Life As It Happens

The back deck: as the birds feed, three high school seniors sit at their desks, as Dad reads a novel. Their work: Spanish, math, English, economics, much more. The birds’ work: eating, eyes out for predators. Dad’s work: bad jokes, quiet worry over college tuition, dinner preparation.

Or, better put: this all is as it should be. Triplets? Three college tuitions? Predators: limited time and money? Mom works over the family budget….Time to fix the vegetarian burritos. The bird feeders are full and the bluebirds have their mealworms.

As the onions are sliced, a daughter sings her way down the stairs in her sweet high soprano voice. Nothing in the world could be arranged more fittingly — or more beautifully.

“Peace” of Advice

Raising children involves stress and strain as well as joy and exhilaration. With our good intentions, we often micro-manage our child’s every movement and action — correcting, responding, and redirecting. All too often, a “No” comes forth far more frequently than a “Yes.” ¬†Or the “Good Job!” cliche accompanies a simple action that scarcely needs a response, which only rewards the trivial.

Try letting a few more of those little actions go by without comment or conflict. Let a smile suffice for something small that is well done. And a child doesn’t have to see a mean-spirited grimace to know she did something inappropriate. A deep-rooted peace in the household can come about from parents who know what conflicts to tackle and which to let fade in the breeze.

You may be amazed at how “natural” you and your child will feel over time, as you let the minor things – good or bad — take a back seat so the truly significant occupies your energy.

Thought: In autumn, watch the trees — the leaves fall when they need, whether the wind is light or large. ¬†Spring always returns and renews.

Confronting Change

When a child goes off to school, some part of his parent goes happily along with him — while another part is saddened about the separation. Whether eight or eighteen, our children always seem to belong at home with us, at our side — even though we know the right thing is raising them to be independent.

A child goes through many seasons of life with us — but sometimes without us. When she grows an inch taller, or grows more toward her friends than toward us, or when she leaves home for college, we mourn the loss of innocence, grieve for the absence.

But we also discover that our children have created another kind of new life within us, something permanent and, in a unique way, unchangeable. When it comes to our children, change is a dynamic that empties us out and fills us up, that frightens us as it generates joy. Thank goodness we are — usually — equipped to handle the wild ride with love and grace.