A Personal Challenge: Be Like the Sun

The following was originally published in July 2010.  Between doctor’s appointments, the end of the school year, and other obligations, this week finds me in a similar space mentally that I was in when this post was written.  So, it seems like an appropriate, and gentle, reminder to slow down, forget playing “catch up” and to just focus on where we are right now.  I thought perhaps a few of you could use the reminder, too.  Enjoy!

Last week was a busy one at the Fleck household.  Far busier than I would have liked, actually.  By the end of the week we were still playing “catch-up” and spent a good part of Saturday morning rushing around trying to finish up errands and tasks that we didn’t have time for earlier in the week.  That is not how I like for things to be around here.

Rushing  leaves Chris and I grouchy, the children whining, and it makes me resent the “to-do” list and things that sounded fun when we first planned them.

By Saturday evening, I knew that it was time to change the pace.  We made the rest of the weekend about slowing down and ignoring the “to-do” list. Once the pace of the weekend slowed down we were able to enjoy it. That is how I would like the rest of this summer to be.

So, I am giving myself a personal challenge this week: to Be Like the Sun.

“Be the Sun! Move slowly and compassionately, especially in disciplinary situations, bringing warmth and light – it’s a tall order! You may need to practice.” – Sharifa Oppenheimer, Heaven on Earth

Radiate Warmth

This week, I’m giving myself the personal challenge of being mindful of what my family hears from me. I want to be  really focused on listening to myself and how I speak to my spouse and my children: am I talking to them in a peaceful tone? Or, am I barking orders and rushing them from task to task?

In discipline situations, am I losing my temper?  Or am I reacting with a measured voice and a gentle, but firm, tone?  Am I getting louder as the children get louder?  Or am I staying the course, moving slowly and compassionately, to guide us out of the moment?

Move Slowly

As I mentioned, lately I have felt the pace of Summer quicken.  We’re trying to squeeze events, outings, and family get-togethers on the calendar before school begins again.  If I’m not mindful, it would be easy to get caught up with keeping a faster pace as the final weeks go by. But, if I slow down I’ll actually find that we have more time.

I want to remember that there are still 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week, no matter how fast we move or how full we fill them. I need to focus on moving slowly and on not over-booking us as I make the calendar, no matter how tempting it is.

A few well-chosen events that we can enjoy and make memories from is better than rushing from event to event and not feeling like we get to enjoy any of them.

I also want to make sure that we have lots of down-time in each day.  Takings naps, watching the clouds, splashing in the pool, afternoons spent reading under the shade of a tree … those are all important “to do’s” as well.  As Tsh reminded us on Friday at Simple Mom, “the days are long, but the years are short.

Enjoy the Sunsets

Yes, literal sunsets are lovely, but what I mean here is allowing myself to take a break, and enjoy it, guilt free. Even the sun needs to rest and recharge.  The sun sets and lets the moon take over for a while.

I need to remember to “sunset” and accept help from others when I need it.

Maybe Grandma can babysit for an evening so that my husband and I can have a date? Perhaps the kids can go for an afternoon out with Daddy, giving me some much needed peace and quiet?

This week I want to carve out time for my spouse and time for myself alone – and not feel guilty about it!

New Chance to Shine

Every day is a new chance to shine.  Perhaps I was grouchy or spoke too harshly yesterday.  Maybe I set goals for myself that I didn’t reach or said something I regret.  We all have those parenting moments we wish we could take back.  But, every day is a new day, a fresh start.  Time to begin again.

A fresh chance to shine.

Have you been feeling rushed lately? How can you slow things down?

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. This is beautiful, Kara, and such an important reminder.

