Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Begin As You Mean To Go On

Last week's thoughts on habits and character and destiny reminded me of in interesting post I found in the archives of Like Mother, Like Daughter. Here is an excerpt of Leila's thoughts:

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” ~ C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

We want to be entertained, and are shocked that our children can't study. 
We allow our boys to lounge around playing video games in baggy pants, and are shocked to find men who won't work.

We fail to mention that your word is your bond, and are shocked when students cheat.

We never ask for a little more of ourselves or our children, and are shocked that they give in to every whim.
We are afraid of silence, and are shocked to find that our children need constant noise.

We treat our children coldly, and are shocked that they run for affection in others' arms.

We laugh at fidelity, and are shocked to find divorce in our midst.

We laugh at commitment, and are shocked to find we have no grandchildren.

Read the rest here.

When John was tiny and we were trying to help him get into better sleep patterns, I read a book (and I can't for the life of me recall the title) that offered a simple adage for parents: Begin as you mean to go on.

If you plan to have the baby sleep in your bed, let the baby start off that way.

If you want the baby to sleep in a crib, start with the baby in the crib.

If you don't mind life without a schedule or a rhythm, don't sweat it.

If you want rhythm, work on it from the start.

Begin as you mean to go on.

(I could insert a dozen disclaimers and exceptions to this, the chief one being a newborn is totally different from even a three-month-old baby. In the long run, I never intended to feed my children multiple times each night, but teeny tinies have unique needs.)

That being said, I think the idea Begin as you mean to go on has merit. And I think the piece from Like Mother, Like Daughter highlights the surprises we're in for if we don't keep our eyes on the prize.

Leila concludes her post with a word of encouragement:

Let's devote ourselves to stopping all this rejection of standards. Let's find the energy to live, and offer our children the chance to live, a life that struggles towards virtue, for the sake of God's goodness; just starting today in a small way to work, rest, love, and laugh healthy, not destructive, laughter.  
We will fall short. Evil will still roam about. That's not the point. The point is to strive.
A life that struggles toward virtue.

I like that.

And now I'll struggle toward the laundry room. 


Colleen Duggan | Writer said...

It's a constant struggle towards virtue and I find myself failing and flailing constantly. Thank goodness for the Confessional.

I tried to email you so I wasn't posting this via a comment but I couldn't find your address. Sorry for the public request.

So I was thinking about doing a new little installment on the old blog called Embarrassing Parenting Moments and I was wondering if you had one you could share? Would you be interested in writing something up about a humiliating mothering moment and sending it over? It need not be long...just a humorous re-telling of a moment where you wanted the ground to open and swallow you whole...have you had one of those...or only a million of them?

If you are like me, you are probably grappling with how to manage your own blog as well as additional writing assignments, so I totally understand if you are too busy. I just thought I would extend the offer and see what you thought.

I posted mine yesterday and I have a few other blogging friends who've agreed to help me out so it should be fun and hopefully, funny. I wanted to run one post a week for the next couple of weeks. Whatcha think?

my email is duggancolleen1@gmail.com. Thanks, Kelly!

Anonymous said...

Such a good post, Kelly. That is one of my favourite sayings.

Kris said...

I also remind myself of something that John Rosemond says - I can't remember the exact wording but it's something along the lines of: As parents, we have to be committed to doing the right thing. We can do the right thing, and our children can still make bad choices, because that is the nature of free will. But we can't stop doing the right thing, even when it doesn't appear to be working.