The strength is in the struggle

I had the privilege of running a workshop with some wonderful parents on the theme of ‘Perseverance’.  The night before the workshop I came across a blog (it is a great read in full in you click on ‘blog’),that had a fantastic story in it that touched on this topic of perseverance and how difficult it is to sometimes sit and see the struggle, yet know that the struggle is important.  I hope you enjoy the read!

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“From the corner of my eye, I saw several resort employees making their way down toward the surf, carrying a large plastic tub. Curious, I sat up in my chair. Michael, also curious, got up and walked down to where they were, then motioned for me to join him.

Nestled in the plastic tub were about 150 baby sea turtles, newly hatched that afternoon…..

Miniature and geometric, their small shells were a gorgeous pattern of deep tannish greens, tiny tiles set in ornate, exact patterns. The resort employees had set the crate about twenty feet up the beach from the surf, and the baby turtles were already pushing toward the side of the crate that faced the seawater, their sense of the ocean as home already in full operation.

And then, as the sun dropped lower in the sky, one of the resort workers called to me. As I walked toward him, he gestured to the crate and motioned for me to pick up one of those amazingly teensy turtles.

The director of the release program drew a long line in the sand, marking the starting point for the upcoming journey. He explained that the turtles needed to make their own way down to the water, that we were not to carry them to the surf.

Most of us onlookers were standing back, watching the varying levels of success and struggle.

A few of the turtles seemed exhausted, overwhelmed by the challenges of the terrain. Others got turned around, heading away from the sea or scrambling in a parallel line to the water.

We watched, a little worried, until dusk began to settle. Finally, one of the resort guests couldn’t take it anymore. She scooped up one of the stragglers and began to carry him down to the water, unable to bear the uncertainty.

One of the employees in charge of the release called after her, motioning for her to put the turtle down, but her overwhelming concern overshadowed his instructions. As she gently placed the turtle in the shallows, her husband caught up with her and reminded her that she wasn’t supposed to help the turtles.

She, on the other hand, was incredulous that we were allowing these turtles to struggle so mightily. She saw her actions as a kindness.

Unwittingly, though, she was participating in potentially tangling the turtle population in protective bubble wrap.

That trip from the sand to the water? That’s critical turtle training ground. It’s what gives baby turtles a better chance of survival.

The best conditions possible had been created by monitoring the nest and timing the release at sunset when predatory birds and scavengers are not as active.

But once those conditions had been achieved, newly-hatched turtles need the trek to the water to strengthen their flippers, to practice the motion that will be required once they hit the water.

They need the experience of heading accurately toward the shore, even if it takes them a bit to figure it out.

These moments of struggle in the sands of their childhood would serve them well during their next hundred years of survival.

What an overprotective heart saw as too hard or too cruel or too tough is actually exactly what a baby turtle needed to up his chances of survival. To cut the journey short, to abbreviate the endeavor, would make the turtles more vulnerable and com- promise their skills for endurance.

The strength is in the struggle.”

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Mindfulness in parenting

Being the best parent I possibly can is something I am passionate about and know that many of you are too.

As my children get older, I feel like things are getting busier as there are so many different activities vying for their attention. As I struggle to balance these, I find it is important to think about what values we have as a family and ask the question ‘How do these activities match up with our family values?’  In many ways the ideas and research by the ‘positive psychologists’ can help give direction as to what helps kids flourish and what helps us be better parents. But then, in the end, taking time to listen to our hearts is also important.

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photo credit: blogthings.com

I really enjoyed reading the following (on the blog “A Holy Experience”) and wanted to share it – please, not to put anyone on a guilt trip, but to encourage you amongst the cleaning and cooking to live in the moment and enjoy the simple parts of parenting.

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photo credit: dyaneburgon.com

To give the writing context, it is set in Canada and the writer is sending her 18 year old son to live-in University. (For the full story click here.)

“How could I forget that the only thing that we’re always really teaching is love? What if I’m wild to go back to Dr. Suess and begin again? What if I want to go back and make the schedule simpler so our lives could be richer? So I could tie your shoe one more time and bend down and kiss your cowlick….
What if I want to play more games of monopoly and leave the dishes in the sink more often? What if I want to take you fishing more Saturdays and blow off cleaning up the garage? Why doesn’t someone tell all the homemakers: Cleanliness isn’t next to godliness. Love is….
I wish I had cared a lot less about your room being clean and a lot more that you and your brothers being close. Why didn’t I paint it in neon on a wall: More important than a clean house is a close family…
You may forget the chronology of the Egyptian pharaohs, but you’ll remember your Dad sneaking up behind me and kissing my ear while I was scrubbing out the breakfast frying pan. I’m not partial to how much you remember of calculus; but it’s dire that you know that the sum of how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life. The lessons any kid remembers are the ones his parents lived. The goal is simple: It’s not about a 5-year scholarship but being a life-long learner and a life-long lover...
I wished we’d read more Charlie Brown books together and laughed loud on the floor. I should have gone slower. Every time you saw me, a smile is what you should have seen first…
I’d give my eye teeth, my liver and lifetime worth of free bacon to go back and tell you three times a day,  to look you in the eyes and tell you: I really like you.”

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May you find time on the weekend for making memories with your kids. Not necessarily big event memories, but the memories that make up the little things in life…
how you see the ordinary is all that ever adds up to an extraordinary life

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A thought for the Weekend – Mother’s Day

what messes our life up most — is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like
(a holy experience)

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Photo Credit: fashiondivadesign.com

As this Mother’s Day approaches where there is so much media attention and commercialism involved and so many images of the perfect Mum and family…
May you have time to relax and just be with your family. Or if family is not near,
may you have time to reflect and be grateful for their presence in your life.

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Photo Credit: wallpagez.com

 

As this Mother’s Day approaches may you not be disappointed by those around you.
May you be able to look over the short comings of others and accept them for who they are.

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Photo Credit: zeewallpaper.com

As this Mother’s Day approaches may you be both a giver and receiver of much kindness, generosity and love.

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Photo credit: nevillechristy.com

 

Happy Mothers Day

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Photo Credit: mi-tshirt.com

 

 

 

A thought for the weekend – love

Love is receiving an unexpected gift that shows the giver really knows you.

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photo credit: fadedwhitelinen.blogspot.com

Love is sharing the ups and downs of life and laughs with friends over a home-cooked meal in their neck of the woods.

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Photo credit: firstcovers.com

Love is playing Uno with the kids and laughing as the cumulative score sky-rockets.

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Photo credit: evanwhelplar.com

Love is the husband carrying a heavy backpack around Sydney (full of families clothes) as we enjoy the sights.

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Love is being picked up at the airport by a sister amongst her crazy, busy day.

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Photo Credit: mix1065.com

Love is Jesus coming to earth for me.

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Photo Credit: vijugi.com

…… and the way to receive love isn’t to wrap anything up — but to unwrap your heart. (http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/12/what-to-do-when-you-have-no-idea-how-get-ready-in-time-for-christmas)

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Photo credit: colourbox.com

This, the weekend before Christmas, may you and your family ‘unwrap’ your heart and see signs of love around you.