Posts Tagged ‘mindful parenting’

Another Gem from Willa

March 31, 2008 @ 5:21 am | Filed under:

Parenting as a creative art:

But if the parents don’t model mature, loving ways of interacting, how is the child going to learn? I think some people see the word “love” and think “permissive, weak, mushy”. But honestly, it doesn’t break down that way, or shouldn’t. There is nothing permissive or weak or timid about allying with the child to help him to “become who he is”, who he is meant to be. There is nothing permissive or lax about letting go of the non-essentials and focusing on the essence. It is strength, not weakness, to focus on the good things and magnify those. Love is as Maritain said “wild and irrepressible”. It is deep and unique and springs out of who you are as a person, like any other creative art. It is generous and loves the truth, as he also says, but then you also have to remember that truth is not a sword to use to cut others down — it is a light that illumines and makes good things clear and transparent and sparkly. For some reason, it often involves laughter, at least in our household. Laughter (not the mocking kind) frees things up and dissolves barricades.

There’s much more, including a moving account of her husband’s tenderness toward their fragile infant in the NICU. The “my little werewolf” story reminded me so much of how Scott kept me laughing when Jane was in the hospital. As her golden curls started to fall out from the chemo, my brown-haired husband joked to his brown-haired wife that “we always knew she’d lose the blonde hair someday…just not this soon!” The nurses used to think we were crazy, but the laughter was what kept us sane and close.

Willa’s thoughts about laughter dissolving barricades and tension brought back another hospital memory. One of our favorite nurses, Theresa, was a young mother about our age (late 20s) with two little boys ages 3 and 5. She worked nights, and we often wound up chatting during the wee hours when all her patients, including my two-year-old, were asleep. Once she told me that she had almost administered her very first spanking the week before—almost. Her boys had done something (I don’t remember what) Very, Very Bad. Something Extremely Naughty and Highly Inappropriate. Surveying the scene of the crime, fury rose within their mother and she roared at them, “You deserve a—” She was going to say “spanking” but she saw the fear in two sets of big brown eyes and a pang of regret cut through the fury. Her sons had never been afraid of her before.

“—A—a SCHMANKING!” she finished the sentence.

Fear changed to bewilderment in the big brown eyes. “What’s a schmanking?” asked the five-year-old.

“It’s this,” said Theresa, and she scooped him up and tickled him all over. He shrieked with laughter and the three-year-old held up his arms, crying, “My turn! My turn for a schmanking!”

I loved that story then, and I love it more now, ten years and four children later. Don’t all our children deserve a schmanking now and then?

Here’s another nice post at In Need of Chocolate
with a roundup of many of the books people recommended in my patience post comments, plus a link to an article urging parents to “take a week off from punishing” their kids and see what happens.

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The Parenting Thread

March 29, 2008 @ 9:02 am | Filed under:

I’m still juggling the various strands of discussion in the comments, on two posts now, and such thought-provoking remarks continuing to come in. I’m conscious of several questions that have been raised but not tackled yet, and while I’m pondering them (and seeking time to reply), I thought it might help if I teased apart the topic strands into separate threads. The unschooling thread is going strong in the knowledge post, and I’ve put together a number of your comments and questions about parenting below. Amy at Epiphany Springs and Elizabeth at Frabjous Days have posted on the respectful parenting topics at their blogs, too. (And other people as well, I’m sure; feel free to add your links to the comments.)

Also, Willa has written another very good post at In a Spacious Place addressing the shortcomings of the term “child-led” education.

Here, from the patience post, are some questions people had that others might want to try to answer, and some of the insights about respectful parenting. These are by no means all the good comments, nor even all the best parts of the comments they’re excerpted from. If you’re at all interested in the topic, I heartily encourage you to read through the whole comment thread. (more…)


March 21, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Filed under: ,

This morning Beanie came bouncing into my room and informed me that she had just won a game she was playing with Rose. The agreed-upon-beforehand prize? “A cuddle with you, Mommy, uninterrupted by the other player.”

Rose elaborated: “We wanted to think of a prize that everyone would like.” (This moment, the moment of announcing the contest results, was not the prize moment. Beanie seems to be planning to redeem her winnings later this weekend.)

The conversation about patience, peace, and parenting continues to unfold in the comments of Monday’s post. I haven’t had a chance to chime in yet today because of Good Friday, but I hope to catch up tomorrow. I so appreciate the thoughtful responses you are contributing. I had no idea this post would strike such a chord. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your insights. I think a lot of busy mothers and fathers get into authoritarian habits without examining where they’ve come from or whether they are really good for the kids. (This page has some great advice about how to change those habits, especially Pam Sarooshian’s post near the bottom.) It’s good that we’re thinking about this, talking about it, being frank.

My web host informed me there’s going to be a server change this weekend, so it’s possible (but not definite) that things will be out of whack here for the next few days. It’s a busy family weekend for many of us anyway. But rest assured that I’ll be continuing to ponder the questions and thoughts you’ve posted, and I’ll be back in the regular groove on Monday. Unless I’m busy being Beanie’s prize.