Subsequent to my writing my last post about “Parenting Toward the Kingdom,” TBF and I had an opportunity to attend a family retreat over the Labor Day weekend, which hosted author and professor, Phillip Mamalakis.
We were the first ones to check in to the retreat center in Kansasville, Wisconsin after traveling all week on TBF’s long-awaited PTO.
The Orthodox retreat center was built in 2014 and the facilities were new and inviting. After getting settled in to our room, we headed out and started mingling with those that were arriving. The Honey Badger made an immediate friend and soon before long it was time to get the girls to bed. Mamalakis lead a “dad’s” session at 10 pm that Friday night…the “mom’s” session was slated for Saturday night at the same time.
Saturday’s conference was informational and covered most of the book “Parenting Toward the Kingdom.” Mamalakis did a great job relating his personal family stories and some other intimate details of parenting with the group (there were around 30-40 attendees, excluding children). In the afternoon, the Honey Badger and I were so exhausted from all of our travels from the week that we ended up taking a nap!! So TBF sat through the majority of the afternoon session but was called out a few times because of the Snorting Warthog (you do the best you can when you have a 3 year old and a 3 month old!). Needless to say, we left that afternoon before everything finished on Sunday because we were so excited to sleep in our own beds after a week of traveling. The girls thanked us for a return to their normal routines!
I am glad that we took the time to attend this conference. I don’t want to share too much, in the event you are planning to read this book, because I would probably spoil too much of it. I am still slowly moving through the book and applying the principles that I am learning. The biggest take away is making sure that I am communicating with the Honey Badger on an appropriate level. Many times I take for granted that she is only three years old…In my mind, I sometime behave like she can communicate like an adult, but in reality, she is just a smart three year old!!
In all seriousness, I have been applying ground rules, such as actively thinking about how I am responding before I actually respond and I have stopped myself from over-responding to her behavior…which actually has made for more connections between us. I have gotten down on her level to make eye contact and review “appropriate behavior” so that she is more aware of my expectations. Overall, I am trying to spend more time with her, which can be challenging when my attention is getting pulled in other directions throughout the day. I look forward to being intentional in the lives of my children and continuing to seek forgiveness when I mess up (especially in front of them), as I want to model the behavior that I hope they come to embrace as they grow older in to maturity as a whole person.