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Entries in parenting (2)

Thursday
Nov122015

What Is Your Ultimate Dream as a Parent?

If you are a parent, what is your ultimate dream? I posed this question to myself recently and answered it in the form of a letter my daughter would write to me when she is an adult:
 
Dear Dad,
     I am so grateful for the father you have been to me. You allowed me to be myself and forge my own path in life, all the while supporting and loving me. I always knew you believed in me, even when I struggled or made mistakes. This helped me believe in myself and develop the inner strength needed to overcome challenges in my life. You were so easy to talk to because you listened intently to what I had to say, without forcing your opinion on me. I felt comfortable sharing things with you because I knew I wasn't being judged. When you made a mistake or got frustrated with me, you admitted it and were willing to apologize. When you had to say "no" you did it with kindness, and although I may have been outwardly frustrated I knew it was coming from love. Throughout your life I noticed how you took great care of yourself--physically, emotionally, and spiritually--so now I do the same.
      Your love and care for Mom showed me that relationships with significant others are meant to be supportive and nurturing, because I saw it firsthand. I remember you two expressing appreciation for each other often and quickly resolving your differences with respect when they arose. And most of all, through your example, I learned how to live an extraordinary life filled with love, joy, and success-unafraid to FOLLOW MY DREAMS. Thank you for being my father and for all you have instilled in me. 
 
Your Loving Daughter
 

 

Yes this vision is lofty, and I am certainly not on target all of the time, but I will continue to strive to make this dream my reality. This exercise was powerful because it has helped me to consider more often whether I am being the parent that would receive this letter. I will stop and ask myself, "Am I modeling these values? Am I being this type of parent?" If you are a parent, I encourage you to do the same exercise and see what arises. What is your dream letter that your child would write to you as an adult (or some point in the future if they are already an adult)? 

 

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Thursday
Oct012015

The Secret to Living an Extraordinary Life

Jacob was not satisfied with his life. Just about every aspect of life, including his marriage, work, friendships, etc., felt stale and stagnant. He couldn’t even remember the last time he felt excitement and passion for something. He had heard about a wise old sage that could answer burning questions, so he decided to seek his counsel. At the meeting with the sage Jacob presented his dilemma, “Dear Sage, I have heard that you are wise and can help answer important questions. I am not happy with my life and need guidance. I ask you, how can I live an extraordinary life? Is there a secret you can share with me?” The sage looked curiously at Jacob, pulled out a large crystal ball, and peered carefully into its center. A look of alarm suddenly appeared on the sage’s face as he replied, “Forget about living an extraordinary life. I have seen your future and you will be dead by tomorrow morning!”

Jacob dashed out the door and began sprinting toward home as fast as he could. On the way he couldn’t help but think of all the time he had wasted worrying about trivial matters. When he arrived, he fell to his knees in front of his wife and proclaimed, “My dear, I sought the wisdom of the sage and his crystal ball foretold that I will be dead in the morning.” They both knew this was their last day together so they opened their hearts, cried together, and allowed themselves to forgive all past grievances. They openly expressed their love for each other and felt gratitude for the journey they co-created in this life. There was no reason to fear getting hurt anymore so they were able to look deeply into each other’s eyes and feel an intimate connection.   

Jacob looked at his children and suddenly realized he had been placing unnecessary expectations on them to be a certain way. Knowing this would be his last time with them, he let go of all the expectations and just loved them fully in the moment, and they played, laughed, and hugged each other for hours. He stayed up as long as he could because he wanted to make this night last, until finally falling asleep.

The next morning Jacob woke up and was surprised to be alive. He ran back to the home of the sage, burst through the door and exclaimed, “I am still alive! How could this be? Was the crystal ball mistaken?” The old sage looked at him and calmly replied, “You asked for the secret to living an extraordinary life. The crystal ball was not mistaken. It gave you the answer you were seeking.”

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