Parenting

The Fragility Of Children

A friend recently asked our book group if we looked at our children and marveled at what we had created. My immediate response was, “I actually wonder where they came from.”

After reflection, I did remember the marvel of my firstborn and thinking “This little person grew inside me.” And then I was off and running to care for him.

Now that my sons are grown, I can see the effects of genetics and family and experiences. And marvel a bit.

Adult children analyze their parents. That is a true fact. What I learned—and my sons may not realize—is that parents reciprocate. We try to solve the mystery of whom our children have become.

These musings led my husband and me to one fundamental conclusion. Children are fragile. More fragile than we can imagine. They may rumble and tumble and hop right back, but that is only an outer facade. Inside, they are glass. They break over events that we consider too minor to note.

And that is why we need to address worries (see here), grievances (see here), and questions (see here)—to expose the breaks and make repairs.

Made any repairs recently? Do you need repairing?

Parenting

A Jar of Questions

I love the idea of a Worry Jar (see here) and a Grievance Jar (see here). Along the way, I became convinced that a Jar of Questions could also be helpful.

No matter how well we know our family, they have buried questions—some frivolous and some not—but all important to them.

A loved daughter waited until she was an adult to ask her dad why he never carried her. All the family photos showed her in her mother’s arms; her close-in-age sister was always in her father’s arms. Why?

The simple answer was not the imaginings that a child might have. Her sister was heavier; the extra weight was too much for her petite mother’s hip to bear.

I remember the questions I couldn’t ask out loud. And the ones I didn’t remember at the right time. Like a Grievance Jar and a Worry Jar, a jar set aside to collect our questions—and facilitate answers—could be healing.

Do you have any lingering questions from your childhood? Is there still time to ask?

Money

If Money Can Fix It…

Along the way, I heard a saying that stuck with me and the few I shared it with.

If money can fix it, it’s not a problem.

It seemed idealistic or at least unrealistic until I considered what money can’t fix. Money can’t fix a miscarriage, a wayward child, death of a loved one, abandonment, or betrayal. I have friends and relatives who would have liquidated all assets if money could have cured their spouse’s cancer.

One night, a son called with bad news. He finished by reminding, “Don’t worry, Mom. Money can fix it, and if money can fix it…”

Can money fix any of your concerns?

Decisions, Homeschooling

Considering Homeschooling? Why?

During school shutdowns due to Covid-19, articles about the disruption to families’ lives abounded. Newscasts reported students falling behind.

Why? Each year, parents happily homeschool millions of children, and those families not only survive but also thrive.*

Although it should be obvious that homeschooling only works if you want to homeschool, along the way I learned that some parents miss that truth.

Before Covid-19, I met homeschoolers who pressured themselves or felt pressured by others to homeschool. One family homeschooled out of fear. Those parents were miserable. The children were barely surviving. Thankfully, the parents eventually chose other options.

Years later, I met families who successfully homeschooled some of their children but not all. Circumstances varied as to why certain children did not want to be homeschooled or why parents did not want to homeschool certain children. All thrived with their tailor-made options.

Just as I married because I wanted to marry—not due to pressure or fear—I needed to homeschool because I wanted to homeschool—which carried me through many challenges.

Considering homeschooling this year? Why?

*U.S. Department of Education estimated 1.69 million students were homeschooled in 2016.

Memories

Sharing Memories Brings Clarity

Sharing memories can bring conflict and confusion. (See Unreliable Memories Here) Sharing can also bring clarity and healing.

In eighth grade—upon returning from school—I was told that my brother had run away. My father was searching.  I was worried and confused. Why was my brother so unhappy? I wondered for decades until I asked.

“I never ran away,” my brother said. “Jeff and I skipped school. We got caught because of the snow. We didn’t expect an early dismissal.”

I didn’t remember snow.

“No,” I said. “The principal called to ask if you were supposed to be at school. Daddy had been searching since morning.”

A substitute teacher had called roll and thus attention to my brother’s absence. A classmate had seen my brother and his friend on school grounds. The diligent substitute told the principal, who called my mother.

My brother never knew there was a substitute teacher and hours of combing the woods behind the school.

We exchanged numerous details. Our combined memories gave a complete story. My heart rejoiced. My brother had been hanging out with a friend—not trudging down a road and severing family ties.

Any painful memories? Would asking questions help?