Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What has been inspiring me as a parent lately.

Parenting for me has been a lot about letting go, realizing that my children are not a blank slate waiting to be drawn upon, or a ball of clay waiting to be shaped. They already came to us as amazing people with distinct personalities all their own. They are creative, kind, fun, strong, silly, brave, and beautiful. More than trying to shape my children, I am trying to learn to let them be who they are, and to be an encouragement, support, and a safe space.

In a way, it takes some of the pressure off of being a parent; it allows me to be more present and to simply enjoy them. It also allows me to learn from them, rather than think that I am the one who has things to teach them. It allows me to be inspired by them on a regular basis.

Rather than shape their spirit into something I think it should be, my hope is that they can preserve their spirit.

If anything, we become less like our true selves as we grow older and more “mature.”

I love how kids can’t help but be the truest version of themselves.

Everett wears no masks, unless it is to be a superhero. He has not adjusted who he is to be who he thinks society wants him to be. He runs around and jumps up and down at the thought of going to a museum because he can't contain his excitement. He wears a skirt because he likes it. He looks through piles and piles of books for fun. He loves making art every day. He loves deeply and unguarded. The library is one of his favorite places. He asks constant questions so he can learn about every little thing.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it is that causes kids to lose their sense of wonder and magic and love of learning, and what my role is in helping them maintain and cultivate these parts of who they are. 


Here are some things that have inspired me lately on my parenthood journey, that I think would resonate with every parent:
  • Brene Brown's "The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto": beautiful and inspiring words
  • NPR's Hidden Brain podcast- The Carpenter vs. The Gardener: Two Models of Modern Parenting: This is about how parenting is more like being a gardener than a carpenter. A carpenter controls all variables to make a perfect product. A gardener creates a rich environment to grow life, but there are so many factors in gardening that cannot be controlled. There are surprises and successes and disappointments in gardening, but there is only so much that the gardener has control over. Often, there is growth that is beautiful in unexpected ways. There is so much goodness in this podcast.
  • Oprah's Super Soul Conversations- Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Conscious Parenting Can Change the World: This is an interesting conversation about rethinking what success looks like for our kids and not putting our expectations and ideals on them, but instead supporting them to live into who they are. 
  • The New Children's Museum: This is my childrens' current favorite place to go, and we recently got a family pass. Every time we go, I am inspired by the space and how much my children love climbing, painting, playing, creating, and just fully being joyful kids. 
  • "On Children" by Kahlil Gibran: I read this poem before I had kids, and it inspired me, but now that I have actual real life children, it has become something I keep coming back to, especially recently. For now, we have a version we created displayed in our play room (see below- Everett did the water colors, and I wrote the words).

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