“Parenthood…It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.” ~ Peter Krause
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ~ Debra Ginsberg
Life is a funny thing. Things you thought you knew for certain turn out to be not true. And wonderful things you didn’t even see coming land in your lap. It’s the twists and turns that keep things interesting. And there is no more interesting adventure than the adventure of parenting. It’s back to school time so I thought I’d do a special parenting article. Now before you click away and move on, I want to let you know these principals apply to you even if you don’t have any children of your own. But that’s my surprise ending so I’m not going to give it away just now; I’m just teasing you with it to keep you invested.
Back to School Special
“One thing I had learned from watching chimpanzees with their infants is that having a child should be fun.” ~ Jane Goodall
I chose this topic because every September I am always affected by the energy of back to school. It marks another cycle of growth for my own children as they advance through their schooling and it always holds the promise of new beginnings. And that sense of a new beginning is what I want to give you this month. Then, as it always happens, I came across a wonderful little video I by Jack Canfield, the author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series that described exactly what I was thinking about sharing with you.
The Story of Bobsie
“You try as a parent. You love beyond reason. You fight beyond endurance. You hope beyond despair. You never think, until the very last moment, that it still might not be enough.” ~ Lisa Gardner
Here is the story Jack Canfield told on that video that captivated me. (By the way you may view the video on my blog. Just go to donnaburick.com and click on the blog tab at the top of the site.)
“There was a little boy named Bobsie and he woke one morning in terrible pain. So his parents took him to the doctor and after several specialists looked him over it was discovered he had a quick growing form of terminal cancer. So his parents, knowing he did not have the luxury of growing up and realizing his dreams, asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said he wanted to be a fireman. So his parents went to the Make A Wish Foundation and arranged for Bobsie to be a fireman for a day. However, the Phoenix Fire Chief went above and beyond and made Bobsie Chief for the Day, including his own custom made fire uniform with Chief hat. Bobsie had a great day and his vital signs rallied for a short while. But the day soon arrived when Bobsie was slowly slipping away. His parents called the Fire Department to see if they could send over a representative and again they went over & above. Five firemen came through Bobsie’s third floor window to be by his bedside. As they rocked the boy Bobsie looked up and asked if he was a real fireman and the Chief responded, ‘Bobsie you were always a real fireman. ’And with that Bobsie slipped quietly away.”
Now this is a very touching story but it was even more powerful because of what Jack Canfield said next. He said,
“We are all touched by this because this little boy realized his dream. But tonight when you are brushing your teeth, do something different and stop for a moment. Look into the mirror into your own eyes and see the eyes behind them; the eyes of your little child looking out, searching for a way to make their dreams come true.”
The Secret to Your Parenting Superpowers
“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I’m not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.” ~ Bill Cosby
In this kernel of truth is where your parenting superpowers lie. But this truth lies hidden in the illusion that parenting has to do with our children, when in fact parenting is all out how we treat ourselves. It’s also why this lesson applies to everyone, including those without kids.
What? You say that can’t be and you want proof? OK here you go. Sit down and make a list of all the things you admire about your child and all the things that annoy you about him/her. (If you don’t have any children substitute your spouse or a close friend or co-worker.)
Then make a list of all the things you admire about yourself and the things that annoy you about yourself – you know bad habits, faults, those negative things your parents said about you (these are way important to list because even if you don’t think these are true write them down because they affected you nevertheless).
Now compare the two lists. How many similarities are there? Are you surprised?
You are the Answer
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ~ James Baldwin
So if you want to ramp up your parenting superpowers then focus on you! Where are you not being gentle on yourself? Where are you abandoning your needs, wants & dreams? Where are you making unhealthy choices, short-term decisions or living in fear?
Please, for the sake of your children, family, friends and most importantly for your own quality of life, this September decide to have your own new beginning. Do something you’ve always dreamed of. Ask yourself, “When is the last time I did something for the first time?” If there is an issue that’s bothering you get a life coach and move through it. Get help. If all you can do right now is imagine then imagine what it would feel like to look into that mirror every morning and really love and appreciate the love and light shining in the eyes looking back at you.
Now is Always the Perfect Time to Start
“Do or do not, there is not try.” ~ Yoda
Recapture that excitement that surrounds that first day of school. Make this feeling yours. Just take that first step, whatever it is, toward a new way of life. Even if that first step is discovering what your first step might be. There are people ready, willing and able to help you make this process a fun and exciting one. So pick up the phone, make a list or do whatever you do to get organized and going.
My wish for you this month is that you harness the power of excitement to propel you toward a life full of joy and laughter. Rediscover that childlike enthusiasm that lives deep inside you. When you can tap into that then your parenting will take on super powered qualities that will transform not only your life but also the lives of everyone around you. You deserve that and so do your children.
Below are two videos – one of Jack Canfield telling the Story of Bobsie and the other is a great TED Talk on Conscious Parenting. Both are worth your time.
Please let me know what you think.