Over the past week, my youngest son has planted seeds with me. He has carefully chosen seeds that he likes: watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, basil with the hopes of them growing into big and strong plants. We have a plot at a community garden as well as a raised bed on our second floor balcony which my husband made. He asked that his melon could be planted on the balcony because in the past year the animals have always gotten to the melons before we have. He wants to protect them. He doesn’t want to have to pick them before they are ready, when they are too small and not ripe, simply to avoid having them bitten into.
And so with this in mind, knowing that his plants may not make it to full fruition, he planted the seeds anyway. Knowing that there is only so much he can do to protect these plants, he patted the soil down anyway with hopes that in planting the seed and starting the growth, good things would happen.
And so it is with life. We plant the seeds, knowing not all of them will make it, but hoping they will and doing what we can so that they do anyway. We don’t give up at the start, not bothering to plant the seed. We hold fast to our intentions, our hopes and our dreams, nurturing them with our belief in them, and in ourselves, our ability to bring them into fruition.
And so it is with parenting; we do what we can to bring our children up with a belief in themselves to reach their dreams, even against the odds.
We need to prepare the vessels that contain them.
Give them space.
Remember only what is important.
Allow them to grow.
That is how we parent
How to Avoid Drama
Do you get pulled into your kid’s or other’s drama? Then this week’s parenting metaphor is for you!
Welcome to the 25th episode of Metaphor Monday! Today come for a drive with me as I talk about parenting from a different perspective.
On today’s Metaphor Monday, I look at the importance of learning how to put on the breaks with your children.
Special note: the music credits should read: “Ares live on the Ukulele”. Thanks Ares for the impromptu music performance!
Today’s post was to be a video but there really wasn’t much point as you would not be able to see anything. Aside from that it is a holliday weekend here in Canada and I was quiet pleasantly distracted by family that we were visiting.
When we were camping back in August I was reminded at night of how much clearer the sky is out of the city. Where we live in Toronto here is so much light pollution that most nights we don’t really get to see all the stars as we do when we are out of the city. Picture shining a flashlight on a lava lamp to see how it glows. It just doesn’t work. One night when we were in Temagami I looked up into the night sky and was so amazed at how clearly I could see all the millions of stars. It was spectacular. Nothing was getting in my way of seeing them so clearly. I began to think about how much clearer I can see things if only I don’t over focus on them. It’s easier to see if I am not blinded by light. Usual ally we think of light as illuminating, helping us seethings more clearly. But if there is too much light we are blindsighted and miss that which is important.
As parents, sometimes we can walk into a situation so focused on what we expect to see or even what we hope to see, that we become blinded to what is really there. I can recall many times having an expectation that there was going to be a problem in a situation with my children; I feel myself get all tense, I begin to get ready to address the predicted “issue” only to then realize that I was wrong, that things have turned out differently but okay just the same. Or there may be other times when I expect things to go a certain way in order for them to “turn out” and then (with the help of my children) I realize that there is a different way to get to the solution.
Sometimes our expectations can become a kind of light pollution shining so brightly we miss what is right in front of us.
I remember not that long ago, waking up one weekend expecting to make some whole grain pancakes with the grains I had soaked the night before. My boys had risen before me and were reeking havoc (admittedly my skewed perception, since they were veering from my “plan”) making breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like having breakfast made for me, it’s just that I was so blind sighted by my “vision” of making pancakes with the grains I had soaked and now what was I going to do with these?
I was getting ready to complain about the mess. So focused was I on the fact that my “vision” of a pancake breakfast was not going to be happenning that I couldn’t see the stars in front of me. There was so much more that I wasn’t seeing. Blind sighted by my own “vision” I almost missed some very important happenings: for one, my boys were trying to help; they were excited about surprising my husband and I; they were using their independence skills; they were feeling proud about what they had done, and most of all, they were coming from a place of love.
Luckily I came to my other senses and was able to see beyond my the light pollution of my “vision”. I could hear the tone of excitement and pride that they felt, not to mention feel their love filled smiles (and of course it smelled delicious too). No longer blindsighted by my own expectations, I was able to sit back and enjoy a wonderful breakfast made with love.
