Our 31 days to the inner rhythm of the heart, the root foundation of a house of peace, is in progress. In the vein of those who are setting a New Year’s intention with “one word”, I offer the word of today to you: inner work. (Yes, that is two words, but who is to quibble? ) Read on for more…
A lovely comment on the last post really made me think. The comment was along the lines of, “how do I maintain warmth when I am trying to help a child with boundaries?” Many mothers tell me how hard it is, that the reaction is to be cold, or stiff, or withdraw or pull away.
Some families do wonderfully with everyone going off to their separate spaces and having a little time to calm down before coming back calmly. However, I have seen many small children in particular, who really need you to hold them calmly through their anger or tears or tantrum. Older children and teenagers may need a cooling off period, but they don’t need an icy stance either. What children need to hear and see most often is that “I love you. We will work on this as a team together.” And, this of course, requires, you to keep your ho-hum and your warmth as much as possible.
I find if I am feeling emotions rise, or feeling as if I should withdraw, that something has triggered me and that is an area I need to work on in my own long-term inner work. Different people have different ways of doing inner work and of examining themselves and what they do when they find there are things that are making their parenting challenging. I do most of my inner work through having accountability partners and through my own work in my Christian spirituality.
Outside of long-term inner work, I think there is also short-term inner work where with practice one can learn to meet things calmly. I think in order to do this, a way to cool those emotions and the feeling life to a level where you can help your child is a necessity. You are the parent, you are there to guide as an authentic leader.
One of my readers wrote about her way of cooling off in the moment here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2011/01/23/a-guest-post-take-pause-with-the-10-x-7-rule/
I often use prayer to find a point of stillness. The Jesus Prayer, known by Christians all over the world, is the one I turn to the most to find the space for grace to enter.
I think the last part to inner work is to realize it is all a process and a journey. You are not going to be perfect, and you don’t need to be perfect. What you need is love, and to let that try to shine through as much as possible in all moments, and to let your children see that you are still striving.