I am happy to welcome Lori Hoffman as my guest blogger this week. We’ve heard Gramma Lori’s reflections before as she and Carter do life together. You’ll love her wise words and practical tips. Lori shares the “Back to School Routines” charts that she created for Carter.
Let me know if you would like a copy and I’ll get them sent right off to you!
Gramma Lori says:
On Monday of the labour day weekend, I was getting ready for Carter to go back to school. There wasn’t much to do other than have him collect his things and pack his backpack but the getting ready I was doing was more visioning and direction setting. I wanted him to go out the door everyday being mindful of who he is and how he is in the world. I wanted to remove much of the “do this, do that” from our day and I wanted to transfer yet another level of responsibility to him, now that he’s in grade four.
So as I doodled, journaled, thought and wrote, I ended up in “alliteration alley” as I often do. I ended up with a morning backpack checklist on the back of the front door, an afterschool routine checklist, a morning routine and a list of our heart focuses which I’ve pinned on the bulletin board in the front hall. This was my process in getting there:
When pared down, his after school routine included “hang it, empty it, eat it, read it”. I couldn’t handle the spelling error in HEER so i decided to put it in proper order and tell him he can eat while he reads!
Last year, I reminded him daily “Ok Buddy, empty your lunch pail”. I told him this year, it’s all up to him and I expect him to perform his after school routine without reminding. When he came home yesterday, he was barely in the door before he hung his backpack. As he walked down the hall past our new command station, he looked at the I’m Here sign and carried on with his routine. I was so proud of him.
In creating a morning routine, I had to take into account that I do different things on different days and that he isn’t always hungry first thing in the morning. But my main goal there was to eliminate the “Can I watch TV?” question. I don’t want to have to make that decision every morning because if I’m tired or cranky, or he is particularly persistent, I run the risk of giving in, then it’s all over! The timing is hugely flexible but the question of “what you do with your extra time in the morning” is not. TV on Friday’s is a privilege based on his lack of complaining on the other mornings.
Our heart focus for the year is based on the growing that I am doing in my own life because we can only lead where we’ve already journeyed. For example, this summer, there was a change in social dynamics when two friends kept coming to play instead of one. When it was just the usual friend, they got along fantastically and required very little intervention, if any. When the third friend started coming along, they couldn’t settle into an activity, the back door kept opening with complaints about the third friend and they were always wanting more screen time. At first, I reacted by telling the third boy that if he is going to be here, then they have to play well together, otherwise he needed to go home. Hard fact, that was mostly about my need to be left alone while they played. Carter pounced on that by wanting me to send him home all of the time. After a few days, I realized that I had not created a space of belonging and love for this child which goes directly against my goal of ALWAYS giving love freely. I also realized that I had essentially taught Carter that you can pick and choose who you get along with and walk away from the rest. Again, the opposite of what I want to teach him. So I pulled him aside and apologized for getting off in the wrong direction, explained why it wasn’t a helpful response and we got reset. Each day, I will be asking Carter for examples of how our three heart focus points played out in his life. It makes for great learning and conversation and teaches mindful living. This morning when I asked him to watch for an example of how he was able to extend love in a difficult situation, he said he didn’t think that he would find one in the first week.
As we discover and pursue our potential for conscious living, we will surely reflect the image of God.
Let me know if you would like a copy of Gramma Lori’s charts. I’ll get them sent right off to you!
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