"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Team Pohlkotte

With almost five years in with this mothering thing, I am still just barely scratching the surface of proper ways to discipline.

Here’s one lesson I am very confident I have learned…children respond to “play” much better than rules. Or for that matter, anger.

I hate to not feel understood.

So, as you can imagine, as I repeat myself for like the 100th time to do simple tasks…I get downright miffed.

And, as my temperature rises, along with my voice, I see no change in behavior with my kids. Well, maybe Owen, but that’s out of fear…and that is not a way I wish to parent.

Yet somehow…when you make it into a funny phrase, or somehow point out the way in which their behavior is missing the mark…along with giggles, you get – results!
I try to employ this approach in regards to our family unit.

We, are Team Pohlkotte.

We huddle up. (I do this for big and small things I really want them to listen too), and the glimmer of expectant excitement with our heads crouched together allows me to get a direct connection to their brains which I don’t get by yelling.

We bench. Some people call these “warnings”… gives them a second out of the activity they are involved in to get their wits about them before they are thrown back into the “game”.

We assign nick-names and codes. Owen knows he doesn’t want to become “that guy”…you know, the one no one thinks is cool and just feels a little sad for. We warn “don’t be that guy...” and he gets it. Ava, well as the kids dive into the world of SpongeBob, she has become “Crabby Patty”. When we feel her gearing up for a fit we cry “crabby patty, order up! Ding!”

We fire people. We all have “jobs” that get assigned us on our team. You are expected to follow through, and if you don’t…you’re sacked.

We cheer. When our players do good work, we are all right there to celebrate the victory. We celebrate success as a family unit.

Now, I have far from perfected this approach. But by even writing this, I am committing myself to further exploration of gentle love. I am not a push-over. And do not believe that this approach is for every situation, or for every season of life. If you are running in the street, or experimenting with drugs, you will not find a mother trying to “relate” to her child.

But while they are young, and while “play” is a direct path to their hearts, I should take it, instead of trying to force my way there, causing both myself and them frustration as we do not get the results we desire.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Prayer

We are so endeared to Jason's grandfather, he is such a great man.  So, when trying to figure out how to transition from my dad walking down the aisle to officiating the ceremony, Jason's grandfather was just perfect to ask to lead a prayer.  The words he spoke are ones I have never forgotten, and I'm not sure a more beautiful prayer has been said on my behalf....

Oh God of Love,

You have established marriage for the welfare and happiness of mankind.
Yours was a plan, and only with you can marriage work out with joy.

Teach Jason and Tara that marriage is not living merely for each other,
it is two uniteds joining hands to serve you.

Give them great spiritual purpose in life.
May they seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all other things shall be added to them.

Now, bless them and develop their characters as they walk together...

Give them enough tears to keep them tender,
enough hurts to keep them human,
enough failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in yours,
and, enough success to make sure they walk with God.

May they never take each other's love for granted,
but always experience the breathless wonderment that exclaims:

"Out of this world, you have chosen me..."

And then, as life is done, and the sun is setting
May they be found...then as now...
hand in hand, still thanking God for each other.

May they serve you happily, faithfully together.

Until at last,
One shall lay the other into the arms of God.

This we ask in Jesus Christ, the great lover of our souls....Amen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pieces of the moon...Pieces of my heart

We are winding down our Tennessee vacation…

This morning we huddled together, 3 generations of Pohlkotte men and two sassy Pohlkotte girls, and counted down the final space shuttle launch.

After dinner, we sat on the porch as Ava reveled in the wonder that is collecting things…this time, rocks.  For every rock she added to her collection, I asked her to tell me what it was about that rock that made it stand out to her.

Finally, she found a rock different then the rest she had been choosing.  When I asked her about it her eyes shone “I think the “ampstronuts” (astronauts) dropped this from their rocket on the MOON.”

…and there it was… a little piece of the moon.  

She danced about regaling her luck at being at the spot where the moon had fallen.  This enchantment lasted a better part of an hour before her big brother made his appearance.  She clutched his hand as she told him her find and his eyes darted to me, pleading with me to affirm that this was true.

And with a single nod of my head, his joy weaved tight with his sister, and together they were the richest souls on earth.

A while later (after a potty stop, where I did have to answer how astronauts handled the bathroom situation in space) Ava and I rejoined the group and Owen demanded to be heard.  “That’s not the moon, it’s just ground up concrete… I knew it couldn’t be true. ”

That moment, I watched as my first born, standing there on the porch, plant his feet firmly on the ground, as the whispers of childhood went running past him, leaving only the man I see forming before me.

And as Ava and I boarded our spaceship, he adamantly refused to come along, claiming that we were still in fact, on earth, no matter how realistic the blast off noises I made were. 

I did my best to get him back on board, turning Layla into a moon dog and his dad into a slimy alien.  And to his credit, he did enjoy hunting aliens and the like, but I knew he was past me,

but not just past me….past the land where mothers and fairies meet.  Where any object takes you to a far off place, and you have no regard to who may or may not be there with you…you gladly go with your parents, your siblings, or, most often, alone.

I am painfully aware of these moments moving swiftly around me. Every morning Ava’s neck grows longer, her shaping movements gracefully feminine.  Every time Owen plunks down beside me, I am aware he no longer fits perfectly in my arms…his knobby knees extend past me with his legs racing down his future path.

As I tucked Ava into bed tonight her last whispered words to me were:

“I’m so glad we found the moon together, just me and you.”

I could only reply:

“I will wait for you there, any time you wish to return”