Saturday, September 22, 2007


Last night, as I was reflecting on my rather volatile emotions throughout the day, I was considering what the triggers were.
One was the volatility of the children's emotions.
Easily explained.
Another was their impatience.
Next was their interaction with each other.
I'm not blaming my emotions on them, of course, because had I a tranquil state-of-mind, these things wouldn't affect me at all. I would be loving and accepting of the moments, and not riled by them.

I've found myself in a place of dissatisfaction with my usual response- sigh, "what's going on here, guys?"
Once in a while it seems alright, but when it's several times in an hour, it's a bit wearing - on all of us. And I don't see my interference contributing to peace, at all.

We do things differently than most I think. We don't use punishment in our home - even time out. We don't have much cause for tattling and blaming.
"Trevy bit me. Trevy bit mine head," as she grabbed her foot.
"Trevy bit you? Oh, no, did it hurt? It sounds like it hurt. Go talk to Trevy, and tell him "Ouch, Trevy, that hurt!"
So she toddled off.

Last night after much tumult (and a different situation), Trev said something about handling it differently, and that hurting someone was only teaching another how to treat you/others.

So... as I was saying - as I was thinking about all of this last night, I was considering solutions.

Sometimes when Eric and I are talking about something - whatever - Trev will come in and say "Don't listen to her/him, Dad/Mom!" or "Stop arguing!" or something like that. When we have been conversing, mind you, and not arguing in the least.
I'm thinking that it could be the very same for him when I interfere. When he and Maddie are playing, and it looks rough to me. And I say something. Make judgments.
"Gentle," I'll call.
Or "Kindness wins the day."
Or even "Hey!"

It does nothing to raise an awareness or desire in one's self to do the right thing. Observing and living is the best teacher. Having someone judge your actions is not the most productive - or at all productive - way to help you to develop your principles. I don't want my children do the right thing out of a sense of shame, I would like them to reap the benefits of a life well and kindly lived, and the joy that brings to their spirit.

I'm thinking hands off for a while.
Not when they're in trouble, when they need me I will certainly be there. When they have conflicts they need help with, or need help getting what they need in a situation I shall certainly be available to offer advice and support. When asked. When the problem has been brought to me. Or when it's serious - and not just a threat to my peace and quiet.

I am seeing my role in these situations much differently - as I am In Pursuit of Gentleness - I believe that pursuit needs to expand - it needs to involve not only patience, but also needs to include a vast amount of tolerance.
Which means not judging.
Being accepting.
Being comfortable with my children's relationship, and confident in their love for each other.
Trusting in their ability to communicate -without me.
Giving them room to explore what works and doesn't work for them.

I am not planning on bailing.
But I need to choose my words and actions much more thoughtfully. I need to demonstrate gentle behavior.
If I hear Trev shout at Maddie - often - for turning off his tv program, instead of me saying "Maddie, that's not kind, Trevy is watching that." (ugh) I need to ask Trev if he would like some help (just to get him started, and thinking along the lines of 'solution') or advice. If he would, then I could say "It looks like Maddie wants your attention, and thinks this is a really fun game. (which I often say) Maybe you could ask her if she'd like to watch with you, and if she'd like to have a lizard to play with while you guys watch." or something like that.
Just to get him moving in the way of solutions - without my input.

The house - and its souls - are much in need of a few things.
First and foremost - most urgently - I need to quit thinking in terms of "I have to get this done." and "I don't have time, I'm in a hurry." This is where many (98%) of my troubles begin. The Agenda, of course.

Secondly I need to get rid of all expectations. Some people live by expectations, and it works for them, but it doesn't for me. I don't want my (or my children's) happiness to be contingent upon certain results. Expectations means being attached to certain results, and being attached to results means that I am closed-minded, and unable to see the good in something else. Since being happy and joyful is a choice, and one chooses one's reality, I find much more peace in being fluid and flexible. Much more room for growth.

I believe that these two things are absolutely necessary for Practicing Patience and Pursuing Gentleness.

I think that by renewing my dedication to gentleness, just deciding to live mindfully in these situations, it will take us a long way into our more gentle and authentic selves.

Thoughts on this?


Kimba said...

Stop it. Seriously, it's like we are using the same brain right now (though your part seems to express itself far more elegantly ;)

If I remember correctly your babes are similar in age to mine and I hear and feel ya sister.

I am guilty of getting too involved -- micromanaging their relationship at times. I, too, have recently decided to breath deep and offer assistance instead of solutions!

Good Luck to us both!

I think your young ones are pretty darn luck to have a Mama who is willing to stop and listen and think things through and who is wants to put her relationship with them first.


Stephanie said...

Thanks, Kimba!
It's hard work being uncontrolling, isn't it?

whimsigal said...

It's hard to step back when your instinct tells you to do otherwise! Sounds like you have a good handle on how to best approach the situation (or not as the case may be) and I think you will find peace for yourself and your babes when all is said and done.

It's courageous to discuss things like this and I'm glad you did because I could certainly learn a lesson or two from you on practicing patience and pursuing gentleness.

Stephanie said...

Evie -
Good Grief!
Don't follow me into patience - when it comes to thing such as this, I can only run into hundreds of trap and false doors!
How 'bout I follow you, instead?

whimsigal said...

Well then it might be the blind leading the blind, my friend. When I'm attempting to be witty I say, "Patience is a virtue and I will never be accused of being a virtuous woman."

Patience is something I'm having to practice as well!

Stephanie said...