~Chris Guillebeau (The author of the book, The Happiness of Pursuit)
I am on a serious quest to change the way I have been parenting for the past 16 years.
It is an adventure.
When my children were younger, I thought that I had it all figured out.
Recently I realized that I don't.
(For purposes of privacy and future scholarships/job background checks, I shall not expound)
After assessing our existing family game plan and all the trials and errors, I have come to the conclusion that love is the answer to parenting, and not fear based parenting.
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear..."
~1 John 4:18
Parenting with love means making the effort to build meaningful relationships through quality time spent, face-to-face meals, bonding activities, consistency, firmness, fun, thoughtful flexibility (not out of convenience or fear), communication, discipline, mindful parenting and unconditional support.
In short, parenting with love means becoming a conscious human being.
This is all new to me.
I pretty much parented "conveniently"
I think I was mostly checking boxes on parenting tasks.
Let's take meals for example. I used to "get by."
Didn't put much thought into any of our meals.
I would make Mac and cheese, Ramen Noodles, PBand J sandwiches, Fried Eggs, Fruit, Yogurt,
Hotdogs, something pan-fried with Rice, etc.
Today I am a new woman.
I approach meals full hog.
I cook out of love and with full intention of making meal time memorable and enjoyable.
Yes. Every meal. (sometimes we fail, but sometimes we succeed--either way I try)
Also, ever since the beginning of 2015 we have resurrected Family Bedtime Prayer for the four of us.
Does eye-rolling and mockery happen during these sessions?
Yes ("Amen, Hallelujah, Pass the Tylenol")
But I have faith that this regular practice will help us relate to each other as a family. This is my hope.
Plus I fully believe that
"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
God knows my family project could use some Divine intervention.
Parenting is tiring. Especially parenting teens. But it is most especially exhausting if you make parenting some sort of sport--when you compare your children to other children or worse, you walk around smug about your parenting "victories."
Been there, been bitten in the a** by that.
While I am well aware that my projects and goals may seem pedestrian to most people-- I am not in a contest with anyone. I am involved in a project to save my family, not to win anything.
So now I make sure that we always find time play together (yes at times I need to coerce them, like I did in this video).
On a whim I am more likely to say yes when they ask to go see a movie or a play.
(We all just recently watched Cinderella and Central Catholic's Mary Poppins)
I have also somewhat given up my "I hate shopping persona" and have tried to listen to my teenaged girls needs/wants and have given in to a semblance of consumerism I can somewhat choke down.
(That term "choke down is borrowed from K, who has at times has described meals I have made as being able to choke it down, G is more subtle as she waits until I am not looking to scrape the unwanteds from her plate into the garbage.)
This evening, I took them to shop at Urban Outfitters and then dinner at Qdoba.
Do you know how that used to be so painful for me?
Do you know how loud the music is in there?
As Socrates said, “The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on changing the old, but on building the new.”