When I first decided to homeschool I could not read enough about the subject. I gobbled up every website and book I could get my hands on and I became a devoted student of some Alaskan homeschool families...they know who they are.
I can't even believe it but now I am the one who is being asked about homeschooling. I have written about it before and would like to reiterate how this is not the intent of my blog and it is really more of a lifestyle choice for us.
So one of the tidbits I picked up from the plethora of books I read was that really...reading to even the youngest of children should be a source of great joy and comfort for the child. Soft lighting, a cozy lap, a comfy blanket, and a mama who is ready to settle down and linger awhile with each book. One could say it is a great art and I am proud to boast of having mastered many dialects although my fall back is usually a British accent (must be the years of watching Downton Abby).
Reading, in the end, would be a sense of joy for your little not only because of the amazing stories being told but because of the close relationship being built between the parent and child while reading. So when our children see a worn hard bound classic beckoning them on a bookshelf, they not only have a sense of wonder, but they think "Ah, this would be nice to curl up with" even though YOUR lap might not be there.
So, I have in the past year, have had quite a different approach to how I speak, touch and look at my children in Mass. I see it most with my six year old daughter. She likes to sit in my lap during Mass. I have been stroking her hair more. She kind of tucks her head under my chin. There is a part of me who thinks she is huge and I have a four year old and eighteen month old to have in my LAP, really my six year old too???
But I have kind of talked myself into believing that much is at stake here. That this child, who is in the middle, is taking everything in as gift and our time together in Mass is a gift. She has her own relationship with the Good Shepherd, but she has her own relationship with me. I want her connection with me in Mass, in our beautiful Church, to be one when mama is most approachable. When mama is at great peace and mama is loving.
THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN ALL THE TIME.
Mama is human and DOES lose peace. There are "in the pew" tiffs between kids all the time. Or the tinkling of goldfish that spill all over during a homily...no food in the sanctuary (gasp!). There are pew head bonks which are so loud but you know the THUNDER of your little one's cry will be even louder. Ha! I sometimes hear head bonks and I think, "wait for it....wait for it..." as I watch the desperate parent try to soothe the poor child. I have a wild imagination and sometime I feel like Our Lord Himself would have been preaching a parable to hear a bonk and walk up an aisle and take little Betty Lou in his arms and look into her eyes, "Are you ok? That hurts doesn't it?" The bright sparkling eyes of a Messiah who is so in Love.
Be those eyes!
He wants us to listen and be attentive. Much more He wants us to be there and feel loved. Isn't Mass about feasting with Him and our relationship with Him? Isn't it all about relationships anyway? It being LIFE!
Yes, reverence is desirable, but I find instead of TELLING my children to be reverent, it is more important they see ME being reverent. I am trying my very best in Mass to be gentle and loving and smiling. No furled eyebrows. Building relationships over here in pew 30 of the left wing of the sanctuary.
I would like to take this power hour of who mama is in Mass and now extend it to other areas of my life...er...all areas really.
When Mama is at dinner, who is she? Will my children remember dinner as a time when Mama becomes the manners monster (because she is obsessed with all things old money)? Can dinner be the time when we all talk about our day and ask daddy about his? Is Mama smiling? When my children come to our table, I would love for it to be with anticipation because relationship building happens there. Even when they come home from college...to long to be at table. This all starts now right?
I hear Him saying, "Be gentle with YOURSELF Stephanie and please please ask Me for Help here. I am all about relationship building. I gave you my Son."
It is Thursday? I am planning a soup for dinner tomorrow! Are you guys cranking out soups?
God Bless xxoo