Last week, I found myself in a multi-leveled parking garage at the MARTA station in Atlanta, walking around clicking my remote to locate my car. That morning, in my haste to arrive at my destination on time, I had failed to make note of which level and section I parked in. After 20 minutes, I heard the faint beep several levels below. I finally located my car!
Once in my car and on my way home, I began to think about how this incident applied to my own life. I am a doer! I thrive on organizing, making lists, accomplishing tasks, getting things done. On my healing journey, I have begun to realize that it is my way of making order out of chaos. It is my “safe place” where I don’t deal with feelings and emotions.
However, I am also learning this stops me from being present. Being a doer keeps me from connecting to myself, my family and my loved ones on a deeper level. How often in life am I not present to my impact on my husband because I am caught up in getting a project completed? When was the last time that I missed the cues in my son’s voice as he wanted to tell me more about the challenges of balancing work, life, family and the addition of a new baby? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I complained about the tension in my shoulders without realizing that I am not making enough time for self-care?
So, how does one undo years of “doing” and grow to be more present? First, it must start with being more connected to myself. For me, the awareness began a long time ago, but I fought it tooth and nail, always falling back into what I knew—the familiarity of doing. But just over four years ago, my husband and I moved to Georgia for his work and I found myself without all the “doer hats” that I had been wearing.
I struggled to find what I was supposed to “do.” I read “Who Moved the Cheese?”, “What Color is My Parachute?” and I did a bunch of crying, praying and meditating. Joining a nearby yoga studio gave me the opportunity to become more self-aware and taught me incredible lessons about being more flexible and letting things to flow. Joining a community band allowed me to reconnect with the love and joy of creating music with others while playing my flute.
Over the past few years, I have discovered my passion for working with others as they begin to heal their relationships and their families. Over and over, I am reminded that healing is a process of being intentional, takes being present and involves peeling back layer after layer to discover our true self. It takes a willingness to do the work.
“Recovery of Your Inner Child” is a book that is helping me to heal. The author Lucia Capacchione says, “For us to be fully human, the Child Within must be embraced and expressed…Inside every adult, there is a child crying, ‘Let me out.’” Look for more on this in future blogs.
If you would like support on your own healing journey, please go to my website and connect with me. www.coachmyrna.org
Connection is Key: Kids are wired to be attached to their caregivers. They want to be noticed, listened to, understood, and supported. When this connection is strong, kids are more likely to listen and comply with less resistance. Look for opportunities to connect with each child daily — playing, reading, running around the yard, or take time to listen, observe, and be quiet together. Relationship is the heart of the matter.
Kids are Immature: They are going to be forgetful, impulsive, messy, and silly. The ability to make a good choice over a not-so-good choice takes time. There’s nothing you can do to rush this process. In the meantime, focus on guiding them as they learn how to handle tricky situations, giving them grace when they mess up, and letting them try again. Mistakes = learning opportunities!
Don’t Fear the Meltdown: Big emotions cause parents to shift into panic mode, which usually leads to yelling, giving consequences that don’t make sense, or giving up entirely. Meltdowns are a normal part of life with kids, unfortunately. Focus on being the calm, confident, supportive parent your child needs. If you find yourself having a meltdown of your own, stop, take a deep breath (or a break), and get your own emotions in check. As a parent, strive to model the kind of behavior that you want your child to inherit!
Trust Your Gut: Social media, parents at the bus stop, and even family members can give you a long list of things your child “should” be doing. Remember, you are the expert on your child. If you think your child needs additional support to thrive, seek help. Otherwise, embrace your child’s unique personality, needs, strengths, and growth areas as they develop at their own pace. Mom, Dad—you’ve got this!
Your Own Stuff Matters: There’s a reason you’re getting upset, giving in, or over-reacting. Learning about your triggers and understanding why some things bother you more than others is an important part of parenting. Sometimes you can work through these challenges on your own, but sometimes you need the support of a friend, coach, or mental health professional…and that’s ok. Parenting and grandparenting is the opportunity to re-parent yourself!
As a parent coach, it would be my honor to support you on your journey of parenting. A parent coach is a trained and certified professional who helps you achieve your goals in creating a fulfilling family life and cultivating a better relationship with your children. Addressing issues such as problems with routines and transitions (morning and night, for example), power struggles, parental anger, discipline, homework challenges, chores, and “disrespectful” behavior, I give customized support, tools and advice based on your family's needs.
Whether on the phone, in-person, or over Zoom, I work with you to clarify what you want to accomplish, set specific goals, make an effective action plan and help hold you accountable for making progress toward meeting your goals. To find out more, visit my website and make an appointment for a complimentary Clarity Coaching Session Parent Coaching.
When you're a bucket filler, you make the world a better place! Using a simple metaphor of a bucket and a dipper, author Carol McCloud illustrates in her book “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” that when we choose to be kind, we not only fill the buckets of those around us, but also fill our own bucket!
Sometimes we forget this in our family relationships, at work and in the hectic pace of life. Living within a snow globe of swirling responsibilities, demands, checklists and choices is stressful. We need to stop and remember that life is a journey--not a race, a destination or a competition-but a beautiful journey to be walked, danced and enjoyed with those we care most about.
Our days are not something to survive, endure or merely get through but we are meant to enjoy and revel in our meaningful relationships. The world is changed by our example, not our opinion or words but how we live our lives!
