Five Minute Friday: Grace

It’s my second week of Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday and this week the word is ‘Grace’

So here goes:

I recently watched this beautiful video by Shaun Lichti entitled ‘What she taught Me.’  The video shows Shaun, a young man who was home educated, reflecting on the love of reading instilled in him by his mum.  It was, he says, the snuggling on the couch reading stories, listening to her voice for hours, which made him want to emerge himself in the magical world of story.

When I first saw it, I cried.  Tears streamed down my face and it made me think of all the things I want to achieve as a mother for Jasper.  I want him to be happy; I want him to remember that I had time to play with him; to join in with him and not just shout at him not to get dirty, to tidy his room or wash his hands in time for tea.  I want to give him the opportunities to try everything and find what it is that he really loves; to help him not be afraid to speak his mind and to have courage in his own convictions.  I want him to be well-mannered and considerate; to be open-minded and polite; to always try his best and approach everything positively.

As I thought about these things, I thought about my own mum.  My lovely mum.  I argue with my mum a lot.  Not seriously, we’ve always had a fiery relationship and we make-up as quickly as we’ve fallen out, usually several times in a minute.  I complain that she doesn’t listen, she complains that I’m too critical.  But whatever our disagreements, I know this.  Everything I want for Jasper is based on what she taught me; what she showed me to try to be.  She was never afraid to be different, she doesn’t follow a crowd. She’d wait in the car for hours with a baby for me to finish my piano lesson; she’d spend all her evenings in a freezing swimming pool (no doubt with us screaming) whilst we all took turns to have swimming lessons.  She played with us- really played.  In the late eighties when we were growing up, it was the time when all the risk-aversion was just starting.  Was it safe to play outside?  Should you really make dens in the wood?  My mum said yes and we had a fantastic childhood.

Long before we had the internet, she’d spent hours scouring bookshops and newspapers, looking for stories we’d enjoy.  She was a whirlwind – whizzing all over town in her white metro, giving her children the best chance she could.

And the thing about my mum?  Unlike me, she does it all with grace.  I’m a tad shouty, I’m volatile, I’m opinionated and I swear too much (although hopefully not in front of Jasper).  Whenever people meet my mum though, they always comment, no one fails to notice.  She smiles; she connects with everyone; she’s well spoken and she’s kind.  Although she speaks her mind, she’s careful not to offend.  She’s sweet; she’s thoughtful; she’s beautiful but she doesn’t know it.

My mum is Grace.

Five minute Friday: Together. In an age of social media, why are we less connected than ever?

I haven’t seen these challenges Lisa Jo Baker but have today found her wonderful encouraging site through the equally encouraging Called to be Home.  I’m not a Christian myself but I find the posts on Called to be Home inspirational and love reading about the activities and learning that goes on in her household.

Challenge:  To write for 5 minutes, unedited about the word given.  This week the topic is:  TOGETHER

Anyway, timer is ready to start so here goes…

Together is a word that conjures up ideas of closeness:  A family snuggled together on a couch, babes in their mother’s arms, solidarity, loyalty.  It suggests a united stance, a bond.  Connectedness.

Yet it can so easily hide the truth, the sadness behind.  We talk about families who have stayed together, somewhat of a rarity in these days of broken homes, but we constantly hear stories on the news about families who never eat together.  I read recently that 25% of British families don’t have a dining table.  Now of course they might eat at the breakfast bar or on the couch (although then of course, the tv is likely to be blaring out) but the reality is that so many families don’t sit together.  In days gone by, the family would make the effort to sit together at meal times.  It was the one time when everyone could catch up with everyone else.  What happened in everyone’s day?  Did anyone hear about that story on the news?  Who was really proud of an achievement or upset about something?  Cynicism leads me to believe that even if a lot of families were to sit together, most would communicate more through their mobile phones in a series of lols and winky faces rather than engage in any quality discussion with the family.

I hear shouts of, “But we talk all the time, we live together for goodness’ sake.  So what if we don’t eat together – our mouths are full, we wouldn’t chat!” But in an ever time deficient society, parents, spouses, children so often seem to pass each other like ships in the night.  Ships that are perhaps on opposite sides of a vast ocean.

Kids don’t want to be seen with their parents and parents sadly, don’t often want to be seen with their kids.  In lots of authorities in England, half term starts today and I have heard desperate cries from many parents.  “Why do they need a break?  They have only just gone back after the summer! Roll on a-week-on-monday!”

Have we forgotten what together means?  Do so many of us spend so little quality time together that the mere suggestion of it frightens us so we avoid it at all costs.  How ironic that with the boom in technology, the constantly expanding network of social media and other means of staying connected, that we are actually less together than ever!