A Summer of Intentional Living

Intentional SummerThis is our first summer in our new home, and it is already going by fast.

So I am trying to slow it down.

I take my time unpacking, deciding carefully on where the items should go, or if they should be donated.  I leave pictures off the walls until shelves are put up, and work on small DIY projects to make the space into our home.

We work on projects outside, moving thousands of rocks and putting in mulch, building a cut flower garden for our Princess, and trying out container vegetable gardening as we wait for time to put in the raised beds.  We watch the plants flourish, watering them from newly installed rain barrels.  And our children get so excited as they watch new flowers bloom or the peas reach higher towards the sky.

On nice evenings we eat out on the deck, watching the birds visiting the feeders not far away.  We sit and enjoy the peace, the children getting in a few more moments of play.

We take our time, and I listen to the breeze.

On a decently windy day the leaves of a neighbor’s trees rustle, their voices taking center stage.  A pair of ducks visit daily, feasting on the seeds the birds have shared.  And now and then a pheasant wanders through, or a deer.

I draw out the days and the moments, knowing there is so much I could do, but also knowing, that there is so much I would miss.

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Why I Will Parent How I Parent and Not How You Parent

ParentingIt happened again.  A situation in which our child did something unacceptable according to another adult.

I’m not going to go into the details as they are not for public consumption, but the incident has me thinking with the urge to write (what else would I do?).

In a world where many still think that discipline and “correct parenting” makes perfect children, we will always be on the outside, dealing with the all-too common realities of ADHD, Anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder Youtube.

For our son, the standard how-to’s of parenting do not work.  I quit going to Early Child Family Education Classes as the message kept making me feel like a bad parent, even when others swear by it as the best thing they ever did.  We tired everything…but it didn’t work…so we took the next step to get help.

And now we know our son.  Really, really know him.  And what works for him, doesn’t always work for others.  He can’t always conform to other people’s standards, and he shouldn’t have to.

Like the hundreds of other children I hear about – through friends, family or FB private parenting groups – there are a lot of children who can’t conform, and shouldn’t have to.

They just need a little more understanding, a little more flexibility, and/or a little more patience.  They need more help from their parents, teachers and the other people around them.  And then they will be fine.

They still may not “fit in”, but when was there a time when everyone did?

I know.  Perhaps it was easier when “those people” were kept in locked attic rooms or sent away to institutions.  Or maybe we should stick with the compromise of separate classes or schools, and the accepted bullying of those who don’t fit in of just 20 years ago.  But now we are expected to accept “those kids”, and eventually “those adults”, into our normal society.  We are expected to be a more patient with them than others, more open to their social gaffs, and allow them to “get away with” things “normal” people can’t.

Yes, I’m being snarky.  But, this has hit a nerve.

I’m not asking anyone to bend over backwards for my kid, or anyone else’s kid.  I can’t bend over backwards for other people’s kids either.  But just as I expect myself to have some understanding of other children – of your children – I expect/hope others to do the same with my own.

Just as I don’t know your story, you don’t know ours.

Your one momentary glimmer into our life is seen through your expectations for yourself and your kids.  And your expectations are probably right, for you and your kids.  But not for us.

We aren’t you.  We don’t think like you, act like you, live like you.   And we probably don’t even have the same goals and dreams that you do.

So when I stand strong in our parenting style, and continue to love my children despite them not being who you think they should be, it really isn’t about you.  And it isn’t a critique on your parenting style, or even on your children.

It is about us.  It is about me putting my children first.  It’s about me doing my best to help them become the people God wants them to be, not about how their immediate behavior fits into some other person’s box.

My heart and mind and soul reach out to my children before any other children.  As I regularly tell them, I love them more than any other boy and girl in the world.

They have no one else to put them first and no one else to understand them better.  Just as your children have no one else to put your children first and no one else to understand your children better.

So the next time our expectations of our children don’t match your expectations of our children, you are free to talk to me about it, I will probably change how we relate to you, but I’m probably not going to change my parenting style.

Or, the next time our children’s behavior or our parenting style seems odd to you, please talk to me about it.  I’ll be more than happy to tell you our story – the joy and sorrow, the blessings and struggles – and I will be more than eager to here yours too.

Parenting is harder than any other job I know of.  I just wish we would all listen more than we talk.










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