Doing the Little Things

We are so busy as moms! It isn’t possible to do all that our children ask us to do. I heard this heart-stirring poem when I had 3 little rambunctious boys —Daniel (5), Mark (1) and Nathan (3)—that kept me busy morning ’til night. It made me want to slow down and listen to their little requests to “look at me, Mom!” It made me want to read the stories and play with them more. Now that my sons are grown, I have discovered how true this poem is! Take a moment right now, if you can, and “do the little things he asks you to”. You won’t regret it!

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To My Grown-Up Son

 

My hands were busy through the day

I didn’t have much time to play

The little games you asked me to.

I didn’t have much time for you.

I’d wash your clothes, I’d sew and cook,

But when you’d bring your picture book

And ask me, please, to share your fun,

I’d say, “A little later, Son.”

I’d tuck you in all safe at night,

And hear your prayers, turn out the light,

Then tiptoe softly to the door.

I wish I’d stayed a minute more.

For life is short, and years rush past,

A little boy grows up so fast.

No longer is he at your side.

His precious secrets to confide.

The picture books are put away,

There are no children’s games to play,

No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear.

That all belongs to yesteryear.

My hands once busy, now lie still

The days are long and hard to fill.

I wish I might go back and do

The little things you asked me to.

       —Alice E. Chase

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My grown-up sons now: Ammon, Daniel, Nathan, and Mark

 

 

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First, a Relationship

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“First we have a relationship, then we have an educational method.” —Karen Andreola

And so it is. As homeschool moms, we sometimes get involved trying to figure out what philosophy to follow, what type of teaching we should do, or what curriculum we should select. We eagerly read books, buy curriculum, and “try on” educational methods as if we were shoe shopping. But no “shoe” fits until we have established a warm, loving relationship. No method can make up for a strained relationship with your child, your student. Until the relationship is working right, the educational approach doesn’t really matter very much at all.

So, instead of focusing on what educational philosophy or curriculum you are going to use in your homeschool, think instead of how you are going to build your relationship with your child. Brainstorm ways to reach each child’s heart. Co-operation and a desire to follow you will come naturally when the relationship is strong! As you bind your children’s heart to you in love, you will be creating the very best environment for learning, no matter what method you end up choosing.

Here’s some ideas for knitting your hearts together:

*Listen and give eye contact when your child talks to you.

*Take a walk and hold hands.

*Give a sincere compliment.

*Smile.

*Lay on her bed and talk while she is getting ready to go somewhere.

*Look at what he has put on his bedroom walls and comment positively.

*Say “yes” whenever you possibly can.

*Give her a shoulder rub when you are sitting together.

*Ask him to cook with you, and let him choose the meal.

*Sit on the floor next to your child while she is building with legos or playing dolls.

*Tell another how capable (or kind, or helpful, etc.) he is—loud enough so he can overhear you.

*Resist the urge to set something straight (his hair, his room, the way he set the table, etc.)

*Actively encourage your child in following his special interest by getting him the necessary supplies, mentor, books, and opportunities.
(This, more than anything else I have done, has spoken “love” to my eager, curious sons.)

*Read aloud together.

*Remember your child is young and trying to figure out life. Be forgiving.

*Go swimming together.
(Sometimes we moms are a bit reluctant to get our hair wet or to put on a swimsuit, but it really is a playful, bonding time.)

*Don’t criticize ever. If he needs instruction, do it privately and kindly, reassuring him of your love.

*Make something together—a candle, a skirt, a clay sculpture, a pizza . . .

*Listen.

*Listen.

*Listen.

 

 

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My “Anti-Busting” Campaign

hand-166442_1280“Pick up your shoes”

“Don’t slam the door”

“Why are you late?”

“Didn’t you remember to _______?”

You’re BUSTED!

Slang though it is, “busting” is defined as accusing, getting someone in trouble, criticizing, judging, placing under arrest, pointing out a fault, putting down, belittling . . . It is easy to do, and gets to be a habit. Kids do it to each other, Mom does it to Dad, Dad does it to Mom, even the dog gets “busted”.

We live in a world where being a “critic” is a job someone gets paid for. . . and the rest of us practice up on it. We have movie critics, book critics, editors (yet another form of spotting errors). While there is a place for this, it is not in loving family relationships. Seeing the best in each other, having kind words for those that make mistakes, forgiveness—these belong in a happy family.

At my house, I am on an “Anti-Busting” Campaign. What’s that? It’s an attempt to go against the flow of our culture, and stop “busting” each other. Instead of accusing someone, I am trying to stop and purposefully be loving and understanding. Instead of asking “why didn’t you? . . . “why don’t you?” or “why did you do that!?”. . . . , I am trying not to judge, but to help.

Assuming everyone is trying to do their best makes life so much more pleasant. Since we all make mistakes and will be on the receiving end sooner or later, why not soften and sweeten how we interact? And stop “busting” each other.

I’m not giving parents an excuse to be lazy in training their children, but I think even in following-up on kids, we can be kinder and less critical. And to put ourselves in each other’s shoes.

My secret gift to my family? I’m trying not to bust anyone!

 

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