(I asked three of my favorite dads…including my awesome husband…what they learned from being a dad. Here are their responses. They are brilliant.)
- Not to judge other parents. I haven’t walked in their shoes. We all need grace. It’s the hardest job there is.
- To admit my mistakes and to be the first to apologize to my kids when we conflict.
- To make the relationship and not the rules the priority. To focus on their heart and not their behavior.
- To listen more and lecture less.
- That how I live counts much more than what I say.
- That boundaries are key and that knowing how to manage boundaries (set, maintain, relax, alter, scrap, reinforce) is ridiculously complicated and confusing.
- That I lack patience and am not long-suffering.
- That it’s really hard to keep loving your kids when they are obnoxious.
- The mistakes I made as a dad can be redeemed as I grow and change.
- What it’s like to love unconditionally. Period. End of story. No matter what they did, I would love them. It helped me understand God’s unfailing love for me.
(Credit to Glenn Murphy, Allen Goetz and Frank Ellerbusch…Happy Father’s Day to you!)
As the year ends…..and the New Year begins.
…reflections on Kahil Gibran’s “On Children” 31 December 2010 at 20:52 @ Copyright 2010 by my friend and fellow mom, Mary Cypher
I’ve always thought that Janus, the Roman god with two faces was an appropriate metaphor for this time of year. It is good to look back and then forward at the same time, to take stock, to adjust expectations, establish objectives. This can be a time of celebration, of sadness, a taste of the bittersweet. It is so for me.
My Facebook status early last month was “My youngest greeted me with the words ‘This is your last day with a 6 year old!'” It struck me that I’ve been a mother for 30 years and I am at the end of a season in my life.
I smiled as she spun and danced celebrating growing older, as only the very young do. Quickly, a lump formed in my throat as I grasped that she really was quite big! My baby was no longer so little.
In an age in which most people have 2.5 children, I chose to have a dozen. I had tots and teens for a long time, and truly reveled in the experience; the delight of their discoveries, the pleasure of their innocence and guilelessness.
It has been my unadulterated joy to give my children love AND to share my love of knowledge, of language, literature, history, art, music, & nature with them. Because, thank God, they too developed similar passions, we have had wonderful conversations and I am awed by the depth of character and the understanding that they have.
Now, I am forced to acknowledge that part of my life is over. Having shoved that realization to the back of my mind, even though it was still there percolating, Kahil Gibran’s poem,”On Children” came back into my thoughts during a quiet moment.
I smiled wistfully as I remembered how, as a 17 year old, I read these words with such a wash of relief:
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
I remember feeling justified in pulling away from my immigrant parents and seeking my own identity, indeed, my own nationality. These words particularly resonated within my 17 year old Self:
“You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
” Yes!” I thought then.
How little I knew at that time that I would need the traditions, the values (if not the identity) of the heritage for which I had little use. Little did I realize how sad it must have made my parents.
It’s a painful part of parenting, releasing the son or daughter that your heart still calls “my child”. As a mother whose children range in age from 7 to 30 now, I think how true the words from Gibran’s poem really are.
Their souls DO dwell in the house of tomorrow. As much as I love them, they stretch their wings, reaching for the sky, seeking to go forward, upward — to a place I cannot go.
Half of my offspring are young adults now, and I have come nearly full circle as I truly begin to understand the last stanza of Gibran’s poem:
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The Archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
The sheer pleasure of having very little ones in my home is now a thing of yesterday. A wonderful, special season, that I will always remember, but which belongs to yesterday. I look at my youngest, who looks so much like me, and think,
“I must still be a stable bow for her and the rest who are still in the nest, that they may grow to be men and women who also will freely bend to the Archer’s Will.”
Thank you for taking the time to listen! Please share this with anyone and everyone you know who has someone in their lives called children 🙂
I would love to welcome my husband today to this blog. He is a man lean of speech, hence a beautiful haiku. This man is the heart of my hearts, love of my life, sharer of my faith and lover of Jesus.
Radiant morning follows
His true way revealed
Happy Easter Everyone from my heart to yours (and now my husband’s heart to yours as well)!
Just do it all right, make all the right, godly choices and life goes the way you thought it would or think it should.
What happens then?
Is all hope lost?
My friend, Maria, newly divorced, unpacks this better than I can today with a poem she’s written to herself on her 54th birthday, one where she is vulnerable, raw, truthful and filled with hope (and I am all about all of that)!
