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How Does She Do It?: The Secret We All Share

She has a secret. I bet you do too. It's the one secret for getting through the days that drain you, soaking in the joy of the days that build you, and for keeping your home and family moving forward. What is this secret, and how can you harness it to keep joy in your heart and in your home? Read and be encouraged!

I love spending time with new moms and young children and hearing their stories and their adventures! I enjoy cheering them on while they are working through the challenges of bedtime, meal time, potty training, first steps and transitions. Raising children is a mighty work that requires strength and perseverance. The ripple effects of this last for generations.

In each and every one of these encounters I sense the deep knowledge that these mothers hold tight to themselves. They have a secret. You have a secret. I have a secret. We don't speak it out loud very often and, when we do, we acknowledge it briefly and move on.

We who are the keepers of this secret are mothers, step mothers, (an often overlooked and underestimated group of devoted women) and the fathers who fill a dual parent role. Our group is as varied and diverse as humanity itself, and yet the secret is universal across all cultures, nations, tribes, and faiths.

We keep this secret to ourselves for several reasons. The first is that we're often too wrapped up in the nuts and bolts of working the secret to talk about it. Another reason is that we understand that those of us who know it don't need to talk about it and those who don't know it typically reject it out of hand.

The secret seems so basic that we usually don't see the point in discussing it. But reminding ourselves of the secret from time to time is a good and healthy act. It serves to center us and realign our purpose. Restating what we know and believe reinforces our commitment.

Today is a good day to pour a coffee and pull this secret out of the hidden recesses of our hearts and minds. We can dust it off, take a good look at it, and then put it back for safe keeping. There it can remain until the next time we want to have a close look. Let's get started.

I strongly recommend that you read the enumerated items aloud where you are. This practice of reading aloud imbeds our secret more deeply in our hearts. Try it. Read the questions and the answers aloud in the form of a catechism.

1. What is the secret? The secret is: raising children matters. Raising our children is the common force of humanity that binds us to one another and to all the generations before and after us. In nurturing our children we are influencing a future we will not live to see and, thereby, working to heal the wounds of the world.

2. How can I live the secret? I can live the secret today by leaning into my children and their needs, acknowledging their emotions, guiding and enriching their minds with positive education and rich experiences that allow them to see the vastness of humanity and the world in which we live. I can encourage them to explore their world.

3. Where is the secret kept? The secret is in the forefront of our thoughts at all times. It remains there when we set up reminders for ourselves and others that strengthen our resolve to be the light bearers for our young and the community in which we live. We keep the secret ever before us by speaking words that uplift and encourage.

4. How shall I protect the secret? The secret is protected by surrounding ourselves and our young only with those who understand the value of the next generation and who will respect the importance of placing before them images, words, and experiences that will help them to rise and be lifted into a higher and finer person of substance.

5. When will the secret be known? The secret is revealed as generation succeeds each generation. As our selfishness subsides and our understanding increases the secret is shared throughout our communities, families, and the wider world.

6. How can I leverage the secret? The secret is leveraged through the strength of relationships and acts of generosity. Maintaining a positive thought life and a spirit that uplifts you while engaging in relationships that do the same leverage the secret and combine to create a community in which we support and help each other as each has need. As I engage with others at a finer and deeper level the strength I need will be found.

I can keep this secret in my heart knowing that the sacred trust I bear will be worth the long journey no matter the challenges or heartache that I encounter. I can empower my children to become all that they were intended to be and thereby becoming this myself.

The serious tone of this catechism in no way undermines the joy of this brief window of time in which you are guiding your children to adulthood. Dive in to the depth of parenthood while splashing around in the fun and excitement of childhood. Explore the world around you, read aloud each day. Notice all that is good and lovely around you. Point these things out to your children. Speak of them and smile. Create a Joyful Harbor Home.

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