How Parenting is FOR YOU – Part 3: For The Practical-Minded
Well folks, we’ve come to the third and final in the series on “How Parenting is FOR YOU”. Then again, this is the overall topic of this blog, so I’ll be writing a lot more about it.
Today is for those who say, “Ok I get the theory, but how does all this apply in practice in my daily life?” Here goes:
Have you ever gazed at someone in awe and thought, “When I grow up I want to be like that”?
I’ve always felt that with truly generous people. Those people who just give of themselves, of their time, their heart, their money…with open-hearted ease, from a place of truth – without calculating how much will be left for them and what they’ll get in return… sigh. Aren’t they just great?
I grew up thinking generosity is something other people have. My ancestry seems to have nurtured the art of feeling deprived – that feeling of ‘there’s not enough for me’. If we had a family crest, we could inscribe “Oy vey izmir” (which means “Oh woe is me”) below it – but we don’t even have a family crest!
I don’t mean to diss my family here – it’s no-one’s fault, this goes back for generations and each of us is working on it in our own way. I noticed that if somebody gave me something I would wait suspiciously to find out what they wanted in return and I’ve seen the same in other family members – they’d become anxious when given something.
So it was as if true generosity was for other people but I watched those other people like a hungry child and I really wanted to know how to do it. Somehow I felt that inside me was a generous person waiting to come out of the meagrely stocked closet.
Having children has been an EXCELLENT space to practice that quality I so admire because NOTHING is my own is it? I think it’s mine but then I have to give, give, GIVE it. “Take your hands out of my plate, that’s my food. You’ve already eaten yours”, “No you can’t have money to go out with your friends”, “No I can’t play with you now because we’ve played all morning and now I have to do some things for me”… and on and on. Nothing is sacred. They’ll grab at everything they can. And I? I get to practice not feeling deprived and gaining that quality I so admire in others.
Now that I’ve had children, I can proudly say, “I too, am (often) generous.” Hooray!
Although there are those days…
Parenting is a smorgasbord of choice skills to be learned.
A few years back my friend was heavily pregnant with her third child and she told me, “One reason I want to have a third child is that the mothers of three that I know seem to have an ability to just let things be. It’s like they’ve learned they can’t control everything and they’re able to let go in some deep way. I want that quality.”
Personally I can’t think of a better reason to have a third child – because it means you will treasure everything the experience brings you – fun or not.
So on a practical level, parenting is a training ground for qualities and skills you wish to – or need to – practice and master. Any challenge in your life offers you the same gift (see the How Does This Work? page) but parenting has a knack of offering the kind of challenges that catch you right in the tender bits. It’s a waste to overlook the great gift of self-development that it is.
For example, in this hilarious comment shared after an earlier post, Zabantu has to hold compassion, humour, care, understanding, a sense of a higher purpose, open-hearted love and who knows what else in the face of being abused, tortured and beaten by his under-slept, over-sugared little girl.
Now THAT folks, is training of the highest order wouldn’t you say? And it’s a familiar scenario for us parents. I laughed so much because I kept picturing my own little guy in the scene and Zabantu, I KNOW about those open hand slaps!
So you see? Parenting is a very practical training for being a truly awesome person.
These are some of my current training curriculum topics on my road to being a better person.
I’m learning how to:
- not be attached to how I want things to be
- realise nothing is really controllable
- be open-hearted
- be intimate, I mean really intimate
- stay in my center and be true to myself
- accept and allow others their way of being in the world
What are you currently training in?