Noelle sends out daily inspirations that speak to the often-challenging path of parenting and offers a different way to look at situations, emotions and behaviours that lead to a lot more peace and harmony in our family. You can find his insights at www.enjoyparenting.com/dailygroove and sign up to receive them too, if you choose.
The reason I share this — other than to spread the love — is because this week Noelle offered a “choosing ritual” that provided a practical application to something I try to remember when things get challenging in our house. I would recommend looking it up.
On our fridge I have a quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that begins with “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather…” You can read the entire piece on my website, but suffice it to say that ultimately it is our choice in how we see things. Perception is something we actually have control over — though in the thick of it you may not agree.
This morning I was pulling out of a parking space at the dentist’s office. Now, this is a large parking lot with only a smattering of light standards. One of them was sneakily hiding in my blind spot and once I heard the horrific crunching sound I knew there was enough damage to warrant a claim. My initial reaction was anger, yet I had three little girls in the van and fortunately was conscious enough — the key to making this all work — to pause and take a deep breath.
Bodywork would be needed. Whether I became enraged, let a string of curse words fly, or kicked a tire, nothing was going to change that.
So I chose not to go there.
All of this can be applied to situations with your children when you are triggered, completely frustrated, and at the end of your rope. This may in fact be the literal definition of “mindful parenting.” Being present to your emotions is the source of determining the next few moments or how the rest of your day goes.
The Goethe verse ends with: “If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
If we can do our best to remember this when the crayons find their ways onto the walls, when a baseball flies through a window, or when your computer keyboard is covered in jam, it just means that there’s some cleaning or fixing to do. That’s it, that’s all.
And you may just save yourself a few grey hairs.