Monday, February 23, 2009

Parenting 101

My Guys
August 1978

"The single most important thing is to take time to LISTEN to your children
– as fellow human beings, not just as your charges or pet projects."

(I read an article by Cynthia Bourgeault that deserves quoting.)

"There’s a wise little human soul in there, ageless in heart even while young in time. Follow her lead. Listen to what she says and DOESN’T say. Don’t just manage her, but allow the things she’s interested in to open and energize your own heart. That’s the secret of eternal youth.

"Second, don’t be afraid to be real with your children. I’m not speaking so much here about being honest with your feelings (that’s generally good, but don’t forget that as a parent you have a primary responsibility to hold a safe space for your kids, and your self-expression should never overwhelm or frighten them;) rather, I’m talking about being transparent about what you truly love.

"For eighteen years my own mother managed, scolded, imposed manners, dragged us kids off to Sunday school, arranged lessons in necessary social graces, chaperoned parties and supervised homework. And yet, for all that gray blur of duty, the one day I truly remember from my childhood was the day she simply gathered up her beloved oil paints and marched us off to a local arboretum. As my brother and I explored the gardens, I watched her a short distance away, poised before her easel, golden sunlight streaming down her face, completely entranced in what she was doing. How I loved her in that moment! And the unspoken lesson on following your bliss has remained with me for nearly six decades."

Cynthia Bourgeault is an Episcopal priest, writer and retreat leader. She is founding director of the Aspen Wisdom School in Colorado and principal visiting teacher for the Contemplative Society in Victoria, BC, Canada. I read this article on a website called Goop.


Christie said...

That is absolutely beautiful and just what I needed today. Was feeling overwhelmed a bit and this is just the pick-me-up I needed. Thanks.

Polly said...

a beautiful story..somehow I don't think my kids will remember me fondly with my paints..(I was in our storage room and painting frantically so I could earn money to buy their Christmas and so I was not looking entranced)but I do think the story has a lovely message.

Keri said...

I love it!

Anonymous said...

ooh, I love this! Although I probably err a little too far on the side of following my bliss!

Sheri said...

I love this story! A mother following her bliss--lovely! What better way to teach a child.

Anonymous said...

Just what I needed, mom. Parenthood shouldn't be rocket science - but sometimes it just feels like it is!