“It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair an adult.”
Recently I have encountered some experiences that remind me of why I continue with this blog, my radio program Holistic Children Radio, and my efforts to share information with parents and families.
It seems like a lifetime ago when I visited my first parenting class while going through my divorce. My life was in pieces and I was doing everything that I could to make some sense out of what was left. One piece I held on to, by what often seemed like a thread, was being a good mom through it all. I knew that I wasn’t the best parent at that time, however, when I left that first class, I felt as if I was the worst. The judgment of the other parents was painful. Needless to say, I never went back and instead began a solitary search to improve my parenting through books, tapes, and television. Yet, that class is still my motivation to help support others, and I was reminded again why, while overhearing and being involved in various parenting conversations over the past few weeks.
I’m not sure how it all began, the critiquing and judging by other well meant parents and family members (possibly the result of also being criticized by others) – but despite the fact that it has been going on for ages, I’m not so sure that much has changed in the way of influencing positive outcomes. I know it didn’t help me. Being judged by others at a time I needed compassion, was like being kicked while I was down. My self-esteem was low, my family was falling apart, and the place I thought I was going to get help shot me down. I was raw. I was broken. I was confused. Weren’t they there to learn too?
In the same way that our words can hurt others, our words can also be magic, especially to the parents and children who can use our support. Those who are worn out from sleepless nights, personal challenges, and a 24/7 job, often on top of a 40+ hours a week one. I admit, I too have caught myself on occasion giving advice when it wasn’t asked for, but I am learning to be mindful of when to sit in support by listening, accepting, and honoring the challenges of the parenting job. Or, by sometimes simply just asking, “How can I help?”
Hence, the image of the layered heart.
It has taken a lot of ongoing improvement of myself to understand and peel away the heartbroken layers. To not take things personal. To stand up for myself. To be confident that I am a good enough parent. With that said, I still have a soft spot for a struggling parent. It is no secret to those who are on the payroll, that parenting is the most challenging job one will ever have the opportunity to manage. One that is unimaginable until we are in it…Yet, being a parent offers the most rewarding opportunities for growth. Therefore, I encourage you to support others when you can in that growth. The late Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Your compassionate presence and encouraging words are a powerful force. And remember, no three greater words have more power than “I love you.”
Copyright Cathi Curen 2015