This post is a disclaimer for some posts that are to follow. Coming soon, I am going to write about my parenting successes. I am going to write about how when I was a 37-year old single woman and an (almost) 8-year old little girl moved into my house – I decided what kind of parent I wanted to be. I will describe how:
I focused my parenting on connecting my new daughter to her spirit, to a faith in realities that we cannot see, to the big, beautiful world around her and to all the amazing people in it.
These upcoming posts will focus on what worked for me, but first I want to say that I did plenty of crappy things too. When I suggest ideas for other parents to connect their children to what really matters in life – I write not as a pollyanna, but as someone who gets crabby, is sometimes selfish and sometimes disengaged.
My biggest character weakness is probably my lack of patience. It’s the quality that most often causes me to act like a jerk. I sometimes lose patience when I am driving. I suck at small talk because I don’t like empty chatter. Also, I would be a terrible preschool teacher. While being a parent has made me more patient, sometimes I yell at my daughter. Sometimes, I act irrationally towards her because my patience has stretched past the breaking point.
That is the reality. After my daughter moved in with me, there was plenty of chaos in our house. Very quickly, I had to stop and take stock of my intentions with my child. I had to get clear on what was most important to me as a parent and focus my energy in that direction.
I decided that, for me, being a good parent means two things: #1 Giving my child the tools she needs to create a meaningful life #2 Building her up more than tearing her down.
What are your most important parenting intentions?
In upcoming posts, I’m going to describe how I focused my parenting on those two intentions, and I want readers to know that I did it despite serious weaknesses. Having clear intentions guided my decision-making and boosted my confidence as a mother. I hope that if I share my experiences here it will help other parents.
#1 Tools She Needs To Create a Meaningful Life
I believe that a meaningful life means being connected. Connected to our inner selves, connected to others and connected to something bigger than us.
My daughter is now 16. Everywhere I look, I see teenagers who are lost. Dis-connected. Self-destructive. Did you see this article in the Huffington Post: The Real Cause of Addiction ? Basically, the latest research shows that drugs become most addictive to humans (and rats) who are lonely or cut off in some way from the world around them.
I have suggestions about how to lessen the likelihood of our kids becoming lost. There were specific things I did to increase my daughter’s sense of connectedness. But before I write about it, I want to be clear that it did not come easily to me. I am not a sunshine and roses, super evolved, peace and love, Earth Mama type. Sometimes, I am an impatient jerk.
I’m also someone who cares deeply about purpose and spirit and meaning.
That is why soon after I became a parent, I decided what my most valued parenting intentions were and I focused my actions on living them. I have a knack for that – seeing through the bullshit distractions to what really matters.
In future posts, I want to describe how I did it.
#2 Building Her Up More Than Tearing Her Down
This intention was WAY harder than I expected it to be. Especially since I spent the bulk of my career facilitating positive self-esteem programs for girls. Yeah, with your own kid it is way harder. So much of parenting is correcting and that can VERY easily lead to tearing down.
I had to learn how to be honest with myself about my weaknesses and not let them thwart my intentions. In other words, sometimes I act like a jerk to my child, but then I apologize, I forgive myself and I move on. I hope this teaches her how to accept her own weaknesses.
In future posts, I will write about how I moved out of the muck of shame and guilt, and how important that was to building up my daughter and becoming a better parent.
So, there you have it. Sometimes I am a jerk. But I still have something to share with you about being a focused, Spirit Full parent.
What are your most important parenting intentions? I’d love to hear!