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On Self-Improvement

From Comer's RockWhen I woke up this morning, I just knew.  Snow.  It is falling steadily and we've got about half an inch so far.  Halloween seems to be our first snow marker.  We don't get it every year, but I would say that it has happend three of Willow's six years.  The children will be over the moon to find it when they wake up.  I think it will also push me to finish the Snowy Fields dresss that's been sitting for many weeks.  I'm excited, for certain, but part of me wants to cling to these pictures of a golden Autumn.  It's still out there, after all, under the snow.

I've been mulling many things over lately, having felt like I was drowing since somewhere around May, trying to figure out what shifted and how to get back on my feet.  My dad has told me many times that I cannot change other people, that it's up to me to change myself.  I think of this advice very frequently as I try to navigate the world around me.  Three children in five years is not for sissies, but I don't think that parenting, in general, is.  You feel like an adult until you take on someone who is very much not.

I've been reading a lot.  In fact, I've been meaning to do a bookshelf post, but have simply been too busy and scattered to gather my thoughts.  I've also joined a teleclass about living with young children in an effort to provide me some accountability and encouragement.  I feel like I have the tools to live cooperatively and happily, but I've needed a chance to start fresh and really stay on task.  And things have been feeling better for me.  The days are hard with Mike's travel, but I am starting to see things more clearly.

Yellow the brackenCreativity and empathy are often the reasons I cite for homeschooling.  I think those are tremendously important skills for life and their necessity and power cannot be praised enough.  I think I'll add to that list another thing--self-discipline.  I always thought I had it until I had children, then it becamse clear how much more I needed to work on it.  As the one to hold the space here almost all of the time, I need to have (and keep!) it together.

With that in mind, I am seeing that my concerns with parenting are not about having the right tools or what to do when someone does this or that.  They are about myself, where I have come from and what I do with the experiences from my life.  I am looking to be worthy of the imitation that children so readily take up.  The days where I move confidently and peaceably are the best.  The days where I fall back on being coercive are a mess.  I am working, always, toward more of those confident days.

I'm turning over some ideas for self-improvement to work on over the winter.  I'll be writing more about the Joyful Toddlers! class soon and how I'm making it work for my slightly different needs and goals.  For now, though, it's snowing and the children are waking up and on the prowl for candy.

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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