Your Soul Food for Friday July 16 2021: Want to Raise Successful Kids? Good Parenting, Pieces of Advice & Honoring Your Parents
Happy Soul Food Friday
- On Good Parenting- MEsponsible:
- Pieces of Advice I’d Like to Offer My Kids (And Yours) & Should Probably Take Myself:
- Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most:
- Man Honors His Farmworker Parents in Special Way After Graduating Medical School: ‘Victory Lap’
On Good Parenting- MEsponsible:
One day my dad said to her:
My mom did not sleep. She felt exhausted. She was irritable, grumpy, and bitter. She was always sick until one day, suddenly, she changed.
– I’ve been looking for a job for three months and I haven’t found anything, I’m going to have a few beers with friends.
My mom replied:
– It’s okay.
My brother said to her:
– Mom, I’m doing poorly in all subjects at the University.
My mom replied:
– Okay, you will recover, and if you don’t, well, you repeat the semester, but you pay the tuition.
My sister said to her:
– Mom, I smashed the car.
My mom replied:
– Okay daughter, take it to the car shop & find how to pay and while they fix it, get around by bus or subway.
Her daughter-in-law said to her:
– Mother-in-law, I came to spend a few months with you.
My mom replied:
– Okay, settle in the living room couch and look for some blankets in the closet.
All of us gathered worried to see these reactions coming from Mom.
We suspected that she had gone to the doctor and that she was prescribed some pills called “I don’t give a damn”… Perhaps she was overdosing on these!
We then proposed to do an “intervention” w/my mother to remove her from any possible addiction she had towards some anti-tantrum medication.
But then … she gathered us around her and my mom explained:
“It took me a long time to realize that each person is responsible for their life. It took me years to discover that my anguish, anxiety, my depression, my courage, my insomnia & my stress, does not solve your problems but aggravates mine.
I am not responsible for the actions of anyone & it’s not my job to provide happiness but I am responsible for the reactions I express to that.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that my duty to myself is to remain calm and let each one of you solve what corresponds to you.
I have taken courses in yoga, meditation, miracles, human development, mental hygiene, vibration and neurolinguistic programming and in all of them, I found a common denominator in them all…
I can only control myself, you have all the necessary resources to solve your own problems despite how hard they may be. My job is to pray for you, love on you, encourage you but it’s up to YOU to solve them & find your happiness.
I can only give you my advice if you ask me & it depends on you to follow it or not. There are consequences, good or bad, to your decisions and YOU have to live them.
So from now on, I cease to be the receptacle of your responsibilities, the sack of your guilt, the laundress of your remorse, the advocate of your faults, the wall of your lamentations, the depositary of your duties, who should solve your problems or spare a tire every time to fulfill your responsibilities.
From now on, I declare all independent and self-sufficient adults.
Everyone at my mom’s house was speechless.
From that day on, the family began to function better because everyone in the house knew exactly what it is that they needed to do.
For some of us this is hard because we’ve grown up being the caregivers feeling responsible for others. As moms & wives we are fixers off all things. We never want our loved ones to go through difficult things or to struggle. We want everyone to be happy.
But, the sooner we take that responsibility off of our shoulders & on to each loved one, the better we are preparing them to be MEsponsible.
We are not here on earth to be everything to everyone. Stop putting that pressure on yourself.
(shared from a friend on Facebook)
Pieces of Advice I’d Like to Offer My Kids (And Yours) & Should Probably Take Myself:
In my experience youth isn’t wasted on the young, but youth don’t seem to have the context, experience and perspective on a few of these topics so I raise them, not because I have any “delusions of brandeur” that they will be instantly considered, adopted and internalized, but because they remain important and by putting them out there, I reinforce their importance for me (and those that agree with me).
The digital age of distraction where the virtual world of bits and bytes has overtaken the real world of atoms and connection has been further exacerbated with the Covid pandemic. I find myself falling prey to the same things I have cautioned my kids and other young people about. Overextending ourselves as if we are ever-ready batteries that will run forever. On virtual calls all day and not taking time for the fundamentals like exercise, brain breaks, building fundamental habits like good diet & sleep and allowing these to “slip” in deference to the false prophets of achievement and “always on” cultural abnormalities, not to mention getting sold a bill of goods about what is normal, appropriate, humane and ethical just because purported leaders get away with it. Being digitally connected, but in truth finding ourselves totally disconnected from our own self and our higher purpose, from others and without authentic connection. Becoming so self-absorbed that we lose sight of the importance of faith (however we choose to believe), buying into a modern educational construct and in the process losing sight of the promise and possibility that real education portends. And cultivating an identity that God forbid, recognizes our vulnerabilities, and allows to show up with courage and consideration.
