Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Rewind: Dry Erase Markers and Passive Programming

It is a brand new year and yet some of the same old things must be done today.

It's a cleaning day in our house... not my favorite way to spend a morning. Mark is at work and all the kids are busy at school. I am walking, room to room, with a plethora of cleaning supplies and scrubbing bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways and such. I wish I liked it more. I wish I was better at it all. Truth is that it is discipline for me and most of the time I end up feeling a little bitter that I have so much to do. All my kids have chores and all those chores are done every day. But in the end, someone has to scrub it all and that someone is usually me.

Today, as I moved from room to room, I decided it was time for me to think about ways to see this work as an extension of my parenting. While washing a bathroom floor, I found myself thinking about the years we spent as residence directors at Trinity Christian College. It was my job then to come up with ways to extend the education being offered in the classrooms by creating and offering programming for the resident students.

We lived and breathed programming and came to understand that there are many ways to teach students. One way was active... getting them involved in doing something that taught a life lesson that they would need somewhere down the road. The other way was passive... leaving the information behind in places where students would gather in hopes of them finding it themselves. While the latter is less sure, truth be told, it was more effective. When students found themselves in contact with educational material that was not being pushed upon them, they eagerly soaked it up. Is there a lesson there for my parenting? How can I apply passive programming to what I want to offer my children?

In the midst of my cleaning chores, I found myself lost in thought. Grabbing a pack of dry erase markers, I got to work! What do I need my kids to hear from me today? Here is what I did:

We keep a dry erase board near the bedrooms for posting reminders to the kids. Instead of nagging and crabbing at all my sweeties, I can leave the information for them to find. Here is our board today:

All my kids share a bathroom and are in there many times a day. With common culture brewing a sense of entitlement and discontent among the Millennial Generation, I want to find ways to foster positive thinking in the Friesen Four. Here is what is written on the mirror in their bathroom:

(Where do you see God's blessings today?)

Raising a girl is a big responsibility... especially today! It worries me that a whole generation of girls are being encouraged to set aside standards and often disrespect themselves. I want to raise a strong, smart girl who knows that she is beautiful and intelligent. I want her to have a connection to her Creator that leads her to find her own value in Him. Here is what I wrote on the mirror in Elizabeth's room... the very place she stands every day to brush her hair.

(God made you smart and beautiful!)

Mark and I are not exempt from losing our way. Frustrating days and a loud, busy house can lead us to a place where we forget to find value in what's in front of us today. On the mirror in our bathroom, I wrote this:

(You are gonna miss this...)

The downstairs bathroom in our house is used by visitors to our home as well as by our family during active times. Can I remind us that in this place, in this home, we are all deeply loved? Here is what I wrote on the mirror downstairs:

(You are loved in this place...)

My friends, this job of being a wife and mother is big. It can feel overwhelming. We can feel eternally behind or frustrated or stressed. We can lose our way and find ourselves falling short of the goals we set for our time with our kids. But, we must remember this: Powerful moments in mothering our babies are found in the minutiae of our ordinary days. It is the truth we pass to our children. It is the minute we spend with a child on our lap. It is the reminder, again, that they are loved and valuable and seen. It is the tiny things we do that pour into the hearts of our babies every, single day. It matters. All of it matters to them.

What can you do today? What tiny thing can you offer to those you love best that can help them to learn what you know matters most? It doesn't have to be something you say. What can you give them today?

Blessings on your day.

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