Legacy.

I expect some major accolades for blogging this week because I have been super busy…watching Downton Abbey. I just discovered it and life will never be the same. I have crammed so many episodes into a 24 period that I actually had a dream last night that I was friends with the Granthams and called my attorney brother to request his help to ensure that Lady Mary would get the inheritance. When Ella woke up early from her nap yesterday I turned on Dora for her while I watched an episode of Downton Abbey next to her on my phone with earphones.But anyhow, I need a little Downton break since I’m beginning to fear I may start speaking in a British accent and referring to my husband as m’Lord, and since the kids are asleep, I decided I would write a little post about something I’ve been thinking about lately.When we first moved to our new, beloved home, I was in a bit of a frenzy. I felt surrounded by Super People who did all this amazing stuff. Some of my best friends go skiing on top of mountains in July, or take Nordic backpacking trips through Yellowstone with a baby on their backs. So when we moved here, I felt like I needed to do it all. Then I went downhill skiing for the first time in ten years and was reminded that not only do I stink at it, but I’m probably too paranoid to ever be much better than I currently am at it. Plus it costs a lot of money that I’d rather spend on clothes….or, um…helping people and stuff.So we’ve picked a few activities that we really love to focus our time and energy on. We spend a lot of time x-country skiing in the winter (though clearly, I should never “compete: in a Nordic race again), and we hike, bike and camp in the summer. And by camp, I mean we mooch off of friends who own trailers since I have an irrational fear of bears.

Anyways, I do have a point here.

I’ve been readingthis awesome book that really speaks to where I’m at in motherhood right now:

desperate

A friend recommended this book and it has really helped me sort through a lot of the overwhelming feelings I’ve had since becoming a mother of two. It’s not specific to adoption and doesn’t even really touch at all on that subject, but it’s just applicable to any one who struggles with mom guilt, panic, anxiety, depression, etc. One of the chapters called “Formulas Don’t Always Work” was a really great one. The authors discuss expectations of moms and the exhaustion that comes with trying to raise your kids by following every piece of advice from books, blogs, etc. and in the process — wear out themselves and their children.I totally feel like that. Not that I wear out my children, but I wear myself out trying to follow the advice of books and blogs and stressing out over which activities to focus on because there’s so many to choose from. Baby Mandarin or music class? African drumming camp or art camp? Preschool or hanging out at home?The authors had some really great advice in that regard: plan what kind of family you want to be.

“Determine for yourself what you hope to be the outcome of your family. What legacies do you want to leave for your children?….If you do not have a plan or a philosophy, then you will try to fit your life into other people’s plans. God has made each couple with the freedom to create their own family culture. The sooner you decide to embrace your own values, preferences, strengths, and weaknesses, the more you will become who God made you and your husband to be.”

Kind of like realizing downhill skiing just ain’t my thing. And even though many experts tout the benefit of team sports, between the fact that I don’t know the rules of football and the fact that I am so paranoid about my kids’ safety, Baby Boy is likely to never be the star quarterback of his football team and that’s okay. We love us some music at our house, and it’s okay if we focus our energies on that.

Joel and I recently had a discussion about what is most important for us to pass down to our children, because we’re entering the school years very soon and we know that those decisions will affect how we choose to help our kids select extra curricular activities and what we do during our free time. I’m the kinda girl that likes a plan but also has difficulty trusting myself to make the right decisions, so it was super helpful to flush these things out with my partner. Here’s what we came up with:

We want our children to love Jesus. And not just in a church on Sunday kind of way, but in a serving Him by caring for orphans, widows, the homeless, the elderly and lonely kind of way.

We want our children to love reading and books and learning.

We want our children to love the outdoors and healthful living.

We want our children to have an appreciation of the arts and to be able to participate in creating art by being able to play an instrument, sing or dance.

Even though our kids are young, we’ve already begun the work of imparting this “legacy”. We bring them to church, read God’s Word to them and involve them in service projects whenever we have opportunity. We spend lots of time each day reading books and playing outdoors at parks, gardening or going up into the mountains. We make sure they are active and have lots of free time and when we do participate in organized activities they often have an element of the arts to them.

How about you? What things do you want for your children? How do you go about working to impart your legacy for them?

Well, the kids are still napping, and there’s an aristocratic British family calling my name.

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