The western ideal of a life fulfilled is one in which our dreams are something we live out in reality. Few of us get to do this fully, yet many catch glimpses of it. Is a glimpse enough to transcend the everyday and allow our soul to feel fulfilled? It can be a challenge to impart ideals for healthy living and fulfillment to our children, when as adults we struggle to meet this in our own lives. By sharing our journey, the struggles and successes, with our children, we are able to impart truths, knowledge and an attitude of perseverance that will serve them for a lifetime.
Many of us seek to challenge ourselves to strive closer to our ideals, and many of us give up and lose hope that things will change. Life is about balance. Not giving up on the clouds yet keeping our feet firmly rooted in the grounding of reality is the challenge. Nowhere am I more challenged in life than in the arena of parenting. I often feel a failure, but I forget this book of parenting does not end until we are gone, and I have new opportunities to change and grow each and everyday.
No matter where you are in your parenting, you can always begin a new chapter. You can take life lessons and things you believe and reshape them, reinvent them and begin anew. We should be like the dawn; renewed, glorious and unique, each and every day. Every day is new page to be written upon, and can be shaped to make each new tomorrow a life worth living. What we do today, affects every day after it. Commit to remembering to allow each new day to be an opportunity.
Many parents view parenting as a chore, or simply something to be accomplished. I want to challenge this mind set. I want to look at parenting as a spiritual practice. Where do I learn to become a well rounded generous human being? Where I am I challenged the most? Where do I learn to have compassion; a tough skin; how to place others first and balance this with my own needs. Where do I really have an opportunity to understand the incredible love God has for me. I look at the love I have for my own children; my frail human love feels so vast, never ending, all encompassing, and I cannot grasp how much love my creator must have for me. Nowhere is the education of unconditional, agape love more profound than in the arena of parenting. Parenting challenges my entire being: body, mind and spirit. Parenting is where I hear the lessons of the divine meant for me and my personal growth. Parenting gives me the opportunities to give beyond what seems humanly possible and the rewards are far greater than anything I have ever given to my children.
Everything is about movement and energy…Change is not stagnant….it is active. Parenting is not always about hard and fast rules, but about being able to change and flow as your children or family change and grow. These little beings do not come with a handbook, and if you wish to grow your garden well, then you must recognize that each child has individual needs that change over time. One of my favorite parenting authors, Dr. Kay Kuzma, once explained on a radio show the accurate translation for the beloved and often favored Bible verse on parenting: Proverbs 22:6 (Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.). To my recollection she stated this verse means Train (Teach with intent) up a child ....in the way he should go (meaning according to the child's "way" or "bent"...according to the individual child's personality and gifts) and when he is old he will not depart from it. This understanding defined my parenting as a young mom. It reminded me of the awesome responsibility we have to encourage our children's natural giftings and not cause harm.
My partner in parenting and life, Seth, is a Horse whisperer. I have no better term than this overused and much commercialized term for the form of working with horses. He is amazing and beautiful in his connection with these large, graceful beings. I have learned many things from watching his connection with horses.
One method Seth implements when working with newborn foals is called imprinting. Imprinting a foal can occur on many different kinds of levels. For those interested in working with the nature and spirit of a horse in order to optimize the human/horse relationship, seek not to dominate but to impress upon the young foal a cooperative, safe environment. Foals are taught, while they are small enough to gently control, manners, directions, and basic skills.A true horse whisperer knows each horse has their own personality and how much and when to push the young horse, and when to be more patient. Others who seek to dominate and suppress the spirit of the horse choose to work against the horse nature and use tactics that degrade and break the horse. Usually both have the intended outcome of a horse you can ride, but only one creates a relationship. Human beings do this as well with their young, whether we realize it or not.
I know when you work with the nature of horses you can create amazing partnerships. Seth got his beloved Norge many years ago. My understanding is Norge was considered to be an un-ridable, and un-trainable horse. People had simply given up on him. Seth worked with Norge and swiftly gained Norge's trust. People who had seen Seth's interactions with Norge knew their was a special connection. It was evident in Seth being able to ride Norge Bridless, with only a neck rope. I believe on can learn an important lesson. Children need our gentle, yet firm direction and we can accomplish many amazing feats.
The one encouragement I have for parents is be a student of your child. Take what you learn and teach them healthy boundaries in a manner which does not break their spirit, while imparting the concept of being authentic.Parenting takes strength of character, consistency, and firm boundaries. Teach the children in your life to live honest lives where they are able; to discern and be seekers of the truth. Train up your child to be authentic, honest, and the person they were created to be.