March 30, 2004

Community of Friends

As of late we have often found our family in the position of helping out other friends in need. I love the opportunity to do so and to use the circumstances as an opportunity to teach my children about community and support. I am also thankful for the opportunity to return the support that I received during my three weeks of prodromal labor from all my friends and all the support we got during our move. I think it is important for our kids to see that we can and have received support and that we need to give service as well (whether or not we receive it).

Recently several families we know have needed some support for a variety of reasons including a new birth, a miscarriage and marital concerns. We have been able to support them in a variety of ways from bringing meals to cleaning house to watching children to just being there to listen on the phone. The children have been very well behaved through all of this and have enjoyed having their friends around. We have done this despite kids being sick and our son's birthday. While it may not seem convenient it was important and I am glad that we were able to serve in this way. It is important for my family to learn to put others first and to see me doing just that as well.

Thus the decrease in blogging as I often find myself with extra children around here. As example yesterday morning we headed to the doctor as Ciaran has a very rough ear infection. We returned home in time to have lunch and pick up before several friends came over (thankfully one in each of my children's age ranges) the kids played together and the mother and I were able to chat about things she needed to talk about. Then she was able to leave the kids here and head to a doctors appointment. While she was gone the kids and I made cookies and played games.

After they left we talked about helping out people in need and how that is important and fun at the same time. Ciaran actually fell asleep at 4pm and stayed asleep until this morning! I'm glad his body was able to heal some. Serona and I had a good date night here at the house.

I got another call from a friend yesterday who asked if I could watch her boys today while her husband and her take care of some important things. I said yes of course. So again I will find myself with 5 kids under 5 in the house just like yesterday. On days like this I let go of everything else and focus on the kids, meals and general pickup. We fit learning into the teachable moments and usually end up with one day of the week heavier on the studies.

I feel these are very important lessons for my kids to learn and am glad to be able to help. We received such an outpouring of support during Sirah's pregnancy, postpartum period and our move that I have really wanted to be able to give back (to those same families and others). I believe community and being neighborly are such important aspects of life and ones so often done without in our current society. There is this myth that you should be able to do everything yourself - but I always go back to the adage "It takes a village to raise a child" and remember how true that is.

I love that I am a part of many children's lives and that they trust and love me. I love that my kids have many other adults that are a part of theirs. We need to take time to support and love one another. We all go through phases, needy and giving, and we need to come around each other during another's time of need and accept that outpouring of support and love during ours.

I have found the homeschooling world lends itself nicely to that. Our homeschool support group is wonderful, giving, self-sacrificing and fun. The children experience many adults who truly care for them and what is going on in their lives and the adults have others who will help meet (and often discover) their needs. We try to support each other through moves, depression, new births, vacations, and the myriad of everyday stuff that comes up. At times some are on the receiving end for awhile (as we recently were) but in the end everyone gives and takes according to their need and ability and that is the way a good community works.


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