Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Quick Takes, #1: Quotes About Children

I am excited to join the world of Friday Quick Takes (even though my first contribution is coming quite late on Friday!). We'll see what develops, but I'm going to start topically - today's topic: quotes about children.

#1 Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man. Rabindranath Tagore

#2 Children reflect the treatment they receive. Author Unknown

#3 We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. Stacia Tauscher

#4 The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. Author Unknown

#5 People are not for hitting and children are people, too. John Valusek

#6 Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see. Neil Postman

#7 While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. Angela Schwindt

Hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I was cleaning today (yippie!) and came across some notes I'd made when I was 16 weeks pregnant with my two-year-old. I want to share that story.

The now-four-year-old/then-21-month-old went with me to that doctor's appointment - this was not a usual occurance. As much of an advocate as I am for not underestimating children, at that point we had really not talked to him much about the coming baby. I wasn't sure what would make sense. I wasn't showing yet. He was still sleeping in his (soon to be the baby's) crib. It had only been a week previoius that I'd first heard him identify an infant with the word "baby." I knew the time would come when we would talk about it, but I was waiting until my tummy was changing and he was in his big bed.

And yet, that appointment turned out to be a wonderful gift. When it came time to listen to the baby's heartbeat, I climbed on the table and laid back. The then-21-month-old wanted to be on the table with me, so he sat on my legs. As our midwife put the instrument on my belly and we began to hear sounds, my little boy who rarely sat still was still, quiet and focused. He couldn't take his eyes off that strange thing on mommy's tummy. Then, after watching both myself and the student nurse put our hands on the speaker to feel the heartbeat, he reached out and did the same. He held it there so still and just seemed to soak in the moment.

I don't know what he realized in that moment. Did he have any idea that he was hearing his little brother for the first time? Or was he just fascinated with this strange, new piece of techonology? I don't know. But, for just a moment I glimpsed a special connection between my two children that I hoped would grow. And I wondered if this isn't how God hopes we will all greet one another - still, quiet, focused with a hand reached out in wonder as we take in who the other is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm sitting at the computer...listening to my boys fight with each other because the two-year-old wants to do everything the four-year-old is doing and the four-year-old wants him to do anything else.

I am debating intervening, but instead I sit here...


grateful for the life and breath that is in them...

grateful that they each have a voice...

grateful that they both know what they want even when their desires are in conflict...

grateful simply to have them, to know them, to love them...

grateful they are alive.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nurturing a Giving Spirit

One of my hopes as a mother and as a person of faith is that I will nurture within my children a giving spirit. I am aware that there are many ways to do this both within our home and family relationships and also outside of our home.

Over this past month or two I have been excited to find several opportunities to nurture this in our four-year-old outside our home.

One day recently as I was feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff in our house and particularly amazed at how much two little boys accumulate, it occured to me that the four-year-old is old enough to help me with the process of going through things. So, he and I set out to go through drawers of toys, shelves of books, and stacks of clothes. One by one we looked at an item and decided that it 1) should be kept 2) needed to be tossed or 3) could be shared. At the end of our day, he had made a generous pile of items to be shared. His mommy was pleased.

My next realization came when I went to share those items. I made the choice to do that through our local ecumenical food/clothing pantry (where we can also take toys and household items). Our church has one day each month when we volunteer at this pantry. On that day we hang up clothes, give out food, help people find what they are looking for and needing. When that day rolled around last month I had another epiphany. The four-year-old could go with me and help! So, we dropped the two-year-old at daycare (I wasn't ready for his help, too) and headed out. The four-year-old only lasted an hour but during that time he folded towels and pillowcases, put shoes on racks, put toys and books in bins and filled one family's food order. And he and his mommy were both pleased with the work he had done.

Last week another opportunity arose. My husband and I, along with some others from our church, went to my hometown to help with continuing recovery from a flood two years ago. Since it was my hometown (with family still there) the boys went with us. At two and four years of age, they were too young to actually work on the sites, but we talked about what mommy and daddy and the others were doing. And a couple of times we made sure they could come by the work sites and see the work in progress. I was pleased as they witnessed adults they knew and some they had never met before taking time out to rebuild people's homes.

What about you? How do you nurture a giving spirit in your children? What have you found helpful as you teach them about sharing with others? I'd love to hear.

And perhaps, someday, I'll figure out how to nurture a spirit giving enough for the four-year-old to share his red ball with the two-year-old when they're playing in the backyard.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Dance of Parenthood

A child in our community is having risky surgery this morning...

My dear friend and her husband are going away together for the first time since becoming parents - 4 1/2 years ago - they are on the plane this morning...

My 4-year-old - who did not want to go to school today, did not want to see his friends - went to school anyway because his mommy needed to go to work (and frankly, he did need to go to school) this morning...

Each and every morning, each and every moment, in some ways we recognize and some ways we don't, there is a lot of letting go that happens between children and parents. And that is largely the dance of the parent/child relationship...holding on and letting go...going apart and coming together...paying enough attention to each other to follows the cues, to know who should be leading in that moment, to move in rhythm. And, the challenge and opportunity is knowing when to do each.

Again I think of God...our ultimate parent...the one who both holds us close and sets us free...the one who knows the faithfulness of both...the one who helps us as we learn.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Do What I Say, Not What I Do

We yell at children to tell them to be quiet.

We spank (a form of hitting) children who have hit other children to tell them that hitting is wrong.

We bite children to discourage them from biting.

Am I the only one who wonders about our common discipline practices?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Two Quick Things

First things first...take a quick trip over to Lenae is there celebrating her second blogiversary and she's doing it with a giveaway. I've been a bit delinquent so you only have the rest of today to it quick! And while you are there, read a few of her entries...she is delightful.

Second, Mother's Day is tomorrow. (You knew that, didn't you?) In light of that occasion, I've decided that I will be writing a letter to each of my boys to tell them what it is that I love about them. Yes, we usually think of our kids doing this for us on such occasions, but they are what makes me a mother, so why not turn the tables? I'm not sure I'll even share the letters with them right away...I may save them for later...but maybe this will become a new Mother's Day ritual for me. I just need to pause for a minute and put on paper what it is about each of them that amazes and delights me.

So, what about your kids? What are the unique things about each that you just can't imagine living without?

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Prayer for Children

Ina Hughes wrote a prayer for children that I love more and more each time I read it. It has been published many places. I'm sharing it as it was published in her book by that title, "A Prayer for Children." If you haven't read it before, I hope you are as moved as I have been. If you have, I hope you hear something fresh in it today.

We pray for children
who give us sticky kisses,
who hop rocks and chase butterflies,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who've never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers,
who've never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us fistfuls of dandelions and sing off-key,
who have goldfish funerals, build card-table forts,
who slurp their cereal on purpose,
who get gum in their hair, put sugar in their milk,
who spit toothpaste all over the sink,
who hug us for no reason, who bless us each night.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store
and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed
and never rinse out the tub,
who get quarters from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried,
and for those who must.
For those we never give up on,
and for those who don't have a chance.
For those we smother,
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer.