Our children, regardless of age or gender, face frustrating challenges every day. When those daily difficulties and frustrations arise, our challenge is to 'Let Love Rule'. Helping our children navigate these challenges is our duty and we must do so in a loving and caring manner, regardless of the emotional turmoil or determined resistance of the child. When a child is met with love, and we disregard where on our perceived 'good/bad' spectrum they appear to be, they will be more willing to accept our suggestions and assistance than if they had been met with a less kind response based on how we felt things 'should' be happening.
“Sounds great,” you may say, “but how do you stop your ire and/or frustration from dictating your response and find clarity in the tough moments.” For the past three plus years I have been struggling with this question myself and have been working to increase the amount of patience, understanding and compassion I am able to bring to difficult interactions that arise with my children. I have found that a dedication to mindfulness practice is paramount to developing the ability to recognize your emotional response and to reel in any unconscious reactions.
Ok, so maybe you are curious, but unsure about how to get started. Mindfulness may not be a familiar concept to you, so let's define it and see if that helps and then get into some concrete examples of how to integrate mindfulness practice into your daily routine. Here is a definition of mindfulness that I hope works for most of us; mindfulness is the bringing of kind awareness to our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment as they unfold in the moment.
“Um great, but would you mind running that by me again?” Sure, here’s another take on it. When you are practicing mindfulness you are an unbiased, dispassionate observer of what is happening in the present moment. You refrain from pronouncing judgment on any of your sensory intake or even the thoughts that flow through your mind. You just allow what is to be, quieting habitual thought patterns and allowing clearer, more rational solutions to be brought forth. When you step back from the chaos of the moment you are more easily able to reach out to your child with loving kindness.
If you feel that mindfulness sounds like something worth giving a go, then try out these informal practices that can be done during your everyday routine. Ones that I have been using and have found to help.
Again, my main purpose here is to start fathers talking about these tools that are available to us and how best to integrate them into our home lives. You may comment below or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let Love Rule,