We all are blinded by the light from time to time. Sometimes that picture of how we think things should be or how they “should” go is so bright that we can’t see what else is right in front of us.
Are you willing to dim the light so that you can see more?
Are You Carrying Around Too Much?
Well, I took a week off from doing Metaphor Monday in keeping with my self-care practice: practicing what I preach. I have just been super busy this last week or so. I figured there is no need to get all worked up and tense then carry that baggage of “oh I failed because I missed a week of Metaphor Monday” I said to myself. So without further ado, here is this week’s Metaphor Monday; the last of the Temagami-nature-inspired metaphors for this year. I’ve made a short video for this Metaphor, taken from one of our portages. I hope you enjoy it!
When we go canoe camping we have to pack light and be practical about what we take with us. We need to pare down in preparation for our portages which obviously will be more difficult if we have too much baggage. After all we want to be able to enjoy the scenery when we portage.
When we set up camp we take out what we need and put it back right after, rearranging it at that time to balance the load. And every time we have a meal it makes for a lighter load.
As parents we all have baggage that we carry with us from our past into our present experiences with our children. Some of it may be useful, like when you use your own experiences as a child to guide you towards parenting in a way that is best for your child (and not necessarily the way you were parented). Some of our baggage that we carry can interfere with our ability to parent to our best because we get so weighed down emotionally from our baggage.
Sometimes we pass this baggage on to our children unwittingly when we put expectations on them that are too high. Expectations that our parents had of us. Expectations that we feel we should have because other parents do. Expectations that ultimately our children feel they need to live up to, and when they don’t they carry this baggage around with them continuing the cycle.
Sometimes we need to remember to unload some of the luggage we carry piece by piece, carefully holding on to what serves us well, what feeds our soul, memories that teach us. We need to take care that we shift our load around to balance it out when we do. Sometimes that may mean replacing our baggage with more efficient, positive lighter things.
6 Ways to Avoid Being Bugged
Welcome to the continuation of last weeks Metaphor Monday about being bugged by your children’s behaviour. This week I share some ideas on how to protect yourself from being so “bugged”.
Don’t get so bugged . . .
Today’s parenting metaphor takes a closer look at why we sometimes are bothered by our kids. Filmed in Temagami and inpsired by nature, while we were canoe camping this past August.
Welcome to another Metaphor Monday for parenting tips and tools. This week I give you some parenting tips for avoiding disappointment from turning into overwhelm for your child.
Filmed in the beautiful wilderness of Temagami Ontario! Enjoy!
I have created a short video below about letting go. I also included a story about how it came to be in this weeks post. Enjoy!
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of stuff. For some of us that means letting go of things we are sentimental about. Sometimes its letting go of memories; things that happen that become our story or our truth. We may have invested our emotions in in the past with events that bothers us. As we hold on to these emotions they linger and overshadow our present moments. But in holding on we pay a price, the heavy load, the luggage we carry around wears us down.
With kids this holding on sounds like “he always does this” or “always gets his way” or the famous “its not fair” hanging on to perceived past injustices and carrying them into future experiences of what’s going on. Everything unjust becomes labeled as “always” happening and there doesn’t seem to be room for change because there is a holding on to the past experience so tightly that it is expected in the future. Holding on in this case is not the holding on of hope but rather of negativity.
The other weekend while canoe camping, a process in and of itself is a practice of letting go of stuff and leaving conveniences behind, the boys decided to make boats. They usually love collecting rocks like most boys or like to bring back souvenirs like chewed beaver sticks or other “keep-sakes” from their trip. Both enjoyed taking pictures of the sunset the first night. My youngest was photographing the sunset and was getting frustrated when he was not able to see the pictures right away on the camera screen. I reminded him that he could look at it anytime and to just enjoy the real thing in front of him, after a few more grumbles he was able to let it go and relax, not getting stuck in his expectation of how things should be.
