Parenting Step One: Get Selfish

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This is not a joke!  If you want to be a good parent and provide stability for your child, one good step is to do something for your own well-being. After all, you can’t teach what you don’t know.  In other words, you can’t model healthy living and well-being if you are doing nothing to insure this for yourself.

One of my favorite authors, Jack Pransky, says quite simply that, “The feeling we have at the time, is the environment that our child is living in at that moment.” (Parenting from the Heart, p 6).  And so, as parents if we are not living in some joy…something that makes us thrive, we are not offering this to our children in the most natural way that they learn…through observation.

This is quite a different way to see parenting as opposed to techniques or shortcuts that we apply onto our children.  Instead, I’m suggesting that your teen (or any aged child) will benefit wildly from a personal investment on your part in your own happiness.  It becomes the treatment, then (at least in part) to find what it is that brings you joy, and fit it in!

I’m aware of this on a deeper level as of late, because I recently did something that is both scary and challenging.  It was something I really wanted to do, even though I knew it would be physically challenging and somewhat intimidating.  What happened was that I feel very proud of myself…I’m noticing myself feeling lighter and having more fun in my every day activities.  I am feeling more complete, and both of my kids not only notice, but they are proud and interested.

In short, me taking this leap of faith to follow one of my dreams has lead to immediate benefits for myself and my children.  Because we have this to discuss, I see them from a different vantage point and I’ve become aware of some real teachable moments.  In addition I see that they admire a choice that I’ve made, and this makes them listen differently.

None of these outcomes are things that I could control.  They’re natural consequences to my decision to live in a natural space of well-being…in whatever form that my come in at the time.  Can you see from this angle how much sense it makes to be selfish…to think of yourself.  This feels good and does good, but you must first give yourself permission to do what feels right with the knowledge that following this feeling brings rewards a-plenty!  I double-dog-dare-you to play with this and test it out for yourself.

This Thanksgiving it’s time to be thankful for what you bring to the table just as much as it is a time to be thankful for how much other people enrich your life.  What’s the thing you want to do?  Can you make it a reality?…your kids just might thank you for it!

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