Full story at: Do You Make These Parenting Mistakes?.
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ~Socrates
My birth father abandoned my mother and me 3 months before my birth. I was raised by my grandmother while my mother supported our family unit until the day she met my dad. They were married over 50 years ago and he formally adopted me when I was 5 — I still remember going before the judge and having him ask me if I wanted my dad to be my dad. It’s an honor and a privilege that few sons have — to actually affirm their choice of a father before a judge…
Years later as a student of German literature, I came across this quote: “Nicht Fleisch und Blut, das Herz macht uns zu Vätern und Söhnen.” I thank God every day for my dad’s heart; a heart which made him a father and me a son and gave me the courage to adopt my own son when I met the woman of my dreams like he did…
- Father’s Day Songs: A Spotify Playlist About Fatherhood For Dad (huffingtonpost.com)
- My favorite “Father’s Day” Quotes. (relationshipsdomatter.com)
- The Art Of Dad: One Dads Depiction Of Fatherhood Through Cartoon (toddlohenry.com)
- Fathering (in3000secs.wordpress.com)
- Learning Fatherhood From the Father of Fatherhood (toddlohenry.com)
The title comes from Randy Taran who writes:
My father is requesting that all family members come by… no, not for a typical family reunion, but for Father’s Day. They say that people sometimes get a sense about things, and I have a feeling that my dad knows the end is near.
I am not complaining. I have had the amazing good fortune of having him around for longer than most. He is 95.5 and pretty darn present.
It has me thinking about the various roles we play in life: child, parent, parent to our inner child, parent becomes child, and child becomes parent’s parent… it’s endless in all the possible permutations.
I recently asked my dad for his five top life lessons, and this seems like a perfect time to share them:
1. Lead your own life. Know who you are and be true to yourself.
2. Be satisfied with what you have. Don’t go looking to other people for validation or compare yourself to others — that goes nowhere.
3. Be very grateful for what you have. Appreciate everything, from nature to relationships to waking up another day. Looking at things with the right perspective allows you to see that what you have is all you need, and more.
4. It’s all about family. That is what is important, that everyone is happy and lives a good life.
5. Love is what matters most. After all the ups and down that life sends our way, after all the careers and hopes and dreams, what stands out and will always remain is love.
This may or may not be his last Father’s Day; he has surprised us before. No matter what, I will always cherish my dad’s life lessons and pass them on to my own children as the cycle continues. Happy Father’s Day to all.
I curated this article for multiple reasons; not the least of which is that it makes me think about my father-in-law who is getting on in years. Throughout our marriage, my relationship with my in-laws has been strained for reasons too complicated to go into; only recently, however, I have gained a special appreciation for my father-in-law…
My ‘other Dad‘ is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for almost 50 years. The more I dig into my own ’emotional sobriety’ and recovery from codependence, the more I appreciate him as a person and his contribution to the world — especially his example as he lives out the 12th step daily. Recently, when my wife was in Italy we connected a couple of times by phone and I had a chance to tell him for the first time that I loved him as a ‘dad’ — and I don’t say that lightly; dad is a title of honor in my life — and that I appreciate his example. There are things around ‘recovery’ that he gets that my first dad will never understand and I appreciate his testimony more with each passing day…
My second dad is now 79 and time is catching up with him. I cherish the help he has given me in my recovery and his lack of judgment toward me. Whether this is the last Father’s Day or the first of many we have in this ‘new’ relationship — God knows there are no guarantees in this life — I’m glad we had a chance to connect in his living years…
“Without mothers, there might be stars
but no one to wish upon them
No lips to kiss, no hands to hold
No eyes to gaze upon sunsets gold
Without mothers, there might be a moon
but no harvest for which to light
No songs to sing, no voices to raise
No flowers to soak up the sun’s gentle rays
Without mothers, there might be love
but no one to hold it, and it might just slip away”
Leo Babauta shared this back in March…
We often load ourselves up when we travel, because we want to be prepared for various situations. This burden of being prepared leaves us with our arms full, unable to receive whatever is there when we arrive.
It leaves us tired from carrying, so that we are not happy when we meet someone new on our travels.
What if we traveled with empty hands, ready to embrace new experiences, receive new foods, touch new people?
We might feel less prepared when we leave, but the preparedness is an illusion. Stuff doesn’t make us prepared. Having empty hands but a heart that is full of love leaves us prepared for anything. Continue reading “Empty-handed, full-hearted”
Leo Babauta shares this today…
There is no such thing as stress-free parenting.
A reader requested that I share my thoughts on stress-free parenting, as the father of six kids. And while I have learned a lot about being a dad, and finding joy in parenthood, I also know that stress-free parenting is a myth.
Parents will always have stress: we not only have to deal with tantrums and scraped knees and refusing to eat anything you cook, but we worry about potential accidents, whether we are ruining our kids, whether our children will find happiness as adults and be able to provide for themselves and find love.
That said, I’ve learned that we can find peace.
Peace isn’t a place with no stress, but a place where you take the stress as it comes, in stride, and don’t let it rule you. You let it flow through you, and then smile, and breathe, and give your child a hug.
There is a Way of the Peaceful Parent, but it isn’t one that I’ve learned completely. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, with the caveat that I don’t always follow the Way, that I still make mistakes daily, that I still have a lot to learn, that I don’t claim to have all the answers as a parent.
Go to the source if you’d like to hear his way…
- Peaceful Parenting ≠ Shooting A Laptop (peacegrooves.wordpress.com)
The ‘bluebird of happiness’ Gretchen Rubin has some ideas for you!
Do you need a happiness boost—right now? If so, take a look at this menu of options and make your choices. Remember, the more you tackle, the bigger the boost you’ll receive.
When you’re feeling blue, it can be hard to muster up the physical and mental energy to do the things that make you happier. Plunking down in front of the TV or digging into a tub of ice cream seems like an easier fix. However, research shows that these aren’t the routes to feeling better.
Try some choices below. The more you push yourself, the better you’ll feel. If you can’t tackle a big task, just do something small. Even a little step in the right direction will give you a lift.
According to my groundbreaking happiness formula, to be happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. What’s dragging you down? Is it a lack of fun, of connection? Do you feel a lot of guilt, boredom, or anger? Do you feel that something’s “not right” about your life? Do you feel stagnant or stuck? Focus your efforts on the choices that will do the most to address what’s not working in your life.
Go to the source if you’d like to see her list…
Expectancy theory states, that which we focus on expands. If we continue to allow ourselves to focus on problems, we will actually have more problems. Conversely, asking and answering the question—what is one thing I can do differently that could make this better?—within sixty seconds of a problem arising, literally causes our level of optimism and success to grow.
Any time you catch yourself thinking about what is going wrong in your life, be relentless about asking this question (what is one thing I can do differently that could make this better?). Keep asking until you identify a potential solution to your problem.
The mere identification of a potential plan for a solution is helpful, as it breaks the negative cycle of thought. You will obviously need to put energy into the execution of the solution, but the essential first step in getting started is realizing that something can be done to improve any situation.
Go to the source if you’d like the rest of author Jason Selk’s perspective. I’m trying to apply this to a situation that happened yesterday; I received a horrible, hurtful, hateful email full of shame and blame from a friend. The worst part is that I actually have to consider whether or not some of it is true, and if so, what should I do about it. I’ll have to think about what Jason says…
An open and honest continuing dialogue with our children is crucial for parental success. When walls are created and information stunted, we are not able to forecast trouble looming on the horizon. Lack of proper communication also stymies solid bonding between parent and child. Many family tragedies could be avoided simply by talking. Here are some thoughts to help bring the joyous sounds of constant family chatter to your home…
Follow the ‘via’ link to get the 10 tips…
You’d be surprised to know how many emails I get where people are stuck in their lives.
They’re broke, or unmotivated, or in a job they hate, or they can’t find their passion, or they can’t get motivated to get healthy.
And they don’t know where to start.
It hurts to read these emails. It brings back to life the pain I lived through not too many years ago, when I too was stuck.
I know the feeling of despair when you are unhappy with your life and don’t know how to change. When you’ve tried lots of changes, but couldn’t find the discipline to make them stick. When you feel crappy about yourself because you know you should get off your butt and start improving your life, but you’d rather put it off for another day.
Problems go away when you ignore them, right?
I also know that there is really only one way out of this mire of despair.
It’s to take an action, no matter how tiny.
You don’t need to fix everything in your life right now. You don’t even need to fix one thing.
You just need to do one little, miniscule, almost nothing thing.
Make a list. Go outside and take a walk. Get rid of some of your junk food. Clear off your kitchen table. Cancel something tomorrow so you can make time to create something, no matter how small.
Don’t do all of these. Do one. Or half of one, or one thousandth. It doesn’t matter how small — the smaller, the better.
Take that first step. Celebrate that first step. Love the step, not the destination. That step, even the motion of taking the first foot off the ground and moving it forward — that’s everything.
That’s the truth, and you’ll not read it in many self-help books: put every microparticle of your existence into that half step, and be nothing but that half step, and love it with all you have … and your life has changed.
With this half step, everything is different. You haven’t achieved any goals … but you’ve moved. You haven’t created something amazing … and yet, more than ever before, you have.
You’ve created beauty and joy and movement where none existed before, where previously only constriction and paralysis and confusion lived. You have changed the world.
h/t my buddy Steve…
Some of this is NSFW, but you can find 45 more by following the ‘via’ link above…
Where we get our source of approval from is everything. As children we look up to and make our parents our Higher Power. We think they are perfect, infallible human beings. We eventually learn (some earlier than others) that this isn’t the case. Part of stepping onto and into The Path of our Highest Potential is learning to re-parent ourselves.
This means realizing that our parents are not perfect people and loving them anyway. We realize that The Uni-verse has perfect love & approval for us and that we need not chase. We are approved of and loved as we are, where we are and for who we are right now. This allows us to take a step back and no longer need perfect Love from our parents and instead, we can be grateful for their role in our lives as stewards of our lives instead of masters of our destiny.
