This world we live in is beautiful. There is so much goodness, so much kindness, so much love. Most of the people in it are good, and they will be helping us raise our children. I am so grateful for that.
I often wonder if the “scary” in the world feels a little scarier lately because I have kids of my own now. Or maybe it only seems scarier because it is easier for everyone to hear about it through technology. Or maybe it really is a little scarier. Regardless of all the goodness in the world and regardless of the why, the world does seem scarier lately and the scary seems closer.
There are too many guns, too much violence, and too many people hurting. I get overwhelmed with the feeling of helplessness. And then, like a little flickering light, I get reminded of the good. I hear something, talk to someone, or read something that reminds me how HUGE an impact I can have without even changing much. Today I felt like the little lights that have flickered for me in the last days all came together in such a bright way that I had to write them down before I let the scary darken it.
There is a part in one of my favorite books where a good man is preaching truth and light, but the people will not listen and finally cast him out of the land. He is about to return to his own land when he feels prompted to “Return again” and simply teach what comes into his heart.
I think that is what being a mom or a dad or a spouse or a good friend or just the type of person that is trying to flicker some of that light to the frustrated person in the grocery line is often about. Returning again, even when it is hard. It is not a question of “if” you will ever feel cast out but when. What will you do when you feel cast out from love, from friends, from family, from your children? I want to be the woman who returns again. I want my children to see me always returning again, focusing on the love, on the heart.
The recent shootings are absolutely horrifying. There are too many sick people in this world. A friend recently posted that in one doctor’s office near her home there have been 1,900 suicide attempts reported. That is at ONE doctor’s office in ONE town. There are also a lot of sad and lonely and hurting people. I am sure that the numbers in every town for hurting people are astonishingly high. I know that much of what I do daily could not stop something like a shooting or completely heal somebody’s hurting heart, but I hope that teaching my children to always return again to kindness, to sympathy, to checking on that peer that looked sad could ripple in affect. Let’s make our world a little less scary by teaching our children the power of returning again to kindness, even when it is hard, even when they feel cast out or like it won’t matter.
One of my Mom Idols is Ralphie on instagram as @simplyonpurpose. She teaches to always make your parenting and home safe. When our children are yelling at us it is so easy to take it personally and match their level of intensity and frustration. She shares a quote that has become a personal mantra lately, “Be a lion. I will still be water.” Let’s teach our children how to not act scary when they might feel scary. The only true way to teach this is by example. Ralphie says to look for the one good thing your child might be doing in the middle of a “talking back” or yelling session and say thank you for that. Your child wants to calm down, they want to feel safe and loved, they want to “return again” to your arms with a hug. You can make it easier for them to do this by creating a safe home with less yelling and anger. Let’s make our world a little less scary by teaching our children to return again to being “water,” even in the midst of “lions.”
One of my boys seems to know what I am working on as a mom. He will test and test me all day until finally I feel like the only thing left to do is get ANGRY because none of this “nice mom crap” is working. I had tricked myself into thinking that sometimes anger was necessary, sometimes anger was the only way to get respect. Anger can be slippery though, and I realized I do not respect people who get angry with me so why would my children respect me more when I am angry? I have started to remind myself daily, “Anger is not authority. Calm, consistent consequences get respect.” Let’s make our world less scary by teaching our children that anger does not get respect. We can do this by matching their anger with calm, consistent consequences. There is comfort and beauty in a consistent world with consistent consequences for children. Through this they will learn to return again to calmness when they seek authority and respect from others.
I cannot impact the whole world. I cannot stop all of the violence and hurting. But I can return again to the amazing hope found in Motherhood. I can return again with a renewed sense of purpose to teaching my boys the importance of kindness, the skill of controlling emotions even when it is hard, and the best way to get respect and authority. Mothers can change the next generation by returning again.