Our Shadow is behind us when we face the Sun

WoodcuttersFirstly, hello and thanks for visiting.  Welcome!  

Secondly, I set my intention today for this blog to be of benefit to you, the reader, but also to parents, and their children, who may never read this blog.  Please join me in this intention, or set a different one.  The reason I say this is that I realize that the first people who have been coming and supporting and sharing, are the wonderful and involved parents who don’t really need the sort of help  that the self-help parenting industry offers (or at least we don’t need much more of that sort of “help”).  Instead, I propose that we, the fortunate, go a step further than just realizing that parenting is a privilege, and dedicate that privileged parenting to those who are not so fortunate.  Those “other” parents, and their children, are US.  They are the secret reason that all the good fortune that we may have has still left us a bit restless, unfulfilled, secretly lonely and insecure.  I say that working together to love EVERY PARENT and EVERY CHILD on this planet is the key to our true happiness.

And the model I suggest has nothing to do with getting five more solicitations in the mail today to write checks to save starving children, polar bears or anyone else.  Those things are important, they’re being done.  I vote that we meet here on this blog, or under a bridge (just tell me where) or at Rumi’s house… but we meet, and parent and love in the service of our collective world, in our collective wish to take better care of it.  Therefore you do not come here like the client to the therapist, we meet like you meet your trainer at the gym, or your yoga practice at your matt—to enhance, deepen, appreciate and grow.  In this way our model deepens our relationship as a community, rather than spilling us back out into our loneliness once our so-called “problem” is solved.

There has been research that showed that sick people who were prayed for, who didn’t even realize it, much less necessarily believe, were statistically more likely to improve (and more quickly) than a control group of subjects that were not prayed for.  

And on the thorny issue of what, how or who to pray to, I vote that we follow the Wisdom of a thirteenth century Dominican Mystic:

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)

I was at Trader Joe’s the other morning and there was a very kind looking dad shopping with his very sweet looking teenager.  As we waited in parallel lines, The Rolling Stones were playing on the PA.  The dad happened to be a Loud Talker, so I was privy to his conversation whether I wanted to be or not.  He was rambling to his daughter, and then to the cashier, about how when he first heard this music he was very chemically inebriated.  Now whether or not we should fess up to our kids when they ask about our past indiscretions is a plenty big can of worms, but I’m willing to take a stand on the view that at least we don’t need to go out of our way to virtually brag, glamorize or wax nostalgic on such behaviors.  

Some of us may have gotten through adolescence relatively unscathed, some may have enjoyed our recreational drugs and felt no worse for wear, but I’ve worked with enough people with substance abuse issues, experiences in rehab, and painful struggles to get, and remain, sober that it saddened me to hear a dad talk to his daughter like they were a couple of old frat buddies catching up.  It made me wonder if the dad was unconsciously trying to be a “cool dad” (and trust me, he looked more like he was with a venture capital group than he was ever “with the band”) when it might be cooler to just be a steady, loving guy and take his lead from his daughter, who looked like she didn’t need to impress anyone.

My point in bringing this up is that this dad clearly had no idea that this could be harmful to his girl.  Now I suspect that many a reader gets my point on why this wasn’t optimal parenting, but the bigger challenge is to ask ourselves, “What are we missing in our own unconscious behavior that could be hard on our kids?”  We are not well served to judge or criticize, but instead to recognize ourselves in this other parent—I know I do—and to realize that we are all doing our best.  Perhaps that dad needs to feel better understood, and accepted, for who he is, and then he’ll be open to a less jaundiced way of trying-to-be-cool relating that I suspect merely masks lonely wounds. 

And that is where community, relationship and trust come in.  You tell me what I’m missing, and I’ll try not to be defensive, but rather learn and grow.  In this way we meet, model openness and authentic caring, and our prayer of “Thank You—thanks for all that just simply is today, right now,” in the service of the many parents who may never directly join us in our virtual community, may nevertheless ripple out across our collective pond.

Namaste, Bruce

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2 Responses to “Our Shadow is behind us when we face the Sun”

  1. Laurie Says:

    Whew…I do think about this. My 10 year old has already asked me if I’ve ever done drugs and I managed to dodge the bullet. I don’t want to lie but I also want him to be mature enough to hear that particular part of my life story. What to do?

  2. privilegeofparenting Says:

    hey, thanks for reading and commenting—I hope to get to this question soon.

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