The weather has been so nice lately (And you know how rarely I can honestly say that here in Southern Nevada!) that my son Matthew and I have been able to go on several long walks together. The best part about these walks is that they have facilitated some wonderful conversations. For example, the other day as we were walking, Matthew confided, "Mom, usually when people ask why I want to be in the military I say it's because I want to help protect our country, but it's really because I like to watch things explode."
I got a good laugh at that. Since then I've been thinking about the topic of Motivation. I believe that many people, myself included, deceive themselves about their true motives. They may tell others and even themselves that their intentions are pure, but the reality is quite different. For example, I've known people who have given their time and efforts to serve others but seem far more concerned with extolling their acts of service than they ever were with actually trying to help another person. Similarly, I've seen people give elaborate gifts and then be incredibly hurt and angry when the gift wasn't properly appreciated. Was the gift really to bless the other person or to enable them to receive the gift of praise and gratitude from the recipient?
Recently my home teacher mentioned that he and his wife had been discussing me and had both commented that I was a person without guile. I was appreciative of the comment, but also very uncomfortable with the high praise and unsure of its validity. As I thought about their compliment, I was reminded of a wonderful book by Terry Warner entitled, "The Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves." I would highly recommend it!! Dr. Warner discusses the importance of being honest with ourselves, rather than mentally justifying our choices and twisting our motives to stay in the right. It's a wonderful book!!
In response to my conversation with Matthew and my subsequent pondering of the topic, I am going to try to more critically examine my motives. Am I really making a choice for the reasons I think I am, or is there a deeper and less flattering motivation that I conceal from even myself? I want to let down my guards and be totally honest with myself and see what I can discover about myself and my motives. I'll let you know if I make any great discoveries.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Recently my son Matthew attended Astrocamp with some of his GATE classmates. He spent a wonderful weekend learning about the solar system, launching bottle rockets, swimming, and playing with lights and lasers. I couldn't wait for him to arrive home and share all the details of his exciting adventure. However, my enthusiasm dissipated when I learned that the mother of one of his classmates had died unexpectedly in her sleep while her son had been at Astrocamp. Although I was not acquainted with this mother, and in fact had seen her only once, I was deeply affected by her death and how it would be experienced by her young son. To make matters worse, the boy's father is suffering from cancer. As I thought about their family and heartache they must be experiencing, I couldn't help but wonder how my kids would fare if I were to leave them. And I wondered if I had been successful in passing down to my children those things which are of most value to me.
Although I have succeeded in passing down many of my values and interests, I haven't been very successful at passing down my love of reading. Don't get me wrong, my children are good readers and diligently complete their required reading. However none of them have a passion for reading, and that makes me very sad. I long for them to gain the education, insight, empathy, and experience they can gain from reading good literature.
One of my goals for the near future is pass down my love of reading. As I've pondered exactly how to do this, I've come to the conclusion that my kids need to spend more time reading, and as they do so they will learn to love it. Currently, I require my sons Matthew and Jonathon to each read for thirty minutes each morning, but I think I'm going to add some afternoon reading to that. I am also going to start giving Makenna a daily reading requirement. Kevin doesn't read yet, but I'm going to increase the amount of time I read with him. I'm also going to make an effort to read books with my older children as well. Hopefully, as I increase my efforts, I can help my kids to learn to love reading as much as I do.