This year my husband and I have had the opportunity to give very careful thought to our philosophy of parenting and home life. Besides the normal feeding, providing, clothing, listening, guiding, and running all around town taxiing children to activities, what do we hope to do as parents?
My husband came up with a beautiful intention:
We want to create an environment
where each child can thrive in
becoming the person
God has created them to be.
The reality is that in creating a space for one person to thrive means others may be uncomfortable; ok, I’m uncomfortable. I am stretched; I have to yield what felt like big things or huge preferences of ways of living. And at times I’m asking other family members to do the same. One person craves light and sun; another loves cozy, dark spaces. One family member delights in quiet; another wants loud, the whole neighbournood hears dance music or stories. Recently one family member was working on a task that benefited from a closed door in a major thoroughfare. I was irked; Craig just walked around to another door. His choice added 15 seconds to his walk; it was easy, obvious, and humble. It absolutely had never occurred to me. Conflict was unnecessary with a little problem solving and A LOT OF HUMILITY.
Last weekend my daughter taught me a bit about how to create an environment for others to thrive and be who God has created them to be. While attending a birthday bash, she watched, studied the gym filled with people. She was somber, stayed physically close while sussing out the situation; words and questions had no space in her need to take in all that was happening. Funny things; no smile. Favourite songs, no groove. Friends saying hello; a slight nod. Later she reported having a great time, but really she was a student of the event as much as a participant. Then a teen, who is probably non-verbal autistic, came by; she smiled warmly and waved. He stopped looked at her to be sure he had seen the greeting. She smiled and waved again. He waved and smiled back. Both of them happy.
My girl had watched the room; I thought she was monitoring safety. Instead she took in who may feel more on the outside than she and that is where she gave her energy. She acknowledged another’s fearfully and wonderfully madeness. For a moment the two thrived because her preferences and comfort were superseded by her wanting to give friendship to a stranger.
May I have the intentionality to create an environment where others can thrive in becoming the person God has created them to be. May I have the wisdom to see who may most need that environment. May I have the humility to lay down my preferences and ease for the person who needs more help moving to thriving.