Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
|(photo by heartlineministries.org; take and used with permission by Heartline and mama)|
This is mom, Jimema, and her second set of twins. The other set is also girls, who are 4 years old.
You may submit your own magical milk pic to firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, May 06, 2013
|(photo by Bethany Carlson; used with permission)|
I have been spending some time challenging myself when it comes to logical fallacies. I know that these aren't just issues that creep up in politics and media. When looking at my own life, I can see how I use them, even in my parenting.
While I fight hard to avoid using the classic "slippery-slope argument," and also encourage others to do the same, I have to admit that I'm pulled to it like a magnet when guiding my kids. I know why I do it (fear, much?). I know why I ignore that I do it (again with the fear).
Okay, so you may not have a clue what I'm talking about. What is this whole slippery-slope thing? We've all heard it, experienced it and probably used it.
"A slippery slope argument goes like this.
If you take position A, you run the risk of taking position B;We want to protect our kids. We want them to learn from our mistakes (meaning: we want them to be totally different from the way we were at their age). If we are concerned with their choices, we feel extremely out of control. That giant feeling then creates havoc in our brains which causes us to want to fight against it. If you can't stop someone with brute force, then ... maybe you can stop them with fear. Slippery-slope argument, enter stage left.
position B is wrong,
therefore A is also wrong." - John Frame
"Smoking will lead to drugs."
"Drinking will lead to drugs."
"Not cleaning your room will lead to drugs."
"Premarital sex will lead to dancing!" (sorry ... any other recovering Southern Baptists in the house?)
I kid, I kid. But we do it. We do it even in the tiniest of things. I have four teenagers, and am trying to focus hard on my words and my intentions. Mostly my intentions. That's where I start to screw up.
In our home, we focus a lot on living in community: within these walls, within our park/small business, within ... the world. We talk about a balance between creativity, self-expression, radical acceptance, teamwork with the human race and thoughtfulness. It is a constant tension. We get it right as much as we get it wrong, because there are a million different nuances to it.
I have things I can teach my children. I have things I can guide them through. They can choose to absorb that information or not (and sometimes, their lack of absorption is not a choice ... they're busy working out something else in their heart/mind/life). My fear, however, is something I can count on most of the time.
Over the last two weeks I have repeated something to at least five other parents that resonates with them. It is true for me over and over again. When I find myself facing a behavior (or what appears to be a "snowball" of behaviors) with one of my kids, I start to panic. I could easily name that feeling as "fear," but even more so, it is a big wad of, "I want it to stop. I want to make it stop. Stop! I NEED IT TO STOP!" It is unbelievably intense. Overwhelming.
That's when I love to use those slippery-slope arguments with my kids. I don't think about it. Instead, my words just start to move there. I want them to be scared. I want them to be as scared as I am.
Yeesh. Okay. I said it out loud.
I am currently working extra hard on all of this. With all the talk of same-sex marriage, I've also seen a surge in slippery-slope arguments. I want to make sure I'm not countering those arguments if I'm doing the same thing myself. Not just in political or human rights discussions, but sitting right here at my kitchen table.
So, every time I go there (or I want to go there) I'm asking myself, "What am I afraid of?"
Then I'm reminding myself that I do not want to live a life of fear. So, I should choose my words and my actions based on what is actually happening and what is actually true.
Even when I still feel afraid.
Especially when I still feel afraid.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
|(photo from Tanya; used with permission)|
"I have been meaning to dig out this picture of me breastfeeding my twins 14.5 years ago. It was the only picture of me nursing any of my four biological babies, which is sad considering I spent three years of my life in the nursing position!
In the past 6 years we have added 4 more children to our family via adoption, a newborn from the US (now 6, that I bottle fed, and can say 100% that for ME, being able to compare the two- breastfeeding was way easier than bottle feeding- and yes, I did try to get my milk to come in so I could nurse him too, but he was born early), a son from Haiti and a son and daughter from Ethiopia.
We have 4 boys and 4 girls ages ranging from 6 to 16.
I love seeing your magical milk pics, and I always get a little teary eyed remembering those sweet moments with my own babies."
