Friday, October 4, 2013
The juxtaposition of my childhood family with my family made clear that the thoughts and efforts expended in daily routine, consistency, honesty and love were and are well rewarded. All the basic issues were handled, well, basically differently.
Rather than requiring children to stay in their beds, my little ones were able to move to the most comfortable and safe places they wished to sleep. There were a few times when I woke to a little one staring into my face; startling then, funny memories now.
Rather than requiring meals to be as served and finished in its entirety with the guilt trip about starving people in Africa, my little ones learned to love a variety of foods. Healthful offerings of fruits, vegetables, nuts and crackers were always within reach, in addition to healthful meals. In all the years of preparing meals for my family there have been few disasters that found their way to the trash. With a variety of foods available throughout the day, my kids have grown to be healthy individuals.
Rather than setting an adversarial relationship with punitive measures regularly dispensed, my kids learned to regulate themselves by practicing compassion toward their siblings and themselves. Recently, my daughter reminded me that rarely did I refuse their requests for goodies at the check out or scold them for bad behavior. Instead, when they wanted something extra at the grocery check out, I'd ask them if they had been good so that the extra was a deserved treat. Not only did this instill a sense of good measures within but it also provided an opportunity for confessions should they have a guilty burden that they needed to share and remedy.
Many cultural norms did not supply the type of training that creates good habits for a young person. Because there is no do over with kids, I worked hard to find the best options for every situation that arose. Often the answers were to unlearn bad messaging from my childhood past, and learn a new and loving way to approach the little people who are now not little at all.
The transitional period to mother with grown children has given me more time to appreciate the unique people I've been privileged to know. Surprisingly as I thought all the old stuff was gone because I did not repeat the destructive patterns with my children, it has come to the surface again. This time I'm not sure why other than to give me perspective to see how far I've come from a sad place to a place of contentment, at least with one aspect of my life anyway.