Lots of thoughts bouncing round my brain as I contemplate the approach of Lent and the two wild boys rocketing around me on this rainy Sunday afternoon. Forgive the rambling: I need to try to sort out the threads in my head on this blustery day.
It seems that my approach to raising these kids, all my kids, has become more and more a focus on attachment and connecting. It is a much more holistic approach, in a way, than we used to do….although that seems like an odd thing to say. It’s not that I raised my first sons differently, or less, or with less love or “all in” approach (heavens no, I couldn’t possibly love them more or have done more than I did with what I had at the time)….but rather, that I knew less, was less confident in the worth and reach of the boundless love we had for them. I/we felt we had to make sure that we filled them with….oh, as much as we could of everything. Every fact, experience, tidbit of knowing, doing, etc…it was rushing past us and could we possibly capture it all?
Now, it seems that the bigger, harder, more intensive thing to do is to fill them, any and all of our kids, with as much as we can of…us. By which I mean, connection. Our time, our presence, our mindfulness, our ‘no matter whatness” of our love for them…at the same time as we gently nudge ahead and hold boundaries. We encourage and console. We trust and hope. But maybe we don’t have to be doing the DOING of filling that kid-jar of self…rather we need to let them unfold a bit more.
And I think this whole-ness of approach to the parenting, now, is an older, fuller, more relaxed and more encompassing way, in a way. Even as it’s a looser, relaxed and trusting way. And, school, for now, for these little boys, must also run these rails. Because I believe that it is what will launch them best. It is actually a way of schooling that I can only call Attachment Homeschool. Attachschool? A blend of unschool, homeschool, living life, attachment parenting. Loving no matter what, all in. If they are allowed to relax into the who of themselves, and secure their attachment to the us of our family, then they have the most powerful launchpad that there is. They will have the toolbox to become who they will and are made to be.
There is a price to it. It is the dear cost of hope and trust. It means spending effort to beat back the demons of fear and worry and fretting. Mine, of course. It means trusting in these kids, who they are all meant to become. It means cracking open my rusty crusty soul and trusting in God himself who made them and brought them here, to us.
And so as we approach the desert of Lent, one of my most difficult Lenten exercises will be to trust in the learning of these boys. To let them relax into themselves and me/us. To LIVE our family life as fully and mindfully as I can. To live this liturgical season as fully as I can, with the family and all the kids. Not easy. Sounds so. But, so not.
Because for me to step out into the desert in faith and trust…well, it’s a desert for me for sure. That’s where all my demons screech and thrash. But, lent approaches. I’m girding up. I’ve got the crowbar out to break open the iron doors of my trust and control and let them step out of that musty box and into the fresher air of faithful hope. This lent is a time to be still and listen and pray and watch the blooms that are found, even in the desert. Some of those are the most beautiful; even so for the struggle of it all.
Three days. I wish you a deeply blessed spare and rich Lent. I’ll pray for you, if you would, please pray for me.