Archive for March, 2011

Not Yet Crossing

March 30, 2011

Last Sunday I was jogging my slowish move-the-chi jaunt through my neighborhood when up ahead I noticed a little boy on the other side of the street, running with all his might down his driveway, and then, with just as much force and momentum, slamming on his sneaker-footed breaks and lurching to a stop at the precise line where his driveway became the blacktop of the street.

The boy’s trajectory caused him to sway out over his feet and then snap back.  As I drew closer he ran back up the drive, turned around and bolted back down… stopping with the same Roadrunner deft, the only thing missing was a cartoon “boing.”  He was maybe five or six, blonde, and muttering to his stopped cold feet, “Don’t go in the street. Don’t run in the street.”

The sun fell softly through the greening trees and as I passed, the boy was trotting back up the drive to try again, my neighborhood blurring and blending with everything from the street where I grew up to Grover’s Corner where Emily could just as well have been standing there, unseen, wistfully watching the boy practice staying alive.

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A Little Love for the Very Very Nervous

March 23, 2011

A recent LA Times article by Mary MacVean about over-anxious parents in our age of hyper competition made a key point worth pondering:  if the majority of “experts” are telling us that we need to calm it down a notch (or three), why is it that we continue to parent like chickens with our heads cut off?

My friend, Sonya Gohill, a pediatrician in Brentwood (and a fellow colleague in a group of parenting experts who meet privately to discuss such matters) is quoted as saying, “For my patients, I have a lot of moms who are extremely well-educated, who were practicing lawyers or have their MBAs, and they’ve retired to be stay-at-home moms. They’re rechanneling their energy. Their kids are their project. The outcome is so important because they’ve put so much time and effort into it.”

Sonya highlights one of the starting guns that sets off the race to nowhere:  the failure to fully recognize our children as separate others.  Other triggers to our misdirected fear include the pervasive notion of scarcity—the idea that we are all competing for limited resources.  “No child left behind,” not only leaves plenty of kids behind, but furthers the manic idea that we’re all boarding lifeboats as the Titanic sinks; hardly an optimal emotional message to facilitate love and learning.

Being terrified lowers our IQ in the moment… and thus we are a culture of smart-when-calm people who are neither calm nor smart about parenting.

Yet we all know this.  My aim today (in keeping with my theme of wishing to help parents calm down, since they already know they are nuts with anxiety and still do not know HOW to actually calm down) is to be reasonably brief, and in the service of encouraging greater security and basic trust in whoever stumbles across these words:  in those I recognize to be my fellows, and with whom I am not competing… only connecting.

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Do drop in

March 16, 2011

You and I have spoken all these words
but for the way we have to go,
words are no preparation.
I have one small drop of knowing in my soul.
Let it dissolve in your ocean.
Rumi

A simple smile will do

March 9, 2011

All too often we feel lost, gloomy, unimportant and afraid.  As my intention is to join with your intention, whatever it may be, so that together we might participate and connect—that we might allow the obstacles of fear, alienation and meaninglessness to drop softly away like a child’s cheek relinquishing a tear, that we might cultivate simultaneous freedom and nourishing relationship… I will confine my words today to those that precede this simple…

Namaste, BD

Playing’s the Thing

March 2, 2011

When kids first start to play, say around one to two years old, if they are playing “with” another child they are really not playing together so much as playing next to each other.  They may watch what each other does, and they may imitate, but they don’t mingle their play.  Psychologists call this “parallel play.”

When kids get a little older, provided they are secure and wired up for it, they start to play with each other.  Your kid’s doll or truck starts to interact with the other kid’s toy.  Voila:  the birth of cooperative play.

In this three to five time of life, kids start to build cooperative play in their imaginations.  The toys may be props, but the play’s the thing.  Group play emerges.  Kids playing house, or dinosaurs, or doctor are creating a fragile world that hovers between them—just like grown-ups on a stage or doing improvisational comedy: it is a world of “yes and.”

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