Here are the top ten, not necessarily in order with a bonus #11 if you read that far…
- Rest does not lead to Rust!
Oscillation and recovery are key to good and sustained performance. Everyone focuses on the activity. Few of us attend to the rest required for optimum performance. Your recovery rate is a strong indicator of your overall performance, and investing in recovery is a smart strategy if you are in a marathon and not a sprint, which is true for most of life’s most significant journeys. Life is a marathon that lasts decades if we are lucky and live well.
Getting up tired is not healthy so sleep hygiene matters.
Baking downtime into any prolonged activity is wise as we were not designed to be in any singular condition for extended lengths of time.
Ironically, in other times, leisure time was a sign of success and status.
Today success and status are measured by how busy your calendar suggests you are, or how many zoom calls you are on every day.
This is social conditioning, “keeping up with the Joneses” and an achievement orientation taken to a very un-natural conclusion.
Make conscious choices about your “habits of time”.
In the same vein, youth attempts to “trade” health for wealth, only to realize in later years that you cannot trade back, and all the wealth in the world can’t buy back your health.
Health of body, mind, emotions, and spirit are integral for your wellbeing.
Take a breath occasionally and recognize that the yogic breath begins with the exhalation and emptying out, before refilling and “inspiring life into oneself……
Daily exercise is a must. It activates your whole being and provides energy to meet your demands.
(When demands exceed resources = stress!)
Stress remains one of the largest contributors to dis-ease, and exercise can offset that. Stress over time results in burnout.
Choose varied activities that you enjoy and, if possible, incorporate social and relational factors as we all know the power and impact of good relationships and authentic connection, not to mention a buddy system to make sure you stay the course.
One step up from purely physical exercise is exercise with spiritual intention as we find embodied in the wisdom traditions. This will build more than just killer abs or bodacious buns, and you can get a two-fer in the time you invest in your exercise regimen.
Integrated exercise builds other meta-competencies and character (see next item) with qualities such as:
- Persistence (Grit)
- Flexibility (Resilience)
- Awareness (of self, not-self and beyond)
This allows for a lifetime of practice towards self-mastery
Leverage game theory to help you get exercise to work for you, rather than just grind it out (What are the rules? How do I win? Who can I play with?)
- Character Matters!
Integrity of our soul not just gratification of our ego is the spirit warrior’s way. Ego fulfillment is transient. Your investment in Soul-work is permanent. Ego cares about “winning” but winning at all costs is most costly on yourself.
Honorable losses are better than dishonorable wins
If you are competing to grow (win/learn v. win/lose) this is how to measure real success:
I will say it again, Honorable losses are better than dishonorable wins.
How we treat ourselves and others when no one is watching is a hallmark of character.
To this end, if as a democratic society, we don’t equip our current and future global citizens with the tools and resources of civility, we are destined for unending conflict, increased violence and even death, as part of man’s inhumanity to man. (Note: this is one of the few times I don’t have to pause to see if I wanted to phrase this in more gender-neutral language, but no this is man’s undoing that could be remedied by woman’s rectifying)
Emile Durkheim, the founder of modern-day sociology said, “Ethics is the adherence to the unenforceable”.
Similarly, the wisdom traditions are a timeless and universal way to build character, not just ego-gratification…
- Diet and what you consume, consumes you.
Food is energy. Food is life
Today we seem more meticulous about our phone chargers than our own energy body charger.
Create routines around your meals.
Stay regular (Ask those with digestive challenges, what a pain in the a$$ not being regular can be…)
- Commune with Nature
Our modern lives have us largely disassociated from the natural rhythms, seasons and connection with our planet and our environment.
When we are in right relationship with nature, we find ourselves in a state of GRACE
Invest some time in nature every day. It helps the drop of water recognizes its intrinsic connection to the wave and the larger ocean. Disconnection and fragmentation of self are underlying conditions that we must recognize and address for our own wellbeing…
- Seek, Find and Live Your Purpose
Maslow was not the only thinker who placed significance and purpose at the top of the human growth pyramid.