You may submit your own Magical Milk pic to email@example.com
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I watched a video this morning that spoke to me. It's an ad. I hate that it's an ad, but I'm not going to throw the baby out with the bath water. I'm going learn from the message, despite its source. What I'm taking away from this, is not only the reminder that I should be very aware of my own beauty, but also:
My children internalize everything I say about them. Or don't say about them. They internalize everything that we say about a birth parent. Or everything we say about a divorced spouse.
That hit me hard when I heard the woman say, "My mom said I had a big jaw."
Her mother was hurting the day she said that. She was human. She put her pain onto her child. We all do that. We all do that. As long as we're breathing, we can fill back up that hole that was created inside ourselves ... the hole we create inside our child.
In the work place, it takes 2-3 positive comments to motivate and maintain connection after one criticism. In parenting, it's more. Some say 10-to-1. I have no idea how many it would take for a grown adult still carrying around the pain. I'm gonna' make a guess of - much more!
If a parent projected their own pain into your soul, and they weren't emotionally healthy enough to cover it with ten truths ... do it for yourself. You can't do it for your children and the people closest to you until you've done it for yourself.
Ask 15 friends today to watch this video and send you a message describing YOU. Do it. When you find yourself arguing with with these truths, write me and allow me to argue right back!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Saturday, April 06, 2013
One of my kids has a massive fear of me dying on an airplane. The week before any trip, they begin a cycle of challenging behaviors, in hopes that I will change my plans. This has been the norm for five years. There was a time when we would wait to tell the kids about a trip until the week before, because the difficulties would begin as soon as the trip was in sight. Even if it was 6-8 weeks away.
This is a part of the tip of our iceberg we have balanced upon over the years. In all honesty, when there is so much improvement in many areas, I find myself extremely discouraged when these things pop up yet again. I'm not terribly therapeutic. I'm sarcastic or indifferent. It's stressful enough to plan for a trip for yourself, and plan for your home while you're gone. Throw in clogged toilets or continuous aggression or the constant subtle stick-poking behaviors ... yes, this is why I coach people that they need to give themselves a break for not being "on" all the time.
Sometimes the strongest, best thing you can do is to keep your mouth shut and stay very, very busy. And when you don't keep your mouth shut, use that as an opportunity to teach your kids how to make it right when you screw up.
Just last week I was talking with a mom about finding a way to journal the behaviors. When you are in the middle of attaching and healing, the progress gets lost. It's there, but you can't see it. The healing that does happen can be completely clouded by a typical time of regression. So, that is what I'm doing today. I'm journaling so I can remember. So I can see on the days my own vision is clouded.
This particular kid has been spiraling down for several days. Yesterday I gently suggested we might want to talk about the things coming up on our calendar to work through the big feelings. This created more anger and more defiance, so I backed off. I said, "Take your time. I hope you are able to talk about it. If you're not, that's okay too. We will get through it. We always do."
My child slept through dinner (with food issues, this is a very big deal, and extremely outside their norm or comfort zone). I found myself nervous. Okay, I was terrified. I saw it as a protest of epic proportions, which meant it might be the beginning of other old behaviors. I had no idea what we would wake up to. I had no idea what missing dinner would look like this morning. I was scared.
At 8:00 am, my child walked in, and in a very calm voice said, "Mom, I'd like to talk about what is bothering me. I'm afraid that you'll get hurt on the airplane next week. I was hoping that if I act really bad that you won't go."
Yeah, let that one soak in for a bit. The information is not new. The big deal is: they did that. On their own. No prompting from me. It was the first words out of their mouth. On this particular subject and with this particular fear ... that has never happened before today.
It was Denise Best who first taught me that most of the kids in her practice who were acting out around their parents' trips were doing so because they feared they wouldn't come back. I knew that. I have been able, over the years, to gently lead my kids through that truth. But today my kid grabbed their anxiety by the balls and said it out loud, on their own, so it would stop owning them.
There was a time I honestly did not think any of this would ever be possible. It seemed too big and too much. This continues to feed my hope. It continues to feed my child's own hope for themselves.
And on the days when things are whonky and words aren't being said ... I will come back and read it. Remind myself what healing actually looks like. Not allow my eyes to be clouded to so much truth. So much healing. One more step in the journey, and any amount of regression cannot take this away!