I'm sharing this because I know how hard it is as a parent to find balance in this environment. Each one of us has to
choose for ourselves what that balance looks like. Personally, I struggle with over-identification with work roles and responsibility in an attempt to boost my self worth. Historically, this false source of my self worth has kept me from parenting, loving and living the way I want. Meditation, reading, and writing this blog gives me a much more authentic and of course, spiritual base, for my self worth. However, the world and our culture's values of productivity and definition of success and happiness is still at play with my ego. Because of that, part of my current spiritual practice is to pause. Pause between stimulus and response. Pause between thinking and speaking. Pause between picking up one child and another. Make space.
In this post, what I am proposing is that sometimes we need to be still long enough to hear that our child is hurting. We need to be balanced and therefore calm enough to not freak out and make it about our own fear and insecurity. Our kids are subject to a lot of issues and we need to be able to support them in the way they want and need. I usually try to strike up conversations with each of the kids to pull out of them what is going on. I think that this is a practice that works for us. I also think that sitting in what maybe uncomfortable and seemingly non-productive space and time is as important. If we are on the go, constantly productive at work, at home, etc, we leave no doors open for the kind of stillness required for a child to come to us.
I'm grateful that we were comfortable enough that day to sit for almost an hour with a taco and not talk while our son got the courage to tell me that a friend that he trusted and that he emotionally supported had cyber bullied him. He had documented the entire thing and wanted me to read it all.
Needless to say, I was devastated, sad, hurt, angry, but I paused that and turned toward empathy for these same emotions our son was also dealing with. In order to address the situation and attempt to prevent further damage, we discussed, calmly, a course of action that could protect him and other kids that might get hurt in this way.
I think because I was given the grace that day to stay calm and deeply hear our son's needs, he trusted me enough to map out a plan to talk to the school and take some action.
My challenge to other parents is that you make space for your children to come to you, that you do whatever you need to do to be strong enough and secure enough in your own worthiness and self care to address their needs for security, empathy, justice, love, to be heard, etc. You may have your own needs in the moment of trust, security, love, protection that will cause your own valid feelings and reactions. I am proposing that you address and deeply hear your child before the conversation becomes about your needs. I think of myself as someone who stays pretty intune with our kids. Aside from a grade drop around this time, there wasn't much of any indicators that something so difficult was going on for our child. If I had been overacting about the grade drop instead of lovingly curious, I might not have ever heard what he was dealing with.
This is one example of why I sign off grace in, peace out. It is my reminder (to myself) that grace must be at work within me before any sort of peace is going to emanate from me.
Grace in, peace out, and slow down.