The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Friday, March 23, 2012

Raising a Healthy Child, While Also Raising Your Self, Buddhist Style

Click on the link below and you will understand why I am Sensei's student. Whether you are a parent-to-be, in the midst of parenting, or empty-nesting, these are words of wisdom!

Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1 | InCultureParent

Ah, there is much in Sensei Stultz's article above that could have been most useful to me as a young mother, but at this stage of the game, it is not productive to look back with recriminations.
I was often isolated, baffled, exhausted and self critical as a new mother, but I did learn how to learn from my mistakes, and that took miles and miles of radical acceptance, from both my self and my children!

As he mentions in his article, Sensei's biggest lessons in child rearing were learned through the process of making mistakes and beginning again in a new, creative way.
That was true for me as well. And self acceptance was/is the key.

Being a creative parent means living in the moment, it means bringing "beginner's mind" to each interaction, and refreshing compassion and wisdom, without the fog of delusion.

And it oftentimes means "following the child", a tip from Maria Montessori's brilliant and direct observations of what happy children require for growth and nurturance.
I remember being able to do this a good deal of the time when my children were small, and we had great fun.
I also recall times when I was locked into inflexible, dramatic, stress-inducing somnolence, times when it was impossible to determine who was the child and who was the parent.

Hmmmm, bet my kids remember those times too, and probably many I've simply conveniently forgotten!

I remember thinking how wonderful it would be if there could only be a lull in the child rearing drama--like how about a lifetime of everything wonderful staying the same....forever!

Why did it always seem that as soon as we had dealt with one child's meltdown, a sibling decided it was her turn? And so the cycle continued.
I even wondered if the children were looking at a calendar together and deciding whose turn came next, what the severity of the event might be, (stitches, knocked out tooth, bed-time smack down, projectile vomiting), or how long the event could possibly last (a year of growing pains, a broken heart, expulsion from school) and finally, how might the event possibly involve the entire extended family for maximum drama (fill in the blank).
As a young mother, I needed a refresher course in Impermanence 101.
The law of the Dharma; there is no lull.

But children grow up.
And now I am allowed to be a grandmother, which brings a 100 mega-watt smile to my face. I get to try being with a little child all over again, and when the going gets rough, I get to hand baby back to her parents....or maybe just hang in and be present.
Maybe just being Buddha with Buddha!

Gassho Sensei!

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