Monday, September 1, 2008

Thoughts on Thoughtfulness

I still remember when Scooter was a brand new baby, I was so infatuated with him (of course). I was out somewhere when a white-haired gentleman stopped to peek at Scoot. He marveled at him a minute, then said "Seems like he's the first child that was ever born, doesn't it?" I knew just what he meant. This little child, my brand new first baby was the most precious thing in the entire world, and I couldn't imagine how anything or anyone so important could ever have existed.

I felt the same way with my next two babes. Just like it was the first time anyone so wonderful could have happened.

That was a wonderful feeling. In the years following, however, I have come to be incredibly grateful for those women who have gone before me & the fact that I am not doing this for the first time, alone. I am especially grateful for those women who are in my life in one way or another, teaching me how to love & teach my children, how to be the mom I want to be.

"Older women likewise are to be.... teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children..." Titus 2:3-4

Some fabulous blogs that I've discovered, as well as some great conversation I've had with my older (and very experienced) sister lately have culminated into me thinking of helping my boys to be mindful, thoughtful of others in life.

Oftentimes I ask one of my boys to do this or that, not taking time to mention the why...and the why has to do with consideration of others and thoughtfulness. I subscribe to a wonderful blog, and Barb has been doing a little series about instilling good habits, a CM teaching. Here are some of Barb's own ideas of implementing thoughtfulness in her children;
  • All four children share a bathroom and I know they could each show more thoughtfulness in how they leave the bathroom when they are finished in the morning and also in the amount of time they each spend in the bathroom getting their day going
  • Encouraging the children to spend one on one time with each other, especially the older ones with a younger one
  • Thoughtful words are always nice to hear between the children, tone of voice is everything
This leads me to think about how I can help my boys think about being thoughtful toward others, and the consequences of not doing so. I want the boys to see the reason's behind being mindful of others, not just see a rule to be kept or broken.

Adversely, the child who is unaware of the consequences for others of his own actions is driven only by fear or reward of "What will happen to me?" This child is not mindful of others around, and leads to a heart that sees only self, rules and consequences.

Just food for thought...

"Thoughtfulness's job is simply to make everyday life more pleasant and comfortable for others, even when those others are only the pets that we feed and care for, or our dog who likes to be played with and taken for walks, or our horse that needs not only food and care but encouragement from a friendly touch and word. Our family and friends, both rich and poor, provide lots of opportunities to be thoughtful. A thoughtful person might be described as courteous, kind, accommodating or considerate. His thoughtfulness is shown in a kind word, or by knowing when not to speak, or by his manner, his attention, what he says, or what he does."
Charlotte Mason in Modern English, volume one, page 99-100

1 comment:

Hazel Dodge said...

Says older sis..."It's easier to want to do than to actually implement."--teaching children their affect on others, that is. It's hard to do it without and avoid feelings of guilt or hearing "well, but he never shares HIS toys"... we have to do a lot of adult modeling in this area, which is also not always easy. We don't always want to share, or be "nice" or do one more thing 'for someone else'. But it's definitely something to strive for, and can be done well in retrospect: "Wow! You put your clothes away. That really helped me out." or "Your brothers were so tired they didn't put their toys back, but you took care of that for them. It will be nice for them to not have to wake up to a mess."

There's more on noticing considerate actions in "How to talk so kids will listen..."