Once we begin to heal this process, the other relationships of our lives improve. When we no longer assign magical qualities to our parents, or if we were never loved by our parents or assign magical qualities to other people, we see reality and take our power back. When we know that we are already approved of as Children of The Uni-verse, we no longer need to seek approval in business, with sex, with drugs or with status and stature. We can instead rest in the perfect imperfection of who we already are and let it be.
No longer seeking approval, we now have the confidence, self-esteem and personal integrity to create relationships of a higher caliber. We no longer need to use sex as a way to make us feel loved, but instead as a byproduct of love and intimacy. We no longer are defined by fancy things or big houses, because “stuff” doesn’t validate us.
When we can allow ourselves and everyone in our lives to be imperfect and love them anyways, we have taken a massive leap towards Love.
What would your life look like if you lived it without the compulsive desire to show your parents how awesome you are, or to get their approval? What would your love life look like? What would your professional life look like?
How would your life be different if you KNEW in every cell of your being that you are enough, right now, as is… PERIOD?
There is nothing easy about being a dad. Especially nowadays, if conversations around the water-cooler are anything to go by. Well, we hear your pain. But an honest look at history reveals a—well—comforting familiarity to the foundational premise.
Fact is; dads have been throwing their hands up in the air for literally thousands of years. Fortunately for us this means we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The iPod, maybe. But the wheel, no.
While children were frustrating the dads of yore, the teachers of yore also came up with their own ideas. So we took a look:
“10-Ways to teach your son to fight Romans” didn’t seem PC.
“10-Ways to marry off your daughter before she becomes a teenager” also didn’t work for us.
“10-Ways to plague the Egyptians” wasn’t going to pass muster with the State Department.
The good news, however, is that we did find the following—more appropriate—10 things scripture says about being a father.
Follow the ‘via’ link if you’re interested in knowing what Scripture says about Fathering…
Sibling rivalry has been described as a shoot-out between Siamese twins. When your children are in conflict, it’s not fun to watch them take out their hurts and anger on one another. As Barbara and I watched our six children struggle through hundreds of squabbles, conflicts, disputes, and divisions, we would wonder, Are we being successful as parents? Is there something we’re doing wrong? Are we raising a group of juvenile delinquents?
The truth is that conflict is common to all interpersonal relationships, and every parent knows that it’s especially true between siblings. Children are going to struggle with one another, compete with one another, irritate one another, and have conflict. As parents we came to the conclusion that if we are going to have to endure these conflicts, we would turn them into training opportunities. As a result we repeatedly taught our children to honor one another, to begin to speak well of one another, and to resolve disputes as they occur.
In the process, Barbara and I learned a few lessons that we’d like to share with you. If you are like we were in this phase of parenting, you can use every shred of help you can get!
Right now, this issue is driving me absolutely nuts in our family! I’m over the top tired with the way our boys treat one another and I’m grateful this post appeared when it did. If you want help in this area, follow the ‘via’ link to get all 10 tips. Thanks for sharing, Mark!
“When we think of parenthood, we idealistically dream of wonderful moments and strong happy families. Sometimes life has other plans and challenges for us. Parents can struggle to connect with their own children. Step-parents can be resented and rejected by the children of their new spouse. In all such cases, an unhealthy living situation can evolve. Direct and patient steps must be taken to create a loving and functioning family that will thrive. Here are some ideas to help with this difficult task…” via allprodad.com. Follow the ‘via’ link if you’d like to read the list…
- HOW TO: Talk to Children About Online Safety (mashable.com)
- I am an iParent (gatorgamers.wordpress.com)
- Parents Are Snooping on Facebook (appscout.com)
- Parents Talk How Old Is Old Enough For Social Media (npr.org)
Your parents owe you nothing.
They have already given you everything…
When you stop making them responsible for what you feel today, you access your power to really live.
Your parents OWE you nothing today. They gave you the most amazing gift of birth and life. They don’t OWE you respect, apologies, or money. When you can own this you free yourself and are no longer dependent on them for your happiness. Instead of living at the mercy of your past and simply being a reaction to your parents’ actions, you cut the umbilical cord and become free to create a life you choose.
Each moment you hold onto resentment, anger, blame, about the past, you are killing your present. What happened is done and nothing you do, or say now will change what happened. It is done.
Often we refuse to let go, and hold onto the anger at our parents because we feel dignified in doing so. They didn’t give us what we wanted. They weren’t there for us in the way we needed. They abused us, beat us, abandoned us, manipulated us, molested us, or were mean to us.
Yes, you are right. They were not right or justified in what they did.
However: “Do you want to be right or free?”
“Is being right making you happy? Is holding onto being right changing them?”
Each moment you hold onto the resentment, you keep yourself stuck in a prison of victimhood. You are not responsible for what happened to you as a child. It happened. You were young back then.
But now, today, you are responsible for what you choose to do.