Friday Focus: Till the Water Is Clear

 

There are always moments in parenting when we do things that we don’t like. In hindsight, it’s easy to say “I should have. . . ” or “I could have. . . ” and this sort of introspection, done in a compassionate manner, is a good practice for parents. I find that it helps me pinpoint my easiest buttons to push, and being aware of my weaknesses, I find that I am a stronger and more capable help for Abbey, instead of struggling against her.

In thinking about this introspection and responsible response to challenges that our children throw at us, I want to direct you to Till the Water is Clear by over at Sweet Sky. The post is long, but the message is clear and beautiful. The thought at the center of her post is so powerful.
Do you have the patience to wait

till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself? 
— Tao Te Ching

Photo Credit: Author
I have been needing a visual meditating point to help me through those hard moments with Abbey. I KNOW that I should not argue with my 3 year old daughter, but she is a pro at pulling me in and pushing my buttons.
I also know that my words and actions should be a response and not a reaction
(i.e. I need to take a moment to find balance and to speak calmly, and think about what I say before I say – or yell- it)
I think the muddy to clear water analogy could really work for me, if I have the patience and resolve to put this into my parenting practice. Water imagery worked like a charm for me through birthing Joseph, and that was much harder than any confrontation with my Silly Bear should ever be!
What do you think about responding respectfully and responsibly to parenting challenges?

Is there an image or mantra that you use to get through the crazy moments with your child?

Comments

  1. Oh man – how do 3yo’s get so good at pushing buttons?! This past year has been such a challenge. I keep wanting to put up some quotes to remind me why I’m parenting this way. One I re-read the other day is something about how we parent gently b/c we want our children to learn that they are deserving of love. Another is about how the way I talk to my child becomes part of his inner critical voice. No helpful advice, just keep taking it one day at a time!!

  2. <3 Dionna, what a true comment about our tone becoming our children's inner critical voice! And that has been something that I fear my children will take from me - my nasty self-criticism! You say you have "no helpful advice" but your constant support is so beneficial for me, and your words are always helpful and inspire thought! Thanks for reading, Dionna!

  3. I love this analogy also, Amy. :) I’ve enjoyed Stacy’s posts for years, so it was really nice to read through her insights.

    I suppose the statement ‘children learn what they live’ is what comes to mind for me most right now. This particular truth reminds me regularly that if I want them to live respect, I must respect them first. If I want them to live love, I must love them first. If I want them to empathize, I must empathize with myself and them first.

    It’s a journey, and not always “easy”. I do feel diligence and continued focus bring about transformation, though, and certainly support you in those efforts. Much love…

  4. Hello,
    Thanks so much for the link — it’s nice to meet you!

    Lately I’ve been saying a bit of a prayer at the end of my meditation in the morning… something along the lines of “May I take time to take care of myself. May my actions and words contribute to our growth and love as a family. May I notice the parts of my day I enjoy.”

    In the moment, when things get tense, we often say, “Let’s take a break and come back to this later.”

    I agree with Amy that there is also a process of our own transformation happening, and many times I have simply only been able to “do no harm,” and then something will shift inside me and new, more creative responses become more natural and possible.

    It is a long journey (well, it has been for me!) and one of the most important gifts I ever received was encouragement from others, and the exhortation to be kind to myself. I wish the same for you.

    Many blessings,
    Stacy

    • I really love the prayer idea! I will have to remember to incorporate that into my mornings :) The clear water imagery has truly been helping me find places of peace where I never thought I could before. It is definitely a journey, and we all slip up, and I’m learning to forgive myself.

  5. What good advice! When I get stressed out and want to yell, my goal is to freeze. Not say or do anything until I have taken a moment to think about why I am upset, why my child is doing that, and what is needed from me. I fail at this a lot! Maybe the water imagery would help.

    • The water imagery has been helping me a LOT. I think “wait – is my water clear?” and no. . . it’s usually cloudy with stress or self-criticism, or embarrassment or false expectations. I have been learning that itt’s usually MY hang ups that cloud up my water. . . not my daughter’s actions.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank u for this focus- I am working hard to not raise my hand toi my kids. The muddy water image is key !

    • I am glad that my experiences can help you on your journey. We’re all in it together! Yes, I have to remember all the time. . . “don’t step in the muddy water- just wait and calm down.”

Trackbacks

  1. Lemons. says:

    [...] can do is be sure about my values, and release the nasty emotions that are causing me stress.   I need my water to be clear so that I can go on doing what I do. . . mothering, studying, writing, helping, and creating. . . [...]

  2. [...] are lovely meditations, imagery, prayers, and physical activities that can help with anxiety and stress, but many parents [...]

Join the conversation! I blog to connect with YOU