A friend of mine went to see Howard Glasser speak about The Nurtured Heart Approach and talking to her after her experience you could feel the inspiration she was feeling. She connected with the message and the approach, the ideas, and the thoughts Mr. Glasser shared. She directed me to a free online course and I am about to embark on. They come in little 3-5 minute bursts of short video over a 30 day period. I have a few stocked up. I thought I would share a few of my reflections as I go...if you are interested you can check out the website here. I am not going to write much...maybe just a quote or two and a connection I could make to it.
“Resist the trap of accidentally energizing negativity! It happens all the time in subtle ways. We accidentally celebrate negativity when we give it our time, energy and relationship. In that way we are sending our child the message that we are willing to celebrate “non-greatness” because that is accidentally what we are most present for.” ~ Howard Glasser
In the first (three minute) video he speaks about how we teach our children that we, as parents, tend to celebrate negative behavior, for example, when our children are making the wrong choice it is then that we give them lots of energy ...we stop and give them our attention, launch into lectures, walk them to a time out spot and get down and chat, hug them, or even redirect by playing with them. We stop what we are doing and give them our attention. And when they are making great choices, playing independently, saying please and thank you, getting their homework done without a battle, putting their clothes in the hamper, or eating their meal without whining, or getting ready and out the door without reminders...we tend to just take it for granted and we don't slow down to acknowledge it or celebrate these moments as much.
As parents, looking to teach our children lessons we take advantage of the tough moments to try and teach responsibility, respect, and the big life lessons...when instead, we could put this energy and teach these lessons when they are actively making great positive choices....when everyone is open to hearing the thoughts and ideas. Instead of when everyone is shutting down or reacting from the gut.
This morning I came down and all three of my kids were playing together with our Little People toys (odd toy choice, I know)...they were working out the little disagreements, they were helping each other...and they played for an hour. But did I say anything. Nope. Did I notice the good. Nope. As soon as things got to the point where this play was no longer going well...that's when my energy was given to them. That's when I reacted and told them to clean up, find something else to do, to not boss each other, and to let Syd play too. Both boys got dressed without my help and without whining. Did I give this great moment energy...nope. But when I asked them to go brush their teeth and then had to ask 4 more times....and then launched into a "if you don't brush your teeth speech"....boy did my heart rate and energy get expelled.
It is such a hard thing to do...but giving your energy to the positive moments in your child's day and giving less energy to the moments when things are falling apart would have such an impact. Today, I am going to pay attention to celebrating a few more positive moments and only giving the rough moments the small amount of energy they deserve. (because, you do have to react to these negative moments, but we can do it with less pizazz, and in a way that doesn't give them so much attention and celebration). And even if I don't get it right today...at least noting that this is something that happens here will help me become aware that my energy can be better spent.
Do you find yourself feeling exhausted after your child has had a rough patch in the day...because you have dealt with the situation with too much energy? And then realize later that you missed a moment to point out something great because you were out of energy?
Share a positive moment when your children deserved more of your energy. (The smaller and simpler moment the better!)