Am I doing this right?? Who knows?? It’s the thought that goes through my head on a regular basis. Again, another great learning I took from my previous employer, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” As a parent, that is so easy to accomplish.
I have been thinking for some time now that I have wanted to write on the power of language. Oddly enough, I couldn’t organize my thoughts to the point that I was satisfied with how I would approach the topic. I attended the Landmark Advance course a year ago in November. I learned so many things over those four days, but the one thing that has always been top of mind for me was the piece on language. I guess it struck me in such a way because I related it to me raising my children. They teach you there is no “right or wrong” there are choices and consequences. They teach you you are perfect exactly the way you are. They teach you your words create others’ universe. The power of language. Immediately, I thought of my children. I have the choice to create possibility for them by the language I choose to expose them to. When you think about this, it can seriously paralyze you from making any moves because you don’t want to make the wrong one. But then again, there is no “right or wrong” there is only consequences for your actions, which puts me back at square one, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” And, this, my friends, is taking the chance on being actively involved in your childrens’ lives by choosing to parent them.
The biggest transformation for me was when I realized that my children do not belong to me. I have been blessed with their little souls, and someone…the universe or God…chose me to guide their little lives to the best of my ability. The reality is that it’s their life and it’s their choices. I can only teach them what I know based on my experiences, and guide them through choices and decisions they will have to make in their own lives. I cannot force them to be someone they are not. I cannot force them to make choices they do not want to make. I can only create a world of possibility for them, and be there for the many experiences life has to offer. And be grateful that I was chosen to be that person for them. Of course, easier said than done.
Did I mention I am Italian, Irish, German and Cajun? A great blend of passionate, yet temperamental ethnicities. And, I have to admit, I have a very challenging time keeping my temper. I am surprised that my kids’ first words were nice four letter words, like mama and dada…though they have been known to throw out a few expletives every now and then, which my husband always eyeballs me when it happens. And, I have to take full credit for this, because, amazingly (is that a word??) his parents very rarely curse, and therefore, neither does he. We were raised by very different parents. I like to say my family is more…expressive.
I had to laugh the other day when I ventured out with all four children to an outdoor shopping mall in my neighborhood. It was the day after New Years, and Rockstar hubby was spent from his crazy busy weekend entertaining his customers for New Year’s Eve. So I decided to take the kids, including the twins, out of the house so he could sleep. We went to a local coffee spot for hot chocolate and cookies. The babies were great and slept the whole time, the kids were awesome and very well behaved. It took me about 20 minutes to get everyone out of the car and it was probably one of the coldest days we have had all winter. Regardless, off we went. At the coffee shop, we had many admirers (you often do when there are twins involved), asking all kinds of questions about the kids and the babies. Finally, one person said to me, “I can’t believe how calm you are. You are so relaxed taking all these kids out.” And I thought to myself, “not sure my kids would agree.” So when I started thinking about my intentions for the New Year, I thought, I seriously have to kick it up a notch and truly be this person who wants to create a universe of possibility for my children…verbally, as well as in my actions and thoughts.
Sunday and Mondays are family dinner nights because those are the nights R.S. hubby is off and he gets to have dinner with the kids. So we are pretty strict about that. It is the time and place for the family to come together and talk about our day, our goals, what made us laugh, cry, whatever. I have worked really hard to establish this as a safe place for my family to come together and just be. The kids will ask me now if they can read a story they wrote at school at dinner, or a sing a song they learned. They come to the table with conversation pieces, and I am so proud of that. We talk about manners and etiquette. Last night, my son renegotiated his entire allowance system to include bonuses and incentives (yes, he’s 6). Tonight we talked about resolutions and intentions. I explained to them what my intention is for 2011. To create a universe full of possibility for them through my choice of language. We started off by discussing “Requests” and how they can respond to a “Request” by accepting, denying or negotiating. I requested they be more mindful of when they snack and drink to only take what they think they need to feel satisfied. This went along with the conversation my husband had with them last night about budgets and savings…which lead into allowances and chores. After some discussion, they accepted my request. On some level they get it. And I know we will have to keep communicating to them repeatedly until they truly do, but I’m OK with that, because it is our choice to parent our children in that way. We want them to understand why, so they are empowered to make their own choices later in life. My kids are not OK with a simple, “No”. They want to know why, and it’s only fair to teach them so they know their consequences based on the choices they make.
I accepted the challenge of a 21-day in home yoga practice offered by Yoga Journal . I need this to restart my practice after several long months of not practicing. I figured it gives me the freedom to structure my workouts based on my needs. They figure after 21 days straight of practicing, it will put me back into my routine of needing and wanting yoga in my life everyday. So I am going with the same theory for my intention. I am going to blog once a day for 21days my progress with my intention. Forcing me to be mindful of my language, knowing I rely on my integrity when I go to write about it, and being held accountable by the invisible presence of the Internet audience. They will be short and sweet and to the point. The goal is that this 21 day writing program has crept on in and shaped me into the person I am going to be for my children.
This is going to be a fun challenge!
Mollie Schneider Halvorsen said:
Stefanie- you are an awesome writer and a great mom. Congratulations on everything you are accomplishing! Very inspiring.