Friday, January 31, 2014

Ideals and Beginnings of Notes from the Conference

You know how sometimes you just have a burning message that you really want to imprint deep down in the belly of your child's soul?  I sat down with Million over a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and I was exhorting him about the two parts of his brain that I hope he never allows to atrophy: creativity and curiosity.  Let me tell you, it was an inspiring lecture.  He was pumping his fists and declaring "Of course I do ask a lot of questions! I won't stop asking questions! I WILL read stories and do art with you Mommy! I won't stop learning! I will ALWAYS learn."  My adrenaline was pumping.  I was influencing the heart of my child for good.  Then I pulled out all the stops.  "Would you like to play with Play-Doh after we're done with our sandwiches?"

He looked up at me and said "Mommy, may I tell you a question?"  (I know.  I've tried fixing that.  But we're still working on "may" and "can"...)  I said "Sure, sweet pea, what do you want to ask?"

He whispered with a gleam of hope in his eyes "May I have....May I have a spoon to play with the Play-Doh?"  I replied that yes, I would allow him to have a spoon to play with.

And in that simple "yes," I gave him the world.

As I watched his celebratory whoops, hollers, and wiggles, I nearly cried.
My boy...this boy grown in American THIS excited about playing with a spoon.

Fast forward two hours later.  We had an errands stop because he is growing so much, and he needed a zippered sweatshirt.  This was a trip specifically for him.  I ruled out several undesirable sweatshirts and settled on the least of two evils.  After I had paid for the sweatshirt, I told him that he might be able to wear it at home this afternoon.  As we were walking out of the store, he held my hand and said "I wish somebody would buy ME something sometime."

As they would say in the old cartoons, "hubba-hubba-whaaaaaaat?!?!?!"   So all of my self-congratulatory thoughts about my child having the impeccable character of my ideals vanished.  But after a moment of conversation and asking him to define contentment, he voiced this sentence... "Maybe what I should have said was 'I wish somebody would buy cool superman sweatshirts for all the children who are cold.'"

Today, I am re-gathering my thoughts about the conference last weekend to share here.  I shared those stories to remind you all that I'm an idealist.  I have high ideals for myself and for those around me. In the past, I would have made a self-deprecating apology to those who have to live around me, but I've come to appreciate the role of idealism in this life.

I'll share two of the most meaningful quotes I wrote down from this past weekend, and then hopefully gather the rest of the notes for a post tomorrow morning.

  • "You can't feed your children only on breadcrumbs and expect them to be healthy."  This spoke to me on so many levels: intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, relationally.  As a mother, I have responsibility to feed my child's intellect, spirit, emotions, will.  I have the privilege and great task of cultivating my boys' character.  I cannot feed them what I do not have.  If I want to feed them spiritually, but I am neglecting the spiritual condition of my own heart, I will be feeding them breadcrumbs alone.  If I want to feed them intellectually, but I am allowing my time to be frittered away in front of a computer screen or in mindless pursuits, I am not only setting a poor example of diligence and industry in front of them, I am also neglecting to be kindling sparks of imagination and knowledge.  It also speaks to the quality of literature, art, music, conversation in our household.  I want my children to be healthy.  I want them to cultivate appetites for what is healthy for them.  So I need to ensure that I'm allowing them to feast upon what is good.  (Are you sensing why my little idealistic heart loved this conference?)
  • "We need mothers who will do the work now so that they will have something to say later."  Ouch.  It's so tempting in this society to claim to have the answers now, before they've stood the test of time.  I want to be a mother who has invested all of her heart and soul into cultivating her children's hearts for the purpose of sending them out into the world to change the world for God.  They are my mission field. They are my mission field....I need to repeat that.  I do not need to waste time trying to convert anyone who will listen to my chosen methodology.  As long as I am doing the work, day after day, and remaining faithful in what Sally called "the hidden years,"....that is what God has called me to.
Okay, now Creedence is awake, and I need to put my ideals to practice. 

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