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.