One of the difficult parts of parenting is that parenting actually starts with us!
I look at my 9 year old who finds it difficult to amuse himself if there is no screen time or siblings around to play with and I realise our life has been fairly hectic for him. I realise that as the youngest of 4 he has not had time to just be. It is like he is continually entertained.
I look at my 15 year old and hear her excitement about having some time at home this weekend and wonder how that can happen when you are 15, is burnout just around the corner for her? Then I look at my schedule and think about the things that are happening!
Today I listened to an interesting talk by Arianna Huffington. (It goes for about 20 minutes, it was very challenging and thought provoking to listen to – if you can find the time.) Adrianna was talking about the importance of slowing down. The idea that we need to be looking not just upwards and outwards, but also inward. We need to be giving time to ourselves in this world where people are finding it more and more difficult to connect with themselves and others. I have been taking this idea a step further and thinking that we need to be helping our kids to connect with themselves and others in a meaningful way.
Continually the world in putting demands on us in terms of making money, things we need to be successful, things we need to be comfortable and where we should be on the ladder of work and life if we are to be anybody. Each day these messages are being fired at us. Each day our kids are getting messages like this too. Are they good enough? Have they made the team or got the grade? But, we need to reconnect with the essence of who we are – both personally and relationally.
Life is shaped from the inside out. Shaped with grace, gratitude, joy, compassion, love and trust. Study after study is showing that these are the things we as people need. When we put these things as important, that is when people start to thrive.
The amazing thing is that when we as parents start to put these things as important and take time to follow through, it doesn’t just effect us, it effects our children, our spouses and those around us.
We need to be having times of mindfulness, getting the sleep, turning the smartphone off, disconnecting etc, etc. There is so much research and knowing of what we need to be doing and now it is up to us to apply it.
Parenting actually starts with us and we need to be prepared to make changes that actually go against what the world is telling us and what it is continually pushing in our faces. We need to be brave to think outside the square. We need to be teaching our kids what is important in life, having the conversations – and it is not necessarily the story that society is feeding!