So, this week, I challenge you to take time to let the snow globe settle. Make time to ask your daughter to tell you about her best friends at school and be present to her while she talks. Take your son to the hardware store and ask him to help with a project around the house. Cook dinner together. Go for a walk as a family. Use a meal time to talk about favorite family vacations. Call your son or daughter that is away at college. Make a lunch date for the next time they will be home. Write a text or mail a card to your adult children just to say you are thinking of them.
Read “Have You Filled A Bucket Today?” tinyurl.com/y6zes5vb and talk about ways your family can practice kindness in your neighborhood. Watch the YouTube video “Grateful: A Love Song to the World” together. www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO2o98Zpzg8 Challenge your kids to find other inspirational videos and Ted Talks to share with the family.
Buckminster Fuller, 20th century architect, inventor and visionary dedicated his life to making the world work for all of humanity. He said, "In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. That, in essence, is the higher service to which we are all being called."
We all have the opportunity to create amazing experiences, connections and memories in our families and in the process, we heal ourselves and influence those around us.
It was a warm summer day and I was getting ready to drive kids to a week-long summer camp. Before loading up the van, we were doing some cleaning—sweeping and mopping the kitchen, loading the dishwasher and vacuuming the living room. After driving the windy road through the Santa Cruz mountains and back, I arrived back home.
Walking through the house to the back deck, my heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach. There was the guinea pig cage which I had moved outside while mopping the floor and had forgotten to move back! In the summer heat, the guinea pigs ran out of water and perished. In disbelief, I cried, yelled and wanted to deny that this was my fault. How could I have been so careless? I wanted to hide my mistake or go back and redo this but of course, this was impossible.
I was reminded about this incident while preparing for one of my webinars on “Real Love in Parenting” by Greg Baer. Dr. Baer says that being inadequately prepared for the job of parenting, we unavoidably make many mistakes. Most of us do not do anything as drastic as my guinea pig example but we often respond in unloving ways. We get angry at other people—including our kids—not because of what they do in any given moment but because of a lack of Real Love we have received and experienced for our whole lives. As parents, we can learn how to give and receive unconditional love and improve the quality of our relationships.
Last week, I spent four days working at my former school to help the teachers get ready for their new school year. (Yes, schools in Georgia start the beginning of August!?!?) One of my students Mandy (not her real name) and her mom arrived on Monday to find out that she had been switched to the Orange Group of the last week of summer camp. Mandy doesn’t do well with new situations and was a little anxious about the change. However, she knew me and had several friends in the Orange Group, so I was sure that she would do fine. However, the challenge for Mandy was compounded because her mother got upset and took Mandy with her to speak with one of the administrators. In front of Mandy, the mom escalated the whole thing by overacting, demanding a refund for the week. Clearly, the daughter wasn’t the only one getting emotional.
As parents, how many times have we done this? We step in to speak for our children, fight their battles, go to bat when a teacher or a friend is treating them unfairly. We have the best of intentions and we act out of love. But what kind of message are we sending to our children? Some experts call this being a “helicopter parent.” The parent hovers over children and rescues them from the hostile world in which they live. To protect them, we take on the responsibilities of our child and we give them the message that he or she cannot handle them. Children need to hear the message from us: “I love you and you can do this. I believe in you, and I am here if you need help.” By asking guiding questions and offering our support, we give them the gift of problem solving.
If we are honest with ourselves, many times the challenges that our children face trigger feelings in ourselves: fear, anxiety, low self-worth, inadequacy, and memories of being bullied/misunderstood and more. Raising children is an opportunity to heal and reparent ourselves. In order to love our children unconditionally, we need to continue to love and heal ourselves from the wounds that life has brought us. Learning to forgive and love ourselves and others is a key part of the healing process.
As a Parent Coach, I help people identify their goals and the obstacles they are facing. As a certified relationship coach, I believe that you have the answers within to work toward solving any issues that you have. I would guide you to discover what is blocking you, what needs healing and work to empower you to move forward. For more information, click here Parent Coaching
I just saw the movie “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and I was deeply struck by Mr. Fred Rogers’ message that being nice is not a weakness; that speaking with care is a thing we do simply because we believe the person we’re talking to is a human being with worth and dignity. He said, “Love is at the root of everything; all learning, all parenting, all relationships-love or the lack of it…The greatest thing that we can do is to let somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.”
Most children growing up in the late 1960s through 2001 watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Since my family didn’t own a television until I was in middle school, I didn’t pay much attention to his show until I had children of my own. Together, my boys and l learned many aspects about the world through watching the show—from learning from mistakes and dealing with fears to how crayons, pretzels and brooms were made. Using simple sets and puppets, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood addressed a wide range of topics including relationships and differences as controversial topics as death, divorcee, race and more.
On one episode in 1969, Rogers quietly made a civil-rights statement on his show, by companionably sharing a wading pool on a hot day with Officer Clemmons, who is black — at a time of segregated pools in much of the country. In the documentary, Director Morgan Neville intercuts this scene with footage of white lifeguards pouring bleach into a pool where black kids were swimming.
Mister Rogers reminded us, in gentle song, that we were special and that he liked us as we were. I want to wield kindness every moment of every day as Fred Rogers did in his life, on his television show, and out in the world. The world is a much scarier place now. Kindness feels like a revolutionary act! I find it challenging as a daily practice, especially like today when someone honked at me and flipped me off as I was looking for the correct exit on my way to the movie theater. Kindness requires me to work hard at having empathy, patience, understanding and a willingness to listen. But I believe that this message is one that we greatly need--to see each other as neighbors and interact with empathy and kindness.