Fear of change

This morning I was reminded of something really important to me as a parent:



We can't get the desired output without the right input.



Our children can't develop organically in their own ways if we don't give them the time and space to find those interests and explore them.  They need the time to do this and the validation that what they enjoy is worth their time, too.

If we teach our kids that it's important to listen to their bodies, take breaks and eat when they need to, this behavior will more easily carry over into adulthood.

Likewise, as adults, if we are afraid to show our true selves to people, they can't know how to treat us.  If we are afraid to let our lives change to accommodate new things, we will remain mired in standardized tests and pay scales tied to performance.  Hamsters, wheels, pellets, behavioral conditioning, etc.

Replacing an educational system created to suit the needs of the industrial era might be too difficult all at once.  No one wants to instill passive behavior in their children, yet this is the by-product of one group determining what everyone should know.  And students are given only one method to demonstrate how they know it.

In my local  public and private schools I see teachers creating innovative and effective methods of teaching, and providing multiple methods of evaluation.  That is a wonderful start.


I am not suggesting that everyone deserves an "A" or a trophy.

(Side note:  I once received a light pink ribbon for 8th place...out of 8 in a gymnastics meet.  If you ever want to highlight to a child that they were way worse than mediocre, please give them a light pink colored ribbon.)

I am suggesting that we each have our strengths and we are in charge of our own happiness and success.


We have chosen to be expose our kids to a myriad of topics, methods of study, exploration, art, and the interconnectedness of all these subjects, knowing that if they are given time to live in the space where they want to be mentally, they will trust that what they know and love is important.

We are in charge of our own 
happiness and success.  


We can't leave it to legislators alone to create the perfect school atmosphere, but we can take responsibility for creating peace at home by slowing down our lives whether we homeschool or not.  This will help us keep what is most important to each of us at the center of our lives.

Here's the Thing About Introverts...

You know that introvert in your high school class who waved her hand wildly in the air to answer every question and was the life of any social gathering?

Of course you don't.  Those things are horrifying to most introverts.

Those behaviors don't seem that unnatural on people who are naturally extroverted.  They can be very awkward and ugly on introverts unless they are practiced, polished and prepared to do so out of necessity.


I love being an introvert.  I am very comfortable with my subtlety and quiet mannerisms.  I don't love crowds, too much chaotic noise, or too many irregularities in my schedule.


Most other introverts I know exhibit lower energy physically, but have a rich, dynamic mind.


I'm writing this to help any of my beloved extroverted readers who don't yet understand that it doesn't mean someone is unwell or scared of society if they prefer to curl up in an overstuffed chair and chat or read.

To an introvert, solitude is healing and essential, in fact.


 

What makes an extrovert happy and fills their soul might seem dreadful and unnecessary to introverts.


One of the lessons I learned this week:


Let people live true to their own nature.  You can't decide that for them.  And if you push too hard for someone to be like you you may miss the chance to learn from their unique example.

Why I Have A Blog

Yes, it is unnerving to publicize my troubles with mood disorder.

Yes, I worry about what my family, friends, and potential employers will think.




But more importantly....

I love reminding myself how far I've come as a human being.



My blog is a place where I record valuable insights that are too important to be locked away in a journal or hidden fearfully.

As others have shared their growth with me, I have leaped ahead in my education as a person.



Writing things for public consumption forces a person to think carefully about their priorities, life choices, and the example they're setting for readers.

I choose my words judiciously and try to write from a place of love and honesty. 




As a dear friend so generously reminded me recently, I live in a very deliberate fashion.

I choose my children's curricula with love and inspiration.  I choose our food with thoughtfulness and care.



I can do those things because I choose to sit in the stillness of each day and wait for the truth.

I choose to hear the discomfort in my gut and the stirring in my soul.

I am absolutely living my purpose.


A Recurring Theme



I have found that when I don’t learn a lesson the first time, it will come back around.  The second time it will be a little more potent and recognizable.  And if I still haven’t learned the lesson, it will nearly slap me in the face. 


This is what has been slapping in me in the face lately:



     People don’t always communicate with me the way I want and
     need them to.  They don’t always love me the way I want and 
     need them to. 



     I can attempt to educate them about how I would like to be 
     treated or I can choose to let their hurtful behavior fall away, 
     understanding that it’s really about them.


Up until this point, when I have had a really negative interaction with someone I have stewed about little barbs or things left unsaid, sometimes for days.

This facilitates the old comfortable victim mentality.  We all know how useless that mentality is.

Then there are the antagonists of forgiveness, resentment and fear.  I am well-acquainted with resentment.  It makes me feel justified in my actions when I'm unable to dig up the real reason behind my choices.  Fortunately, like victimhood, I can quickly recognize the danger of harboring resentment and find a way to let go of its lingering nastiness.

I can have a positive or a negative interpretation of something, but the situation will still have happened.  How I feel about it doesn’t change it.  It might allow me to feel some power and authority over my own emotions, but it does not change the thing itself.

Using lessons from The Four Agreements (a concise and powerful little book from the 90s):

I cannot know the all the reasons behind someone’s actions, and I shouldn’t assume I do.  I can simply choose my words and actions thoughtfully and do my best.

When all else fails, I try to remember that without that opposition, I may not have learned the things I did. 

Now I just need to wait for the next interaction that gives me a chance to practice this new behavior.


Several hours later...


Thank you grumpy lady in line at the neighborhood deli.  Your facial expression and sharp words reflect what's going on inside of you and I hope you find peace.


This is what I'm going to practice this week:


The key is to remain vulnerable enough to love wholly, and to deflect the pain that wasn't yours to begin with.

When a concept is too hard to grasp, drawing a picture has always helped my kids understand it and see it in their heads the way they need to.  Why not a "stick me" picture to help me visualize the way I want to be?

Drawing also inspired by Eilat Aviram's blog So You Think Parenting is About the Children?

A Couple of Interesting Self-evaluations


Consider two things:


People around you are a mirror for yourself.  


While some argue that 100% of our lives is a reflection of ourselves, I like to think that generally this makes a lot of sense.

5 years ago, I was attracting some very strange characters into my life.  It seemed like every person in the surrounding area who had some sort of dysfunction, face tattoo, or something disturbing about them literally knocked on my door or approached me in public. 

That was during the roughest years I've had as an adult.  With three very small children, no purpose outside the house, and a myriad of medical problems, I nearly broke my brain with worry. 



If I consider the last two months, people who knock on my door, whether expected or not, have been genuinely friendly, open, and sometimes disarmingly funny.

I'll take credit for that one too.  I still struggle emotionally sometimes, but I don't let it define every moment of my life.  My goal in the last year has been happiness, simply happiness.


The things you think and say about others are really things you think or fear about yourself.



Try it out on a concept that comes up in your life repeatedly or an issue that bothers you often.  It can be very revealing.

This was something I suspected to be true before I read about this psychological phenomenon at length.  I would find myself accusing my husband of things and immediately realizing that they were things I feared I was doing.   "I think you need to just let the kids be!" I'd say to my husband. 

                Hmmmm...  I need to let them be.


"You can't keep our little girl from avoiding every potentially painful situation."  I'd think in regards to my husband.

                Hmmmm... I can't keep her from avoiding every painful situation.


It also works like this:

                                   I can't keep me from avoiding every painful situation.



Ding!  I usually keep turning the phrase until something feels really true in my gut.  It has been cathartic.