Just Keep Trying

Just keep trying…I’m not saying this to only you. It is on repeat in my mind almost constantly. Just keep trying…just keep trying…

For several years we have made the choice to have our children, of all ages, be with us during the worship service. I am often asked how I teach my children to behave so well during this time. When I am asked it always gives me a moment of pause and I hesitate to share my wisdom. I’m not sure it is what other parents want to hear.

Let us not get ahead of ourselves here. Join me for a moment. Sunday morning we arrive at church and find our seats. We take up a whole row with a few on the row in front of us. During the service I will glance down the row to gaze upon my well-behaved children. Oh, wait. The five year old is making a paper telescope out of a sermon notes sheet and using it to keep a close eye on the pastor. The seven year old has no paper and is trying to barter a piece from a sibling. The nine year old decided to bring her box of coloring pencils and share with the two year old. Yes. Coloring pencils that will likely at some point hit the floor. And naturally the child who was absolutely positive that they did not need to use the restroom had to go right now in the middle of the sermon. Just for kicks…let’s toss in a baby who has discovered his voice and the high pitch he can reach with it.

Perfectly well-behaved children? Nope. But they are children. And the paper telescope? The five year old knew to keep it low and not to wave in the air and disturb those around her. The bartering seven-year old? He settled in and listened to the sermon even without paper. The coloring pencils? My daughter realized that it wasn’t the best idea to have that many options out during the worship service. No one around us was disrupted. They were all quiet and relatively still. (And as an adult that can’t sit still, I don’t require perfection in my children here. They just have to learn how to focus that energy.)

This post is not about whether you should have your children in worship or not. That is a personal decision. You can clearly see what our decision has been. The point of this post is about how I get my children to behave during a worship service. Or at a restaurant. Or to use the bathroom. Or to learn to read.Or to conquer long division. Insert a wide range of possibilities here. Now for the key to success: Just Keep Trying.

Life changing? Nope. But really that is what we have done. We just keep trying. One of my children screamed the first year of life. Not a pained scream. Not a fearful scream. Just screamed because she liked screaming apparently. Guess what? At nine, when she goes outside to play guess what she does? Screams. She no longer screams in the middle of the worship service or when I’m reading aloud. She knows the appropriate time and place. Why? Because we kept trying.

Sometimes you don’t have to try, teach, guide, direct for long. Other times you wonder if your child will ever “get it”. They will. It may feel like an uphill battle. Just keep trying. It may seem like no progress is being made. Just keep trying. You may take your child out of the service every. single. Sunday. for a year but just keep trying. Show your child what is important for your family. Find ways to help them. Correct when needed. Praise when they make progress. Remind yourself of the end goal. I am blessed each Sunday to see my older children singing, participating, enjoying the worship service. I am so thankful that we just kept trying.

Organizationally Challenged and My Reads

In my mind, there is this beautiful image of an experienced mother who manages with grace and patience her humble abode and those precious offspring she has been blessed with. Then in the quiet of the evening, taking a moment of deep reflection, I think, “What in the world happened?!?!”

Reality of the Organizationally Challenged. This is what happened, my friends. There is no denying it. No sugar coating it. No turning a blind eye to the truth that is glaring in my face. I am in a continual process of mastering the art of organization and time management. After twenty years of marriage and seventeen years of motherhood, one would think that I would have the flow of our days down to a science. Nope. I have read the books. Planned the schedules. Implemented the routines. Just when I think we have found our groove, something or someone throws a kink in my plans. It is most likely me sabotaging my own efforts believing I have found a better way to manage my time, family, and home. Will I ever learn? Maybe. Maybe not.

Being organizationally challenged has trickled down to this lovely blog. I am so behind on sharing great reads! Oh, how I love to share a good book with others. But time management? Yep. At the end of the day, as I lie in bed, I think, “Oh, I forgot to blog about this book or that book!” Shameful!

Now I am at the point that I feel so far behind, I’m not sure how to move forward. (Trust me, this happens in all areas of life for me, lol.) Here is my plan. I’m going to update my menu area to show books I have read thus far this year. Hopefully I’ll start getting a few reviews up. They are likely to be short and sweet but still a helpful reference. That is my desire at least. It can be difficult to find books for your children and yourself. It makes me smile to think I am sharing some literary love here in my little space.

And now I’m going to go curl up with a good book and pretend my home is running like a well-oiled machine. I’ll face reality tomorrow.

Finding Our New Groove

No matter how smoothly the days are running, you always reach a point when you need to find a new groove. Children mature, schedules change, and well,  life happens. We are in the midst of that transition time right now as their are shifts happening in our home.

My oldest daughter has been taking two classes at the community college and takes her finals tomorrow. She will have a couple of weeks off before summer classes began. For summer classes she opted for the online option. This is a bonus for me because now I don’t have to take her to and from class. It has really eaten a chunk of time each week that seems to throw those days off balance. Summer will fly by and that means we need to have plans lined up for her senior year. Hard for to grasp some days!

While my oldest sees the end in sight, I have another high school student preparing to take college classes in the fall. A couple of middle schoolers that need a bit more encouragement for independent work. Elementary level kiddos who just seem to soak up so much information and want more and more. Teaching my kindergarten guy to read, working with my preschooler and trying to keep up with a super active 23 month old.

Needless to say my days are full and never boring. Unfortunately they are not flowing well. They seem jumbled, messy, inefficient. So we are working on a new groove. Balancing the needs of various ages and stages. Making sure the important aspects of learning and living are not pushed aside. Finding joy in the everyday and ordinary.

So the blog has been a bit quiet. By the end of the day, I just want to curl up into bed and enjoy a chapter of a good book Books may be my one weakness, you know. I believe they are feeling sorely neglected. Hopefully when I finalize a few plans I will share here. Perhaps my new groove will encourage someone trying to find theirs.

But for now I think I will take a moment with a good book and give my brain a break from all the planning.