As I stumble and fall sometimes upon my (respectful, unconditional, and ru) path - particularly when I've got just too damned much going on and don't feel like I can spare a moment or a kind extra word or something that seems equally taxing (with my children, mostly, as interacting with them is how I spend most of my days) - I think Geez! I have such a long way to go! I am nowhere near the person that I most desire to be. God! Will I ever get there?
And then I read something like I did on Julie's post this morning - not with judgment, just with reflection, just something to bounce against. And then I hang out with (today) others for a bit that live a very, very different life than I do. And then I read someone else's story, and I think Wow! I (we) have come a long, long way.
Now I find myself saying Geez! when I've done something that is in disharmony with what I believe to be right - but in another life it would have been the norm. While I might say "Put that down" in a moment of great stress and panic, in another life it would have been an automatic response. I'm not talking about the nitty-gritty - I read when I was pregnant with my son that children who were aloud to play with broken stoves at ten months old when they were eight knew how stoves were built. That telling a child "get down or you'll fall" will only either make a liar out of you, or cause your child to be fearful of exploring. I knew then that I wanted no part of those things. It made sense to me that I needed to give my children freedom to grow and be.
So maybe I didn't start from scratch, as I knew my self, and knew that perhaps rigidity was not the best way to handle things.
But still - with parenting I think comes these automatic responses - things like "hurry up", "don't touch that", "put that back", and even stupid things like "let's go now" or even worse "let's go over here to play now". Things that just come out of our mouths sometimes that are really ridiculous if only we stop to think about them.
Why on earth would I care if my son spends the whole day at the park at the sandbox? Why in the world would I stop him from climbing UP the slide if no one else were around to crash into? Honestly.
There are so many things that if we stop to consider it makes no sense to deny our child other than possibly "it's not convenient for me" or "I don't understand why you want to therefore the answer is no because it cannot possibly be Truly Important."
I have come a long way out of those sorts of responses. That's not to say they do not escape my mouth every once in a while - it's like they are stored on my tongue, and my brain is not even asked for its opinion every so often.
But the good news is - these moments are not often, and they are the exception and not the rule, and that makes me say Huh. Imagine that. We've come a long, long way.
I expect now that I have intended my total focus to be on really wonderful things like "goodness", and "I choose to feel good" and "let's celebrate and recognize the love in this home" and other equally delicious things, to be in awe and amazed at the magic - to indeed, appreciate...... I imagine that things are going to get even better.