So what brought you here today? What are you looking for?
Want to parent better? Kids don’t take care of themselves? They aren’t responsible? Accountable for their actions? They are disobedient?
They don’t realize our loving motives? If they do, they will be able to find more pleasure in life. If they …they will have more freedoms, they will have spending power, they will have decision making ability, they will be present in their life, able to connect with others and with their own personal journey, they will. You name it. They will find the shortest, most direct route to their brilliance and resources to achieve what they were designed to do – service in any form. Is this so much to ask? Wink.
How can we help them see? By starting with Me. Do this generosity for ourselves. How many times do we point outside of Me to find a place of control for Me? Even to the small about packing lunch – as if forced to pack our children’s lunch, we point out.
Drifting down, how many times does our child complain of what we put in their lunch? What would happen if they packed it for themselves? What would happen if they ate what they packed? Oh, just junk. …Who purchased the junk food? Where did it come from? It swirls on. This reminds me of the musical, “Into the Woods.” “It’s her fault! It’s your fault.!”…
But here’s the anchor. We are free. We are free caregivers.
Freedom is like a lovely package wrapped in the most exquisite paper, tied with a bow so lovely that we know it came from God. It is sitting in front of us. Like all real gifts, the gift of freedom is free. It has nothing to do with my bank. It came because of the Giver, not because of the merit of the recipient – Me.
Me, that is to say any one of us, cannot unearn the gift either. Freedom is like that gift that keeps reappearing no matter how we try to get away from it. Does it become a curse? We are free to make it one because even if we don’t claim it, even if we don’t choose to be accountable to our decisions, it doesn’t change that we are. And when we are finally able to look in, with insight, and have knowledge – we are accountable to what we see.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
“therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. …but now mine eye seeth thee.”
Does the gift, freedom, turn into a curse?
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Every person who grows in knowledge and understanding at some point hopefully says that they grow also in understanding how little they know and have yet to learn. This is what comfort we have in knowing that in the eternity of forever that comes ahead after this life, we won’t run out of things to do.
We all talk as if we know more than we know, with pride and forgotten humility. I want to turn this over, but repentance in this case cannot be as implied – once and for all. It is recurrent at best and I surrender the frequency and my degrees of insight to God and you. Feel free to take Me gently along with you on our travels. I hope our kids will be that good to Me when given the opportunity. I have no doubt, they hope the same of us. But you can see, it starts with Me.
What is a true friend? It is one who loves. Starting with Me. What is parenting better? It is giving to yourself what you want your kids to have.
The Stoic, Seneca the Elder, wrote,
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.
(And here I thought I was the one who came up with, “Friend to Yourself!!!!” Oh nasty tumble.)
This is what it is; hard, easy, soft and difficult. Having each other to help Me be friendlier to myself is a big advantage. You are so valuable to Me. Knock Me down and catch Me – whatever pride and forgotten humility leave Me needing. Thank you.
Question? How does being a friend to yourself improve your parenting or caregiving of others? Please tell us your story.
Self-Care Tip: Be as good to yourself as you want your loved ones to be to themselves. Be a friend to yourself.
- Caregiver Burnout (kristycaremanager.wordpress.com)
- Stoicism to The Rescue (middleclassrunner.com)
- Giving and Getting (mommymanders.com)
- Stoicism 101 (fourhourworkweek.com)
- You are the Best Gift (FriendtoYourself.com)