Parenting can be challenging. Some parents actually have children that I feel are pretty easy to parent, and some parents have children that are truly challenging. However, how we view and respond in parenting, like anything else in life, begins with us. How calm are we? What is our temperament? What are our challenges? What are our triggers?
But, most of all, how can we grow and strive and improve?
I think there are two fundamental places to start in personal development in parenting: one is biography and one is assessing balance in your life.
Biography is the process of looking at oneself, one’s story. What patterns are in our life when we look back through it? What responsibility have I taken for my own life, my own actions? How do I accept myself, meet myself? What people have I really connected with during this lifetime?
Can I think about my life? What do I remember? Can I put them within seven year cycles as talked about in “Tapestries” by Betty Staley? We went through “Tapestries” chapter by chapter on this blog; fascinating!
What do I feel about these events? What empathy do I have for myself, for others connected to my story? To other’s stories?
What can I do with this for the future? What goals do I have?
Biography is the first piece in knowing oneself and in being able to do that in order to connect with others. It is the first step too, toward looking at your parenting patterns.
The other critical piece, I feel, is balance. I see so many mothers that seem either to only live for their children with no thought for themselves or their spouses or go the other way and the children are deemed almost an afterthought or an inconvenience. Where is the balance?
Where is the balance between the outer and inner selves? The outer self, the physical body, is often seen by many as diminishing in the 40s…but this doesn’t mean that the physical body should be ignored. Too often I see mothers who seem to not take great care of themselves. You are important to your family, and your body is an important part of who you are! Vibrant health, physical activity, clothes that make you feel good and influence how you feel – what is the place of all of these things for you?
The inner self is the other part that is equally important in this balance. This is the piece people seem to think about in regards to personal development more often than biography or balance. How does one develop the inner self? We tend to think of developing certain characteristics such as patience or calmness; we may look to spirituality and religion to help us meet those goals. I feel if spirituality is our attitude and concern toward the Divine, then perhaps religion is the way we express that.
One thing that has helped me immensely in developing my inner self is the use of rhythm in the day, the week, the year. Liturgical rhythm through my religion. Meditation on what I hear from God and prayer to God. These pieces, along with nurturing the physical body and the use of art, help keep me in balance.
Our personal development impacts our health, and our health in turn provides the foundation for our family.
Biography and balance. Just a thought for today with a bit more about inner work to come in the next post.