If you’re just joining, you might want to catch up and read Day 1 of my Migraine Series first.
If you recall, we ended the last post on the note of something that hits a nerve with every mom…
The day I got over my mama guilt about my migraines was the day I realized my kids had the opportunity to learn something from it…
We were homeschooling at the time and my three boys were all under the age of six. I had woken up with a nagging headache that only seemed to be getting worse. I had muddled through the morning blurry-eyed somehow making it to lunch, but by the afternoon, I knew I was at the end of my rope. I ensured the boys were playing nicely, turned on some quiet Mozart and headed for the couch in the adjoining living room.
It wasn’t my first migraine so I knew how the cycle went – pain, recovery, exhaustion, and then being totally useless (what I refer to as a migraine “hangover”). The rest of that day – as well as the next – were going to be bad.
Mom was down for the count.
I lay there, head throbbing underneath my beloved cold rice pillow and I thought about math. And handwriting. And all the other afternoon subjects that would not get taught that day and how I’d just barely gotten through the morning subjects. I thought about how I’d have to use the TV as a babysitter and how the boys would scrounge up crackers and cheese to feed themselves a snack while I lay in terrible pain.
Then I felt it…my youngest son’s lips on my cheek. I slid the pillow off my eyes and through the glare I saw a sweet smile, “feel better, mama.” Compassion. True, heart-felt compassion. From a four-year-old.
And then another came over, dragging his own blanket from his bedroom, and covered me up. Within a few more minutes, all three boys were in the room with me, watching one of their shows and snuggling around me on the couch.
The word compassion and its adjective form have been watered down quite a bit to something in the arena of being a “nice” person. But let’s go back to its inception and see what it means in the Greek…
The translation to English is “Splagchnizomai” (pronounced splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee ) and it means to be moved in your bowels, or guts.
That’s right…in your guts.
Deep in the seat of your soul.
That’s a lot different than “nice.” Don’t you want that for your kids? I know I do.
To feel other people’s pain in their gut. To see it and feel moved in their gut to help. To care. To make a difference.
Some life lessons cannot be manufactured, like teaching a child to tie his shoes. Some lessons must come from moments and as parents we have the opportunity to find these moments in the common every day.
It’s part of the job description of a parent.
Shaping the way our children see the world.
Shaping the way they treat people.
My kids didn’t run out and join the Peace Corps because I had a migraine, but something happened in their guts. A knee-jerk reaction was set in place and a connection was made: help the hurting.
Now, that’s a message I certainly want my kids to get.
What opportunities – like a migraine – that usually cause you mama guilt can be turned into an opportunity to teach your kids a life lesson? How can you help your kids feel moved to help others?
photo credits Mislav Marohnić courtesy Flikr Creative Commons