I have been away writing on several other blogs that I have set up. Some for work, one for professional development, one for the studies on Druidry I have been doing. I have been writing short parenting articles for a local monthly gazette which reaches about 12,000 homes (small stuff but it all adds up). I’ve also had three journal articles published. What I have realised is that this blog is the fertile ground for all of the other writing I have been doing this year. It’s the place where I have met other bloggers, written about my experience, and generated ideas from meaningful conversations with other bloggers. I have learnt so much from being able to reflect and receive feedback on what I have written. This has provided me with many wonderful opportunities. I needed to venture out but I’ve come back home.
At work, my expressive arts group ended after three years. My fabulous assistant left for a job which was more hours and tailor made for her skills, and I found it difficult to find a replacement with the same passion and understanding, so with much sadness I ended the group. Apart from the family work I do where I do lots of group work with parents, I picked up another little job as a student wellbeing worker in a small public school. I am now doing a lot of individual work with children, and lucky for me they love doing art.
And I have been busy with the kids.
I have always said that parenting gets harder as your children get older, and that is coming to fruition. When children are young they are completely in your world. But as they get older they are exposed to more layers, and experiences in the world outside of your control. You have to be so much more present as a parent as your kids get older. So, between futsal, outdoor soccer, kung fu, school band, transporting kids to and from their friends, having their friends over, and negotiating computer time and TV time, I have been trying to stay connected with my kids by attending to the “anchors and bookends” (Lisa Boisvert McKenzie) of the day.
And I have learnt that no matter what I do, there will be times when I just won’t know or understand what’s going on in their heads and hearts. The boys brought home all of their workbooks for the end of the school year. In one workbook, middle son wrote “I feel lonely when my parents help my brother with his reading and they don’t help me with reading”. The youngest has needed extra support with reading this year, he was at risk of repeating his grade. He isn’t tuned into books and reading, he doesn’t draw or write, it’s not his thing, but he needs to learn because running around like a wild thing all day is less cute at seven than it was at four. The middle boy taught himself to read at the age of four, he’s doing advanced work at school, and I don’t understand the stuff that he reads on maths, science, and history. I’m not sure how I could help him with reading, but it’s clear that he feels that he is missing out on something.
We are still a NO wii, nintendo, xbox, playstation, ipod, ipad family. Yay! Of course, the boys would love all that, and there have been times where they have told me that they are the most deprived children in the neighbourhood. But I have met a few other families who either don’t have these things or severely restrict them, so I don’t feel like I am grossly abnormal. In my work I am seeing a number of children who spend all of their spare time playing violent computer games, not having any connection with family, and experiencing episodes of explosive anger.
Heading into the new year, I’m not sure where I’m heading with this blog. Over time I will move the expressive arts and community work posts over to my professional blog where they seem more appropriate. I enjoy reading some of those lifestyle blogs (Che and Fidel, Silver Sparrow Designs, 6512 and growing, An Everyday Story, Breath of Green Air) with their dreamy photos, and/or stories of cute kids. I do enjoy their ‘present moment’ and joyful quality. I don’t do great photos but I can do joyful!
Best Wishes to you.