At the most recent Life Is Good Conference, I attended Laura Flynn Endres talk “The Kids are Fine: You’re The Problem!” She left me with plenty to think (and blog) about.
First off, I was reminded that the kids are just that they are okay. They are naturally driven to explore, create, inquire and learn. I simply need to get out of the way. And by that I do not mean go sit in a corner and let them be, in fact it is quite the opposite. I need to get out of the way by checking my baggage at the door and joining them in the moment to moment passion following that they are hard wired to participate in.
It is so easy as a parent to loose sight of what my role in my children’s life really is. There are plenty of outside influences that would tell me my role is to make sure they are prepared for the adult world. Really? Is childhood honestly a dress rehearsal for adult hood? If so the whole human existence seems, well less then appealing. Other sources might insinuate my role is to make sure my kids grow up to be responsible, contributing members of society. Okay, but who defines what responsible and contributing means? That one is a bit too vague for me. Others still might say my role is to keep them safe. Again, that is a bit vague and can over extend in to a place where I actually am getting in the way of my children pushing the edges of their own comfort zones in order to find new interests and skills.
I digress, back to my point, that it is so easy to loose sight of my role in my children’s life. So in order to check my own baggage at the door I need to daily remind myself of what my intention is as my children’s mother. And simply put it is to be the mom they need me to be. Easy to say, less easy to actually pull off. It means being available beside my children to know them in the kind of way that allows me to provide just what they require to continue existing authentically. Tall order ? Hell Ya! Worth it ? Double Hell Ya!
So step one, remain grounded in my intent as a parent. Whatever that takes, notes around the house, meditation, deep breaths etc. (or all of the above).
Step two; deal with my own baggage on my own time. My children do not need to see (or hear) all about my process and how I am dealing with it. For several reasons, one it’s not their s***. Two, it’s really confusing. And three potentially the most important, they could get super confused about their role in all of it and try to “help” in ways that have nothing to do with their existence.
Phew. It is easy to say that part about dealing with my own baggage and again perhaps tougher to follow through with . The truth of the matter is, it’s totally worth it. The pay offs are huge. Finding out how to deal with the baggage does really depend on the issues that arise in the various moments of living with my people. However, there are a few general ideas that often apply. Meditation to ground in the present moment. Deep breathing, to bring my awareness to the now. Journalling through tough spots. Reading the huge resource of unschooling blogs available to me. Biting my tongue, anything worth saying in the moment will be worth saying in three hours time!
And this could quite possibly be my favorite lesson/reminder that I walked away with. Life is tough. Everyone of us could sit down in any given moment and list reasons why my life is tougher then yours. It’s time to get over it already. Don’t get me wrong there is a time and place for reaching out for support from those who have passed this spot before you. But if this is the tenth time you have asked the same question or looked for the same support, it might be time to move along. Let it go. The other side of this, hard to swallow, if you are waiting for the day when it all runs smoothly (day after day after day) you might be missing out on a whole lot of life. This is not meant to be a downer at all, it is meant to be the opposite an upper! Life is full of challenge, just as it is full of joy. The brilliance is being able to have the two coexist in a way that the challenge doesn’t win out against the joy. Tough order? Yep! Worth? In my opinion it’s the only option.