Friday, January 25, 2013

I have decided to stick with love

MLK 112 first grade community service

I wrote a tiny bit about how our school community celebrates MLK day last year, but this is the first year K was actually able to participate. What better way to celebrate a man who devoted his life to helping others than to do the same? The students in the grades (first through twelfth) do some sort of community service appropriate for their age around  the Portland area. Since K is only in first grade , her community service was helping out our school. Her class spent the day pruning the lavender bushes, raking the lawn and other outdoor activities. Afterwards they made peanut butter bird seed Douglas fir cones to hang outside for the birds and squirrels that live on or visit the school property (K corrected me earlier when I called the Douglas fir cones "pine cones" so I had to make sure I called them by their proper name here). These may seem like small and simple gestures but it's big to them. First grade is a time when children are still so young and innocent and not ready for the harsh reality out there in the world. Every deed done with love counts, no matter how small or how large. I am proud of them all.

I mentioned in my last post that I had a meeting at school. It wasn't so much a meeting but a wonderful chat with a friend. I am so blessed that one of K's former Kindergarten teachers told me that I could always come to her with anything about any of my children. I have been trying to get together with her for a couple of months now but our schedules clashed. Then on Martin Luther King, Jr. day it finally worked out.

I wish I would have typed all of this up right after I met with her because she bestowed a lot of wisdom upon me. I have forgotten many of the details now, but the sincerity in her eyes, the warmth of her words and the kindness of her smile are forever etched in my heart. That is truly what matters most.

We sat in our school library and I talked way too much about little things in day to day life, the new wild behavior of one of my children, the strong will of another, as well as things that weighed on me like the failure remark. As heavy and dark as they seemed to me at the time I was laughing through it all telling her how hard I am working to find the good in every struggle I am presented with. She told me to keep on laughing at whatever is thrown at me. I think I will.

I asked her for advice and books to help me, especially with my strong willed one because I see myself in her and that seems to be what scares me most. I want to always be able to respond to her boundary tests and stubbornness with love and compassion, but oh how some days my patience wears too thin. She has this spark in her that I never want her to lose, especially not by my doing. 

Miss R told me she had no books to offer but was there to listen. It turns out that is what I really needed. She mentioned that perhaps I needed to toss out those parenting books (of course some are good for ideas here and there but not to solve life's problems) and just trust.

I let it sink in a bit. Then I listened to my heart. I keep searching for a book to solve all of my problems, one that has all the answers I could ever need. But there is no magical book. I need to trust in God's plan and pray for the strength to understand and follow it. I need to look within and learn to trust myself with parenting and what is best for my own family. Such a simple truth that is transforming me and setting me free. May the transformation continue for the rest of my days!

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