Friday, January 18, 2013

It Isn't Enough to Love...

Photo credit: skyler817 (Creative Commons)

“It isn’t enough to love; we must prove it”- St. Therese of Lisieux

I read this quote while reading Gretchen Rubin’s new book, Happier at Home.  It struck me at gut level.  I love my kids, yet what do I do to prove it?  Am I quick to listen and slow to get angry?  Am I fully present in my moments with them?  Do they get my best?
I fail at this--daily.  My anger flares up quickly and I snap.  My patience is worn thin by the sometimes short nights of sleep mixed with long hours of the day.  I half-listen while I get caught up in Twitter and email.
How do I prove to my kids that I love them in spite of all my distractions and flaws? 
I am aware of the problem and, if I am honest with myself, I am also aware of a few solutions.
Getting up before the sun rises is the best way for me to focus.  I am more productive in the still of the morning.  Hours seem to be added to my day just by getting up earlier than everyone else.  When I focus on myself early in the morning it makes for a much happier and present mama throughout the day. 
Pulling the plug on technology is difficult in this world of constant contact and instant gratification.  Match that with my love of words and there’s a problem.  I read blogs full of wisdom, humor and inspiration like I’m parched.   Those life giving words jump off the page and grab hold of me.  Add a few quotes (I can never find too many) and I’m completely immersed in my own world.

Boundaries are healthy and necessary to live a simply joyful life. We must be intentional with our time.  With boundaries, we will have the energy available to be present in the moment and take the time necessary to love on our kids.
The kids are allowed a set amount of “electronic” time during school days.  I have the same rule for myself.  While they are off playing Madden 13 and laughing at You-Tube videos, I do my daily blog reading tour guilt free.  It allows me the freedom to focus on my kids and their needs throughout the rest of the day.

It's not easy.  It takes commitment and intentionality. None of us are perfect.  It's not healthy for our kids to think that we have it all together--they need us to be real. Our kids are watching and waiting for us to lead them through this messy thing called life. Let's show them how to engage in the world by setting boundaries for ourselves.  
What boundaries work well for you?

1 comment:

  1. I too, have to shorten time I would have spent on the computer when my two grandson's are over. Otherwise I feel like I wasn't present.