Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More on intentions...

This idea of creating an intention that supports what I want has been like a rope in the blizzard. When things feel confusing, I can anchor myself on my intentions. That's what I did this morning. I decided on peacefulness.

I think I'm generally a peaceful person, but these past few days have been interesting. We have had a string of summer visitors: my friend from Jamaica and her 3 kids, my in-laws also visiting from Jamaica, my friend and her 2 children (under 6) visiting from Canada. While I enjoy having visitors, my children seem to take it as an opportunity to explore their inner, more expressive, more knowing of their own minds, selves. While I celebrate their developmental appropriateness on some days, on many others, I resist what looks like less co-operation, more spontaneous acts that I don't want to understand. To compensate, I became a bully.

It's funny that Simonne and I should be reading "Jake Drake, the Bully Buster" this past week. As Jake, a second grader, tries to figure out how to deal with a super bully, he gets advice from his 5 year old sister Abby. "If I get mad, I feel mean. I don't like to feel mean. So I don't get mad." Such simple advice from a 5 year old. Sounded good to Jake and really good to me. I definitely hated how I felt as the bullying mommy. I know I do it because I want to, but is it working for me? No! I didn't like how I felt and I had to be a SUPER bully to have any impact on my tribe anyway. So I decided to have a different intention.

I decided to seek peace in my relationship with my children, to honor and value our relationship above their behavior. The beautiful thing about a clear intention is that the brain looks for ways to support its dominant thought process. So it seems by coincidence that I should encounter an article on the internet about helping children to listen to parents. Most of the recommendations involved some version of ensuring eye contact before yelling out commands, and moving into the child's space to make eye contact likely. Hmmm....sounds familiar. Position for eye contact, interact and challenge after getting a green light ... Pretty similar to the foundation principles of the program I run with my oldest son. And you know what? It worked (most of the time!).
My learnings:
  1. I can learn from anything, including Jake Drake
  2. My clear intention helps me find the insights I'm looking for to get where I want to go
  3. Pursuing relationship with my loved ones is more important than obsessing about the things I don't like
  4. Creating an opportunity for eye contact and interaction allows me to request behavioral changes without being a bully
So much from one little intention! As I think of it now, am I being a bully in my other relationships? Wonderful to have these insights so I can apply them more widely. Isaiah (my husband) will be the next targetted beneficiary.

Tomorrow, my intention will be to be peaceful, loving, gracious and understanding. Hope you have one set too! If not, I can recommend some great second grade books that might help!

1 comment:

  1. This is very helpful, Faith. I find myself dealing with the same issues...wondering if it's a good thing to be so authoritative and loud towards my kids when they haven't been listening. It's a challenge for me because I know that they are becoming their own 'person', and I don't want to stifle them in any way, but I also need them to respect me when I speak to them in my cool, calm and collective tone.

    All of your learning's sound like great personal findings. I can certainly relate to learning from Jake Drake. My kids and I spent a lot of time this summer at the library, and I picked up some really creative stories with great moral lessons about life experiences.

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