It's that time again! Time to report on our Mentoring Mothers Meeting for the year. It was fabulous!
Today we were still focussing on the Core Phase. This is the phase where we want to strengthen relationships, establish natural schedules, train our children in principles of right and wrong, use work and play as the tools of learning. This morning we specifically discussed our relationships. And if you listened to General Conference, I'm sure you heard President Uchtdorf's talk on simplicity wherein he mentioned the four crucial relationships: family, God, yourself, and your fellowmen. We did not focus on those same relationships today, but that talk is still worth reading again. :-) And remember, we're going through our own personal journey through the phases, not just what we expect our children to do during each phase. :-)
We opened up first by talking about what we gained (strengths and weaknesses) from our own parents. Leo Buscaglia, author of Living, Loving and Learning (see previous post) was the King of Quotes today! :-) I love that man. Anyway, he said, "You can't keep blaming your parents unless you're still a child."
We can change the negative patterns and continue the positive patterns set by our parents . . . in a healthy manner. I, for one, had to make an almost literal "cut of the apron strings" only recently and it was hard! For me it has been hard to make that conscious change of pleasing my husband rather than pleasing my parents (even if I was doing so subconsiously). Others in the group, however, were able to recognize along the way that there were some things they wanted to change when they created their own families. Dr. Laura has said, "You have two chances at parenthood: the first one, you don't choose; the second one, you do." Take some time to think about the many wonderful things your parents have done for you in your life. How have them helped to get you to where you are, to who you are? Then, take a briefer moment to find a thing or two that your have gained that is not in accordance with who you now want to become and learn from that.
M. Catherine Thomas has said, "You were placed in your family, with their strengths and their weaknesses, so you can become who God needs you to be."
We then shifted to our own parenting. Oh, boy! I can't even remember all we talked about because it was so great, and there was so much, and it went so fast!! The main thing we discussed really were EXPECTATIONS. Again from my friend, Leo:
"We also try to create models of perfection. We spend our lives trying to make the outside world fit our notion of what is perfect. We relaly do! And, what is, for example, the idea of a perfect day for us? A day that meets all of our needs, that goes just as we want it. And what is a bummer day? A bummer day is one that doesn't quite come out the way we wanted it. Well, tough for us! That's too bad if the day doesn't turn out the way we want it. The day was perfect - - it's we who were tampering with perfection. These expectations reinforce themselves. They shut out all possibilities of anything new coming at us which doesn't meet our addictions."
An interesting word there at the end, "addictions." That's exactly what our unrealistic expectations can become.
The question was raised, "We talk about not having them meet our expectations, but we need them to still do stuff. How do we balance that?" We basically came to terms that we do need to make sure our expectations are not too high for them to reach. We need to be clear that our expectations are not simply our addictions or views of perfections, but reachable and attainable expectations. In this we talked about, then, setting boundaries and having natural & logical consequences for our children. We still need to have those limits set, but not only based on our idealistic expectations.
A couple of other Leo quotes.
"90% of what adults say to children is talking at them, not with them."
"Perhaps [the definition of] love is leading you gently back to yourself."
This of this with parenting our own chidren. We are leading them to themselves. That is love.
Last, but not least by any means, we discussed the marriage relationship.
We talked about how you can't go 50/50, you need to go all the way. Because if you only go halfway and sit there expecting him to come the other half, you're both going to be disappointed. My husband recently reminded me of this. I was telling him that we needed to be sure we hugged every time he came home from work, you know, had some physical contact. He said, "That's true. I will work on it. But you can't be sitting in some other room waiting and expecting me to come and find you." I had to agree. How many times had I thought, "He knows we were going to work on this, why doesn't he do it" instead of me being the one to go to him. It's got to be 100% both ways. :-)
"If you love someone, your goal is to want them to be all that they are and you will encourage them every step of the way." - - Leo Buscaglia
In this discussion I really wanted to go a step further than what we've already known and been taught from church leaders, talks, books, etc. I wanted to talk about having real intimacy with our husbands. No, I do not mean sexual intimacy alone (although, that is important, too), but having those moments where you really look at each other. Where you are truly seeing one another.We get so caught up in being parents together. In running a household together. In our different & defined roles and responsibilities. And though it may be working fine and you're mostly happy, without that intimacy between one another, then you're really just going through the motions of having a good marriage instead of making it the BEST marriage. We can talk about going on dates together, but even those dates can become a "check off list" item or a time for the wife's "deep discussion agenda" to come out on the table! STOP deep discussing and just BE together. ENJOY one another. LIVE LIFE TOGETHER! Allow and encourage your spouse to be who he/she truly is meant to be!
In my opinion, this topic is the MOST important part of the CORE phase. MOST Important! And our relationships with one another cannot be neglected. One of the most neglected relationship is the one you have with yourself. Are you the best example of who you want the world to be? Or your home? Here's Leo's last thought on that:
"A wonderful realization will be the day you realize you are unique in all the world. There is nothing that is an accident. You are a special combination for a purpose - - and don't let them tell you otherwise . . . You are that combination so that you can do what it is essential fo ryou to do. Don't ever believe tha tyou have nothing to contribute. The world is an incredible unfufilled tapestry, and only you can fulfill that tiny space that is yours. 'Oh, God, to have reached the point of death,' says Thoreau, 'only to find that you never lived.'"
Books to read:
Love & Logic series
Magic for Early Childhood (I think this is part of the Love & Logic stuff??)
Living, Loving and Learning - Leo Buscaglia
Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands - Dr. Laura
In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms - Dr. Laura