After the boys made their nature boats they talked about bringing these back home with them. After hearing his brother talk about bringing them home my youngest decided he wanted to as well, even though on the way my youngest had made a boat on his own which he let go at the dock before we paddled off to our camp site. After talking about how we could document their launch with photos just as we had when they made them, they both agreed and became excited about launching their boat, sending it out into the water, out into the world, letting it go. Who knows what kind of travels their boats would go on perhaps it would be like the little carved canoe in the film “Paddle to the Sea” where a boy carves a wooden canoe and then releases it into the river which then travels down to the great lakes and eventually out to the ocean. This got them excited, they were ready to let go and open up to the possibilities. We talked more about not having to hang on to everything.
At one point when we were paddling back to the car, my youngest spontaneously released his boat, I thought prematurely, but he was fine with this. However, being the typical adult, who sometimes gets stuck and has a hard time letting go of stuff or ideas, I suggested we retrieve it because I missed photographing the moment of release.
We all can learn to let go a little more, whether it is letting go of fear of whether your kids are capable of something, or simply letting go of the past as in the last minute that just went by. Letting go of “hard” feelings is also a tough one. But if we don’t learn to how will our kids. Holding on to resentment or disappointment can also be a set up for us expecting similar unwanted behaviours from our children. If we just let go of our expectations a little more and be open to all the possibilities, imagine what adventures we can enjoy.
Parenting from a different perspective . . .
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Last week I spoke about the importance of taking time to breathe and slow things down with your children. When I taped Metaphor Monday #16 I ended up having more to say than I had thought so here is part two of “Metaphor Monday Breathe”. Enjoy!
Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~Oprah Winfrey
Are You Breathing for Life or Breathing for Living?
“He lives most life whoever breathes most air.” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“A lifetime is not what is between
the moments of birth and death.
A lifetime is one moment
Between my two little breaths.
The present, the here, the now,
That’s all the life I get.
I live each moment in full,
In kindness, in peace, without regret.”
Chade Meng, Taoist poet
Ever been stuck, so stuck you just can’t seem to get unstuck? Today’s metaphor is about being stuck and how to “get out of the mud”.
Tell us what you do when you get stuck as a parent. How do you get unstuck? How do you move beyond the “stuckedness”?
When I was a child I had a jewelry box that played a little tune every time the bottom drawer was opened; “raindrops keep falling on my head, ….the blues they send to meet me won’t defeat me…..’Cause I’m never gonna stop the rain by complainin’…”(Lyrics by Burt Bacharach). I also remember the standard rain song that kids sing “it’s raining its pouring the old man is snoring bumped his head in the middle of the bed and couldn’t get up in the morning!” Two songs about rain with two different perspectives; in one the singer speaks of things getting better with the other things get worse.
The other day we were driving through a rain storm on the highway. I found myself battling thoughts about how horrible the weather was, yet admiring the beauty and the strength of the storm at the same time. I watched in awe as the transformative beauty of the lightening as it lit up the sky and horizon, while the power of the storm’s down pour managed to bring the cars on the highway to almost a halt . Then and there I realized something, storms are inevitable, a necessary release from mother nature. After all it it has been pretty hot here lately and the gardens are pretty thirsty, right? Thats a good thing. The weather is only as bad as we make it. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Disappointment is a part of life that everyone needs to know how to deal with at some point. Storms are inevitable. When my kids cry or tantrum because they are unhappy about something I can take the opportunity to help them through those sad or angry feelings and show them it’s ok to cry. They need to know that it’s ok to feel disappointed, angry or sad and that you can feel these feelings and still be fine after. Just as the plants are quenched after the downpour, so too are our children. Crying is a normal part of the human response to pain and upset. Crying can help release emotions as well as the hormones that have built up inside in response to intense emotions.When plans are changed or canceled I can focus on the disappointment or on the opportunity for growth, to try something new and perhaps have a surprise adventure. Of course there will still be upset, this is natural, but the way we weather the storm with our children will make all the difference to how they are able to bounce back and look ahead. Sometimes disappointment can be a motivator to move forward and strive for something else as well.
As parents it often hurts to see our children upset. We want to shelter them and protect them from the storm. But maybe going through the storm with our support is what they need to help them grow and flourish. These experiences prepare them for the inevitable storms ahead. Eventually these storms will be accepted as the storm before the calm, the necessary showers for transformation. When this happens with our support the stormy weather becomes showers that are necessary but not feared.
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