Thursday, October 3, 2013

On listening to our kids: be creative

We walk down cracked sidewalks, sidestepping McDonald's wrappers and dusty brown beer bottles. She spins and dances. And he always always runs, tiny legs dotted with scrapes and bruises: evidence of the way they move a little faster than the rest of him. I remind them to grab hands across the street as the sun sinks lower, bathing the world in the warm golden light of a perfect fall evening. 
Jayci wears her hot pink tights, light-up Cinderella shoes at least two sizes too small, and her favorite dress with torn lace across the bottom. Spotting a "stage," she climbs stairs and dances across a backdrop of graffiti and rust. I frame a green shoot laced with spiderwebs growing from an opening in the concrete, and I acknowledge the beauty of imperfection. 
If Adam and I have learned anything over the past couple years as parents, it's probably that flexibility is our greatest strength. Conversely, if something involves a schedule or structure, you can declare it very-much-not-our-strong-suit. 
As I take time this month to listen to my children, to be present with them, I've decided we better be flexible and creative, finding ways to make that happen in the midst of our craziness. Because our lives are more-than-a-little-nutso. Some of that probably results from boundaries and lack-of-discipline and things we should try to work on, for sure. But some of it is just the nature of our lives and ministry. And so, I'm trying this month to live in the tension that exists between growth and acceptance, between making plans and staying flexible. 
All of that to say, when I was tasked for work with finding street art to photograph, I knew a walk through our neighborhood was in order. Because if there's anything our neighborhood does well, it's street art and beauty in the broken. So we walked. And danced across the "stage." And ran, and jumped over trash, and climbed back into the stroller to head home only when the sun dipped behind the trees on the horizon.
Sometimes listening to our kids means finding time to be with them, even if it requires a little flexibility. Pushing bedtime back fifteen minutes to play a silly card game. Letting her read to me even when it takes at least seven times longer than if I read to her.

What about you, what are some creative ways you listen to your kids or spend time doing activities together? I'm excited to explore this further this month. Let's just hope I can stick-to-it. Cause we all know that stick-to-it-ness might not be my strength. 
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The Stanley Clan - 31 Days of Listening
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  1. I love seeing photos of your life and neighborhood. Your next post should be "listening to friends and finally posting a full home tour" :D

  2. I love seeing photos of your life and neighborhood. Your next post should be "listening to friends and finally posting a full home tour" :D

    1. haha I feel like there's not much else to see :-) mostly just unfinished things . . . maybe I'll convince Adam to work on some stuff so I can post it :-)


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