It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Acceptance and Appreciation

I have two simple living-type books on the go right now: Sarah Ban Breathnach’s “Simple Abundance“, and “Frugal Luxuries” by Tracey McBride.

Simple Abundance is in the form of a devotional or a day book — a series of entries, one for each day of the year, each with a few short paragraphs containing a thought to chew on for the day. For all that I find it a bit dated in some ways, I quite enjoyed January’s entries. I have flagged in February, though. This month’s entries have not been speaking to me as January’s did. That’s okay. I’ll keep at it and see what emerges in the coming weeks.

So, when the Sarah BanB pages weren’t giving me much to chew on, I switched to Frugal Luxuries, another meditative book, though not a year-long project.

And this week, McBride presented me with these lines:

Accept others as they are, and allow them to be themselves… While acceptance allows you to relax and behave freely, appreciation can actually raise the value of an item or individual. Make a habit of seeking out and appreciating the blessings in your life. I have found that by consistently appreciating people (and things), their value increases.

It was one of those thoughts that leaps off the page and stays with you. It’s a good thought. A wise suggestion. Particularly good to keep in mind with family (which is the context of those sentences.)

My children are all adults now (some more thoroughly adults than others, but all technically adults, and all doing well in their various stages of adulthood). I think we have done pretty well with acceptance and appreciation, so far. And Wonderful Husband and me? We ace this. It’s a second marriage for both of us, and, having been through the traumas of a failing and failed marriage and the awfulness that is divorce, we really, really appreciate each other.

So, as I mulled over that nugget of thought, I considered it in terms of my daycare kids. And as I did, I realized “acceptance” is a nuanced thing. Yes, we accept our babies, our children. They are what they are. We also love them to bits, and delight in their strengths and in the joy they bring into our lives. That’s be the appreciation part.


We are responsible, as parents, for the outcome of our kids. We have to be clear about where they are, sure. That’d be the acceptance part. But we also want to help them, to facilitate their development. Is he very shy? We want to teach him confidence and social skills. Is she too pushy and demanding socially? We want to help him develop consideration and awareness of other people’s needs.

For years and years and years, we work to tweak, improve, buff and polish, steadily increase our children’s potential.

You know what? That can make it really hard — really hard! — to accept them for who and what they are in this minute. It’s easy to let the things we’re trying to mold frustrate us, and lose sight of the things we truly appreciate. On the flip side, you don’t want to appreciate your child so much that you can’t see the areas in which he or she needs to grow and develop.

Huh. Now that’s an interesting thought.

There’s a push-pull as a parent, isn’t there, between the future focus necessary to help our child achieve their potential, and the present-time focus of accepting/appreciating who they are, right now. Well, when we’re not exasperated beyond belief by their behaviour, right now…

Acceptance: it is what is it
Appreciation: and I value it.

I have a child who is a challenge to me right now. I am committing to apply these principles to all the daycare children … and that one in particular. It will help us both to enjoy each other more, I’m sure. It will also bring more satisfaction to my days, even as I tackle the behaviours that so irk me.

Acceptance and appreciation.
Acceptance and appreciation.
Acceptance and appreciation.

My new mantra.

February 28, 2013 Posted by | books | 2 Comments