Touch-in

Hi Friends. Just a quick note to keep in touch.  We have been sick with colds. Henry and I have been keeping at things on the bus. We were distracted by a mate who was supposed to help build but mostly just drank beers and talked. That was a bit of a slow day, and we can’t have too many like that or progress will be much too slow.

Last week we spent some time with my 86 year old Nonna, which was actually quite amazing. Even though our time in Canberra was jam packed with work and band related business spending our evenings being a blessing to her, just being with her, was such a blessing to us.  Looking around her home she has been very diligent about getting rid of the things that just clutter some houses, so there is a lot that used to be there that is no longer there, things that I miss because I remember them. Extra utensils that are not there to cook with.  What does grow in number are photos.  Photos are filling her walls, shelves, bench-tops.  Memories are the currency of old-age.

ImageReading her walls is like reading a family history and being surrounded by my cousins and brothers throughout our childhoods and important milestones. Nostalgic.

We are returning to Canberra again tomorrow, but not socially.  Henry is whizzing in and out for work and I will stay on until I finish my Essay. I am writing on Recycling and to be specific the National Kerbside Recycling Strategy. Exciting stuff. No, actually, I am finding it fascinating. I am interested in policy development down the track and so this is in keeping with that aim.

Today I fibreglassed the back roof panel and scraped more paint off of the roof. Henry has now decided that we will use paint-stripper which will cut down time spent on the roof, but is not as environmentally friendly as simply using elbow grease. And I actually was enjoying the quiet, rhythmic nature of paint scraping, all alone up there on my roof with the sounds of birds and rustling leaves and distant power tools. It was a good chance to make up some songs.

Ah well. Can’t have everything. Sometimes efficiency is desirable.

In other news over the week I had a few parenting realisations.  I have wondered for some time why it is that adults often feel they can talk to children in ways they would never talk to other adults and they feel they can talk to their own children in ways they would never talk to other peoples children.

Living here in this house is refining my parenting. I am more patient, because I am always surrounded by other adults, but I am also becoming firmer.  Living in another persons house means my children (and I) need to respect this house’s rules. And where I absolutely do not care if my kids jump on my lounge, bang on my table, run around the house noisily but happily, draw on the cement (with chalk, of course), don’t eat all their meal (I just leave it til later)…I’m really quite casual with the rules, probably because I don’t like rules myself.  Here, though, there are rules, and there is the natural respect of eating what others cook you and this is the first time we’ve ever really eaten around a table as a family so there is learning to be done.  Sophia has taken to saying impertinent things to Grandpa and laughing inappropriately which often comes across as plain rude. After talking with her I realised that it wasn’t out of deliberate disrespect, she simply did not know when Grandpa was joking or being serious, and she was just trying to join in with the adults, with her family. ‘But, Grandpa sometimes jokes.’ she said to me, quite puzzled. Ah ha! It clicked into place. Even now it takes me a bit of concerted effort to think whether someone is being sarcastic or serious, being rather gullible myself, and so, for a child these kinds of subtleties can easily be lost. Sophia’s understanding of a lot of the men in her life for a lot of the time is that usually they ‘joke’. That’s what guys do.

So, it’s all part of the learning, and it always fascinates me that if you delve a little deeper with a child unseen questions or answers pop up to the surface. Not every thing is what it seems through our adult eyes.  And that is why it is never good to simply (over) react to a child’s behaviour, it is better to step back, query, discuss, dig deeper, get the ‘ah ha’ moment. That’s relational life education. And I love it. It’s challenging and way more satisfying than just trying to ‘make‘ a child do just what you want them to do.

I like seeing their decisions come out of their own understanding, my job just being to broaden their understanding.

I am also seeing quite clearly that children will most likely do what you do & become what you are rather than do what you say and therefore I have a new rule: Speak to your children they way you would like to be spoken to!

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