Stuff I’m learning about thriving…
1. Go to bed earlier, get up earlier…
I’m a midnight owl…because it’s quiet. I know that most of you know what I mean, because the digital world comes alive after the kids go to bed. But I love, love, love getting stuff done before nine, so early to bed tonight.
2. Be intentional about slotting off specific time to do my creative things each day… Bringing life out of something brings me life.
3. Be less reactive to the annoyances around me. The emotional investment I give them saps me from engaging the things I really want to do for the rest of the day.
4. Live right before your children. It’s not what is taught, but what is caught that influences them. Recognizing this requires a lot of self-examination. Am I being authentic? Am I living outwardly to what I’m thinking inwardly? But be introspective, not self-criticizing. We all have stuff to work on. Maya Angelou said it best, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better“.
5. They should know that they’re loved. Listen to them with the intent of making them feel heard. Sometimes their unpleasant behavior draws some unpleasant reactions from their parents. Even when we don’t like what they do, we need to take responsibility and learn to be the loving parent, anyway. Writing to myself here…
6. Exert yourself on seeing the positive in your children, not what they’re not good at. How you think about them will be how they think about themselves. This, this right here, is super hard some days.
7. Let my gentleness be known to all, even to my children. Hahahaha. Well, I’ll keep trying. “But I’ll not look back (at my repeated moments of un-gentleness). Because I’m not going that way“. Anonymous is an encouraging philosopher.
Things I’ve learned about thriving…
1. Physical exercise. I could give a rip about looking like Kelly Rippa. Okay, I think it would be pretty cool to have those arms, to even have the desire to spend a couple hours in the gym each day. Not gonna happen right now. But regular exercise: yup, a necessity. Overall happiness factor increases by the simple act of maintaining daily exercise. And I prefer to do it…
2. Outside. There’s something about being outdoors that I think we’re all hardwired for. Shelters were intended to shelter. Life was meant to be lived outside. It’s great for perspective. Go for a walk, even the same old walk, and it’ll brighten my mood.
3. Meet people. Be open to new people. I am a crowd-functional introvert. I can spend a lot of time tapping away on a keyboard, reading, drawing or gardening. Cocktail parties are fun places every once in a while, but not energizing. Still, we were meant to commune with others.
4. Consider the interior. Meditate, think on good things, pray. Our mind needs to slow down, acknowledge negative and positive feelings, and reorient to truthful thoughts frequently.
5. Train your kids in the way they should go. Not in the way other kids should go. They’re unique. Be aware of their individual interests and needs. “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love“, said Rumi. I think we were created by a Creator for the purpose of doing the thing we love. It’s inside the hearts of our children too. We should help them find the spark in their hearts and help them develop it. “Freedom is found when we let go of who we’re supposed to be and embrace who we really are“.
6. “Habits create the character”, said Charlotte Mason. When we overlook character issues, we’re teaching them that certain behaviours can be overlooked. Certain behaviours aren’t helpful, in relationship or work. This is the really hard parenting work–academics are EASY. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” e.e. Cummings wrote.
7. Kids aren’t happier having everything. A myth of our culture: that the desire for stuff will satisfy. Nope. So I’m learning to stop feeding the beast. Contentment is not the having of everything, but how we decide to look at our lives when we’re looking at it through a grateful grid. And as JFK said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them“.
8. “Before Alice got to Wonderland she had to fall pretty hard down a deep hole“. Those days, the ones that you can’t believe you lived through, they’ll teach you something. There’s no perfection, no agonizing-free parenting available to anyone. “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you. Let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you“. Anonymous was wise.
“Look closely at the present you are constructing.
It should look like the future you are dreaming“.