I’ve been realizing lately the importance of the days of small things. I won’t remember every one of these days, one is much like the next, but I know that each one is shaping my children into the people they are growing into. Each day is full of opportunity to teach them, help them, and be with them. I feel like so often our culture speeds us up and makes us disdain the days of small things, it’s like a punchline to a joke. Yet, what a blessing it is to have them! As I read about the tragedies unfolding around the world, the blessing of having occasionally dull days is not lost on me.
I used to feel trapped by daily chores and jobs, but as my children get older and I realize that my time with them is so fleeting, I enjoy the days we have at home where we can accomplish things together. From teaching them photography or music to shooting our bows or baking cakes, there is always something to do.
I also realize that these days are the time for me to show my kids what it means to be a person of integrity and a person who works hard and works well. I try to model excellence to them, as that is what I want them to try and give me in return. It’s been annoying lately to keep reminding myself that I will get out of them what I put in: if I put in snappy words, arguments, rolled eyes, and laziness, why should I expect anything different? It’s been a kick in the butt to hold myself accountable for the example I am setting! Because of this, my phone time is way down and things like doing the dishes as soon as we finish a meal or practicing my instruments is way up. Because I want them to be musicians, I must model good discipline to practice. Because I want them to recognize that it is an honorable thing to be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given (like our houses, food, even the dishes we eat on) I try to model cleanliness…while not holding too strictly. I don’t want them to have cleaning anxiety, but I do want them to be responsible. Cleanliness isn’t godliness, but I do think it is a good thing to learn.
This balance is hard! And it can be tiring. And I don’t want you to think I’ve got it all figured out…just that I’m realizing I need be diligent in more than just the words I say but also in the actions I model. My kids are starting to get to the age where they are going to be able to tell if I am being a hypocrite and telling them to do things or expecting a standard that I don’t keep myself.
I also want them to learn to take time to do things. Our culture spends so much time watching other people do things, that is why reality TV and Instagram are such a big deal… but I don’t want that for my children! I want them to have a drive that pushes them to explore the woods, to be the best archer (or artist, or musician, or whatever), to know everything there is to know about whatever interests them and to have a drive to do what they put their hands to well. I will gladly take advice from others who have walked this road before me: how do I push my kids to do things well without burning them out or making them feel like they need to be perfect? I haven’t figured that one out yet at all. My second daughter has had some major struggles since her spinal cord surgery in 2019, things are harder for her. I don’t want to push her to break, but I do know that she has adversity in her life (like it or not, it’s here to stay) and I want her to learn to overcome it without fearing the inevitable failures that will come her way.
We sure do have fun together. I really love that my kids are growing into people who I genuinely like and want to spend time with!
I would love to hear from others: what are your biggest goals as parents? How do you achieve these?