Wednesday, April 17

The thin veneer

Spring break was celebrated with most of us home for nine glorious days together.  I usually think nine is a big number, but at the end of those days I realized just how few and small nine really is.  I wanted more!

The weather was absolutely amazing.  Even though it was the first week of April, we had a few days of bright sunshine and actual warmth here in the northwest.

There is a thin veneer that separates a family from the world outside.  A coating of values and morales.  It is maintained thru family dinners, conversations, time spent together, and knowing where and who we are as a family.  The veneer wears down after awhile and suddenly you find your family becoming more a part of the culture and society and less resembling like the family that you purpose for.  So in addition to partially painting our home over spring break, I also wanted to reclaim my family and thicken the veneer!

As a mom I've long realized that I cannot avoid exposing my children to the negative aspects of the world.  For the small boys, I limit their tv watching to only recorded programs that don't have commercials and select what movies they watch.  I'm involved with their school schedule and know the curriculum so that I have a sense of what "I want them to learn and see" is there each day.  For my young adults I purpose daily to talk to them and really focus on the conversation.  Where are their hearts.  What are their eyes pointing toward.  Is in negative?

In a more positive direction, I can teach them the "truer" forms of satisfaction that our culture and society cannot deliver to them.  The sense of accomplishment, the giving up of 'self' in service to others and the joy of relationships.

The sense of accomplishment for hard work.  We accomplished this together as cleaning barn stalls and a hen house instill not only larger muscles, but an immediate sense of accomplishment and ability to persever thru the trials and yuk of the mess in the meanwhile.  We moved Hannah into her new apartment which she shares with her sweet roomie from her dorm.  They now have a MUCH quieter place to study, eat, and relax!  Both girls are very involved in
their church children's programs and that as we all know is a lot of hard work. Liam's hard work at soccer practices is paying off for his increased skill set.  Nate just finished the Lavaman in Kona HI the week prior and beat his father's time, a sense of accomplishment bar none.  Tommy's hard work with pre literacy skills is shining and his personal sense of pride in his own skills has never been higher.
The reward of serving others.  Tommy and I enjoyed spending Friday after volunteering at Down syndrome outreach of Whatcom County.  An amazing group of folks who so sincerely care about people with Down syndrome.  As a family we have volunteered alongside them for about five years, giving a couple hundred hours of volunteer hours each year and having so much fun doing it.  A few of us ran a dinner meal to friends too that week.  Just different ways to serve others and remind them they are important pieces to life!

The joy of engaging relationally.  The little boys and I got some quick take out food after soccer practice and escaped to the beach for dinner. With driftwood for a table, the sound of waves pulling rocks and rolling them back to sea, a beautiful sunny break and the heavy smell of wonderful salt water we dined just the three of us. I love parenting my littles and showing them how to simply live.  Going on date nights with my hubby happened on spring break!  A picinic with Hannah and just me where we talked and talked in the sunshine.  Family sit down dinners.  Reading chapter books aloud.  Reading from the bible.  All wonderful ways we increased joy of getting to know each other even more!

A sense of accomplishment from hard work, the reward of serving others, and the joy of engaging relationally.  All these are better pointers to the satisfaction of knowing God.  Not the easy negative stuff that exists in society and culture that looks like you "want" and would "make you happy".   In the bible, Paul taught what he prayed for.  And although I'm looking at my next career to be as a teacher, I would fall far short from Paul's teachings.  I look intentionally to share with my family how to pray and teach them how to mold their attitudes, relationships, sense of self, what they worry about and where they find contentment.  I demonstrate and teach to them exactly what I believe their value systems should contain and I pray for their discernment as they go from me and face the world daily. 
Polishing the thin veneer.  It's what I did on spring break.  How 'bout you?

Tommy Adventures