What a lovely weekend we had here in Alexandria. The weather was just gorgeous for this time of year. A little chilly, but bearable with just a light jacket (or my bright red trench coat that makes me so happy). The sun shone so bright, and the sky had woken up from a long, hard winter and was just bursting an unbelievable blue. I know it's still technically winter, but we had such a nice taste of spring that I'm ready to pot my geraniums and sport my sandals. I always jump the gun this time of year and then regret it during our inevitable "Dogwood Winter." C'est la vie.
Anyway, yesterday was Alexandria's annual St. Patty's Day parade, and I won't bore you with pictures, because they would, no doubt, look a lot like last year's photos. We went and sat at our usual spot on the curb and had a blast, as we do every year. I love that this has become a family tradition for the Callahans. :)
Today we went to church and then spent some more time outside at the park. Oh, it is so wonderful to be outside in the warm sunshine! When it was time to leave, the poor kids had to tear themselves away. We just don't know when we'll see the sun again, you know?
While we were at the park, I tried to climb across the monkey bars like I used to as a kid, and I was (not very) surprised to find that I couldn't do it. It was the funniest thing to realize. Something that was so completely natural to me as a kid--I mean, I could have done that in my sleep--I just couldn't do, at least not without substantial effort. Then I started to think about the real topic of this post. It's something that I've been mulling over for quite a while but just couldn't think about how to tie it all together.
Paul and I have so much that we want to teach to our kids, but as far as specific character traits that we consciously want to instill, compassion and respect for others are at the top of the list. We've talked endlessly about how to model these traits for them and how to talk about them and create teaching moments in our daily lives.
Consciously teaching these traits is important, but the more Charlie grows up, the more I realize that this little girl embodies these characteristics. She seems to have this natural sensitivity toward others, as I believe many children have. Kids somehow see past things that their adult counterparts can't overcome. I've seen Charlie watch coverage of these recent awful earthquakes in Haiti and Chile with tears in her eyes. One night she watched a special about children with cleft palate and was genuinely concerned for these poor kids. She so enjoys making lunches with me for our Salvation Army volunteering and talks endlessly about hoping "the people like their sandwiches."
Our job as parents is to continue with the God-given natural ability and nurture it and cultivate it, shaping it while pointing always to Heaven. Just like zooming across monkey bars is so natural for a kid, I pray that she keeps her kind spirit and doesn't become conditioned like so many adults who find compassion and respect as unfamiliar as child's play.
Some welcome signs of spring: