So, how did everyone do with Day Number One? Did anyone write a Personal Mission Statement? I actually did, and it was not as hard as I thought it would be! Did anyone start any kind of inner work practice? I would love to hear about it in the comment section!
Today we are going to focus on forgiveness. I have written some posts on guilt and forgiveness in the past here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/27/forgiving-ourselves/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/22/waldorf-guilt/ and here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/02/14/is-it-too-late/.
I had the good fortune of attending a continuing education course on Monday entitled, “Anger, Forgiveness and the Healing Process” given by presenter Robert Grant, PhD who focuses on trauma victims and the areas of trauma, spirituality, and cross-cultural issues.
One interesting thing that he (Dr. Grant) pointed out was that not every culture employs the concept of “forgiveness.” In many cultures it is kind of “endure and get on.” He has worked in many countries around the world and currently is living in Japan. According to Dr. Grant, forgiveness is a very Judeo-Christian and Islamic notion. A reader commented below on the Hindu tradition of forgiveness as well, see comment section.
In the world of parenting and homeschooling in our culture, however, I think self-forgiveness is often a necessary part of the journey. Self-forgiveness is often a process where one has to accept and forgive themselves for being HUMAN and not perfect. In Dr. Grant’s view, being human means we are “flawed and limited.”
What are your wounds that require self-forgiveness?
How do you acknowledge disappointment, loss?
How can your inner work help you in the journey of self-forgiveness?
Parenting is not perfection, it is a journey. Your child is not a psychological extension of you. I hear parents worry all the time that their child will grow up and resent the choices they have made; that Waldorf homeschooling will not be “enough” and that the child will blame them when they are in college and realize not every single thing was covered for them in their homeschooling education, etc.
I don’t know about you, but I attended one of the best public school systems in New York. I have gone on to college to earn two degrees, and there were things that were not covered in my public school career. If I knew everything coming out of high school, why would I need or want to go on to college? And then there were some things I learned in high school that made so much more sense in college –precalculus and physics come to mind!
There is always going to be some website or person who espouses the horrors of some parenting decision you have made –whether that is extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeschooling, Waldorf homeschooling. We are all different people, and I think it is okay that people have different views. Our views also change over time.
I have a friend who jokingly says, “Seriously, I have money set aside for my children’s therapy! If they come back when they are grown up and complain about this and that, I am just going to say, “I loved you and raised you the best I knew how back then, and here’s some money to go talk to a counselor about it!” And she laughs. But I also know she will refuse to feel guilty or “less” because she was not perfect, or because her child is a much different person than she was and is and will see things in a different light. She knows she is doing the very best she can Right Now In This Moment. That is powerful confidence!
Work today with the concept of forgiveness and how to be at peace with yourself. Recognize that we are still growing and changing as we are still going through the seven-year cycles ourselves. There are many posts regarding each seven-year cycle through adulthood as part of the book reviews of “Tapestries” by Betty Staley; you can search for these on this blog. Perhaps that will be helpful to you!
Most of all, we can still be confident even if we are not perfect. We still have more years of living than our children, we can still strive to be listeners, to be patient, to communicate without sarcasm or blame. We can exude a quiet confidence and strength in parenting even without perfection.
Forgive yourself, be easy with yourself, and most of all love yourself. I believe in a Creator, and in the Creator’s eyes, you are His Beloved, perfect or not!
Peace and love,