hello dear readers! it seems that the days and weeks have proceeded quickly by….and here we are, nearing the end of february. we, at familyoga have been enjoying a very mild midwestern winter. we all got a big kick out of indianapolis hosting the super bowl! i intend to blog about the fun we had that week, including, why i love sports. personally, i am extremely busy this month and into the near future. i am teaching dozens of extra yoga classes this month and next – being a yoga instructor is an intense calling. i put a lot of heart and effort into every class i teach – most often, i feel elated after having taught a class. sometimes (like this past week), the elation morphs into feelings of exhaustion at every level of my being – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually…..drained. but – i dig deep, and keep going – it’s my calling.
this blog post is about my children and the delight that i receive when i am in their thoughtful presence.
i have a tradition that began about eight years ago. on my daughters’ birthdays, i interview them – just like a reporter, with a steno notebook and a pencil. i invite the birthday girl to join me in a quiet space in our house and then i ask them simple questions and record their answers. i keep these interviews in a special drawer i have that is stuffed full of mementos and keepsakes. during the birthday interview, the questions i ask are pretty straightforward – gleaning information from each child to create a “snapshot” of the child’s interests/likes/dislikes/etc. for example, i might ask: what’s your favorite color? favorite book? who is your best friend? favorite movie? favorite food? – that kinda thing.
recently, i decided to expand on these interviews. i gave a lot of thought to the creation of interview questions that might go a little deeper. i came up with a list of 21 questions (though, some of the questions do have 2 or 3 parts to them – questions within a question :))
once i had written out my 21 questions, i noticed when it was a convenient time and i asked amara if she would come sit with me in my bedroom. i had my notebook and pencil ready and amara and i sat next to each other, under the covers, in my bed. i began to ask her questions and record her answers – i made sure not to show a lot of emotion or try to probe for certain answers or more or less information – i just asked the question, gave her ample time to reply – and then i would say, “do you have anything else that you want to add?” this became our routine as i eventually interviewed all four daughters – each interview taking about 30 minutes or so. all four girls loved the process – they did not actively gush love and enthusiasm for the interviews (except for amara….she did openly say, “i love answering these questions mom.”) yet, i could tell by each girls body language and disposition that they were enjoying themselves. and i believe, more than anything else, because my daughters hardly ever get one on one time with me – that these interview questions offered us a chance to be together, actively listening and responding to each other. it was really lovely.
so, i’ve been thinking about how to present the answers that i received from my daughters in the blog format – and i came to a decision that i will not be writing out each answer from each child – but that i will write a collaborative answer to each question, taking little bits and pieces from the responses of each girl and combining them to create collective bits of insight that are the result of asking each of the questions. just as a reminder, my daughters are 6, 8, 10 and 13 years old – and this is what they have to say:
1. do you believe in angels? why or why not? if you do believe, what do angels do? “yes, i believe in angels because they are a part of nature. i’ve believed in them my whole life. angels make pretty things and they have pretty voices. they help you make decisions about what’s right and what’s wrong. angels help the world.”
2. what can human beings do to take better care of the earth, animals, oceans, rivers, lakes…..? “if you see litter, pick it up. put it in the trash, or recycle it. we can plant more trees. walk more often. we can create more parks. shut down pollution producers. we can reduce our consumption of water, plastics, paper and electricity. we shouldn’t kill endangered species.”
3. where did you live before you were conceived and where will you go when you die? “before i was born, i glowed and i lived in the sky. when i die, i’ll be put in the ground. john henry was buried in the yard at the white house. so, if i’m famous like he was, i’ll probably be buried in someone else’s yard too.” (lisa here – random – misinterpretation of the ballad of john henry – but, quirky, unique answer nonetheless…..)
4. what does peace look like? what can humans do to create more peace? what does war look like? “peace is no name calling – no making fun of others. peace looks like being kind, gracious, friendly. peace is calm. humans can create peace by being quiet. creating peace usually involves flowers. we can create peace by becoming more aware of what we’re doing. war is bloody and some animals die in the crossfire.”
5. what is the meaning of life? “enjoy your life while you’re living. have fun. be joyful. make other people happy. we are born for a reason. we teach each other lessons and make the world better.”
6. who are you? “i’m a person. i am kind but sometimes i do naughty things. i am friendly and often cheerful and emotional. i am a person who talks a lot; and a buncha people think i’m really cute.”
7. what is a parent’s job? “parents take care of children – keep them safe, healthy, nourished,help them get stronger until the kids are ready to move away. a parent’s job is to be kind and to teach kids about life and stuff – to love their children.”
8. what would you do if you were president? “i would get bullies out of our schools. i wouldn’t use a lot of electricity. i would make a lot of peace. i would make things more colorful.”
9. what can we do to help children who are suffering? “we can raise money to give to hospitals and people in need. we can donate clothes, food, water. we can provide shelter and warmth.we can give them good medicine. we can visit with the children and love them.”
it’s getting late and this blog post is lloooonnngg – to be continued, hopefully, tomorrow. hope you enjoyed. xxoo