An Imprinting of Love: How to Be Gentle With Your Kids and Yourself (at the Spiritual Parent)

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I was nine when we moved from our small New England town to the suburban sprawl of Colorado Springs. Everything was bigger there. The houses, the churches, the mountains, somehow even God was larger, more real, more present.

Christianity had been an important part of our family culture before, but now it took center stage. Our social lives oscillated  between attending a mega church (and all of the classes, groups, dinners and activities that came with it) and hanging out at the Focus On The Family complex which was conveniently just down the street.

My brothers and I spent countless Saturdays exploring in the Adventures In Odyssey wonderland while my parents steeped themselves in Dobson’s philosophy. His empire pumped out radio programs, magazines, and parenting books that explained how our “sin natures” caused us to misbehave and directed parents to set firm boundaries via physical punishment and authoritarian shaming to help children understand the dire consequences of their sins.

I’ve been trying to shake off the effects of this toxic approach for years…

Click here to read the rest of this post on the Spiritual Parent blog.

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let them lead us

We waited nearly an hour
fidgeting with phones
rehearsing answers
wearily at attention
to the future

While we inched forward
the children wasted no time organizing themselves
learning names and giggling games

I wondered what they thought of us
(probably nothing)
civically queuing to solve the BIG PROBLEMS
with one silent push of a button

For weeks I have been drilling into them
the importance of our vote
of RESISTANCE, PERSISTENCE, PROTEST and HOPE

But in the time it took us to reach our holy purpose
I watched these little humans
stranger neighbors
negotiate fierce fights with grace
even as their bodies vibrate with the intensity of their desire

They move like water,
like something more alive together than apart
a school of glittered fish, a flock of small, wiry birds
undulating
clashing, retreating, returning
compromising
improvising, really
the way to peace
and then breaking again and again
listening, rolling,
childish forms trusting the process
surrendered and sustained

Instead of battle lines,
a holy posture
of hope
inclusion
trust

Maybe
if we let them lead the way
we can learn it too

I am hopeful.

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If you’d like to listen to this poem, click on the image below.

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