Most holiday seasons are met with many challenges. We juggle the demands of work and home, holiday celebrations, food, more food, and extra time with family and friends. The infamous holiday shopping also contributes to the added stresses of the season not only because we face packed parking lots, never ending traffic and limited time, but also because our current economy has made it really hard for some families to have the means necessary to buy everything they need. Most have been faced with the choice of limiting purchases and maintaining a tight budget. We want to give our children and family everything possible yet we also know that during these times we need to be mindful about how we spend our money. This has made it very difficult to be in a giving spirit.
Knowing how difficult and frustrating it is to be in these challenging situations we wanted to offer you a few words CNVEP’s executive director shared in our last newsletter (August 209):
Seeking an Abundance of Love
by Ruth Beaglehole
In a parenting class, a question arose: “How can we be the kind of parents we want to be when the economy is crumbling around us? We can’t pay the bills! We’re scared! We’re anxious! How do we handle the stress in our lives and still be empathetic and understanding with our children?” In a time of scarcity, it’s hard to consider the idea of abundance. Many of us simply do not have enough money to meet some of our basic needs. Our debt grows, and along with it, our stress.
More than ever, this is a time to connect with a different kind of abundance—the kind of abundance that comes from within.
When we take care of ourselves, when we manage our own stress, we can offer our children an abundance of love, an abundance of understanding, an abundance of compassion.
The practice of nonviolence in parenting is based on the concept that children should be treated with respect and dignity at all times. To accomplish this simple yet radical accomplishment, we have to maintain a long view of what the future holds for our kids: What kind of adults do we hope our children will become? How do we hope that they will deal with life’s many challenges?
In every moment, we have an opportunity for modeling for our children the ways that a healthy adult can be kind and loving—even in times of stress. This kind of mindfulness in parenting is contrary to our society’s conventional “wisdom” about how to raise children. We must examine the old messages that have prevailed for so long: that “children should be seen and not heard,” that rules are to be followed “because I said so,” that behavior should be controlled through fear.
The paradigm shift can begin with the concept of moving toward a new kind of abundance — the kind that gives us the internal balance we need to give abundant, loving energy to our children.