This is 54
In all my imperfections
In all my power
In all my insecurities
In every way
Owning every blessing
And every good gift
Owning every wrinkle
My 54 year old self
Could use a lift ☺
Better late than never
Better off now alone
Better to be alone and lonely
Than lonely in my home
I’m not sure what happened
Not sure why
I waited so long
But know my children mattered more to me
more than my own
I move on in power
I know its not too late
To have the love I long for
With the one I can relate
But first I love myself
I walk in all my truth
Owning my need for more
Unrealized in my youth
Time has passed by quickly
Many ways a blessed life
I thought all the answers
Were in being someone’s wife
But fairytales and stories
The things our people make us believe
While they tried their best
see the need
The need to guide in honesty
That love is more than what is seen
Its deeper, it is constant
There is passion
you can believe
The knowledge of your whole heart
Being touched and nurtured
Sweet and raw
The wisdom of its purity
That’s what will last for long
So I give this to myself now
I love myself in all my truth
I love that I am fragile
I love the wisdom without youth
I own my insecurities
How I need to feel valued and be seen
I own my need for time, connection,
Want the dream!
I call it the trifecta
Emotional, Mental, Physical
For now I give it to myself
My love tank
It is full
As “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
Plays on the radio
My childhood song still resonates
My soul and heart
Know what I desire
Is more than a fairy tale
Know what fuels my fire
I will have it
I wish myself a Happy Birthday
Treasuring every good gift
that’s in my life
My family and friends
Who value me
That’s the love
I can’t deny
My journey’s just beginning
My heart remains so full
So thankful it’s not broken
But open and vulnerable still
I share this in transparency
To encourage others in their way
I want to live authentically
Boldly, wholly, deep.
In every way
Those who know me best
Love me as I am
The good, the bad, the ugly
As only good friends can
I walk into my second half of life
With so much more to give
is my goal now
There’s only one life
here to live
My faith it keeps me grounded
Shows me the way
His Love and mercy
Filling me each day
My thoughts they keep on coming
As my heart
Thankful for love and grace
Thankful that it shows
Is my gift
I give myself today
Until my dying day.
I love this! I love the picture of Maria’s and her daughter’s tattoos on their wrists they got a few years ago! How beautiful the reminder that there is always sunshine on a cloudy day! How beautiful that those words of hope ring true for her and for my own heart today! The sun always shines above the clouds, even when I can’t see it or feel its warmth! When my own life is not going the way I thought it would or think it should, this poem will gently remind my heart that there is ALWAYS GREAT HOPE!! Thank you again Maria! You are a gift!
Today, I am SO EXCITED to be featured in a blog series about Enneagrams and Motherhood! I am a TYPE 8, which makes being a mom a pretty windy (long “I” sound) journey! Please find the post by clicking below. I am the last one at the bottom! So for all you Enneagram types out there, enjoy what you read and get a glimpse and some hope for your own parenting journeys!
Hey Friends! I hope your April is off to an amazing start. Its hard to believe that we are almost at the end of this incredible Enneagram and Motherhood series. 3,259 more words
This is beautiful! Enjoy!! And make your own traditions!
I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day. It must have something to do with a simple family tradition started by my parents back when I was a little girl. Each year we would roll out a red gingham table cloth on the floor of our living room and cover it with greasy French fries and Kentucky fried chicken. Our Valentine’s Day indoor picnic. When middle school rolled around, I had friends who hated the it and they would lament that they didn’t have a Valentine date. Still I loved the holiday because of our little tradition.
Today, I cherish it in a new way, decorating my home with little reminders of love and rolling out an indoor picnic blanket for my new little family. Check out the small touches around my home that I’ve used to decorate this Valentine’s Day:
This year our back porch door is decorated with a wreath I made…
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I saw this today on Facebook from my fellow-blogger, Janet Newberry. I’m not sure what you are waiting for, frustrated by, questioning, or can’t see the “plan for” today, especially with Tuesday looming on the horizon.
Sometimes Christmas cheer “being sung for all to hear” leaves us staring at the reality of our own lives and wondering, “Can anything good come out of all of this?” Janet’s reminder to my heart today was too GOOD not to share here with you readers! You can read more about her at the end!
Anyone else need to be reminded today?
God has a plan.
These words were a gift to me in prayer several weeks ago:
And I forget.
I forget because, with eyes of sight, I don’t see the plan. We’re spending this Christmas season in an ugly RV park. This morning we wake up crowded with the laundry we hung to dry yesterday and the Christmas presents that need to be wrapped–all sharing our tiny space.
There’s no place to sit in here.
There’s no place to invite friends–or enjoy family.
The booth you see in the pic is our dining table, office space, my writing desk—and gift wrapping center.
As beautiful as it is to travel in Freedom (our Airstream)—it is not our home away from home. It is our 365 days a year home. 19 months into this adventure, we are feeling all the feels of a small space on a rented spot—where we plug in, but don’t belong.
