Let me start by saying that I love my home! I praise God regularly for the home that He has given us and all of the wonderful charm and sweetness that we find inside of it. I think it's important to state that so that no one sees my love of getting "out" as a love of getting "away". There is a huge difference there. The desire to escape comes from a deeper root of discontentment, but the desire to explore comes from a place of wonder and enjoyment.
Ever since I was a mom, I have loved exploring new places and new things together with my children. Our son, now nearly 9, was my first adventure buddy and we would often look for new places to discover together. As much as I love to see new things myself, it is even more fun to see new things with someone that I love! I would say that is a huge reason that I love homeschooling... To watch my children light up when they read something new, hear something new, learn something new, see something new, touch something new. Those are some of my favorite moments and I am grateful that I get to experience them first hand.
I have seen over the last 8 years the benefit that has come from this kind of exploration with my children. My children are growing up to savor. In a world that is ever moving and never slowing down, we choose to slow down. My kids are those kids that want to look in every shop window, count every ant walking by, or just stop for 10 (or 30) minutes to watch a bird fly back and forth to its nest. They are developing an ability to enjoy, to wait, to linger. Are they perfectly patient? No. Are they perfectly joyful? No. But, please, let us never strive for the perfection of our children. We will only come away with frustrated parents and discouraged children. Rather, I realize that my role as parent means many, many years or directing and redirecting the tiny minds and hearts that have been graciously entrusted to me. Teaching them from early on to enjoy the world around them will have, Lord willing, a lasting impact on their lives.
Let me also encourage the moms that think they cannot afford to regularly explore new and exciting places with their children. Nearly every single place that my children and I go is... FREE! I have often been asked how I find the cool places that we go to. The answer - the internet. I look up blog posts and city websites to find something new that we haven't done before. Or some place that we haven't been in a long time. We have even done this when traveling. Before we've visited Michigan or Idaho, I have looked online to find fun and interesting (and free!) places for us to go. It just takes a little digging on our end to find our next adventure. And if all of your internet searching fails you, sometimes a simple detour down a new road is the best kind of adventure to have!
Now, maybe all of this sounds great in theory, but in actuality it sounds miserable to you because your children are complainers. The idea of listening to them complain and ask "How much longer?" for a whole afternoon is the last thing you want to sign up for. Well then we need to start with a question to ourselves... Are we complainers? When it's hot outside, what do your children hear come out of your mouth? When the line is longer than you anticipated? When you run into traffic? We need to be mindful of our own behaviors. The truth is that every child will grow tired and weary at some point during the day. Will we bark at them and grow weary ourselves with their fatigue or will we come alongside of them and encourage them to keep moving. Will we maintain gracious speech and a joyful attitude despite the current condition of our children's moods? I promise, they are watching. And I promise, they are learning.
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