05 Passion and Peace

Write Diaries for Your Children

by Kelly DuMar, M.Ed.

Harvesting Passion and Peace

This summer I spent of a lot of time in my father’s garden, gratefully picking the lettuce, tomatoes, acorn squash and other delicious vegetables he grows in super abundance there. Often, I would visit his garden just before dinner, to see what I would have for dinner, when the birds were noisy, the sun was still hot on my shoulders and a slight breeze would blow up to cool me down. One of my daughters would very likely be with me. (My contribution to the garden this summer was limited to taking an excess of produce off his hands, and occasionally returning with a zucchini bread.)

Most of the time my father would join me there as I picked, dropping whatever he was doing inside to pick along side me, filling my basket, pointing me in the direction of his best results, analyzing his disappointments, sharing his gardening lessons and theories, animatedly describing his future hopes and dreams for the garden. I thought about all the summers I have spent visiting my Dad in his garden. In spring, summer or fall, if he’s not inside, everyone knows where to find him. He’s in the garden.

The garden is a place of passion and peace for my father, I realized. It made me wonder about parenting places of peace. Where is my own place of passion and peace? Where do I naturally do my best parenting? Do my children join me there? Do they know about this “place” consciously? Do they know how to find me there? Do I spend enough time there? What do I and can I give them from this parenting place of peace that they don’t get from me anywhere else?

As I thought about it — as I wrote about it — I realized, of course, that everyone in my family knows where to find me. If I’m not in the kitchen, walking the dog in the woods, or driving a car pool, then I’m writing. I write many different things, but the diaries I keep for my three children are my parenting place of passion and peace. The diaries are my garden where I fill their baskets with stories and memories, where I point them in the direction of my best results(!), analyze my shortcomings and mistakes, share my lessons and theories, and yes, animatedly describe my future hopes and dreams for them. In the diaries, more than anything else, I harvest peace.

September Writing Prompt

Where is your parenting place of peace? Is it a real or imaginary place? Is it the woods? The living room couch? The yoga studio? The kindergarten classroom? When and how do you go there? Do your children know about this place? Do they go there with you? When and how? Are you spending enough time there? Open one of your children’s diaries and describe your place of passion and peace, and reflect on how and why you do some of your best parenting there.

If you can’t recognize, or haven’t discovered your parenting place of passion and peace, write an entry where you allow yourself to dream about or imagine this place. Writing about passion and peace is a way of finding it.

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