Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Intentions, Part One

I spent the whole spring looking forward to this summer.  The kids are all at a great age to get out and do a lot of fun stuff.  On the last day of school we went to the Children’s Museum.  Grant was bored.  I realized that we are nearing the end of fun family outings.  Soon he’ll be old enough to stay home or busy doing his own thing.

I had great intentions for summer.  Then it rained for the whole month of June.  Everyone got sick.  Maren has been going backwards with the temper tantrums.  We took a quick trip and had three solid weeks of running to basketball and swimming.  Now it’s July already! 

It’s really easy to have good intentions.  I know because I am the queen of good intentions. 

Instead of having good intentions, what I need is to be intentional. Intentional mothering. Intentional means something is done deliberately.  I don’t want them to be just another piece to life or something to manage; sign them up for this, drive them to that, buy them this.  What does intentional mothering look like?  I think it’s less noisy and busy and expensive and more relational and alternative.  I think it involves planning and desire to really be part of your kids life.  Sometimes I would love to sit back and just wait for great things to happen or for parenting to end.  I’m not afraid to admit that some days I’d love to have someone else come in and do my job for me. But mothering with impact takes effort.

I was reading an article in a hospital waiting room this week.  It talked about changing the way we spend time with our kids.  Less structure.  Camping instead of carpools.  Bike rides instead of movies.  Then today I was reading my Dad’s Caribou Coffee cup.  It had sayings like, “Go home early and play with your kids”.  And “Teach a kid to fish”.  And
“Get there on two wheels”.  There are messages being sent to simplify but it’s drowned out by the other articles detailing the latest movie or electronic device.  And simplicity looks pretty lame.  Relating to the kids seems like a lot of work.

As far as being intentional about relating to kids, there are benefits to not having a lot of money.  It pushes you to do things that are more interactive.  One rainy day, I was babysitting for a friend and if money had been no object we would have all gone to a movie.  But since I didn’t have $1,000 or whatever crazy amount it would cost to take eight people to the movies, we painted tiles. 

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Things like biking to the park, picnics, playgrounds, the beach are the kind of activities that breed relationship building.

Our library has free passes to museums now.  We can go to the aquarium, depot, lighthouses and lots of other cool places for free.  I even like to pack a picnic sometimes or stop at McDonalds.

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I took Grant to a concert at our local college that we got tickets to through the library. 

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I was supposed to have a meeting that night and didn’t think we’d be able to go.  When it got cancelled I was looking forward to a night at home.  But Grant brightened and reminded me about the concert.  So we went.  He got all dressed up.  He even brushed his teeth and got my door.  It was a forty-five minute drive each way.  We made it through the first set then he told me he only likes to listen to classical music in bed.  We went to Perkin’s.

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That night was totally worth it.


There’s berry picking at a local farm,

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or setting up a backwoods slip-n-slide in the backyard

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and making clay. 

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Some Moms I know go out of their way to make extra special treats for holidays.

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Some Dads sleep with their kids in a tent in the backyard (even if *some* people go in to their beds at 1:00 a.m.)

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A lot of days I’d rather be on Facebook or reading my book. But intentional mothering is deliberate.  It’s no accident that God is an intentional parent.  He sacrificed His Son in a plan to save us.  He didn’t just hope things would work our for the best.  He acted and invested.

I know I won’t look back and wish I had a cleaner house or had spent more time on the internet.  I probably won’t care if I’ve seen all the latest movies or had a stellar wardrobe.  What I will care about is how I invested my time during these precious years.  Do I just have good intentions or am I intentional?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  Ephesians 1:3-10


Sarah Johnson said...

AWESOME post Michelle! Exactly what moms in my stage need to hear. Thanks! I know I also make big plans, and then STUFF just happens. Know what I mean??? I'm realizing I'm never going to be able to completely shut out the things that keep me from doing all that I want as a mom. ie. our situation requires we travel alot, kids get sick, ministry interupts plans, all of those things are unavoidable. The question is, how do I intentionally mother in the midst of those things? I think sometimes I make such elaborate plans that when things go awry I just chuck it all, when I can be talking to my kids about the Lord in the car, or while I prepare for company, ect. So that is what I'm working through right now. How to mesh my big plans with reality.

Sarah Johnson said...

By the way, cute cupcakes!