Thursday, March 31, 2016

Team Chari: On Rising

We have one little girl learning how to ride a bike despite massive balance and coordination challenges.  We have another little girl learning how to walk.  I think the timing for both is God’s providence in our life as a family. 
They get to see each other falling and getting back up! It’s beautiful! They cheer each other on and there is no shame for the one taking her first fumbled steps, nor is there any shame for the one struggling to keep the bike upright.  I LOVE IT.  One of the most important things I get to do as a mommy is to teach my children that there is no shame in and no reason to fear, falling down.  

Ride, Baby Ride!
People often ask why I am so willing to publicly talk about my shortcomings, character flaws and outright failures.  THIS IS WHY.  We live our lives in front of our children, publicly and privately, in a way that says, “Falling down isn’t shameful, it doesn’t define who we are, it simply provides an opportunity to rise again.  Wiser, more experienced, more prepared, better, stronger.” 

Sometimes that means that we screw up the whole parenting thing.  Ruptured relationships are platforms for repaired relationships.  Sometimes it means I am dishonest —I once had to sing a song in Shona to get away with not having a radio license (I didn’t have any cash in that instance, but there were other times that I did and still didn’t pay.) And have to apologize to my kiddos for not telling the truth. (BUT COME ON PEOPLE, I WOULD LIKE CREDIT FOR THE FACT THAT 2016 is the year of the Chari family radio license.)   Sometimes it means that things we try to accomplish at work, at home, in relationships just fail—and we have to show them that we can get back up again!  Living in a cross-cultural, inter-racial marriage with all the other differences we certainly allows for a lot of getting it wrong! One of the things that our girls know for sure is that the Chari’s are risers.  We have not stated this verbally, but we have shown them time and time again. 

Nyash and I have learned that the most powerful moments we have with our children are the imperfect ones.  We try really hard to implement strategies at home that are going to help them grow into strong, brave, kind women.  However, we are aware that who we are is a more accurate predictor of our children’s success than what we know about parenting.  This is really what attachment rich parenting is about: how we relate, how we engage when we are hurt or struggle or are different. How resilient we are—this is what our children glean from us, just by being ours.  We cannot give our kids what we do not have.   We cannot teach them to be unafraid of failure if we never fail and recover or if we are afraid someone might know that we fail!

Walk, Baby Walk!
If we do not think that we are precious regardless of what is undone, messed up, vulnerable or scary – our kids are going to second guess their preciousness as well.  When I know I am precious, I am free to say “this is who I am. “  Are we placing conditions on preciousness? Prerequisites like success?  There is no room for shame in our home.  I might be a girl who did some bad things and those things brought about feelings of guilt, because I was guilty—the definition of guilty is simply someone who has done something they shouldn’t.  Shame is something else entirely… shame says there is something wrong with ME.  Shame takes away my preciousness.  When we engage with our families we must understand that when we mess up and when they mess up, it doesn’t change who we are—we are still precious people, we have just done something wrong. 

Our kids are willing to fall in front of each other because they have learned how to get back up!  Our kids are willing to get it wrong because we are willing to live with failures out in the open.  Brene Brown says, “With skinned knees and bruised hearts we choose to own our stories of struggle over hiding, hustling and pretending.”     

Our courage comes from facing our failures or shortcoming head on.  The failures we face with honesty are the ones that are unable to define us. 

Beautiful sisters: Hand Holders, Lifter-upers, Cheerleaders. Fallers. Risers.

So here’s to our girls, the one learning to walk and the one learning to ride.  May your heart never fear the fall, may you always find courage to get back up and may you learn at a younger age than your daddy and I did that it’s in the falling and rising that you are made strong.  We love you girls so very much, you are our crowning glory and it is for you that we do not hide.  We are more fearful of you not loving who you are than we are of what others might think of our weaknesses.  Be brave. Be kind. Be you. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

How Does Your Family Celebrate Easter?

Growing up, Easter was a big deal in our house.  If I am honest—all holidays were.  My grandma used to even leave a Halloween present from “The Great Pumpkin” for my brother and I. Yes.  THE GREAT PUMPKIN.  As in “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”  I KNOW, RIGHT.  We grew up in that house, every holiday is an excuse to go overboard!  I loved every minute of it.  And I want to be the SAME WAY with my kids! 

So Easter.  New poofy dress.  Shiny patent leather shoes.  Pictures with the Easter Bunny.  Church.  Big family Easter dinner with delicious ham and all of my Grandma’s best side dishes.  Egg Hunt. Baskets. Pastel colors everywhere.

My childhood was full of difficulties. I share so much about that when I write and speak… but it was also filled with memories that are treasured, special and filled with love and beauty.  Easter Sundays are some of my favorite memories.  My two favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and Easter.  If I had to choose, Easter would win.  Not just because the world I grew up in, in America, gets blanketed by pastel colors (and chocolate) but because JESUS.

Nyasha and I have been married for almost two and a half years.  That first year is a whirlwind.  The second was crazy town for us because BABY. Now we are trying to settle in a figure out things like, how will we as a family celebrate Easter.

Obviously I want to recreate my amazing family Easter memories.  I want my kiddos growing up with a house full of people-with laughter and love the signs of celebrating a resurrected Jesus.  Ru loves Easter egg hunts. We have established the egg tradition well.

We are considering something new this year.  Serving.  It seems like the most appropriate way to celebrate Jesus as the resurrected Saviour.  Our family knows and loves Jesus.  Our kids are growing up with Jesus at the center of their home.  I do not say this with any arrogance, I say this from a place of desperation.  I screwed my life up so badly, that all I have today is totally dependent upon the grace I have been granted.  I am so thankful that my kiddos get to see this me, the one that loves Jesus.  Lil Viv is 13 months old and already clasps her hands in prayer when we pray.  That fills my heart with such JOY. 

So how will we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this Sunday?  I am sure we will paint eggs.  I am sure we will do a hunt.  I am certain that as a family we will try to serve someone well.  Check back here and I will let you know how it goes!

 Easter 2015 with Grandma!

How does your family celebrate Easter?