Parenting (Living) By Design Rather Than Default
January 18, 2017
A horse suddenly came galloping quickly down the road. It seemed as though the man had somewhere important to go. Another man, who was standing alongside the road, shouted,
“Where are you going?” and the man on the horse replied,
“I don’t know! Ask the horse!”
This is a Zen story that points to our powerful our habit-energy. We have done it this way all of our lives, so that’s how we continue.
We are busy and we hurry because that’s the way life is.
We have to be perfect, not accepting our humanity, because that’s how we grew up.
We threaten our kids with punishment because that’s how our parents did it.
The horse of our habitual living is taking us places that we don’t want to go – busy-ness, feeling never good-enough, having hostile relationships with our kids.
If you stopped to ask from time to time why, sometimes you might have an answer, but it’s never a very good one. You’re just used to it, it’s how we’re taught to live.
But as much as we run, it gets us nowhere. We need to learn how to take back the reins and let the horse know who’s in charge
You’re in charge, and you always have been.
Let’s just pause here for a moment and remember that life is short. Death awaits all of us and could really happen at any moment.
I don’t bring that up to be morbid, but to remind you of how precious your time is. We don’t ever get to do this again, so…
… what is most important to you?
How do you want to live?
In other words, are you living and parenting by design or by default?
If you don’t decide how you want to live, how you want to feel each day, what kind of relationship you want with your kids –then you’ll get the default: feeling busy, overwhelmed, and irritable.
Once you decide, then your next actions are clear.
When they came along, my children were the most important thing in my life. I made a decision to have a close, nurturing relationship with my children. So when my habit-horse of anger, irritability, and yelling reared up (yes, taking the metaphor there), I took action to change things.
Take the reins. Take back your power to invest yourself — in how you want to live.
– Mary Oliver
Now it’s your turn.
What are your most important priorities right now? How can you take action on them? Start the conversation in the comments below.
Thank you so much for reading, my friend. If you got something out of this, please share it with a friend today.
With warmth & lovingkindness,
P.S. Each month I send a Lovingkindness Letter and weekly bites of inspiration (that are small enough to be digestible) . Sign up now and get “5 Simple Things You Can Do Today To Be Less Irritable With Your Child.”