Saturday, March 3, 2012

What I Do, Not Just What I Say

I have moms, friends who have asked me how I get my kids interested in things they find most kids aren't interested in...


The only thing I can think of and clearly never articulate well is that I do these things myself.

Jane set up a little cooking station in front of me at the coffee table. I was sitting on the couch with my knitting, tea, and a box of Kleenex. I also had my copy of The Well Trained Mind, the iPad and my camera. I won't be moving much today as my head feels like an inflated balloon.

Jane decided to bring her party to me. She even scripted her own cooking show....a regular mini-Martha Stewart. She's seen me make cookies so many times drawing all of the kids into what I'm doing.

That's the trick....drawing them in....not demanding, but doing the thing you want them to love simply because you love it yourself. I love sewing because my mom sewed my clothes and let me use her machine. I love knitting because I saw my mom, my aunts, and my grandmother crochet and knit, too. I love to can because my mom canned her own vegetables. She wasn't really into cooking, but she gave me room to experiment and supported my efforts.

I have done all of the things I listed above.....yes, I even discerned a vocation to the religious life. I gave away my clothes, most of my other stuff, and went away for a year. It was a great experience. I didn't know at the time that it would become a lesson later about hearing the voice of god and acting on that call. I can't tell you how many times that lesson has come up with my older girls who are open to the religious life as well.  And, more so, they are dedicated to hearing the will of God and acting on it.  Even though I wasn't called to live life as a religious sister, I have fully embraced my vocation to be a married person in this world.  Yes, I am the 99%!  That is, the 99% who do not have a call to live as a spouse of Christ.  I have the chance to show that I am living a true marriage to my children.  Not only is marriage about being in a loving and committed relationship, it's about loving when there is little to no love being returned and when the commitment is challenged because of the lack of that love.  What are you committed to?  If it's rosy feelings and only staying committed when those rosy feelings are there, what will you show your children when the going gets tough because it will?

How, you might ask, can a child in this anti-life culture desire things that are not popular (i.e. prayer, vocation, reading, writing). Well, it really does take a village! But you have to make sure you know who is in that village and are they the influences you want your child to be influenced by. Are they good influences? Do those influences (teachers, schools, friends, media) uphold the true, the good, and the beautiful? What is in your village? Does that village see parents as the primary educators of its children or is that authority questionable? Do you question if you have enough to influence and guide your child yourself? If not, you're going to need a village. But make sure it's one where you hold the reins of what comes in or out.

If I read, they read. If I write....blogging does count!....they write. If I craft, they want to learn. If I pray, I find evidence that they do quietly to their Father in heaven.  If I want to receive the Holy Eucharist worthily, I have to go to confession.  And if I go to confession, amazingly, they also want to go.  The same goes for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Likewise, the children also pick up bad habits. This is never more humbling than if you homeschool your children. Their bickering, slipped swearing, discontent, maliciousness, and lippy comments likely come from you. Unfortunately, I do swear, yell, and may be taken to a point where I fly off the handle. They see all of this and can't help being influenced. When they are frustrated, hormonally challenged, or sick; they revert to mimicking my lowest moments. I think I also speak for Daddy. I am not proud of my weaknesses, but know that you are not alone. We all have our deficiencies. But I do think the positive outweighs the negative. At least I believe in a higher power that compels me to live with that hope!  And my higher power is greater than myself and my whims and has given me the sacraments I mentioned above to give me the spiritual advantage to encounter Him in order to overcome those deficiencies.  In my weakness I am made strong because He comes to me.  I really believe that.

If they're is something you would like to improve take heart. As we approach the second Sunday of Lent, know we all have more time in the desert. Lent isn't over yet. And I know I have to go deeper than giving up diet pop!

*Sorry for the fuzzy pictures....they were taken from the IPad.  They were just too cute not to give you a peek into our day.


  1. Beautifully said...sorry for not commenting as often as I know i should but please know that I read each blog and love that I can see all of the beautiful and wonderful things you all are doing. I love you all so much and pray for a blessed lenten season. May we all grow closer to Christ in all we think, speak, feel and do.

    1. Thanks for the comment love.:) I hope you are having a blessed Lent, too. I should call you sometime...there is so much to catch up on. Love to you!

  2. Grace,

    I agree with everything you say! I have found the same with my children. They want to do things I do, and the more passionate I am about something, the more they want to know about it. And of course, we have to be willing to involve our children in our own activities, taking time to include them. Such a great post!

    I never tried the religious life as I married Andy and then I converted. My daughter, however, was in an enclosed order for 2 years. In the end, religious life was not what God wanted for her. But like you, she gave everything away when she entered the convent. I really admire this. It shows a full hearted giving of oneself regardless of the outcome. Grace, what order did you belong to?

    I am off to read your post again.

    God bless!

    I almost forgot: your blog looks amazing!

    1. Thanks, Sue. I'd rather not say which order out of respect for their anonymity. I love them so dearly, but Paul suggested I keep the name of the order off our blog. You never now how the enemy could use my blog to hurt their work. Thanks for understanding.:) And thanks for the encouraging words about our new blog look. I love it! It makes me happy. I thought a new look for Spring would be refreshing.:)

    2. I understand totally about not naming the order, Grace. I have written a couple of times about my daughter's experience in the convent but I have maintained anonymity too. God bless!

    3. Thanks again for understanding, Sue.:)

  3. What you said about marriage made me feel like a kind friend was giving me a reminder - thank you for that.

    1. Hugs, MBJD.:) All us mommies are in this together.

  4. OH my goodness - complete make over! Love the new blog look. This is such a great article. I totally agree with you. None of us are perfect, but if we show the children what we do in our weakness, and how we deal with anger, etc., then they can learn the good things from us, like relying on God, etc. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Elisa!:) I'm glad we are all in this together....weak mommies trying to raise strong kids. With God's help, we can do this!;)


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