Nathan Foster, of Renovare and The Making of an Ordinary Saint, was confused by the act of "submission" and so, decided to study it. He asked his 9yo daughter and 5yo son, if they could have an afternoon with him, what would they want to do?
He asked himself, can I truly turn myself "off" and do what my kids want to do for a certain amount of time, within a reasonable budget? Like, NOT check his phone, double up on errands that serve him too, add in a treat that would ease his submission-ing discomfort, etc.
He did it. It was hard. (His afternoon involved a trip to Chuck E Cheese, among other things. Bless...)
So I thought, what about an hour???
Could I do an hour with each child, ONLY what they wanted, within a budget?
I asked all three of them if they could have an hour with me, what would they want to do? Then I asked them to think about it for a day.
Corinne wanted to go first. I set a timer on my phone and Henry and Svea pulled up a chair to watch.
Corinne wanted me to get IN the pool with her and not only STAY in the pool but PLAY at whatever she said.
Henry was delighted and grabbed my phone to take pictures. Mom was going to PLAY! Svea got in the pool with us.
The only time I got out of the pool was to make her some orange juice (it was past 10am so she had already had a Fanta).
Henry eventually got in too, and Corinne forgot that she was only allowed to be in charge of what she and I did, not what Henry and Svea were doing. Her siblings may or may not have mentioned that "she was trying to boss everyone in the world like Donald Trump." Ha.
Svea had pity on me and checked the timer several times as I engaged in jump-off-the-pool-wall-dance-routines, bounced, splashed and swam back and forth in the shallow end.
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (There was no Chuck E Cheese even mentioned.)
Svea was next.
She wanted me and her to go to Hobby Lobby and buy materials to create something! With styrofoam heads! And paint! And feather boas! All for under $20!
So we did. We listened to the radio and sang loudly (maybe with hand motions) with the windows down.
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (Wouldn't you know that Chuck E Cheese is next door to Hobby Lobby??)
I had to lie down on the couch for a few minutes before Henry's turn.
Then we went to another store to hunt out Superhero items (costumes, posters, accessories, sheets, cups - there are no rules, people.)
In under $20, we found two posters for his room, a blank poster, 3 canvas boards, paint and brushes. The superhero hour was full. There was no radio played in the car and we used the air conditioner. Quiet and cool, y'all. Room for all his thoughts...
The hour ended. I survived. It was hard. (There are no superheroes at Chuck E Cheese.)
I was disappointed how hard it was for me to focus that long on one child. I'm surprised at how quickly I wanted to check my messages or double up an errand (since we are right here by Whole Foods, let's just run in and grab some essential oils, eh?)
I want to work on this, though. I don't want it to be so intentional and hard. WHAT IF I naturally spent time with them, individually and together? Is that what you call parenting?
I'll keep working on it. Promise, guys.