Friday, February 6, 2009

Beautifully Aired (Amy)

*I wrote this post for my family website but thought I'd put it on here too.

I'm reading Peter Pan. Have you read it recently? There is a passage at the very beginning that just mesmerized me.

"Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind, and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on."

Isn't that beautifully written? The whole book is like that. I can't put it down. But that is my favorite passage so far. Oh! How I would like to rummage through my children's minds and tidy them up! I'd love to air their prettier thoughts and stow the naughtiness and evil passions. I wish we still talked like that.

But it got me thinking...

We have a family tradition in which we do something like this. On Sunday afternoons Jake and I hold an FEC (Family Executive Council) in which we meet and discuss our family, children and our upcoming week. It's just between him and I and the Lord. This provides us the time to talk about each child specifically, their needs, and what we can do to help them. We prioritize and schedule our week based on what is most important. It's a specific opportunity to seek the Spirit in our family's life. It's wonderful.

And when we're finished we invite one child at a time in to talk. It's like an interview. Sometimes it's casual and sometimes it's more formal. We start each discussion with a prayer. The boys love it and look forward to it. They get our undivided attention. We ask questions about how they're doing, what's good and what's bad. We talk about goals, school, opportunities, whatever comes up. And we listen. Sometimes it's short and sweet, other times it lasts for an hour or more. It's amazing what comes out of those meetings.

Sometimes I'll take notes. I love scribbling quotes from the kids that we can look at later and remember.

And when we're done... I do feel like we've tidied up and put things in their proper places. We've made discoveries sweet and not so sweet {but mostly sweet}. The naughtiness and evil passions have been folded up small and placed at the bottom. And on the top, beautifully aired, are their prettier thoughts. Ready for them to put on.


Shawn and Kim said...

I love your posts. That quote is awesome. It would be great if we could rummage through their thoughts every night and throw out the bad and keep the good. As I have been preparing for this intro class I have had a very strong desire to start back up with FEC. I know it is so important and is the key to leadership education. Thanks for being such a good example.

Tate Family said...

Why on earth is it so hard to do something so valuable. When you discover the answer to that please share with me!!! :)

aksunflower said...

I have to admit to crying while I read your post. Our life really has been simplified here in Hawaii and I love it, but I am struggling with putting FEC into place. It doesn't feel like we are doing TJEd some days.
I know what to do, but am having a hard time implementing it.
Thanks for the encouragement!

My Own Terms said...

I love that quote from Peter Pan. I have never read it, but it is on our list for the year.

Thank you for a wonderful blog