Thursday, August 22, 2013

Any Given Thursday aka for Kelly

My friend Kelly asked for a post.  Not a specific post - just a please write something, anything because apparently you still have a blog kind of request.

So I thought for a while and I wondered, what would happen if I just started to write?

It has been a while. But she may regret asking me to write - because I'm just gonna let it fly and see where we end up.

So far two paragraphs and two deletes.  Letting it fly isn't really working either.

Help me Kelly!

Let's see.

Right now.

Right now my house is quiet.  The one thing we do around here with unflinching consistency is quiet time. After lunch.  Whenever we are home.  We all settle into our own separate spaces and we practice, some of us better than others, being still.  Resting.  Away-ness from one another so we can better enjoy all the togetherness that makes life awesome. It is one of my favourite times.  Not just because I get an hour and half "off the clock" but because it feels so, I don't know, counter-culture maybe.   Sometimes my greatest goal in it is to be completely frivolous and to have nothing to account for, not even sleep when it is all over.  It  would be a great time for me to write more purposefully.  Hmm.  Something to think about.

There's often this funny-to-me conversation that happens at least, oh, once a week after the "How long is quiet time" question gets asked. (it's almost always an hour and a half, for the record)   And my answer is always, always, ALWAYS the same.  And yet, so is the conversation, proving the dilligence (or maybe it's lack of listening, but I'm trying to frame it positively) is something my kids don't struggle with.

The parler goes something like this:

What can we do during quiet time?

Reading or Resting.  That's it.  Same as always.

Can't we watch a movie?


Or draw?


Or paint? Play video games? Learn a new instrument?

Negatory.  Are you new here? 

And with that quiet time begins.

Why only reading or resting?  It seems arbitrary, and in many ways it is, except that it's a decision that was made in the early days of quiet time in order to cut down the number of questions and possibilities that come from their imaginations and desires... to the power of 5.  We have myriad books,  and anything else has the potential for argument, opinions, or actual mess, and quite honestly there is enough of that to deal with the other 12 hours a day that everyone is awake.

So quiet time is what's happening right now.  Except that my youngest two are half-talking and half-fighting with each other.  I guess I have to go and remind them of what quiet time actually means.  Again.


Here's a random thought for you, Kelly. (I'm guessing at this point, you might be the only one left reading, just because you're kind and this is clearly not the best writing I've ever done)

I think that "again" is an important word as a parent.  I should paint that on a canvas or stitch it on a pillow or something. To be willing to do whatever it is again.  How many times does take to teach a child kindness for life?  Maybe the answer is just once more.  Perhaps if I stopped looking for the end where there isn't one, I wouldn't find again so frustrating.  It's just part of my job as a parent.  To teach it again.  Once more.  With feeling. 

Sometimes I'm tempted to think my only job is to be my kids cheerleader and to wish I could ignore the training that needs to happen.  But what my kids really need is a coach.  Or maybe a trainer is a better word. Coaches and trainers worth their salt are also encouragers - but really, a cheerleader's only focus is what's happening now.  A trainer also must look to the future.

Again is what trainers excel at.  They keep coming up with new methods, new techniques, new strategies, all aimed at reaching a higher goal than the athlete can achieve today, because they see their athlete's potential.

Trainers become students of their athletes.  They want to know them as well as they can so they can train them as best as possible.  And let's not even go down that rabbit trail of how they don't worry about what the high jump trainers are doing if their athlete is made for swimming laps. No.  Let's not go there, but let's make the obvious connections. :)

Trainers believe in what that athlete will be capable of once they complete their training. That, at the end of the race is when the trainer will get the biggest thank-you for not letting me quit.  The biggest hugs, the biggest shouts of joy are reserved for crossing the finish line.

So that's what I thought of right now.  Sitting here in my living room, during quiet time.  It's just a regular Thursday I guess.

How'd I do Kelly?  Maybe the request should be a little more specific next time :)

What did you think of today?


  1. I loved this :) I love that you just let it fly and this is what came of it. I love the idea of a regular quiet time (now that we are at the end of summer...) and i LOVE the reminder (again) that we need to be willing to teach our children (and ourselves?) the same things again and AGAIN.
    Thanks for writing - very much enjoyed this...the next request shall not be any more specific than the last :)

  2. I loved this too. Thanks for the thoughts. (And Kelly, for the prompt! Yes, I'm plotting a post of my own too. For real.)
    Karina, this actually made me a bit teary. You're so right about "again". and again and again. I'll be coming back to re-read this for sure. Again. And quiet time after lunch is SO HAPPENING at my house this school year. I have the same rules about the activity (or non-activity) options, and yet they still wonder??

  3. Kelly and Rachel - I love you both :)


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