The last day of school is coming up. Slowly but surely, we will call it a wrap on one of the most challenging school years to date. But we made it through! I think we all deserve a pool party for this one.
There were so many ups and downs this past year – times when our kids lost it, other times when we lost it. There were times when we might have questioned if they were learning anything at all. Pressure and frustration mounted at times. And now, as we wind down the year, we can think about the learning that is enduring.
Our children have grown immeasurably this year – in resilience, in coping with hard feelings, in longing for grandparents which made them appreciate them even more. The enduring lesson for me is how to continue to grow in unconditional love for my kids. Parker Palmer writes about unconditional love as the fertile ground from which our children can actualize their soul qualities, or as he puts it, move toward “true self.” He writes:
“The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love, neither judging us to be deficient nor trying to force us to change but accepting us exactly as we are. And yet this unconditional love does not lead us to rest on our laurels. Instead, it surrounds us with a charged force field that makes us want to grow from the inside out – a force field that is safe enough to take the risks and endure the failures that growth requires.” (Parker Palmer, “A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life” p 60)
With the summer before us, let’s notice when we are judging and criticizing our kids or partners. Let’s think instead:
Where are you in creating a “charged force field” of unconditional love in your family?
What’s one voice you would need to quiet (voice of criticism or judgement) in order to create it?
What’s one step you can take in that direction?
For me, I want to think about how I speak to my kids and how my words ‘land’. I want to pay more attention to the times that I see their soulful qualities shine through – one child’s empathy, another child’s creativity, a third one’s risk-taking, and adventurous spirit and then share those observations back to them later on.
In these summer months that lie ahead let’s pay keen attention to the qualities that make our kids uniquely them – worthy, capable, and poised for their next stage of growth.
Wishing you blessings for the journey,