An amazing manifesto from parent to child

This is from my daily readings by Richard Rohr. I find this truly amazing and wish I knew about it when my children were small. I plan on creating a copy for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My whole family needs a beautiful framed copy of this!

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Researcher 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 a 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.”

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Avery: 2012), 244-245. Visit brenebrown.com for a copy of the manifesto and other resources.

Fast money = big interest

Today has been calm and a nice break. The weather is hot but after all it is summer. Today I did another mediation. It is amazing to me the terrible fixes people can get themselves into. Sometimes I just want to say “what were you thinking?”

loans

So many of the mediations are about loans. Not today but I have seen cases where people borrowed money and I’m sure they had no idea how 25% interest would affect them. You can quickly end up owing so much more money than you started out with. Money management is one of those things that should be taught in school. Someone should show them how if you borrow money at that interest rate you will be in trouble fast.

I have heard some educators recently talking about things that should be taught. It seems that people need education on practical matters. I don’t know what happened. Are parents not teaching money management or cooking at home any more. My parents made sure that I understood about life issues. I may not have wanted to hear it but they told me anyway.

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Sometimes I feel so sorry for the people who end up in a legal problem because no one explained the basics to them. Quick money = big interest. It is important to pay attention and know what you are doing.

Treat people well

This has been a busy day. My youngest daughter and her family are coming to visit tomorrow and I am a cleaning fool. I keep reminding myself that this is family and everything doesn’t have to be perfect but oh well.

clean house

I remember when our children were young and someone would call and say “we’re in town and wondered if we could come and visit.” That was what we called “Emergency Clean.” Everyone knew what that meant and everything not in place was shoved in closets etc. so the house looked clean. In a funny was it was exciting to do. The kids pitched in and the house was a whirl.

You would think with just two of us the house would be clean all the time but I have never let cleaning come before people. My house is always ok. It may not be so you can eat off the floors but it is fine to live in.

For me, people are more important. If a friend calls and needs help I will stop what I am doing and help. My husband is the same way. We care about others and are willing to help where we can. Most of our friends are the same way.

do-good-to-others-2We are blessed to be where people care. My Aunt used to say “you get out of the world what you put into it.”  This makes sense. We have to do the right things. We have to respect others, treat them well, love them and care for them. Everyone may not behave the same but it is up to us to be an example. Maybe it will help.

A letter to my grandchildren #3

There will be many people in your lives. Every person you interact with is unique.

Family

family-sayingsFrom your first breath you have been part of a family. It is a good family. This is a wonderful blessing. There are so many different kinds of families and you have been blessed with one that is loving and caring. That is not true for everyone. Does this mean that your family is perfect? Absolutely not! We have our quirks and failings. You will like some members of the family more than others and it’s ok. We can’t find agreement  with everyone and that is true of family too. I have always believed that family is important. When the chips are down you should be able to count on your family. From what I know about our family this is true.  You may have done something you are not proud of. You may have hurt someone. You may think no one will understand and accept you. This is not true. Members of our family may be upset but we will never turn our backs on you. You are loved more than words can say and always will be. NO MATTER WHAT.

Friends

good friendsFriends are one of the most important things in life. A true friend will stick with you through thick and thin. Take the time to make friends and keep the communication lines open between you. Friendship can last a lifetime if you nurture it. Don’t let grass grow up on the path between you.

Acquaintances

True friends are few but acquaintances are many. You will meet many, many people in your lifetime. Some will be a positive influence and some will not. Don’t let the negative ones stay. They will drag you down with them. Life is too short to suffer negative people. Sometimes you will not recognize them right away but when you feel that drag pulling you down let them go. They are not worth the trouble.

Work and People

inspiring happy workplace quotesWherever you work there will be a variety of people. Some will make your work easier and your days better….some will not. It may be harder to shake off the problem people in that environment.. You may have a bad boss or a co-worker who tries to stab you in the back. Work is necessary in this life and some environments are difficult to live through. Remember to keep your eye on the big picture. If things are bad…Can you change jobs? Can you move departments? If not function in the best way you can. Kindness with others is always the best policy even if they don’t reciprocate. Meanwhile keep your eyes open for a better place to work.  Your relative, Jenny, says you need two out of three things (at least) in a job. 1. A great salary 2. A wonderful work environment 3. A job you love. If you don’t have at least two it is time to move on.

Are there still good people?

