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Karen Brennan
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The Art of Parenting

Monday, June 2, 2014

Every now and then, go away.  Have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer…from a distance, more of the work can be taken in at a glance and any lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

As our school year comes to a close, and as we complete our journey through Simplicity Parenting, it’s a good time to take a step back, pause and reflect.  Parenting is, or can be, a work of art.  You are the creators of your family culture.  Remember way back at the beginning of this journey when we talked about our hopes and dreams for our families?  I still often look at the hopes and dreams we put on our wishing tree.  I hope that those dreams have come true.  I came across this quote (above) by da Vinci, and it made me think about the art of parenting.  The life of the artist may seem glamorous from the outside (I’m not sure that holds true for parenting!) but what it really requires is showing up, persistence, observation and trying, making mistakes and trying again, and just keeping at it.  There are moments of flow, and there are also moments of wondering why this seemed like a good idea.  I also think about the word “authority.”  It is a charged word for many of us, but the root of this word is “author.”  I invite you to be the author of your family life—with your partner, if you have one—it is good for artists to collaborate.  Many things are possible when we work together.  And in this huge undertaking of parenting in our modern, urban world, whether or not we have a partner in our home, we all need support and another point of view sometimes.  We artists of life need each other!

I was also thinking about the whole idea of simplification.  It is easy for me to think I should be creating some kind of stark, minimalist environment in my home.  But that is not really my goal—although it may be for some of you.  It depends on your artistic vision.  Whatever that vision is, the point of all this simplification is to make room for those things in life that are important to you, whether that means living with practically no things or surrounded by your collections of whatever (for me—books and art supplies).  Making room for what is important is not just about what stuff you have, but about making time for what is important—family, friends, creativity, travel—whatever it is for you.

Remember, that if you are not where you want to be in creating your family life, small, doable steps will get you there.  Come back to the canvas (manuscript, weaving,….) day after day, look at it, step back, adding a little touch here and there until it is how you want it to be.

I wish you much love and joy on your journey.  I know I will see many of you again, and hope to know you for a long time.  But whatever the future holds for us, I am glad to have shared this precious time with you.

Last day of school for parent child is Thursday, June 12.