To be list

This post, I made near two years ago, has been coming up for me again and I wanted to expand a little on it. Here is the original post.

I was blessed this past weekend to be steeped in meaningful conversation. One conversation in particular left me thinking, wondering and BLOGGING.

The gist of the conversation, was about life, what we are striving for and desiring toward. The idea or thought of, “but I haven’t done much,” came up. In the moment I had little to say. However, as is often the case, upon reflection, I had plenty to say. The world around me is often measured, summed up on this idea of what people have done. Folks have to do lists, bucket lists and accomplished lists. The large majority of these lists include activities, achievements, adventures. I buy in to this and as a result spend moments feeling like, “I sure haven’t done much lately, best get back to that list and get going.”

To jump to a parallel though, my father died at 62, rather suddenly and in most opinions too early. This experience has truly left me to ponder this thing called life and how I go about living it. When I watch my father’s memory slip in to the past, the only truly tangible thing left behind is the love he shared with others. This leaves me to wonder, and often suspect, that the only thing that truly lives on beyond our physical existence are the moments we spend loving.

With this thought, I examine my life’s inventory to include such items as holding the hand of a dying man, catching a new born child, loving with out conditions, embracing a weeping woman, smiling at a stranger and then perhaps I will have more freedom to be present to that which is alive in each moment that presents itself to me.

Continue reading To be list

It’s a big world out there

I remember when my boys were babies and toddlers learning a new skill, they needed me more at night time. I noticed this mostly in terms of requiring extra nursing throughout the night. I could not always tie it to specific skills being obtained it just seemed to make sense. Though it was hard to be woken in the night it was easy to support these wee precious babes by providing access to reassurance whenever they needed it.

Recently my eight year old has been unable to sleep without knowing an adult will be in the bed next to him for the entire night. Prior to this he would fall asleep with daddy at his side and then daddy would leave and head in to his own bed. My son knew dad would leave and this was fine with him. And then one day it stopped being okay. Every time daddy moved to get up he would spring awake. He wasn’t doing this on purpose to make anyone’s life uncomfortable he was genuinely anxious about being alone in the night time.

We are a few weeks in now and he stills tells us ” I need a grown up close to me at night.” Though this can be frustrating, as we shuffle beds back and forth each night, once again it is worth it. It is worth it to be able to say to him we are here for you anytime of the day or night.

And because of the person I am it has got me to thinking about what could have shifted in his world. Just like a toddler striking out in the world to notice themselves separate from their parents, children growing in their understanding of the world beyond themselves need just as trusting arms to fall back in to. My son has been exposed to a host of new ideas and information lately. Some of it through the video games he plays and some of it through the events that have shown up in his life. He is making sense of ideas that are not just about him. He is growing a sense of compassion and empathy for others. This work is as big and overwhelming as learning to walk and talk.

As my son sees the world through other’s eyes he bumps in to scary things, like abduction, war and poverty. It is more then just knowing they exist in the world it is knowing these things happen to human beings. As he grows in his ability to see himself in relationship to others, he also grows in his ability to put himself in another person’s shoes. This is huge. When the lights are on and everyone is up and moving and learning the ideas show up as conversations. In the night when the mind is tired and the world is dark the feelings of the conversations can sometimes grow. So it makes 100 percent sense that he would want a grown up near by to remind him that no matter what he is safe.

Being there to recognize his increasing maturity and to see it play out as he exhibits compassion for others is a gift for which I am immensely grateful.  Providing a warm body next to him in the night so he can sleep without hesitation, truly is the least we can do.

Be Interested

Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that to succeed as an unschooling parent I needed to be a super interesting human being. I can not even trace back the origin of this idea however it is there late at night when sleep eludes to taunt me. From there I often appease myself by creating a super long list of goals or things that I am going to take up to make myself more interesting. One might at this point wisely note that none of this is coming from a place of interests or passions and that a whole lot of it is wrapped up in fear of failure (as defined by someone outside of myself). And then one day it hit me and I changed the words the slightest bit to uncover just what I was already up to. I did not need to be an interesting person, which is really up to personal discretion, I simply needed to continue to be interested.

 

Be interested in the things that capture the attention of my children. This runs deeper then simply sitting beside them to hum ha and question what they are up to. It means truly be interested in the subject matter. the story lines and the characters. To engage in the materials right there alongside my children in order to uncover just what pulls them in. So very often it is easy to walk away and say things such as “I don’t like video games” or “that show is for kids.” It takes a lot more effort to really see what is being presented and uncover the points of interest. Not only does that open me up to new thought patterns and information it translates to my children that their passion are valued. They are worthy. And they are fascinating. All of this from a place of true authenticity that can only come when I am truly (not faking it) interested in what they are up to.

 

And this idea to be interested extends to how I exist  in the world. By this I mean taking a genuine interest in the world around me. Whether that be engaging in a conversation with a person in the parking lot who has an unusual vehicle or noticing the bug moving across my path way.  It shows up as an awareness of ones surroundings and a willingness to engage in those tiny moments that spark new ideas. I think it also translates in to the power of learning in whole life fully engaged kind of way. We bumped in to a lady in the parking lot once driving a 1968 mustang. After commenting on the car she shared with us some special functions of the engine. Now we know about mustangs and  their engines. The info stuck cause we heard it from someone real who genuinely was passionate about mustangs.

 

I am even bold enough to strike out a step further to showcase how this applies to relationships. In order to remain connected to my children I need to be interested in our relationship. This means paying it the same attention I pay the world around me.  In showing up with interest to attend to our relationship, I say it’s important to me. And I also watch it with interest and notice when it needs tending to. More then just noticing our relationship needs tending, I receive clues on just how to do this in a most effective way.

I also think it is worth mentioning that as a parent it is true and of value that I be interested in those things that spark my interest. Be it romance novels or physics, when I am free to be interested in my own passions I model just how that creates a pathway to happiness and joy (the kind the spreads from one family member to another).