Seeing the best in life's challenges

“Perfect” Parenting (LOL)

The theme coming at me today is all about how we raise kids.  This is a topic very near and dear to my heart, and has historically been a huge research topic for me, while trying to figure out how to be a “good mom” to my kids.

One conclusion I have come to is that we can only do the best that we can do at each moment in time.  We will never be “perfect” (whatever that means) and I don’t even think we would want to appear perfect.  Part of what I want my kids to understand, is that you do the best you can, with good intent, but life is life and all we can do is learn from it and keep growing.

I also see that each child is a unique individual.  There’s that nature vs. nurture question that always comes up, but it’s even more complicated than that.  If you see each child as the soul that they are, here to have a human experience that is custom designed by them, for them, you realize that each situation is custom-tailored to that kid, and by definition, you ARE the perfect parent for your kid, BECAUSE of your strengths, weaknesses, and quirks.  Try thinking about it that way!

So this morning, I read a great blog post by Dan of Single Dad Laughing, about how he’s feeling like a crappy dad.  We all feel this way sometimes.  Look, if you are trying and are caring, you are being a good parent.  We can all stand to go easier on ourselves.

This comes after a 24 hour period in my own life where I’ve freaked out on my 3 kids (and I knew I was doing it and it was really on purpose, I had hit my limit) about being too demanding and being ungrateful. 

You see, some of us, like Dan, seem to get these Angel Children.  I know people who have these kids and I am jealous (JK, well, mostly).  Others of us get kids that are here to push us.  We each get what we are supposed to get, depending on what we are working on.  My kids are amazing, wonderful people, but they definitely know who they are, what they want, and they are Self Advocates.  They are not here to be sweet and make me feel happy, although they do that sometimes.  No, they push me and have made me think a lot, self-reflect, and grow and learn a great deal.  My job has been to both support them in being who they are, while at the same time giving them feedback so they can learn how “who they are” works or doesn’t as they interact with various people in the world.

Which brings me to the next post I read.  When you have an obviously unique child, it’s hard not to contemplate where they come from, why they are here, why you got them, and how this whole thing works in terms of which souls are born when.  (It’s how I found Lee Carroll and Kryon, because of his books on Indigo Kids.)  So, is it really that much of a stretch to read this interview, of an 8 yr. old boy, who knows his own Soul Purpose and is giving us parents advice on how to raise kids these days? 

A friend emailed me today about her own challenges with her kid.  Every situation is different, every parent is different, every kid is different, and the game, if you will, is to figure out as much as you can about how to handle it all.  Those basic ideas of trusting your heart and what feels right, and also, trusting your kid to tell you what they need, are both a big help in figuring it out.

To go further out on a limb, read my friend David’s post here.  You have to be willing to open your mind and consider any option, let go of the ideas of what you are “supposed” to do, run it through your own mental reasoning, pass it by your heart and your feelings, and then go with what you come up with.  Accept that this is a complicated and interactive process, and what works for me won’t necessarily work for my kid, what works for me as a parent won’t necessarily work for you as a parent, and what works for me might seem crazy to any or all observers out there.

There is a lot of guilt clouding parenting these days.  Recognize it for what it is, and maybe read some Scary Mommy or posts from Lenore Skenazy (this particular post about Mom Guilt.)  Share your stories and laugh.  I tell my kids all the time, I am just doing the best I can – nobody is perfect.  The fun part for many of us, is that after we have the experience of being parented, we get to try out the other side and do it our own way.  Humbling, huh?


1 Comment »

The Reality Distortion Field

When I read Steve Jobs’ biography over Christmas break 2011, Chapter 11 hit me like a ton of bricks.  I know this Reality Distortion Field very well.

As described by Andy Hertzfeld, “The reality distortion field was a confounding mélange of a charismatic rhetorical style, indomitable will, and eagerness to bend any fact to fit the purpose at hand.” (p. 118)   Apparently, Jobs consistently insisted that impossible tasks be completed in impossible time frames, and somehow, through sheer will, the impossible would be accomplished.  The phrase had been adopted from a series of episodes of Star Trek, “in which the aliens create their own new world through sheer mental force.”

The biography is a great read, and very meaty.  It is at once the history of a company, the life story of a very interesting human being, and the tale of how our world has changed.  All fascinating.  For me, Jobs is a perfect case study of a human being who came into this world with a consciousness well ahead of most of the rest of us.  He felt that the rules did not apply to him, and he had a very strong sense of what he wanted to accomplish.  His path was also fraught with many challenges and obstacles.  In the end (as he left this world), just look at the impact he and Apple have made.  Go back 20, even 10 years, and where the company is today is stunning and unexpected.  I used Macs in the early 1990s, and I know very well how they were positioned in the market at that time and how they were viewed by the establishment.  Everybody knew that the IBM compatible PC was the way to go.  Ha!

I know this reality distortion field because I am the mother of a similar human being.  The Jobs biography speaks very little about how his childhood affected his parents, but I can only imagine how busy he kept them.  It is also obvious that they believed in him.

Steve Jobs was a pioneer.  When we look back at what pioneers accomplish, hindsight allows us to appreciate and idolize them, but we tend to forget how tough the process was when everyone thought they were crazy, arrogant, and impossible to deal with.

The thing we have to remember is, where pioneers go, more will follow.  Kids today come into this world as different animals.  We want to diagnose them, drug them, control them in any way we can, to make them act like kids “are supposed to act.”  Well, maybe kids were supposed to act like that 30 years ago, but it’s not the way they are built today.  They are not the same type of human being and all of our efforts are only going to frustrate us and hold them back.

Parenting these kids is a whole new ball game.  I have read more parenting books than you would care to imagine.  I understand that my kids are here to teach me lessons that I would not get if they were “easy”.  I have learned so much and grown so much because of them.  I have been amazed at their wisdom and what they are capable of when we trust them.

Instead of viewing kids as flawed, what if we looked at them as pioneers?  As wise, powerful beings who will push us, teach us, help lead us forward?  What if we strive to enable them, rather than tether them?  Stop holding them back and making them “wrong” and start appreciating them for who they are?

I feel for these young pioneers, because the world does not understand them and tries to beat them into submission.  Our educational systems are designed for the child of yesterday.  We no longer live in yesterday.  No wonder kids are acting out, parents are out of their minds, and teachers are exhausted.

How much longer will we try to force that square peg into a round hole?


Interested in more thoughts on our educational system and how it can better serve today’s kids?  Take a look at David’s blog Eduspire.  He has lots of interesting things to say about educating our kids.



1 Comment »