As an adult child who spent a lot of time analyzing my childhood and "finding myself", I want to share that 20 minutes of good parenting can undo hours, years, decades, maybe even a lifetime of misunderstanding and miscommunication. I could write an entire book about how wrong I was about who my father is and how I misinterpreted loving acts and supportive words. What he's taught me in the last few years is how to be a great parent in a few minutes. What I longed for was to be myself, to be heard, to be known, and to be accepted. I spent decades trying to figure out what he wanted me to be, be that, prove that, and get accepted for that, all without knowing I was doing it. I was building a beautiful brick wall between the two of us. Once I understood myself a bit more, was ready and brave enough to show up, my dad listened, loved and accepted me for who I am. I am able to see him for who he is. We can meet face to face without the wall.
I feel most successful as a guide for our children when I am comfortable enough with my imperfections as a person and a parent to talk to them the way I can talk to my parents now. When I can be myself, be heard, be known and be accepted, and our kids can be themselves, be heard and be accepted, we find a piece of heaven and we click as one acting body. That is when "Team S-P" is in our groove.
It is so easy in our world, with its speed, distractions, goals and desires for perfection to get off course. I lose my patience. I forget everything I learned in parenting workshops. I fall back on things I can't believe I could say or do. But, I believe that just a minute or two of this kind of connection can undo hours, days, years, maybe even a lifetime of imperfect parenting and unnecessary walls. When the kids and I catch a good groove, I can let go of that ego driven desire to be a perfect parent and more groovy moments are possible.
I am grateful for the moments when I have the humility to recognize that I am not a perfect person or parent, when I can REALLY be real with the kids. What a relief it is for them that it is possible to be yourself and be accepted and loved for who you are.