I’ve been dreamily imagining our future out on the vast open sea sailing from place to place. I’ve been pondering, how do I, a wife and mother of four children, prepare myself and my family for a future grand adventure on the open sea? What can I do now to help my children develop the self-discipline needed to trust each other, work as a team and function as a family unity while remaining teachable? These are the core values I believe I need to nurture my children toward to make our dream a successful reality.
First and foremost is our reliance and faith in God and His continual leading down this incredible path. Right after our Corner-stone of faith, Ryan and I recognize one vital key to mentally succeed as family is our need to work together and operate as a team, just like the Three Musketeers, “All for One and One for All”. My husband and I are the core of our family and are unified in the decisions we prayerfully make together. I respect, trust, love and support him completely, without reservation. He loves, protects, supports and provides wholeheartedly for me and our children. For fifteen years, Ryan and I have played a game where we try to “out serve” each other by constantly searching for ways to bless and meet each other’s needs before a need arises. Slowly, our children are catching on to this game…which is such a blessing!!! Respectful, loving, teachable, silly and obedient, our children have risen to our high expectation of self-control to safely and wholeheartedly embrace the many challenges and pleasures that is our new life on the water. Trusting each other is paramount to our family’s success in this grand far-reaching endeavor.
After trust comes teamwork and operating as a family unit. We have taught our children from a very early age, that being a Taisey has a code of conduct. Taisey’s are honorable, respectful, self-controlled, honest, and hard working…besides being spontaneous, playful and silly. Taisey children do not whine, complain, throw temper tantrums, nor demand their own way. Early on in raising our children, Ryan and I removed the question, “What do you want?” in order to remove the demanding whiny response, “I want….” from our children’s lips. We lovingly and firmly remind them that Taisey children don’t rudely demand their own way…especially when speaking to adults. Instead we rephrase the question, “Would you like to have…?” so they can respond more politely asking permission, “May I have….please?” After that, even our four-year-old son will sing out matter-of-factly, “You get what you get, and don’t throw a fit.” Our children have embraced our “family code” and keep each other accountable, even in Ryan and my absence…hence securing our trust in our children’s behavior for their ability to handle a very big adventure.
It is very interesting, and a constant struggle, trying to teach the concept of “harmoniously working together as a team” specifically in regard to daily chores and diligently completing their schoolwork with a teachable positive attitude. I try to help my children understand the abstract concept: if they each 1) diligently complete their daily responsibilities (chores and schoolwork), and 2) cheerfully do what needs to be done no matter “whose turn it is”, we will move and work harmoniously together like a well oiled machine. Our 8 1/2 foot width will expand, not in an explosion of anger or implode by feeling claustrophobic, but will expand like a wonderful full breath of fresh air.
Ballet has taught our children many life lessons such as self-discipline, gracefulness and self-control. Even four-year-old Caleb, who isn’t in ballet, honestly and truly enjoys sitting still, watching his sisters dance on their quarterly watch days. The repetition of each individual drill, perfecting the muscle memory for each step before more complexity is added is a wonderful concrete picture of how my children and I learn. Repetition of memory work until it is familiar, comfortable, easy and then mastered is what I strive for…the finish line to a long relay marathon called homeschooling.
This year, our second daughter, who is a natural-born leader…quite stubborn and opinionated…decided to decline from the self-discipline art of ballet and instead pursue the difficult job of disciplining a horse to obey in horse riding lessons. These horse lessons have been worth their weight in gold, teaching my nine-year-old daughter valuable, practical life and relational lessons. Situations she had to work through with her horse became concrete lessons to abstract struggles she and I have had in our mother – daughter relationship. Like using an Aesop fable where animals are the main characters to successfully teach the heart of a moral, was what horse lessons were. I could use her horse’s behavior and how her teacher coached her, as a starting place for multiple conversations. Chuckling, I told her trainer she could write a parenting book. These are some of the things she would say to my daughter when her pony decided to act like a protesting, disobedient pony:
- Every time you ride a horse, you are either training or un-training him.
- Who is in charge? Who is calling the shots? You or your pony?
- Yay! Your pony responded right away, all the way! He’s still going to test your resolve and leadership.
- You may need to get more firm with your pony. Remind him who is boss.
- Don’t take no for an answer! Don’t let your pony pull any of his tricks!
- Your pony doesn’t seem in a submissive mood today. Have your conversation with him and remind him who is boss.
After many conversations with my daughter, which were surrounded in love, I am deeply blessed she and I have become much closer. She is not only becoming a teachable, confident horse rider, but also a more teachable, humble student at home. As her mommy, I am so proud of the growing up she has done and the beautiful young lady she is becoming!
Preparing for a grand future adventure, I feel I really need to keep nurturing and molding our hearts and attitudes so we can work together harmoniously, no matter where we are. Only then can we accomplish much and be a blessing to those around us.