While parenting one of our teens not too long ago I recognized how powerful presence really is.
Our teen was angry. Well not just angry, but raging mad - mixed with doses of rebellion.
Voices were raised, middle fingers flying freely and tempers elevated.
I, of course, was triggered.
I observed my familiar dictatorial thoughts like “He can’t speak to me like that! Who does he think he is? I am going to teach him a lesson about respect! This kid needs to learn boundaries.”
My heart raced and my blood boiled. I could feel my body tensing up and getting ready for a confrontation.
However, this time, I paused.
I took a few breaths and just sat with myself quietly.
And something amazing happened.
My breathing slowed down.
My body started to calm down, soon followed by my righteous thoughts.
I got present.
Then, I got curious.
My mind began to look elsewhere. I wondered what really happened and what could’ve set him off?
I became aware of the moments before the eruption. When I looked closely I could actually see how he got triggered and more importantly, how I played a role in creating that trigger.
Wow, I thought. Very Interesting.
I sat for a moment longer and sank into my vulnerability. Naturally, I watched my ego fight it. I let it all in until I was ready to take my share of responsibility for what occurred.
I went to him calmly and asked permission to talk. Although he was still angry and withdrawn, he agreed.
I started with “I’m sorry.”
His rigid demeanor and hateful eyes looked surprised and reluctant. I could hear him thinking, “Why are you apologizing to me?”
I went on to explain what I thought happened and how I think I contributed and how I understood why he chose to react the way he did. It actually made sense to me.
I watched as he sat in shock. I noticed his rigid shoulders softening, his neck loosening and his eyes welling up. I could feel his reluctance, and at the same time his curiosity.
I could feel him being seen.
It was a powerful moment for me. I learned so much about tuning in. When I get quiet and listen to my inner wisdom I learn so much about myself. I see clearly and I make conscious choices that lead my children and me in the right direction.
One of clarity and connection, where relationships grow and thrive, where trust is built and wounds are healed.
What happened in these moments was as much about me as it was about him. I learned how powerful I am when I get present, take responsibility and get vulnerable.
And he learned how to trust, how to forgive and how to be vulnerable.
When I think about parenting I think about what it is I stand for and what I most want to gift my children. I ask the question, “Who it is I most want to send out into the world one day?”
What I want to participate in cultivating are human beings who grow into adults who know how to be vulnerable, take responsibly for their emotions and reactions, who know how to connect deeply with themselves and others and are willing to take risks even in the face of fear.
I want to raise people who are resilient and forgiving and most of all connected to their hearts.
And above all, that’s who I want to be as a parent.
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