and more importantly, constant corrections send the message that the child is inherently bad. Again, I am not talking about shirking our parental responsibilities, or denying them our assistance when it is needed. Rather, I am talking about refraining from assistance when it is NOT asked for, and trusting our children more. Our most important job as parents is to nurture a sense of compassion, self-worth, and independence in our beloved children. Obvoiusly they will need much guidance, but they will also need enough freedom to develop their individual souls in their own time and in their own way. My guess is that this sort of growth best occurs in an environment free of overbearing parents.

June Bug climbing a tree without shoes OR prying eyes! (except to come out and take the picture of course)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Gift of Motherhood

The challenges of mothering are great, but the rewards are far greater. For every sleepless night there is a smooth day. For every mundane boredom there is an exciting adventure. For every tear there are fits of crazy laughter. For every frustration there are blessed moments of perfect harmony. Every mess made has something nourishing in it's background-- hearty playing and art projects to nourish the soul, or wonderful meals to nourish the body. Come to think of it, I suppose these opposites, this balance, applies to all of life. But mothering offers something even more, something difficult to put into words. Birthing and raising a child fills us with a sense of something bigger than ourselves; something more important and more fulfilling than we ever imagined. Finally we are forced to look beyond our own needs and wants to give our hearts completely to our children. We may resent this at first. We may feel like we've given up our Independence, our sense of self, our freedom. But over time we come to realize that these notions are false and we are, in fact, fuller than ever. As our children grow, so too does our sense of purpose, our striving toward positive actions, our patience, our compassion, and most importantly, our capacity to love. This is the gift of motherhood.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Boys

Two Boys, so different from one another
yet so completely whole in their own way
Two boys, so different in age
yet so in love with one another
Big Boy, so smart, adventurous, sweetly sensitive
Little Boy, so curious, playful, determined
Big Boy, lover of drawing, animals bikes
Little Boy, lover of music, juggling, water
Two Boys, separate but connected
Two boys, beautiful independent lives sharing the same road
(One Mama, so different from her boys
yet made whole by their presence in her life
One Mama, lover of dancing, art, the forest, music
separate but connected
gratefully sharing the road)