The Most Important Work You Will Ever Do Will Be Within The Walls Of Your Own HOME
– Harold B Lee
After an exciting week of creating and preparing to proudly present Fab Habbin at my first local market, I used Sunday and the beginning of the week to unplug. I put down my phone, my paint brush, took a break from any posting, writing, marketing, and I took refuge. I did some re-organizing, some cleaning, and some of the other mundane tasks that come with a house and having a family, but I also took some time to read, to reflect, and to catch up on my most important work— the four very special human beings I live with.
That outlet stayed unplug, partially due to the kiddos being out of school Monday, but also because I felt the need to hone in on my people. No accident that teacher conferences had fallen into play as well here. I know we have a good sense of how things are going for each of them, but it’s always nice to be given some feedback on this large part of their day in which we parents are not around.
SO, a little more of the “Momma” was happening here then the “Habbin.” I feel nothing short of blessed to be able to wear these different hats. There is a brand new set of mommies and daddies out there this week who no longer can with one of their children.
To say it’s been a tough number of days; over a week now, for parents, families, teachers, and the like, is an understatement. Horrifying and heartbreaking, we can’t any of us deny that events such as this and those that preceded it, always manage to stir up various emotions. I sometimes find it hard to weigh in on my own feelings with all the extra noise. So we attempt to block it out entirely. The extra noise that is. No constant news reel on the TV, no personal agendas, no opinions on politics by anyone, and our kids don’t, and will not, have any access to any social media for some time. Not under our roof anyway. Simply put, neither of us believe there is any place for it in those first tender moments that just warrant love and respect for those gone and those mourning. Plain and simple. Questions are answered with honesty and with empathy and only facts are given if even necessary.
I ALWAYS find myself in a place of reflection when I learn of such tragedy. I can’t figure out if it’s partially due to my personal belief system or just because I’m super sensitive. Regardless, I find myself reaching deep and re-evaluating EVERYTHING. Then comes the searching, and sometimes, even the second guessing of myself, my parenting. Again…EVERYTHING. I poke around at every aspect of the very inner teachings and doings of our home and our lives. I keep myself up at night because I can’t shut it off. I search and I pray. I’m not necessarily searching for answers at these moments, because there isn’t always an answer. I’m searching for grace, praying for understanding, and more often then not, I am asking myself-
Am I doing enough?? Are we doing enough??
Monday, after time was taken going over some of our daughter’s academic achievements and areas we can work on with her, I looked her teacher in the eyes; I think to her surprise and maybe even my own, and I asked her… “How are you doing after a week like this, the staff, how are the kids doing?” I listened. Then I probed slightly deeper and I asked a line of questions that might not always be brought to an elementary school conference table. “It looks like the kids are where they need to be academically but Mrs. XYZ, how does she treat others?” “Honestly?” “Does she ever reach out to the quiet, the labeled, the lost?” “Is she sweet to her peers?” “Is she kind?”
All three of our kids think quick on their feet, they have some fabulous lightbulb moments, and they’re pretty cute most days. We are probably a little biased at times. They have their own special little quirks, each- already his or her own different style and unique personality. These characteristics only beginning to bloom and take shape at 5, 7 and 10.
Are those things cool? Yes, of course they are.
Are we proud?… Hell yea.
But I will say this-
when a teacher, a staff member, a neighbor, a friend of the family, an acquaintance, goes out of their way to stop me and share that:
“He is so sensitive to other’s feelings and emotions”
“She plays with all different groups of kids and reaches out to those who are more quiet or play alone”
“Their manners are a breath of fresh air-well done”
“She has such a sweet heart”
Melissa I just wanted you to know…
“Your 10 year old stopped and held the door for me today”
“I overheard a group of boys talking about another student at lunch and your son piped up and ended the conversation immediately letting them know this was NOT cool”
“Your son stopped what he was doing today in the crosswalk and said hello to my son (a first grader) and I today as we walked by and he certainly didn’t have to”
This… my tribe… this is what make my eyeballs swim.
There is not an academic honor or award, a ribbon, no shiny bronze, silver or gold that will ever make my heart swell like some of the comments I heard these past couple of weeks about my babies. I’m not saying it happens all of the time, but it happens. They are not perfect. They fight like cats and dogs some days. They sass. They make bad decisions on occasion. We can work on multiplication facts and sight words till we are blue in the face, but it’s these moments I’m sharing with each of you, the achievements of the heart, that mean more to me then anything. This is the real deal.
It has taken me the better part of 37 years to understand and to accept the fact that I have about zero control over anything that is happening outside of my own head or the four walls of my home. I’m not always happy with the rumblings that sometimes occur in those places either, but I do my best to control them. They may not even realize it, but they witnessed in small ways, their mommy slay her own dragon with her brave knight by her side. We are far from perfect. This battle was uniquely our own and because of this we plead with them, “Always BE KIND.” They see even at their tender ages how uniquely different we all are and because of this, I encourage myself and them daily, to please, “BE KIND.” We share with them often how people everywhere are fighting emotional, mental, physical and spiritual warfare that is uniquely THEIR OWN, battles we know nothing about, and because of this, I will never stop reminding them or myself how important it is to, “Just BE KIND.”
Politics, agendas, personal beliefs, all feelings aside…What if we all tried to be more KIND to one another? What if we reached out to just one individual a day, a week, a month! and said hello? Someone we know, someone we don’t. Someone we usually look past or through? What if we just smiled at them? Just a Smile. What if we encouraged our child to talk to the quiet kid at lunch? To sit with someone they have never sat with before, or someone who sits alone. To play with someone who seems shy or just more introverted. To think carefully about the words they use and how they speak to others? What if we challenged them to walk away when they heard others talking disrespectfully? What if we took it a step further and challenged them to stand up and say something if they felt brave? What if instead of, “how was your day?” we asked them, “who were you KIND to today?” What if we actually tried to teach them and help them understand that this sort of compassion and love towards other human beings is the coolest you’re ever gonna get?
I think this, is what’s bothering me most right now. These types of questions or lack of, that keep me up at night. I can’t stop thinking about it. A lack of empathy, and such quickness to judge others, leave many of us feeling divided within our society, within our classrooms, within the workplace, even within the walls of our own home…it’s this that scares me.
Let us be kind to one another. Let us try always to be Humble, Gracious, and Grateful. May we always have the courage to look in the mirror FIRST, so that we may see what might need change -within- before we try to change others. May we be a shining example; brave enough to fight for them if needed, but wise enough to show them that they shouldn’t have to fight. Let’s burn that light bright in our own homes first. That’s truly where it begins.
And to the lost, the lonely, the bruised, the broken, the quiet, the hungry, the hurting. I see you and I will not turn my back to you. I know my tribe, and they won’t either. Battle on brave warrior. Wear your battle scar with pride. You will have much to teach us.
Florida Native, Melissa Miles, is a proud wifey and momma of 3. Recently relocated to Palm Harbor, Melissa owns Fab Habbin Momma: A company whose journey of hope and light is translated through personal thoughts, creative ideas, inspirational art pieces and a desire to serve others. Enjoy more of her work @ www.FabHabbinMomma.com
Article Originally Published on Fab Habbin and shared with Tampa Bay Moms Group for publication with permission.