What's in Your Cupboard

What are the things that make you uniquely you? And, how do you share them with your children?

Fortunately, despite the title, this is not one of those how-to-make-a-meal-from-whatever-you-can-find-in-your-cupboard-when-you-should-have-gone-to-the-store-yesterday blogs. Although, if I were to be truly transparent, I might be considered an expert in putting off going to get groceries. . .

Instead, it's a mental morsel to munch on as you go through your day, loving your kids and doing life.

When I was a young homeschool mom, it became SO intimidating to listen to others talk about all of the things they were doing:

"My son is studying with a Ph.D. scientist at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry."

"My daughter is studying Chinese and Arabic with native speakers."

"My children study dance at the Pacific Northwest Ballet."

"My children are taking private harp lessons from the symphony harpist."

I mean, how could I possibly do all of those things for my children? Thinking that those activities were what we needed to be doing—though impossible for us at that time—brought a level of burden and guilt that nearly crushed me.

You with me so far? Does this sound familiar to you??

Well, dear one, let me share something that was a great antidote to this "comparison trap."

Think about what's in YOUR cupboard when it comes to your heritage, your interests, your experiences, your knowledge.

For instance, we have friends who love to snow ski. And they are good at it. REAL good. It was a joyous part of what Bruce and Barb did in the early years of their relationship, and it became a natural part of their homeschooling journey. I was constantly amazed to hear about the incredible places they skied, the wild adventures they had, and the way it knit them together as a family.

I don't ski.

Lake Louise with Warings We have other friends who live in the Canadian Rockies. They intentionally chose to make the most of the great outdoors where they lived, learning as a family how to camp, canoe and hike in a wilderness setting. Daryl and Kathy shared extraordinary stories with us as we drove along the Ice Fields parkway, providing not only a vista to the Rockies, but a glimpse into the incredible experiences of this family.

I don't camp.

Good friends of ours spoke Hungarian at home. When their children were little, they chose to begin teaching them both Hungarian and English. This wildly difficult langauge to learn became part and parcel of two little boys' lives because their mom and dad knew the langauge.

I don't speak Hungarian.

But, when considering what was in MY cupboard, I realized that music was something that we could actually give to our children. My husband, a band teacher, brought a variety of musical styles and a knowledge of music history to our kids, while my love for folk music (playing folk guitar and singing) provided an opportunity for them to play with—and enjoy—a unique interaction with music.

At last, something I could do.

For instance, when teaching our children how to sing harmonies, I used humor, rhyme and rollicking musical fun in this ridiculous round (which my middle child vigorously protested):

The African Crowned CraneMy dame had a lame tame crane. My dame had a crane that was lame. Come Mistress Lane to my dame's lame tame crane. Feed it and return again.

That was us, the uniquely Waring family, giving to our kids something they would not get anywhere else. It helped define who we were as a family, it provided engagement and interaction, and it was a LOT of fun!

So, what about you? You may not snow ski, camp, speak Hungarian, or sing. But there are amazing things you bring to the table—fabulous gifts to give your children—that no one else can give them in your unique way. Looking at yourself, your spouse, your extended family through appreciative eyes, consider the treasures you have to share with your own children. Ask yourself: What ethnic heritage, particular passion, interesting experience, or fascinating knowledge do I have to give to my children? In other words, what's in YOUR cupboard?

For more on this topic, watch this video blog, "What is Your Family Culture?"