Archive for the ‘Parenting in a Social Context’ Category

Hello, Again

December 21, 2011

Being the winter’s solstice, it seems a propitious day to offer up my “good-enough” parenting book, Privilege of Parenting, and to unveil my new blog home with much thanks to Sarah Fite (and for the book cover design as well).

One of my favorite psychologists, D.W. Winnicott, coined the term “good-enough mother,” intuitively arguing against the possibility, or efficacy, of perfection in parenting—assuring us that “good-enough” will help kids grow and thrive just fine.  This is probably true for all of life, the value of the middle path—trying our best for excellence, but not perfection.

While I wish I could offer up a better book, a magical book that could mean all things to all people and magically transform parenting into song and dance and sugar the way Mary Poppins rolls, I hope my book shall suffice to serve as a “hello” to anyone who sincerely wants to talk about parenting and work together for the good of all our collective children.

I also wish the book were shorter, but I simply couldn’t find the time to make it any more concise.

So, in a spirit of love and gratitude, I wish all who come across these words good cheer, encouragement through dark nights of the soul and fellowship in neurosis—in the service of all our kids.  If it takes a village, let’s be the village people.

Namaste, BD

Advertisements

Native Spirit

November 23, 2011

What do the feathers of the fallen say?

On a branded monetized sanitized unoccupied day?

Due to the nature of entanglement, we’re best offering Thanks for this moment.

We’ve been every sort of bad and every sort of good, we’re the violence and we’re the hood.

The sacred and profane, they kinda get together, but in the light of day there’s an inclement “whether?”

So we run run away, yet there’s a luminescent tether…

Continue Reading

We have a little time

November 9, 2011

“We have a little time,” said my son, sitting at the kitchen island, alert by an extra hour “saved” by changing the clocks around.

So we talked about fear, about movies and about how things that we know are not “real” scare us nonetheless.  I tried to explain the brain, our mythos, our culture of fear, but only because I love my boy.  Yet we all love all the world, don’t we?

It was time to go, so we continued to talk in the car.  He said, “I’m not scared when I’m not alone.”

Don’t Sniff Don’t Smell: When Kids Hate On Parents

October 26, 2011

How might thinking about Gaddafi’s lurid death help us to be better parents?

Collective rage and murder wrought upon a crazed dictator pulled from a sewage drain wearing gold pants and packing a solid gold gun, while bizarre on the one hand, also illustrates an important dynamic in human consciousness:  idealization and devaluation.

Whether plotting a coup or parenting a toddler or a teen, the relationship between idealization and devaluation is infallible:  idealization masks secret devaluation; devaluation masks secret idealization.

Teens, for example, often exhibit know-it-all contempt and pseudo-independence (if they are safe enough to swagger), but they eventually tame it down and transition from rebel-with-an-allowance to worker bee in the collective hive, that is if we have a hive worth working for.

Continue Reading

Occupy Parenting and We Occupy the World

October 19, 2011

As a parent and as a person in the world I’m very excited about the Occupy Wall Street (and Boston, Chicago, LA, London, Paris, etc.) phenomenon precisely because it has no clear agenda.  It is the perfect foil and counterpoint to the double-speak and confusion that has wrecked our collective global culture and left it ripe for transformation.

Of course many will swoop in to try and brand, co-opt, and “lead,” this zeitgeist of occupying, however, the brilliance of the “movement” is that instead of theory-driven, charismatic leadership, it is self-organizing and organically arising.

While the flower-powered protests in the 60’s ended the Vietnam war, they did not usher in the Age of Aquarius.  Perhaps a new paradigm of “occupying,” of simply existing and mattering is what’s happening here, even if what “it” is ain’t exactly clear.

Occupying is a radical transformation of the old order that is so amorphous, and thus so impossible to effectively oppose, that it does not affect social change, it IS social change.

