Monthly Archives: January 2013

learning is…

One day, I watched a young child standing on the turned-over rocking boat (now a bridge) in The Parenting Place’s Children’s room trying earnestly to attract her mother’s attention, with a seemingly significant message to deliver.  Her mother, however, was in sight but not close by, busily involved and not able to respond at the moment.

That, however, did not deter this focused little one from calling out to her – repeatedly.  She desperately wanted, needed to show/tell/share something of great importance with her mom.

Right about this time,  another little child, tired of waiting for her turn to go up the steps and stand on the bridge, just decided to go for it.  The first little child shoved her and then the tears flowed.

The mom of the young child who pushed was upset with the way the morning ended and with her child’s behavior.  As parents, it’s hard not to take our child’s behavior personally, to be embarrassed, especially in public.

But, for a child of that age,  it’s difficult if not impossible, to independently allow another child to have a turn while her own passionate need remained unfulfilled.

Our  children’s behavior is a work in progress.

It does not define who our child is – or will be.

Understanding this concept and trusting in it , we can, as Polly Berrien Berends says, ” believe in our child’s genuine goodness even as we go about taking care of the situation at hand – knowing that our child’s goodness is never the issue – even behavior is not the issue – learning is.”……

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Thank you

Change is never easy – for the person setting off in search of a new adventure or for the ones left behind.  This week staff at The Parenting Place heard the news that Lisa Metz, a long-time Parent Educator and friend to many – is setting off on such an adventure for herself.

Her absence will be felt by staff and participants alike for her compassion, her knowledge, her support, her wit, and her creative style.

I was facilitating the children in the Playroom at the old Family Resource Center’s 4th Street location when I first met Lisa.  She was attending Parent Connection as a mom, with her two young boys.  It was years later that Lisa became part of our Parent Education staff, facilitating the Parent Connection group herself, as she has done for many years since.

I want to say personally to Lisa -” You go girl.  Use what you’ve learned, use what you’ve given and gotten in return.  Take the chance – to discover new opportunities and success – and  be happy.”

You will be missed.  We wish you the very best.

Thank you, Lisa.

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an ordinary mom

This weekend in the news I heard of the death of a 92-year-old woman named Jeanne Manford.  Her death made the national news because she was being remembered for her public advocacy in the early 1970’s for her son who was gay.  After he experienced extreme brutality which resulted in hospitalization, this ordinary mom rose to proudly march alongside her son in a parade, holding a sign that declared her love for him and asked other parents to unite in support of their children who were gay.

Her stand at that early time in history was an inspiration and a lifeline to so many other parents, and resulted in a grassroots  organization where parents and grandparents of children who were gay could share their support, questions, love and pride in their children.   That seed has grown to be a national non-profit organizaion, Pflag,  with 350,000 members.

It is the finest gift we can give to our children – the acceptance and validation of their being – and that our love and pride in them is never questioned.

We have come a long way since Jeanne Manford marched with her son in support of his right to be gay, but there are still many other different issues our children face, discriminations to be addressed and hands to be joined.

As parents  – ordinary moms and dads – let’s look, listen, observe, pay attention to what makes all of our children tick.  Let them feel the circle of our love surround them and let’s be the advocates they need to develop- giving them the strength and courage to be whole.

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practice

There’s been a repetitive theme that’s been resonating with me recently and it seems to be all about practice.  Whether it’s meditation, yoga, running,  writing, music, art – it takes attention and practice to do it.

The same goes for parenting.  Parenting is the perfect example of an intensive practice.  It is something we do everyday, no matter whether we feel in the mood or not.  It is a constant commitment that we learn from – our mistakes, our successes, our joy, our path.

For in all practices, we must begin again every day, be patient, mindful, purposeful, motivated in order to reap the benefits.  The for-sure answer we receive when we ask how we can improve is always practice, practice, practice.

Practice can be frustrating.  It is demanding and constant – especially the practice of parenting.  How do we know we are learning?  Polly Berrien Berends in Whole Child/Whole Parent says, “Parenthood is just the world’s most intensive course in love.  We are not parents merely to give or get love, but to discover love as the fundamental fact of life and the truth of our being and thus bring it into expression. “

Wow, that sounds pretty daunting.  To simplify, I would encourage parents to be present, to engage, to look, to notice, to listen, to appreciate, to accept, to forgive, to start over again everyday, to accept imperfection.

And to discover love.

If you would like some suggestions to restore harmony and handle stress in your Parenting Practice, consider signing up soon for our Make and Take (Away the Stress) workshop on Tuesday, February 5th – 6-7:30 PM. at The Parenting Place. Come experience the calmness – discover how to create hands-on items to help your family manage and avoid stressful moments.  Choose an item to make and take with you – directions for others.   Call 784-8125 to register.  Limited childcare is offered so call early. 

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