Monday, December 17, 2012

my gift to the world

Last week I had the incredible privilege of attending a 3 day conference/retreat. It was an awesome experience and I feel so lucky that not only was my current employer willing to send me (without having to take personal time), but my former employer (the host of the conference) paid for the conference AND paid me to attend. But, money was not really my main motivator. I went because after reading the brochure, I knew I NEEDED to go. My job now is very stressful and it would be so easy to get burnt out and forget why I started doing what I'm doing. Well, the conference delivered in a big way and I let KNOWING that I'm not only in the right field, but that I'm deeply interested in figuring out how to continue some sort of part time work after this baby is born.

But, that's not really what this post is about. Twice each day at the conference we were asked to come sit in a giant circle and share a little about ourselves. On the second day, we were instructed to bring in a token that represents our gift to the world. I felt very overwhelmed by this task at first as I don't feel like I've given a whole lot to this world. I mean, I'm just one person in one small area of the country. I try to do good each and every day, but I know that I'm not making global impact with my work. And then it occurred to me, there is something little I can each day that makes a big difference for this world and just so happens to tie in nicely to what I do on a daily basis. So, this is what I brought in to symbolize my gift to the world:

I may not be able to impact the whole world, but I can certainly impact my little corner of it. I explained to the group that my gift to the world is being a good, kind, and patient mama. My gift to the world is being someone my children can look up to, someone who takes care of the ill and suffering, and offers a lending hand to those who need it most. The way I can impact the world the most is just by raising my kids to be good, kind, caring people who try their best. And in order to teach them those skills, I need to model that kind of behavior. My biggest struggle with where we currently live is that all too often I see parents who treat their kids as if they are the world's biggest inconvenience. I see parents hit and scream and belittle their children. I see parents who are not invested in how their children are doing in school or how they can help them reach their full potential. I work with kids who have parents who are the very definition of selfish, putting their addictions and desires ahead of the well-being of their children. It makes my skin crawl. I can't make these parents change, but what I can do is make sure that I am intentional with how I treat my children. Make sure that I am intentional in how I discipline my children. Now, I'm not going to let Piper or her brother get away with naughty behavior, but I can teach them right and wrong without raising my hand or my voice (we use Love & Logic). I may not be able to change the people around me, but I can still make an impact by being cognizant of the impact I am making at home. And that is quite powerful.

I have been meaning to write this post since last Thursday when I had that experience at my conference, but it seems all the more important now considering everything that happened on Friday. I cannot end the grief for the families out there and I cannot make sense of the senselessness of what happened, but what I can do is love the child(ren) I have been given. I can do my best to be intentional about the time I have with them. And I can shower them with a million smooches just so they know that they are loved and treasured. I picked Piper up more times this weekend than I can count and gave her so many kisses that she started telling me, "Mommy, no." It's always felt important to me to let Piper know that she is a great treasure, but it seems a little extra important now.

What do you consider your gift to the world? How have you been feeling/coping the past few days?

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