Thursday, March 5, 2009

Meaningful Connections

Finally, a new blog entry! And it won’t be based on complaints! I’m excited about this. You may not think this is that big of a deal, but you should have seen all the blogs I tried to write and how crabby they sounded. As a result, I didn’t post them. You’re welcome. :)

There were some cute things I wanted to say about my kids, and I’m sure I’ll find a way to weave in the good stuff. The last few days have been especially reflective. As I’ve been climbing out of the Blahs, I’ve been filled with quite a bit of joy and inspiration. I have found myself driven to focus even more on becoming a better wife, prayer warrior, and parent… all of these being linked.

And since the house remains unchanged due to weather and now ROAD POSTINGS (curs-ed country Illinois roads), these realizations will probably drive a few of these blog posts in the near future.

So today I’m subbing in a science class. The students have a tricky worksheet they are working on and the teacher’s notes said they could use partners for help. One boy seemed to just be calling out numbers and writing down the answers the other students gave him, no thinking required. It bothered me, as it always does, and I attempted to intervene. Regardless of the conversation that followed, what reoccurred to me was this: It’s up to you to make connections in life.

That student might write down the answer and as he does so, recognize a link between what he writes, something in his brain, and the concept the worksheet is trying to convey. There may be learning actually going on. And maybe not. But it’s up to all of us to make the connections in life. It’s up to each of us to.. get an education, make sense of the world, figure out meaning.
No one can do it for you. At least not meaningfully.

And this is what I want to teach my kids. One of the thousand million things I want them to understand. Timeline for this goal? Hopefully before they make a career or mate choice. We’ll see. I remember in college a professor telling me that I was making connections that made my classes more meaningful. How long had I been doing that? Is it something that we develop? Are taught? Stumble upon? How do you teach that? And while I’m there, how do you teach your children to forgive?

These are the things I’m contemplating, partly because I’m reading a book called Raising Great Kids: Parenting with Grace and Truth. Those last 3 words are really what the book is about. (I would highly recommend it.) But with my recall today about making connections, I was reminded that while I will do what I can to parent with a balanced approach that’s not smothering or without boundaries, there is only so much I can do. It is up to my children, and students, to make decisions that will lead to a life of meaning and connection. Now I said that this post would be happier, so I won’t go into the sad part about accepting that my children will make mistakes and struggle and cry over loss and pain. And that I will be crying with them. Instead, for today, I am joyful that I have a God who has given our family so many resources to prepare our children for the world. And especially for the gift of a God who is the perfect balance of grace and truth, forgiving His children and loving them over and over again when we come to Him with a professing heart. Without this truth, I can’t imagine being a parent and not being completely a mess all the time. Or in denial.

So many reasons to be thankful. My kids are super healthy, smart, and beautiful (nice bonus). And although Sophie's smart-mouth drives me crazy, every night before she goes to sleep she says to me “Love you, love you,” and rolls over and goes to sleep. Thank you, God, for this connection.

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