I have been struggling with trying to manage many persons and the kaleidoscope of emotions and struggles that abound in our path towards obtaining truth and unity…and being only one, I felt outnumbered! >>In Enters –-Super MOM!<< I have the title and the costume…now HOW am I to ACT??! Aha! God in his infinite wisdom has given us the SEEDS of all that we need to raise these children right….They came neatly packaged with every soul entrusted to our care! What are these seeds?? and How do we make them grow?? The seeds=VIRTUE and the fertile ground is GRACE! …most specifically a great model for both is OUR LADY! The ultimate secret garden of virtue!
My mil once said…"When I die, I am going to ask…"Where is the manual?!" I mean, we get a TV- we get a manual…We buy a car..-we get a manual…We get a new appliance…and THERE is the manual, a complete guide to use, care and replacement parts. We get something as precious and complicated as a human soul….NO MANUAL?!"….
I think many of us do get frustrated with our children’s
behavior at times…I know I struggle with it on a
daily basis. I have to steel myself each day. I need to be consistent, even tempered and fair.
I wanted to journal to keep track of things…maybe to see patterns, but I always lose it and it is hard to find the time. I did try an experiment the other day…
First thing in the morning, I came out to
greet the kids with a smile. I went over to each one
as they emerged from their room, made eye contact with
them and told them something I loved about
them….without being too obvious and without the
others knowing….wouldn’t you know it? They were so
great for at least 2 hours! For them that is a
stretch as we are emerging with new hormonal issues 😉 aand they feel passionate about everything!
I am TRYING to be more purposeful with my attention to
the individual…I often get too overwhelmed with the
group. I am trying to see ONE thing that I can do for
them personally at any given time. Simplicty reigns true again! I am noticing less
frustration on both our parts…even something as SIMPLE as seeing that
someone needs a refill of water at dinner and taking that moment on with a smile and eye contact as I fill it up the cup, has an
effect…I think I’ll call this idea strewing
purposeful kindnesses…;) What do you think?
It kind of reminds me of the book Small Acts of Kindness by James Vollbracht where the seemingly smallest act of love, a boy hugging his mother, can have such far reaching effects.
And doing little things can be great things, Little Acts of Grace that keep our minds and hearts focused on God’s will!
Little people learn by imitation…of the ones they love…every heart should strive to be Just like Mary
And then …through character building stories, we are learning what a virtue is, how to live it and how others we love (the saints and the Blessed Mother) LIVED the virtues….using resources like these:
Devotional Stories for Little Folks
The Children’s Book of Virtues
My Path to Heaven (I copy the pics from this book and the older ones color them while I read the text. They then enter these into their notebooks…and I did ask permission from the publisher) It focuses on making right holy choices based on devotion and right action, not feelings.
…not to mention a great book for Mom and Dad is Father Lovasik’s The Hidden Power of Kindness When I first read this I THOUGHT I was kind…but I found something deeper…oh read it! You will be glad you did!!
Saintly Solutions and More Saintly Solutions (available from Sophia Institute ) are great too!
"Kindness is being concerned about the welfare of others." says The Family Virtues Guide. This is a lovely guide to read around the table to the kids. It takes a virtue at a time and explains more in depth what it is and how to practice it. It has an excellent section for parents that shows in a very practical way how to use virtues, not labels, to draw out the goodness in children. One of it’s first strategies employs the recognition of the teachable moment.
"In Chinese the written characters for the word crisis mean "opportunity".
It is our teach-ability, our humility to keep learning, that allows life to be lived with joyful acceptance, even during the tough times." It goes on further to say that such teachable moments are ones that give a parent cause to acknowledge or reinforce a virtue that the child is already practicing and in that way "the parent is tapping into the child’s innate qualities of character rather than trying to manage behavior. Calling a child to a virtue–naming a virtue which is called for in a given situation–shows her that she is capable of practicing it." It explains the language of virtue and how to employ that language to transform what is before you….
We are addressing particular virtues (here at the home for the well meaning and often mis-directed) and accompanying the study with stories and learning a bit more about the virtues of Mary. At the center of this is the Program for Achieving Character Education or PACE (Which recommends using The Moral Compass
as well as The Family Virtues Guide) PACE has been updated!!….here is more info from Emmanuel books :
"In addition to the materials covered in the original PACE [quote memorization or copywork, virtue definition (including synonyms and antonyms), Classic Stories, Bible stories, recommended booklists (listed by grade level), discussion questions, writing ideas, and enrichment activities such as music, art, nature and family projects], there are supplements to this restructured curriculum. For example, a segment on how to practice the virtues in everyday life has been included. There is now a section containing specific references to Catholic saints (and lessons to be learned from studying them) as well as a Marian section aimed at incorporating our Blessed Mother and her actions into our study of character concepts. Who better than Our Lord, the saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary to demonstrate fitting examples of moral conduct in our lives?"
And right there is where we begin with our new Virtues Project all recorded in our Marian Virtue-Building Notebooks which is PURELY A WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND OUR LADY! I felt the need to research all of this recently and I had NO IDEA that it would marry together so well….a special "God-Incidence" is the fact that PACE was recently updated to reflect the Virtues of Our Lady. We have been spending weeks study her virtues in the Mary Garden. God is painting a beautiful picture for me to follow…I am so very visual and I need a clear image to emulate as a Mother….how wonderful…how perfect!! Can you tell I am excited??!…stay tuned for updates! ;o)
QUOTES ON KINDNESS AND DOING LITTLE THINGS WITH GREAT LOVE FOR GOD:
"We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love."
"Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things."
Bell, Lawrence D.
"Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves."
"The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions — the little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimal of pleasurable and genial feeling."
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
"A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark."
"If you add a little to a little and do this often, soon the little will become great."
"There is nothing, Sir, too little for so little a creature as man. It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery and as much happiness as possible."
"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
"Small kindnesses, small courtesies, small considerations, habitually practiced in our social intercourse, give a greater charm to the character than the display of great talents and accomplishments."
Kelty, Mary Ann
"Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of those tiny successes. The big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’t collect all these tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything."
"Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things."
"The thing that goes the farthest towards making life worth while, That costs the least, and does the most, is just a pleasant smile."
Nesbit, Wilbur D
"The person determined to achieve maximum success learns the principle that progress is made one step at a time. A house is built one brick at a time. Football games are won a play at a time. A department store grows bigger one customer at a time. Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments."
Schwartz, David J
"It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most; it’s making a great deal out of the little ones."
"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all."
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
Aesop (620 BC – 560 BC), The Lion and the Mouse
"Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness."
Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC), The Confucian Analects
"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
Ettiene De Grellet
"Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness."
George Sand (1804 – 1876)
"That best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love."
William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)