Amazing Parents

Sometimes it\’s AMAZING. Sometimes it\’s just A MAZE.

The Blueprints We Need For Love

What’s funny to me about the house I live is this: it’s currently falling apart.  The hardwood floors need refinishing.  I need a couple of new vinyl windows for better insulation.  The bathroom needs to be re-tiled.  The yard needs to be better landscaped so it looks pretty again.  But that’s because this house is over 60 years old.  It’s older than my own mother, gasp!  (and that’s really, really old, huh Grandma?)  So after all the years of wear and tear, you’d expect that by now it would need some work.  That’s just life.  Without maintenance, things don’t stay perfect forever.

But what about when the house was first built?  Can you imagine the architect standing on the plot, looking around, with a vision in his mind of what he was about to create.  He works hours and hours and hours to design his vision with precision.  He rolls out the blueprints on the table and with his pencil and eraser, he sketches and erases, and then sketches again and again.  He has to get the house “square”, he has to place the doors and windows just so, and the support beams need to be in exactly the right places.  And even beyond the mechanics of it, there is a certain feel, an ambiance, that he is striving to create.  So he continues to work…and work…taking that feeling from a 2-D idea all the way to a 3-dimensional realistic structure.  He buries himself in the task of creating a place where a family can live.  Forever if they take good care of it.

How much more complicated are human relationships than one dumb stick-built house?  How much harder is it to get our relationships “square”?  Putting all the support beams in just the right place, creating a “feeling” and a structure that is safe and secure?

The thing is, building a house is similar to building a relationship.  Much more complicated, but still the the same.  Relationships, like houses, require the right “blueprint”.  A foundation upon which to begin laying the stones.  The blueprints we have for these relationships come from our experiences in our lives.  Did we have a mother that held us a lot and took our feelings into account?  Was our dad supportive and gentle, or was he stoic and strict?  These are the foundations upon which we begin to lay our parenting stones with our own children.  Think back to your past relationships.  What kind of “blueprints” have you been given?  What kind of foundation did they lay for you to build on?

For many of us, looking back at our blueprints is confusing.  It’s confusing to be asked to build something that you don’t have the blueprints for.  What do we need when our own blueprints are not ideal?  We need support.  We need to find a person or a group that can “reparent” us.  We need them to teach us what it feels like to be heard and cared for.  We need to have an experience of unconditional acceptance and the safety to express ourselves.  It is only when we have these blueprints, that we are finally able to pass that on to our own kids.

Sometimes I work with parents who have been torturing themselves, trying to parent their children in this love-based parenting model.  But after years of trying, they still aren’t getting very far.  The relationship continues to collapse and crumble all around them.  Sometimes they paint the outside, but underneath that paint, it’s still that same old, deteriorating relationship.

To these parents, my heart goes out.  I feel their struggle.  I have lived it.

There are many places out there where we can go to acquire the blueprint we need to parent these children.  There are instructors and therapists that know exactly what support beams you need and where to put them in your life.  So reach out to one of the support groups listed in the side bar.  Post to the Consciously Parenting forums or to the Daily Parenting Reflections group and allow the other parents there to hear your voice and to tell you they love you.  Allow them to support you, right where you are.  Stay in it, soak it all up.  Put your fears to the side and just take in that support.  Because each time you experience that, you build a little more of the blueprints your kids need from you.

Because that’s just what they need too.  They need to be heard and made to feel safe enough to express those big, big feelings.  They need to be unconditionally supported.  They need to be loved.  And so do we.  I have to say, I’m only alive today because somebody loved me.  And not because they had to.  But just because they chose to.  Thank you for that.

(This one is for Rebecca, for finally giving me the blueprints I have needed for so long.  I’ll “pay it forward”.  You know I will.)

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November 27, 2008 - Posted by | A New Paradigm, RAD Education

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