Sometimes after school, my wife hangs out on the playground with the other parents and kids. A few weeks back, one of the young boys (4 yrs old), picked up a handful of stones and threw them at his mother.
Watching from a distance, Monica had two thoughts. At least our kids aren’t throwing rocks at us (so far) and “this is going to be interesting.”
The boy’s mom walked up to the little guy, took his hand and kissed it. Completely defusing the situation and getting the kid to settle down.
What is the hardest thing in the world?
Not reflecting my daughter’s energy (right back at her) when she rages at me.
I have a slogan to help me overcome myself… it is ALWAYS ok to comfort my children.
I drop the kids off at school.
I always drop my son off first because he’s easy.
The other morning his teacher comments that it’s so nice to have him in the class because he rolls with everything.
My reply, “you need to be easy, if you have a high-energy older sister.”
Her reply, “actually, it’s nice, just-for-him.”
BOOM – it hit me.
I’ve constructed a reality that views everything through the prism of being the parent of a “difficult child”.
My daughter’s principle “difficulties” being the way she mirrors my inner dialogue!
I have been letting a single relationship color every aspect of my day.
I need to practice letting go. Here’s a great poem about what’s required – it was given to me during hospice training and is exactly what I need for parenting.
Since my daughter was born, we have been on a mission to track every pee, poop, meal and nap. Knowing this data was essential to prove we care!
I’ve come to realize that letting go is required for my personal sanity.
- Say “yes” as much as possible
- As little involvement as possible
- Don’t leave my mind with my kids when I drop them off
Changing My Attitude
Finally, I don’t want to change my situation, and become a part-time Dad, so I’m going to need to change my attitude.
I have a hunch that my hospice volunteering (13 hours so far) will prove transformative. My practice involves:
- Breathing through intensity
- Serving without any ability for reciprocity
- Being the most junior teammember
- Walking out the door at the end of the shift
It’s such a contrast to being in a role of complete authority with my kids.
My daughter’s school teaches that it is important to pause and remember our basic goodness. That lesson hasn’t proven effective when I’m under pressure and running on automatic.
What’s been easier is to focus on being a “good guy” through action taken when I’m not under pressure — volunteering, driving around town, dealing with strangers.
There are plenty of opportunities to create a habit of goodness.