Q1: I want the boys to be grateful for what they have, material, but mostly not, but I don't want them to feel afraid it could all be taken away, or to deny feeling 'unlucky' sometimes - does that make any sense?
Its wanting to avoid the 'you don't know how lucky you are sonny boy' type sentiment... and from that an idea that, as children the non-material (and some material) things they have, for which one would maybe want to be grateful, are actually fine for them to take for granted. Children should have love, a home, good food and friends, and not have to think about it, let alone feel that they need to earn it. These are Rights. Universal, undeniable.
Q2: I don't want to develop and 'us and them, haves and have nots' world view. Gratitude need not to be rooted in 'I'm so grateful that its not me, that I'm not as badly off as them' The things we are grateful for are not based in luck, nor a product of our own merit or innate goodness above other who are struggling.
Q3: My own spirituality dictates that I need something that avoids what Marti calls 'worm theology' i.e we are nothing, we owe it all to god, our lives out of ours, and into gods hands.... If this is your place of faith I respect that. Its just not mine.
Q4: I like building family ritual, but can't stand rote and cheesy sentiment..
See how not easy this is turning out to be? Just pick a bloody grace, say it before meals and spare us this excruciatingly fuzzy diatribe, I hear you beg. Its been a item on my 48/480 list for 6 months now so obviously it requires more of my attention (but not yours - feel free to bow out quietly now :) .
I said in last weeks post that I felt parenting was just a series of near misses. This much I know; I am deeply, profoundly grateful every day, and know that we live as we do by grace alone. Who's I'm not sure, but there it is.
As we bring these sweet children, full of joy and love into the world I struggle to keep at bay the fear, pain and sadness that seems to engulf so much of humanity. In the tiny of moments of silence between pre-school, groceries, questions, swings, train sets, e-mail, tidying up, bathing, feeding and.. well, life with smalls the desire, no, necessity to curl up in a ball around my children is almost insurmountable. That we have been give these lives, and these experiences of parenthood to hold in trust is nothing but grace.
I am grateful, and I want my children to know that the world is bigger, that we are linked to those in pain, that our privilege has had some cost, that people and places work to make our food... but without all the guilt mentioned above. Yeesh.
I read this week:
"I force myself to look at photographs of the grieving parents in China: it's a moral imperative, on the one hand, to bear witness to the pain of others; and it's a fear, on the other, that to turn away is an insult to grace." - Catherine Newman
This is what I believe.
Now how do I say it with my children, or should I at all???