People are always interesting. You never know what you may find. I have learned that getting to know what is inside a person can make an amazing difference. Sometimes we think that someone is a terrible person only to find out that they are living with some really difficult things that have caused them much pain. Their behavior may be a reflection of that and not what you see on the surface. Don’t judge until you know the truth.

Good-people

We hear so many bad things today and it makes us think there is no good any more but this is not true. So many people are loving and giving. You just don’t hear about them. It is our love for our fellow humans that makes the world a livable place. Continue to reach out with caring and goodness will follow.

Advocate for yourself

If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.

Consider-the-Source

I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.

When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.

advocate

You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Watch! You may find wisdom

Each of us has a story. Story is so important. It sticks with us so much more than classes or text books. We often think of story as fiction but so many wonderful stories are true and the people were real. Some of the greatest learning experiences have been taught with the use of story. I had a history professor in college who said that good historical fiction taught us more about lives in the past than anything else.

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Story also comes from TV, movies and our own lives. Lately I seem to find great meaning in the oddest movies or programs.

I can’t begin to count the wisdom I have acquired in stories…. fiction and non-fiction. I often find a quote that I have to ponder on. I actually keep a handwritten quote book with things that have taught me or touched my heart. Here are several of my favorites:

Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. From “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson

To live is to dance in and out of the shadow of joy. From the blog “The Death Project.”

Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with sharp teeth. It will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. From the movie “Amish Grace.”

We have the best system of government the world has ever seen but it is only as good as the people in charge. From the TV show “Madame Secretary.”

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Wisdom shows up in the most unexpected places. We have to pay attention to catch it. The things you learn are worth the effort.

 

Explore options

My husband has taught me over the years some comments that he lives by. One of my favorites is “there is always a solution…it may not be the one you envisioned or wanted but there is one.”

problem

I have so often found this to be true. Sometimes the idea that we have can’t be done the ordinary way. We don’t need to give up but be willing to search until we come up with something else that will work. This kind of thinking has lead me to be creative in my solutions and come up with ideas that I might not have found before. It helps me to not give up.

Over the years I have seen my husband (a structural engineer) receive awards for buildings that he was told “it can’t be done that way.” He does it. It works and stands the test of time.

I know that over the years he has learned things from me too. I am a people person and am astute at judging motives and at nudging out the truth. People usually open up to me. I am absolutely no good at math and engineering. I have always been the literature/psychology person.

When I was young I wanted to be a nurse but thought I couldn’t get through the science part to get to the people part. My first college degree was History/Music. Later in life I made up my mind to defy my fears and sturdy nursing. I found out I could do the science since I love learning about human anatomy, diseases and how to help those with problems related to them.

My people skills led to living the last 20 years of my career as a parish nurse. This brought all of my experience, skills and faith and wrapped them up in one package. It was an amazing experience.

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I always tell young people to not worry if they don’t know their passion or their path right away. Just leap out and do something. You have time to do many things and pursue many ideas in your life. Never give up exploring. Something you thought early on may change with time and experience. It is never too late to make changes if you have the desire and the drive to do it. As my husband’s quote says there always is a solution. It may not be the first one you find. Jut keep on and try different things until it works!

Shared wisdom

gardentimeToday was my first major day of gardening ending my lull during winter. Now I need to keep to a schedule or else the whole thing will become overwhelming. I worked so hard last year to get things to a maintenance state so I hope this year will be easier. We have a huge yard with lots of leftover plantings my grandmother did. Some of it is wonderful but some things completely took over after she died my aunt was in charge. She kept near the house neat and ignored the rest. After clearing out last year I can now recognize the places where some change needs to take place. I can get that done this year and be in good shape.

I like some gardening. it is really good exercise and fun to see the results but I don’t want to feel that it demands my attention every day. There is something about planting something and seeing it grow that gives me a sense of the continuity of life.

seed growingA friend gave my grandmother a needlework picture that says: “Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see believes in God.” I have this memento hanging in my house and love it!

 

My grandmother was an amazing person. She was born in the 19th century and lived to be 100 years old. I often went to her for advice and to tap into her wisdom. She grew up on a rice farm and watched the help beat the rice in a large mortar and pestle and throw it into the air to let the wind take the chaff away. She played the pump organ at her church and loved music. I was blessed to have her in my life.

I hope that those growing up now are taught to respect and appreciate their elders. There is so much that can be learned from those of us who have lived and learned. Our experience is there to share and it’s free.

advice-of-elders

Core values and end of life

medical_business_partners_core_valuesThere are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?

How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?

In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.

It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)

These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.

What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide?  It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.

decisionIn my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.

If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.

If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.