Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Shift of Focus

My sister is a very gifted photographer.  One of the striking things about her photos is how changing the focus of her photo changes everything.  Sometimes she brings a close object into sharp focus, letting the background go fuzzy.  Other times she selects a far object around which to center her photo.  Even if every single thing in the photo stays the same, other than her focus, the image seems brand new.

Lately, my focus is undergoing a shift.  Perhaps the shift has been happening for some time now.  However, I feel now my focus is becoming clear.  My parenting journey began over sixteen years ago.  The first ten years of parenting were clearly focused on safety and survival.  Each day brought challenges but the skills required to deal with those challenges were clearly on the bottom half of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  On a good day we totally fulfill the third level needs.  I feel that at this time all four of my children find their basic physical and safety needs met.  I also believe that they are all secure in their feelings of belonging and love.  Now we are moving on up.

My life no longer revolves around diapers, car seats, basic nutrition, sleep schedules, and the like.  I am done training toddlers.  My life is now about the business of creating worthwhile adults.  Clarifying that shift in focus has been life changing for me.  The children before me seem brand new.

Over the next years my focus will be centered around esteem and self-actualization.  As a Christian I know that my worth comes from Christ and on my relationship with Christ.  My value comes from glorifying God.  My role as a parent centers on supporting and loving my children as they explore the world and their function in it.  My role as a teacher is to provide my children the opportunities and education to move them forward in the world in such  way that they can be successful in the challenges they pursue.  The end results that I desire are four adults who are faith filled, life long learners who move through this world with confidence, generosity of spirit and grace. 

Just like that, the picture looks totally different and as a result I feel differently about it.  My role seems much more valuable.  The urgency of my job feels greater.  I feel less prepared.  Thankfully, the tools that I've developed in dealing with the lower level needs will be helpful as I face these new needs.  Prayer, preparation, time and energy are in my favor.  I am being intentional about finding resources to support our goals.  Our journey continues and can't wait to see where we go from here. 

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