RV parks are functional—not beautiful.
I get frustrated pretty easily when functional gets to take precedence…and beautiful seems to be forgotten.
So, today, I am writing these words—and making them public, because they are the beautiful I am holding onto with all my heart:
And I am remembering that the manger was not a revision to the nativity story. Mary and Joseph were not cursed with “no room in the inn.” They were entrusted with the ordinary—and given eyes to see the extraordinary.
In the middle of the not beautiful—and honestly ugly, and simply functional—Mary and Joseph held the extraordinary in their arms and in their hearts.
The manger didn’t interrupt God’s story. It was His story.
God didn’t look for someone more able to care for His Son when Mary and Joseph failed to create a social media applaudable baby nursery.
Christ was born into the chaos—and into the tiny space of the manger—because this was God’s plan.
Love fits perfectly in tiny spaces. Perfect love casts out fear—when we trust Him.
The story of the coming Messiah had been written very differently in the minds of those who longed for Him to come.
We write our own stories in our waiting.
Christ was going to come as a King! A new ruler! “Us” instead of “them” was finally going to win!
God’s story was love. God’s plan is for “us” and “them.” When Love rules, we all win.
And the manger was not Mary and Joseph’s permanent home. God kept speaking. The angels kept leading. And the story of Jesus’ life continued.
Out of Bethlehem. To Jerusalem. Back to Galilee. Nazareth.
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46)
That may be your question today, too. “Can anything good come out of this?”
Today’s place in your story may not be what you’ve “planned for.” And it’s not the place you want to stay. You can’t yet see the words on the next page. Me, neither.
Will you remind me, too, friends?
Together, let’s trust the One who’s holding the pen. He’s “PLANNED FOR” you.
He’s “PLANNED FOR” me, too.
Today’s setting and circumstances—in your story, and ours—don’t come as a surprise to our Father. He knows.
He knows our hurts and our hopes—and He has a plan to touch both—with beautiful.
THERE IS GREAT HOPE!
Janet Newberry is an educational consultant– and an unshakeable believer in the transforming power of love. Janet and her husband Doug have sold their home and travel America in an Airstream named Freedom.
Janet and Doug help families have real conversations without shame, so children have the freedom to ask for help in relationships of trust.
Janet coaches families in personal relationships as they connect with her in online classes that help people untangle fear and trust love.
Advent is the “Howl of the Not-Yet,” the WAITING for wrong to be made right, hopes to be made sight, broken places to be healed and questions to be answered. We wait for God to come. We wait for Christmas morning!
Our journeys are bumpy, filled with twists and turns, steps forward and slides backward, confusion and clarity, the messy and the beautiful. It can seem like Advent never ends. We cry out! We howl! We plead! “How long? How long?” We wait.
But is waiting only reserved for us? Are we the only ones who cry and long and plead? What if God has His own Advent, His own howl, His own waiting. What if God is waiting for us?
Join with my friend Annie Ellerbusch as she uncovers this.
I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about waiting (the Season we have upon us). What am I waiting for? What have I been waiting for all my life? Maybe it’s more like what am I missing? I know I am missing something, but what is it?
As I persisted in thinking, I realized I had been focused on my waiting, MY waiting. But I was not the only one waiting. God was waiting for me. God had been for a long time.
God was waiting in the most intimate places of my being, in the parts that only the two of us could visit, the memories that only the two of us shared, the places where I pushed down all that I could not accept, understand, or live with
…all the parts that I had ignored, dismissed, disowned, outgrown, left behind, rejected, abandoned, hid away or hid from
…all the parts that I could not expose or share, that needed to be locked away for their own protection, or to protect myself and others
…all the parts that were either too bad or too dangerous to be set free, or too good and precious to risk losing
God was there waiting for me, waiting IN me.
God was keeping all the parts safe, every one of them. God valued and treasured all of them, all of me. The words that came to me were intense, even insistent.
“It is your JOB and your JOY to take care of all of your parts, to take care of your self. Only you can do it. No one else will do it for you. No one else CAN do it for you. Not even ME. This is your job, your responsibility.
This is also your gift. You are a GIFT. You are My gift to Me. You are My gift to you. You are My gift to the world.
Take your self. Love your self. Own your self. Care for your self.
Trust me. You will see. You will see what good will come from this.”
God was waiting for me to come and claim all my parts, to look at them and learn about them, to see them and hear them, to understand them, to accept and love them, to learn to care about them and for them, to welcome them back, to gather them up into the whole, my whole
. . . to inhabit my own wholeness , wholly known, wholly loved, and wholly free.