Parenting from a Place of Healing

10603367_10102558680091463_5862910946751142445_n I am on a journey.

I chose a path of self-discovery and recovery, equipped with a determination to live intentionally and love responsibly.

Self-discovery constantly unveils new layers of personality to be tended and cultivated. The path constantly grows and shifts, revealing new alcoves of sunshine and new life; uncovering tangled vines and challenging roots. Recovery—from loving too much, addiction, negative thinking—travels a similar trail. Breaking through the wall of trees, grabbing a glimpse of the peak. Traversing rocky meadows, following a tenuous path winding back onto itself. Leading from one break-through to another, there is no ultimate culmination.

As I’ve learned lessons and tried to put them to use in my own life, I’ve also begun sharing them with my young son. A few I use regularly:

  • Don’t worry about things you can’t control.

While preparing for a school field trip, he asks what will happen if it rains and the class can’t go to the farm. “Don’t worry about things out of your control, buddy,” I say, with the idea that he will learn not to waste the present moment feeling anxious about something yet to happen and out of his realm of influence.

  • What are you looking forward to today?

Each day during our quick drive from the house to the drop-off line, I ask him this question. The hope is he will begin to view each day as a gift, something to be valued.

  • Getting angry hurts you the most.

When his cousin won’t let him color in the same coloring book, and he tries to tear out a page and it rips, my six-year-old son reacts by crossing his arms over his body, pouting and throwing the piece of paper. I ask him how he is feeling and whether being angry and stomping around makes him feel better. The intention is he will learn to identify his emotions, but control his anger, realizing he is not changing the situation but only hurting himself more.

Children are on the same journey as we are, though they will not for a long time realize the path is the purpose. Knowing I can only share as much as I experience, I consider it my personal and parental responsibility to continue healing so I may continue sharing thoughts and living by example.

Another lesson I’ve learned as a parent who approaches my child from my own place of healing is the importance of maintaining balance so I can be a more stable presence for him. Whether exercise, meeting with friends or finishing work so I don’t bring it home, I strive to stay on my own path if I am to be a useful guide.

Seeking only the next summit, without attentively passing over the ground at my feet, it is easy to neglect self-discovery and ignore recovery. Focusing not only within, but also at the young life given to me as a chance to re-learn through his innocent interactions, I am better able to stay the course.

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