A major thread throughout the sabbatical was family.

Family posing at Mesa Verde National Park.
Family posing at Mesa Verde National Park.

In the original crafting of my educational plans for this time I anticipated taking one to two spring courses. However, as I neared the time to make the final decision I sensed that instead of taking the academic course of Family & Marriage that was being offered, I opted to just concentrate more of my attention on my family and marriage, a practicum of sorts.

One of the intentional reads I did in this time was a book called “Parenting from the Inside Out” by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell. The book is a helpful guide to assist a parent to reflect and become more intentional about how one responds to the various needs and demands from one’s child. Any parent knows that to reflect on one’s “less than stellar parenting” moments is vulnerable work, and I have found that to discuss such matters is always better, with more wisdom in community. To this end I invited a few folks to meet and mutually discuss the topics raised in this book. This has been another gift through the sometimes disorientating and turbulent waters of parenting.

Anyone that has seen our boys in action longer than 1 minute will testify to their inexhaustible energy, unwavering logical arguments (which leaves us scratching our heads), and singular focus on fairness and justice. Jana and I continue to recognize the incredible gift and challenge this represents and the reading of this book together has led to some good places.

In all of this I was also able to give Jana a bit more breathing space to focus on her work. For those of you who live in Manitoba, and those outside, are likely aware of how the Child and Family Services has been focused in the media this past spring. This has led to some challenging and sometimes bizarre changes in the system which Jana needs to adapt to. As she continues to give her service to this critical work, it continues to be clear that changes in the system are needed. It is clear that the old patterns of pain and surface fixing just does not cut it.