Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Parenting, pt. I

¡Hola! Everybody…
I love summer. I love heat waves and humidity and people getting so sapped, that they almost forget to hurry along. Summer demands that we stop, slow down, and listen. Summer makes us dress scantily and makes us sensual.

The trickle of a bead of sweat,

Sunkissed, lightly toasted breasts…

* * *

-=[ Breaking the Chains, pt. I ]=-

“We… tend to either do what was done to us, or we do the opposite as a knee-jerk reaction. We re-create our childhood, unless we make a very conscious effort to do it differently.”
-- Vickie Falcone

I’m tired of being a parent and as I look at nine-year-old son’s less than stellar first report card of the year, I wonder when will it all stop. I wonder when he’ll finally get it. When will he do his homework without me reminding him. I despair that he will never brushy his teeth, take a shower, or even dress himself unless I remind him.

I’m tired.

The wife has been working long hours at her high-level, demanding job and it seems that I haven’t spoken to another adult in years. I’m tired and feeling resentful. Then I look at my son, who’s looking at me knowing the report card is grounds for some major shitstorms and I just surrender.

I don’t say anything.

I tell Ian to get ready and we go out to the local pizza parlor and have some pizza. We’re silent. He doesn’t know what to expect. We eat in silence. I just want some silence. Finally, he can’t take it anymore. This is not the usual, my being quiet in this way in the face of a less-than-stellar report card, and he asks if everything is OK. I just shrug and order another slice. “I have nothing to say,” I say as I sit back and look at my son. “I give up. You win,” I manage between bites of the delicious pizza.

This makes him extremely uncomfortable.

Eventually, he starts to talk to me. About the report card. About school. About how he feels he needs to focus more and he invites me as we launch into a brainstorming session on how he could better realize his own vision of his potential.

I smile inwardly and I know that this is the practice of freedom

Many of us are slaves to our past. How we parent either passes along the limited and destructive mindset of ego-based living (the Mini Me Factor), or breaks the binding chains of conditioning that has been passed down through the generations. I find it utterly stupid when people say ignorant shit like they beat their children because it didn’t harm them when they were young. Yet, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who say this often suffer from issues ranging from poor impulse control to fear of intimacy.

You’ve been violated, asshole, don’t continue the chain! Or, perhaps you’re like the mother I once saw hitting her child as a way of teaching not to hit. Yeah, that’s a great way to model behavior.

::blank stare::

That’s just plain stupidity.


Please don’t comment that you were beaten as a child and you turned out OK. This is Yahoo/ Multiply: all you ma’fuccas are twisted! Have you looked at the crazy ma’fuccas around here lately?!! You are not “OK.”


Without some form of practice, we parent through default, in the same way we were parented. In that way, we pass down the same patterns of dysfunction from parent to child in very specific ways. We train our children in the same strategies we lived with ourselves. For example, if we feel a deep sense of lack, we may try to alleviate our discomfort through the acquisition of material wealth. If only I were richer, then I could relax. To the degree that we are unsuccessful at fulfilling the dreams that we still believe in, we require that our children live out our ambitions: I never made it, but you can. I have high hopes for you… Whatever our frustrated political, financial, spiritual ambitions, they become our ambitions for the next generation.

On the other hand, you may have fulfilled your ambitions to a certain degree, but realize that they were the wrong ones. Then parenting becomes: Don’t waste your life, don’t make the same mistakes I made. Our ambitions for our children become the antidote to our own mistakes.

Put under this kind of pressure, a child will either obey or rebel, depending on her relationship with her parents and environmental factors: I must get a good job and work hard, my parents know what’s best for me or There’s no way I’m going to do what those losers tell me! What do they know?!! In any case, whether in obedience or in reaction to our influences, our children’s lives are conditioned by our agenda, and in that way our dis-ease is passed on from one generation to another.

We call this bringing up a child.




[Note: I am aware that there are some of you who are perfectly well-adjusted individuals who rarely ever make mistakes and are perfect parents, raising perfect children that you beat with some regularity, but who still manage to be perfectly well-adjusted little kids. There’s medication for you on the way out. For the rest of us, here are some resources I found useful]

Falcone, V. (2003). Buddha never raised kids and Jesus didn't drive carpool: Seven principles for parenting with soul: Jodere Group. (click here to read an excerpt)

Postive Parenting Network (click here)

Mindful Parenting (click here)

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