how does it feel?

Mar 27, 2011

The entire trip to the TJED Family Forum would have been worth it for just this one lesson I learned in a presentation by my friend, Jodie Palmer.

She asked the question “How does it feel?” repeatedly. She kept asking it enough that it finally sunk in to my heart and has had me thinking deeply about it ever since. I ask you to think about it also.

How does it feel in your home?

How does it feel in your arms?

How does it feel to talk to you?

How does it feel to read a book with you?

How does it feel to eat a meal with you?

How does it feel to pray with you?

How does it feel to drive with you?

How does it feel to work with you?

How does it feel to wake up with you?

How does it feel to go to bed with you?

Jodie asked the first question and I have been asking myself all the rest. I have realized I have not been looking in my children’s eyes enough. I have not been connecting with their spirits the way I used to. In some ways I have become a drill sergeant and I know a drill sergeant is not what God wants me to be. It is not how I want to be.

Jodie asserted that whatever we are doing with our children, be it reading, mathematics, history, gardening, packing for a trip, doing their hair, sewing, cleaning, art, WHATEVER, the real question we need to ask ourselves is not how well they are learning or doing or accomplishing, but how they feel while they are doing it. How they feel will play a far larger role in them eventually learning the reading, mathematics, history, etc than how they are actually learning it right now. When they feel safe, loved, nurtured, excited, understood, invigorated, and competent, they are defining who they are, what family is, how a mother treats her children, and what learning feels like. When they feel scared, overwhelmed, ignored, pushed, bored, misunderstood, or failing, they are learning the exact same lessons, but with very different outcomes.

Think about this.

Let it sink in.

Find the truth in it.

I am not saying we try the ridiculous social experiments of the 80’s where unearned praise and “good job!” were lathered on children. I am not saying feelings rule the day and that behavior doesn’t matter. I am saying that as a mother I have a stewardship to create the culture in our home and that culture plays a large part in how my children feel. If children are called to meals and hurriedly told to sit down so we can pray and then have the food devoured they will have a very different feeling than if meal time is treated as a special time of day where we are able to jointly give thanks to God, enjoying our meal, and share stimulating conversation.

If I am not looking at my children while they are talking to me, they will have a different feeling than if I get down on their level and look them in the eye.

If I am too busy to be able to listen with my heart, I am too busy to sufficiently fill their souls with my love for them.

If my voice is taut and strained while I am teaching a math concept or reading or driving or any other thing, my children will not only sense they are not smart enough to get it, they may also come to believe that learning is overwhelming, causes mom to become stressed, and takes way to much work to be worth it.

On the other hand, if I am able to set a tone of calmness, order, stability, connection, patience, forgiveness, and most of all, love, my children will carry that feeling in their souls and it will define for them what a family is, what home means, how a mother treats her children, and they will yearn for that feeling to stay with them. That feeling will keep them close to their family and close to God. They may stray from what they have been taught, but that feeling will bring them back.

This is what I want. I think lately I have been too busy teaching the academics to remember to focus on the feeling I want to create in my home.

Jodie’s class reminded me what my real goals are and has given me lots of things to ponder this week. I have been striving this week to get back to the mother I used to be and to fill my children’s spirits with the feeling I want them to have of home.

If you want to listen to Jodie’s talk, you will be able to download it at TJED Marketplace in a few weeks. It is called Family Mission Statements by Jodie Palmer and was fabulouso!

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  1. Such great food for thought!! Thank you for this post, Tracy!

  2. LaPriel

    Thank you

  3. Becky

    Thank you for this. I’ve been thinking about something similiar – but didn’t quite have the words for it. Thank you for giving me the most lovely question to ask myself. I’m so grateful you’ll share your thoughts with us!

  4. Anne

    Love, love love your writing, especially about motherhood . . .

  5. Oh, thank you for sharing this today, dear Tracy! I REALLY needed the reminder. {{{hugs}}}