Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Providing Nourishment

Have you ever just craved nourishment?  How do you get it physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Because I have these questions and I want answers, I've asked a series of people to come in and share how they find nourishment.  Will you come along for the journey?  We will meet here every Thursday until the posts  run out.  Have something to share about nourishment?  Contact me and we will set a date!

Meet Theresa.  Every single time I go to her blog, I am fed.  She is one, filled with the Holy Spirit, that touches me gracefully. I pray that her words about nourishment would touch your soul as well...

It’s mid-morning and all four children are playing together – the kind of play you just want to leave alone because you don’t see it often enough. 

All too often I feel like I’m fighting for my time while my children are demanding it. Most mornings, I wake up before the rest of the house and take time for myself with prayer and devotion. Then, I’ll get started on one of my projects, such as, writing, photo editing, digital scrap booking, etc. yet, I haven’t given myself that distinct stopping point. I shamefully cringe at the sound of a waking child, quietly begging, "Not yet, I'm not ready!" There are times I, admittedly, attend to the basic needs of the children all the while stealing time away to continue that project throughout the day. In this case, my children are not my first priority and as a result, before too long, I have needy, whiny, nagging chaos.
  
Recently, my husband gave me a day for myself. It was a nice break! When I returned, everyone was content. My husband said the kids did great – and that we would be having company over for dinner.

My attention went quickly from, “hello,” to scoping out a messy house, to unloading bags, to what we were preparing for dinner, and then on to our company – and without thinking, I had pushed my children off the rest of the evening. Need I mention, they were off the wall loud, whiny, needy…you name it! My husband commented, at one point, on their behavior. I thought for a moment then concluded, "Our children are simply reflecting our parenting tonight."

When I see behavioral issues with my children, I need to take a good look at myself first and ask, “Have I attended to their needs properly?”

We don't give birth to crazy, off the wall, misbehaved children. We birth children who were simply created with a need for love and attention, whether it is encouraging attention or disciplinary. When we don't show them proper attention, they cry out for it by acting out, nagging, whining, and arguing.

I think sometimes we forget that because we feel entitled to our adult time or simply our time.

But, here is what I have learned over the years:

When we start our day, event, whatever it may be; when we intentionally attend to our children first, they will generally give us more time than we need. We don't have to fight for our time when they feel loved and attended to. I am amazed how they will play together, color, or work contently on a project once I have taken time out for their morning routine and they have fully and presently been attended to.

For us this means seeing the world through their eyes, being in-tune to their hearts, and parenting them like they really matter – more than our friends, our hobbies, our careers, our opportunities; they matter. 

Monte Swan, author of Romancing Your Child’s Heart says,

“Too often we rush in, caught up in the busyness and complexity of life, expecting our children to follow the timetable of our particular romance agenda. It’s like planting seeds out of season in soil that’s untilled and not fertile. Whether we like it or not, there’s a window of opportunity for romance that’s open for a specific time – and then it closes.”

Even when it appears that we, as parents, are doing all the right things, it can be draining and frustrating still to battle misbehavior. Yet, when it comes to our children, let us be determined to win their hearts. It may take a moment with one, and yet a whole day with another. In other circumstances it may take more time and more drastic measures, but to reach their heart is where nourishment takes root. And when they feel nourished, they feel loved. When they feel loved, they’ll take off and soar full of healthy energy, rather than depleting ours.

 We have a key to parenting, right in our back pocket, and if we choose to use it, it works.

That key is labeled nourishment.

This morning I simply closed my project in enough time to prepare for waking children. I was fully present to each one; we went on a morning walk around the neighborhood and home again for a snack. And then they disappeared into glorious cooperative, imaginative play – and isn’t that what every mama dreams of?

What other ways do you provide nourishment for your child/children?

Is there anything in your life causing you to steal time away from giving your child/children the proper daily nourishment they need?

How will you be intentional about giving them nourishment now that school is starting and schedules are changing?

Other great links I hope you’ll check out:


Want to know Theresa better?  Click here... to subscribe to and/or follow her blog, Heavenly Glimpses.

9 comments :

  1. Huh! I didn't even know you were doing this, Jen, and then I wrote a post on feeding the soul. Funny!
    Theresa, your post resonated with me. A few days ago my five-year old complained formally to her daddy and I that when we go out to eat with big people we only talk to big people and not to children. As a result, she spends a good bit of her time in a restaurant trying to get our attention. I will meditate on this today. Thank you!

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  2. Gaby,
    Oh, that is too cute! I do believe children need to respect adult time and our time. However, aren't you wise to allow your daughter's words teach you about her heart. Blessings!

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  3. This is so beautiful, and so very profound.

    <3

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  4. When my children were younger and in preschool, we were all home together on Fridays. I never understood why the day always turned out to be hectic and never what I'd hoped. But I learned that I was fitting them into my day instead of fitting my day into theirs. Sometimes it takes putting an agenda down and following our kids to spend time w/ them. These were great reminders. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. This is excellent teaching and oh so true! I practiced this with my children and they were always happy children. If they started getting irritable I'd stop and give them a bit of attention...that's all they needed.

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  6. Thank you so much for your comments and thank you, Jen, for allowing me to share on your blog!

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  7. dear theresa, i love that you were fully present for your children. thank you for this beautiful challenge.

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  9. Theresa -- thank you for your incredible honesty and encouragement. You are such a blessing!

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