Always knowing I wanted to be a mother, when I was an “aunt”, not yet a Mommy, I loved hanging out with my nieces and nephews to practice being a Mom. I wrote this out in calligraphy for my sisters to have in their homes, long before we had children of our own: We give our children two things. The first is roots, the second is wings.” I believe this brief statement is parenting in a nutshell.
On her Facebook page, my friend, Jody posted a poem I had never heard before on this very thing:
Roots and Wings
By, Denis Whatley
If I had two wishes, I know what they would be
I’d wish for roots to cling to, and wings to set me free.
Roots of inner values, like rings within a tree,
And wings of independence to seek my destiny.
Roots to hold forever to keep me safe and strong,
To let me know you love me when I’ve done something wrong.
To show me by example, and help me learn to choose
To take those actions every day to win instead of lose.
Just be there when I need you, to tell me it’s alright
To face my fear of falling when I test my wings in flight.
Don’t make my life too easy, it’s better if I try;
And fail and get back up myself, so I can learn to fly.
If I had two wishes, and two were all I had,
And they could just be granted, by my Mama and my Dad;
I wouldn’t ask for money or any store-bought things.
The greatest gifts I’d ask for are simply roots and wings.
In 2007, Leah was a senior in high school and we were all itching for that next season (those of you who just graduated high school seniors know what I am referring to). A little sad, with my firstborn preparing for takeoff, God gave me a visual I have never forgotten. A bird came into our home and flew into the highest corner of our ceiling. My friend, Beth, had just arrived for coffee, and we were both trying to help the bird return safely to the familiar outdoors. We tried different strategies like waving a broom at it, opening windows and doors before we decided to just “let it be”. Soon, the bird took leave on its own, spreading its wings and flying on out.
This served as a solid reminder to me that we had done our best to give Leah deep roots,
and it was now time for her to fly on out into a more independent world.
Four Ways to Plant Roots and Strengthen Roots this Summer:
(1) Foster Friendships-yours and theirs. Find like-minded Moms and share pool time, coffee time, play time with fellow Moms and children. Join with other families to take field trips to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta or Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.
Consider planning a MUST Summer Lunch Party joining families to help those in need. Click here to read an earlier post about the MUST Summer Lunch Program.
(2) Capture Teachable Moments-Walk in the summer rain when there is no danger of lightning, talk about respecting nature and why its important to not be a litter bug, model kindness to others you meet in your path with a smile and an encouraging word, TALK to your children and EXPLAIN anything that may come up in your moments…whether it be a homeless person or someone with a severe disability. Go to your public library and just sit and read. Our children checked out the number of books which equaled their age. I believe values are more “caught than taught. Have a chore list and get your children involved in cooking and laundry as early as possible. And most of all, teach your children to pray with a grateful heart each day.
(3) Choose Your Battles-All children need boundaries , and though they would never admit it out loud, those boundaries which you provide help them to feel safe. As your children grow, there will be more and more discussions about things they want to do and you will have the final say. Giving your children choices will help them to build trust in their ability to make decisions. When Leah was around six years old, she was beginning to develop a ton of independence and it challenged me. One of our battles was what she wanted to wear to school-mismatched clothing, at times. I came up with a plan that worked well. I chose three outfits and placed them on her bed. Leah got to choose from the three outfits and this gave her the independence she longed for. As discussions (“aka: arguments”) come up, decide if it is really worth it to argue about or if it would be better to let that one go….choosing your battles will relieve the stress of parenting.
(4) Insist on an Afternoon Siesta-I got this one from my Mama. When the grandchildren would come to visit, she would enforce a one hour break each afternoon. No one had to “sleep”, though I bet Mama did!
The Siesta Time could be for reading or doing something quietly in your room and everyone got a break from the busy, fun vacations at GoodMama and GoodDaddy’s lakefront home in rural Mississippi. Try this in your own home. This habit will energize you, helping you to enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer even more.