The inspiration behind my new blog came from years of experience as a nanny for many different families and seeing the need for something new in our children’s lives, in our own lives.
Currently, all children learn as a “way of life” is simply what is passed down from generation to generation, without question. The “same old thing” over and over again.
I remember an old story where a grown daughter was having her mom over for dinner one evening. The daughter decided to make her mom’s favorite dinner, pot roast. As the daughter started to make the meal, she placed the slab of meat on a cutting board, proceeded to cut off a big chunk of meat from each of the ends of the roast, and then tossed those ends in the trash. She then placed the pot roast in a casserole dish. Her mom, who was sitting at the table watching her, said “Why did you cut off and waste all that good meat? To which the daughter replied “Well that is what you always used to do when you made pot roast.” The mom sat there for a moment and then responded, “Honey, I did that because I had a small casserole dish that the pot roast rarely fit into, and so I had to cut the ends off in order to cook it.”
The daughter never questioned why her mom did what she did. She just mimicked it without question. We never question why we do the things that we do, or why we say the things we say. We never question things –we just simply live from “borrowed words and actions”.
And as difficult as it may be to believe, that is exactly why you see a world “out there” that never truly changes. There may be what appears to be change, but that change is really just a reconfiguration of the old.
Children, perhaps for millennia, are like photo copy machines – and I mean that wholeheartedly. They mimic our facial expressions, our verbal intonations and phrases, and most importantly, our negative reactions to life’s unwanted events.
They mimic every little thing. They are watching and “recording” us all the time and most of that time, we are not even aware of that fact, because if we were, we wouldn’t do or say the things that we do in their presence.
I was driving in my car recently and I became aware of my right arm on the middle console and my fingers were just moving and feeling themselves. I looked at my arm and realized that that is what my mom used to do when she was driving! I am 58 years old now. It is so stunning to see something like that! Something in me “recorded” that memory and I wasn’t even aware of it.
Now that is something that we might call a “harmless” memory, right? But what about when Terri has anger come up in her because a child doesn’t listen to what is being asked of them? Where did Terri learn to get angry when someone doesn’t do what she wants them to do? Where did my mother and father learn to get angry when someone didn’t do what they wanted them to do? And their parents??
Those are the questions that we need to really dig within ourselves and ask. Because if we don’t, we can only offer our children the old, borrowed stuff to live from which offers them nothing but a “pretense of a life”.
I don’t and never will claim to “know” answers, but I can just offer guidance from what I have learned and observed for myself. The information on this blog won’t be for everyone. It will be for people who truly want something different, something better for their children and for themselves. It will be for the people who want a different relationship with their children and with Life itself.
Even though there are many parenting books out there that claim otherwise, there truly is no parenting recipe that can be predetermined “in advance”, or a “one size” that fits all.
People often ask questions like “If my child throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, what should I do?” The answer differs from child to child. The answer differs from moment to moment based on the need in the moment. And so if I have a predetermined action that I will take (I’ll do this, if my child does that), that action is the perpetuation of the old, borrowed ways where nothing new can be seen, learned and offered in the moment.
The moment is always new. The moment contains answers and the moment guides us. You will hear me refer to it in my blog as “the magical moment.”
There is a part of us that wants easy cookie cutter answers as laid out in most parenting books, but there truly is no such thing. What is required for this new relationship between parent and child entails an immense sacrifice on our part as parental figures.
This world that we have created for ourselves is all about cramming our day full of things that we supposedly need to do, and because we believe we have to live that way, there will always be a part of us that makes an excuse as to why we don’t have the time to make the necessary sacrifices in the moment for our children (or for others, for that matter).
But only true and meaningful things in life happen through great sacrifice. Making the necessary sacrifices is how we will teach our children the true meaning of love that can be taught in no other way.
When we lead by example by showing a child that there is nothing more important in this world than being IN THE MOMENT with them (no matter how many things seem to be pressing upon us), it teaches them to be IN THE MOMENT with you and with LIFE ITSELF. It teaches them a certain right obedience and trust that can be taught in no other way.
I promise that if you listen and implement the ideas that will be expressed here, you will come to know a completely different relationship with not only your child, but with yourself. You will learn so much about yourself…. Your tendencies, inclinations – all the “inherited” beliefs that you weren’t even aware that you inherited because it was the copy machine that was just making copies.
It is important to see these things so we don’t pass them along to our children and maintain that same old status quo.
If you have eyes to see and ears to hear, you can’t help but see and hear what a mess this “hand me down world” is. What I hope to share with you could be called a right “revolution.” Not a revolution that is a fight against something, but an individual revolution that occurs in the change of our being, in changing our relationship to life.
But you must be watchful for the part of you that will immediately want to turn away and say “that is not realistic in this world” or “yeah, right – who can do that?” yada yada… I call that part of me “the excuse maker,” an old “hand me down” part that wants nothing to do with change. And if you listen and agree to that part of yourself, there is no hope for anything new and beautiful for you, for your child or for this world.
And so to end, I will just say that…
A true wish to want something new for your child, to know of a relationship with your child (and with life) that stems from true Love, not the love that we’ve been taught by this “hand me down” world – but a higher form of Love that lives in the moment, if that wish comes from your heart, it will not go unanswered. But the wish cannot be answered without effort on your part…without sacrifice. That wish has to be put first in your life always. No right effort goes unrewarded.
And just like any other thing that we work at, we WILL “miss the mark” time and time again. That is part of the process and a very important thing to remember. Missing the mark is a necessary part of the process of learning anything new. The key is to continue to persist with our wish by starting over and over again when we do miss the mark and to not beat ourselves up for doing so.
Our children can then learn to be true warriors because we as parents have become warriors in a right revolution. This new relationship that you will have with Life will inspire them and in the change of their being, it will inspire others around them as well. This new relationship will pay itself forward.
So to all you warriors out there, I hope to be your friend.
Terri Poppins started an on-call nanny business, after a 31-year career as a paralegal and because of her love for children. She has cared for well over 100 families with children of all ages, including doing respite care for special needs children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, and attending classes at the Life of Learning Foundation, a center for self-study. You can find more information on her site: www.terri-poppins.com.
Image courtesy of Xavier Mouton Photographie.