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.

Grandparenting– great fun!

I am so bummed. I can’t manage to get my IBSD under control. It is better than it was but still giving me problems. I feel bad complaining because I don’t have the problems that many people have. The hardest part is not being in control

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There is a new baby about to be born into our family and the mother is sure that her child will be perfect. I suspect that most of us felt that way before we had children. We had expectations that were usually completely wrong. When we are young and naive we think that everything will go the way we expect…and then life begins.

 

When we have children life is no longer in our control. It really isn’t anyway but we don’t realize that until things go wrong. Children are their own selves and have their own minds and personalities. Every day is a new experience. It is amazing how quickly they get smarter than their parents. They are superior at reading moods, finding loopholes and pitting parents against each other.

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It makes me glad that I am a grandparent and great-grandparent and can love the children and send them home. Life is good!

Celebrate today

It is important to live your life. Every single day is important. It doesn’t matter if the day is bad or good. You are still alive. At some time in everyone’s life we realize that there are more days behind us than ahead. Sometimes this realization is hard to take but life is still out there.

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If I sit in my chair and sink into sadness or depression because I have acknowledged this fact then I miss today and the days that are ahead of me. What a waste that would be. Many people in my life are gone. To not live each day and wring every bit of joy out of it would be a disservice to them. They don’t have more days but I do.

Most of them lived full lives and showed me, by example, how to live with all the passion you can muster…..no matter the circumstances.

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Today is the day that I have in front of me. It may be good, it may not. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that I experience it…that I live it fully, consciously, and lovingly. That is the only thing to do. If I do that the rest of my days, however many, will have meaning.

Cleaning….inside out

CleanLadyI suspect that everyone knows the phrase “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I’m working on it. I have continued to clean out drawers, closets, and now file cabinets. I am sure that when I get it all cleaned out I can start again where I began. It has made me wonder am I cleaning out the right places?

 

Maybe it is me I should be cleaning out. I know that I don’t spend enough time in quiet and contemplation. I waste time doing trivial things to keep from looking to deep inside. There are things inside I don’t want to think about.

After my latest episode with IBSD I have pondered on how quickly I move from a physical problem to anxiety…the mental problem. Obviously I have not spent enough time cleaning out the mental closets. Am I cleaning the house to avoid cleaning myself? It is certainly something to think about.

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Cleaning out is good. It makes me feel I have accomplished something. Now I just need to do the same thing about those inner closets.

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.

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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.

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

Again with the change?

Today I am back from traveling again.’I think that traveling lowered my immunity and I am coming down with a cold. Always something to add to life. This too will pass. I’ve been at my other daughter’s home because of a baby shower for my grandson and his wife. Life is always messy. The odds of everything being perfect are astronomical. 

The shower was wonderful. Everything it should have been but….. as always expanding families create issues with change. I am going to be ever hopeful and hope that they work themselves out.

As we get older, we tend to look at the big picture. Life, hopefully, is long with much time to tweek things so that they work out. I live always with hope and some positive vibes.

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As usual, change always rocks the boat. Most of us don’t really like change. Me too! I would be happy if things just kept on as they are but that is not realistic. Sometimes change is good and sometimes not. We do have to try to roll with the flow but sometimes that is so hard. The trick for is to try not to look too far ahead. I have to keep reminding myself to take one day at at time…sometimes one minute at a time. Just keep going.

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.

 

Share yourself

Our society expects us to maintain a facade. We must never seem broken or fragile. Society sees this a weakness. Underneath all of that the reality is that it is frightening. If you are shattered maybe that will happen to me.

Think about how we greet people. “How are you? I’m fine.” We may be suffering but oh dear we better not share it. I have heard people respond “not okay” and the other person doesn’t even acknowledge what has been said. Too often we don’t want to hear it. It might draw us into the pain and suffering that we don’t want to see.

In truth, most of us are balanced on a precipice and feel that a little shove might push us over. We wouldn’t want anyone else to see this as that would diminish us in their eyes.

Most of my life people have sought me out to share their fears and their pain. I don’t think I am at all special. It is because I have never hidden my own wounds and am willing to open myself to others. I’m not sure why I am this way but it is who I am. Being this way is not always comfortable but it has given me the opportunity to show compassion and love.

Never be afraid to share your true self. Some will turn away but it is their own fears that cause that. Showing others how you have learned and continue to move on will give them hope.

 

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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.”

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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.

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