Saturday, November 5, 2011

God Tells Me To Be Less Selfish With The Kids

Last Sunday's readings could be called the "good leadership" readings. And God used them to make it clear to me all the ways in which I am NOT being a good mother to my children.

Part 1: Morning Prayer

Gabe and Julie and I all had a cold Sunday morning, so we weren't making it to Mass. Instead of our usual morning prayer at breakfast, plus reading the Mass readings to the kids, Ken had led them in grace. So I was figuring to take it easy and skip our usual Sunday morning prayer routine. I did, though, sit in the bedroom to read the readings for myself. You know, in peace and quiet. Without the kids around.

And now, O priests, this commandment is for you:
If you do not listen,
if you do not lay it to heart,
to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts,
I will send a curse upon you
[Malachi 1-2]

Umm, right God. Yes, I had chosen the path of less-glorifying-of-God's-name this morning, and he was not pleased with that. So I called in the kids, and we had a surprisingly fruitful session, in which I got the kids to think more about the prayers than usual and about the readings.

Then I went back to reading the readings for myself.

Part 2: Homeschooling

I don't know if it was last month's series of posts about homeschooling or what, but the idea had come to me to make a complete curriculum. As in, write a set of textbooks for each subject that would eventually be something I could publish and sell. Because, obviously, I can write the most excellent curriculum ever1. I became slightly obsessed with this idea for a couple weeks, steadily ignoring the fact that (a) I was filled with grandiose visions, a sure sign that I'm not really being inspired; and (b) in all my research into what matters in education, it is consistently said that the teacher matters a lot more than the curriculum, and spending time writing curriculum would mean I would be spending less time with my own actual kids.

You have turned aside from the way, and have caused many to falter by your instruction;

O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor are my eyes haughty;
I busy not myself with great things,
nor with things too sublime for me.
R. In you, Lord, I have found my peace.
Nay rather, I have stilled and quieted
my soul like a weaned child.
Like a weaned child on its mother's lap,
so is my soul within me.
[Psalm 131]

All their works are performed to be seen. ...They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues, greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation 'Rabbi.'
[Matthew 23]

We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
[1 Thess 2]

"With great affection"... that's exactly how I haven't been homeschooling; instead I've been pushing the kids away so I can do my own thing. Okie doke, Lord. I will quit all the grandiose plans to achieve the greatest curricula ever - which is mostly motivated by the desire for others to be impressed by me anyway - and instead focus on sharing more of my whole self with the kids.

I got these treasures at the used book store today, and plan to go back for more when I can find someplace to put them.

Part 3: Chores

You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery. Working night and day in order not to burden any of you,
[1 Thess]

They tie up heavy burdens hard to carryand lay them on people's shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.
[Matthew 23]

Yep, that's me again. I've been giving the kids more and more chores lately, which is fine. But once or twice the niggling thought crossed my mind that I was giving them more chores than I was really doing myself. So I'm going to re-focus on getting lots of cleaning done myself and help show them how their chores should be done. There's plenty for all of us!

1. In my defense, homeschooling curricula are rife with propaganda, which is a steady failure to pursue excellence.

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