|Posted by communications on July 15, 2020 at 10:25 AM|
Ode to Child-Rearing Through a Pandemic: A Parenting Manifesto
My own children are grown and self-sufficient (for the most part). Thinking about young families deprived of extended playgroups, without access to story time at the library, and managing an on-line curriculum makes me wince. My heart goes out to you all. On the flip side, you have likely found a new fondness for your children that comes of seclusion and uninterrupted time free from schedules and meetings. I smile to watch my neighbors’ arsenal of outdoor activities multiply. First it was the new bicycles, then the badminton net, now the above ground pool. Sigh. We ALL want school to start again but have niggling fears.
I take this opportunity to share a particularly poignant narrative highlighted by Fr. Richard Rohr who says, “Brené Brown knows the importance of vulnerability and open-heartedness. In her book Daring Greatly, she offers a parenting manifesto that can serve as a touchstone when we feel afraid or resist vulnerability. You might read it aloud to your child, someone you love, or yourself:”
Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude. I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.
Dear Lord. Thank you for the gift of our children. Help us to love them just as you love us. Being a parent is not an easy task, but with you, Lord, everything is possible. May our children learn from our examples of patience, kindness, and rejoicing in love.