Continue Reading

the institute for non-action

October 12, 2011

You’ll probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  Well, also I am, but it’s the dialectic of opposites that proves essential if we hope to unearth and share in the abundant treasure that hovers all around us, waiting patiently for us to savor it in the vivid and immediate realm of life we are living.

I like to tell stories, and I like to explain things—I guess I like to have a little attention now and then and I also like to feel like I’m earning my place at the communal table; but what I really want is to belong, to love, to give, to participate, to feel soft and safe and to have a lot of fun.

In this way, you see, at the quintessential level, we’re really rather the same, you my lovely reader, and me.

And while I don’t particularly wish to start anything new, or lead any particular charge for change, I have been a little bit preoccupied with an idea that feels like some whispering echo from the 1920’s surrealists—or maybe from the pre-historic cave painters.

Continue Reading

Relinquishing Resentment

October 5, 2011

While we’ve been attending to fear and how it inhibits parenting and lives well lived, it’s worth keeping in mind the relationship between fear and anger—and anger’s brooding distant cousin:  resentment.

When we feel scared we may run away, freeze up or go into fight mode.  This marks the workings of our primitive brain.  Thus fear and threat are generally the root causes of anger.

When we are scared of things that do not truly pose a dire threat to us (but make us feel, and react, as if our very lives are threatened), or when we are scared that things may happen which in truth have already happened (like being, or feeling like we were, abandoned as children and thus chronically fearing abandonment) we move into the more neurotic realms of functioning, or perhaps dysfunctioning.

Continue Reading

Zombies on the Couch

September 28, 2011

I’ve been writing a fair amount this year about fear, primarily because our unresolved anxieties can be a significant obstacle to both optimal parenting as well as a buzz-kill to a life richly and fully lived.

While it’s often relatively easy to see other people’s “issues” in stark relief, it’s our own Shadows that lurk behind us as we face the sun.  Hence a tour of one of my worst, albeit absurd (at least for a “grown-up” who is also a clinical psychologist), fears…

It was a Saturday night and my parents were out (but then, at least in my mind, they were always out.  They would say otherwise, but the fact that they made me feel that way speaks, at the very least, an emotional truth—and I digress here because parenting is not a legal proceeding, but an emotional reckoning and we want our kids to feel like we enjoy them and to feel like we’re actually there, which happens to be the opposite characteristics of zombies, but now I’m getting ahead of myself).

Continue Reading

Peeling the Gibson (or, Why Brave Men Run in my Family)

September 21, 2011

“Gibson.”  Def.: A martini garnished with a cocktail onion.

I heard that Mel Gibson is planning a movie about Judah Maccabee, the Che Guevara of Hanukah (click for an amusing interview with Mel by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic).  I heard many Jews are outraged.  I hesitate to write about this because you don’t want to encourage bad behavior by paying attention to it.  But just as Mel can’t control himself when he gets loaded, sometimes I just can’t control my fingers at the laptop.

*

EXT.  PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY/MALIBU—PERFECT SUNSET

MEL GIBSON HOLLERS at a WOMAN COP.  We only hear fragments:

Continue Reading

A Supernova in my Backyard

September 14, 2011

My neighbor’s tree fell down some months back.  It was as if it had just gotten tired of standing there between our houses and leaned over onto our roof, filling the kitchen window with wet pine boughs.  After the gardener cut the spent leaner into logs the view was bleak stucco.

And so we got a new tree and planted it on our side of the fence.  A Charlie Brown tree that, in honor of being not terribly expensive, is also pretty unobtrusive.  The view is of a wisp of young leaves hardly distracting the eye from a field of sad stucco.

And so I took my latest batch of compost and fed the little tree.  So far the little tree has not grown an inch, but a late summer volunteer tomato has sprung up.

Sometimes we get lost and find things we weren’t seeking.

*

There is a supernova in the pinwheel galaxy right now.  The last one to occur in our celestial hood was in the 1970s.

Continue Reading