Have you ever had one of those moments when you looked at your child and thought, wow, they’re different in some way. But you just couldn’t seem to pinpoint what it was. With our children as well as all of our relationships, we tend to have preconceived ideas about who we think individuals are based on our own experiences.
Recently this became clear to me while dealing with an old habit of mine. As someone who sees life as one HUGE classroom, I look at my present condition as a reflection of my belief system. This past week while being forced to see the reality of the effects of an inoperative behavior pattern, I was given an opportunity to see it in a new way. This was reflected to me as a result of a problem that I was having with my computer monitor. I would be working away on my desktop and then with no rhyme or reason the monitor would go black and stay off.
After a day of needless frustration on my part, the monitor began to work again. However, as I slowed down to contemplate the time I felt I had lost by this computer mishap, I realized it was a metaphor for the behavior I was seeking to understand and change. I discovered in the same way that my view was blocked from my work by means of my monitor. I often conveniently blocked my view of the difficult situation at hand as my attempt to avoid seeing what was so hard for me to address. You see, throughout my life it had become easier to black out this particular lesson and get angry at “something” or “someone” than to feel the pain that went along with it. Feeling the pain requires work. It’s uncomfortable. It takes time. Yet, as Khalil Gibran so wisely noted, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
Deciding it was time to rewrite this particular story of mine so that I could create something better, I took a day to slow down. I wrote in my journal, had conversations with close friends, read inspirational books, and meditated. It is amazing how our “view” changes when we take time to see the truth of the matter. In the same way that I didn’t need to replace my computer monitor (it appears it just needed a break), I found in the observation of my personal challenge, that what I needed to do was take time so that I could switch my perspective. I needed to take the time to get clear on what was in front of me, instead of my inclination of what I wanted to see.
We often do that with our children. In wanting the best for them we may block the beautiful view of who they are. I believe that is why we have those “wow” moments. It is in those moments when we allow ourselves to slow down that we see our children for who they really are. When was the last time you slowed down to just be with your child? Our lives get filled with so many things that we feel we need to get done and in the midst of it, we lose sight of what’s in front of us. And let’s face it, kids can really churn up our emotions, things that we may want to keep under cover. Similarly, just like my example of blocking what I didn’t want to see, it may seem the easier route is to keep what may be messy under wraps for a later date. Unfortunately, like the laundry when we get behind, the pile of problems just keeps getting bigger.
Social researcher Brene Brown suggests that instead of sending the message to our kids that they need to strive for perfection, that we raise our children embodied with the message, “You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you’re worthy of love and belonging.” None of us are perfect and that becomes even more apparent when we have kids. Once we can accept this as the reality for ourselves, we can then model self-acceptance for others.
Do you have a situation that isn’t working with one of your children? Maybe it’s time to get to the truth of the matter. Here are three questions you can ask yourself to see things more clearly.
1. What am I doing that is working in this situation?
2. What have I learned from the process of what doesn’t work?
3. What do I hope to achieve in the future?
Keep your eyes open for any misconceptions and false perceptions you may have about your children. It is common that when our children are at the ages we have faced life challenges as kids, that we are likely to want to protect them from anything similar. Just be sure the emotion and reasoning is meaningful to their present situation. I encourage you to keep monitoring your perceptions and in the end you just might find you can enjoy a completely new “view.”
© 2013 Cathi Curen, Holistic Children Radio