    At times I find myself rushing and there isn’t even any deadline or anywhere to be. It’s easy to let it become a habit without noticing-I love the image of the sunset and will take it with me today.
    Simple Homeschool – Jamie´s latest post: Is Homeschooling Legal

  2. Kara, this post was poetic! I love your 4 points: Radiate Warmth, Move Slowly, Enjoy the Sunsets, and New Chance to Shine — Such a beautiful way to think about life when life is hurried and full….Thanks!
    Angelica @ Modern Familia´s latest post: Weekend Reading- 1943 Guide to Hiring Women

  3. AMAZING POST!!!! Thank you for sharing. I think we can all learn a little from the sun.
    Angela´s latest post: 90 Day Budget Bootcamp

  4. Thank you for your kind words, ladies :-)
    Kara Fleck´s latest post: A Personal Challenge- Be Like the Sun

  5. KARA! This is GORGEOUS. I have tears in my eyes. I so utterly and completely needed this. I am literally printing this out and hanging it on my fridge as a reminder for today and tomorrow and the weeks ahead.

    Thank you, friend. This is really powerful.
    Megan@SortaCrunchy´s latest post: this is us- preserving summer mornings

  6. Okaaay. Have you been listening in around here? 😉

    Thanks for the great post. It’s a reminder we all can use.
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: Three 3-Minute Chilled Soups

  7. for years my mother has told me i needed to slow down, it took my 30th birthday to really understand what she meant. I am so hurried in a day i literally was forgetting conversations i had with people and one time wsa caught talking outloud without even realizing it, was embarassing and I thnak GOD it was to one of my friends. a girlfriend of mine said she would rather spend her time making sure her shower was clean than playing a boardgame with her son, bc no one judged the boardgame but people would judge her shower. I now look around at my semi-cluttered home and walk past it all to the deck where my kids are swimming :)

  8. Beautifully written! Thank you! We are due any day now with our 2nd child and I am finding myself getting so caught up in the anticipation of all that will need to happen when it comes that I am rushing through the enjoyment of our last few days as a family of three!

    I was especially reminded how I really need to set up some child care so my husband and I can have one last date! Thank you for the reminding me with your beautiful words!

  9. Great reminders, Kara! A great mantra for parents! Slowing down does amazing things for the whole family!
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  10. Just found this site and love it!
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  11. Just this week I have been seriously thinking about how I talk to my daughter. I caught myself using a tone that just wasn’t nice. I started thinking, would you talk to your best friend like that? No. Then why on EARTH are you talking to your child that way?

    Now I’ve become very aware of not only what I say, but how I say it and measure against whether I would say what I’m saying to my best friend ~ if the answer is no, then I have to take a deep breath and rethink.

    It’s been really eye opening once I became aware … and kind of sad too, but awareness is the first step, and I’m working on creating something different.
    Jackie Lee´s latest post: Chicken and Dumplings Stew

    • Jackie Lee, yes tone – something I am constantly having to remind myself to work on. In my case, there has been nothing quite as humbling for me as hearing my own sarcastic tone reflected back to me by one of my children. Ouch!

      You’re right: awareness is the first step, and I’m so glad that we both get a fresh start every day to work on it :-)

      thanks for sharing this!
      Kara Fleck´s latest post: Children’s Birthday Parties – Right Off of the Bookshelf!

  12. I broke my foot last year while I was running around the house preoccupied with too many things at once. It was a horrible injury and I wasn’t able to walk for six months (with a baby to take care of!). Now, whenever I catch myself rushing, I remind myself that it’s not worth it!
    Just Plain Joy´s latest post: Quote of the Day

  13. This is one of my new favorite posts! I love this philosophy. I’ve definitely noticed how much my attitude affects my son’s day as well. I hate it when I am constantly barking orders and generally grumpy (and I’ve had more than a few of those days lately). All of your points are wonderful, but Radiate Warmth is what I need to focus on most right now.
    Cara´s latest post: GI Update- Decision Time

  14. i have been feeling rushed, so i spent one day just letting my toddler take the lead, and not telling him to “hurry up.” i went at his slow pace, and it was refreshing.

  15. When we hire a babysitter, we book the next date night while the babysitter is still there in our house. It makes us commit to at least one night a month to be together without a kid.


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