Whether we have no idea what our purpose is, purpose is emerging, we are clear on our purpose and working on operationalizing it in all aspects of ourselves, or we feel like we have clarity and mastery of our purpose and now our privilege and opportunity is to help others find theirs, purpose matters. A life without purpose is an unexamined and incomplete life.
Work born of productive human endeavor with the sense it gives you that you are earning your success AND serving others in alignment with your greatest gifts is noble work and nobility based on merit not genetics.
- Tap the Un-Imaginable Power of Connection
As social beings, it is just not human contact and connection that feeds our soul, but rightly applied, the collective wisdom of community could be the breeding ground for our survival.
In Buddhist philosophy (not necessarily religion) they talk about the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (the teaching) and the Sangha (the community)
What if the next Buddha IS the Sangha? Could our collective wisdom be our salvation?
Individual achievement must take a back seat to the power and promise of collective intelligence and wisdom for our highest aspirations to manifest.
We > me.
- Attend to the Wisdom Traditions of Yesteryear, as well as the Modern Science of Today
When modern science of the last 2,500 milliseconds, aligns with the wisdom traditions of the last 2,500 years, you know you are on to something.
In our quest to advance, let us not lose sight of the giants on whose shoulders, experiential learning, authentic embodied experiences, and timeless, universal lessons we arrived at today.
As Yogi Berra famously reminds us, “some of us are born on third base, and think we hit a triple!”
Know thy traditions, classics, history, and bring these timeless principles to your life, whatever your belief systems might be.
We need wise not smart, empathetic, compassionate, and courageous citizens to tackle the seemingly intractable long-term challenges we are facing societally and globally today
- Head- Wisdom not just smarts
- Heart- Empathy/Compassion
- Gut- Courage and a bias towards (right) action
- Find Your Own Personal Path to God, Light, Truth, Spirit or Whatever You Choose to Believe/Conceive and Call it
Try not to inoculate children with “religion” when they are too young. It will prevent them from catching the real thing when they grow up! (Anthony DeMello)
As more wars have been fought over the centuries in the name of religion, let us make sure that fighting for peace does not become like f’ing for virginity.
Again, the wisdom traditions provide sage council for cultivating and applying this discernment
“What I say goes, but only for me and those that agree with me.” (The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment)
Difference IS the only thing we have in common, so make room for tolerance, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Equity- giving everyone what they need, not giving the same thing to all
- Diversity- who is in the room and do they reflect and refract all of us?
- Inclusion- does everyone in the room feel valued and know they belong? Do they feel that their voice counts and can be heard?
The Earth’s Prayer 2009: A Complement to the Lord’s Prayer that I composed over a decade ago:
Our Mother, who is here on Earth,
Timeless may you reign, and may we never take your compassion for granted.
The time is now, your spirit be served, with our full intention and energy to create a Planet Earth as abundant and blessed as Heaven.
Give each person today their daily grain so no one goes hungry, and affirm our inherent goodness to care for one another, as we give thanks for those who today in their actions put the collective good ahead of personal self-interest and remind us to do the same.
Inspire us in all things to maximize our potential for the greatest good as we preserve and protect the legacy we leave for future generations.
For this is our planet, with problems and possibilities, to do with, what we can, in the time we have got.
Now is forever.
Aum, Peace, Amen
- The Primordial Power of Education
If you think education is difficult or expensive, try ignorance!
With student debt in the trillions and the largest source of debt on the planet, it is time to stand up new models of teaching, learning and co-creation.
The one thing that matters most to the student is relevance.
It is not about degrees. It is about skills.
Cultivating a lifelong learning, growth mindset (Dweck) and infinite mindset (Sinek) is now more critical than ever.
Invest in your own learning.
Invest in the learning of others. It is in your best interest…
Any educational construct without an equity design or social justice lens is half a loaf and unidimensional, like physical exercise is to total wellness. In 2020 we once again saw the consequences of not learning well.
- If You Mess Up, ‘Fess Up!
Our perfectionist expectations are building a generation unwilling to risk, experiment, fail and self-reflect.
If while attempting to learn a foreign language, we only spoke it when we had it down perfectly, we would never learn the language in the first place!
We must stop creating learning environments that reinforce only the right answer, and reward always getting it right.
We must stop holding ourselves accountable to being perfect as this paralyzes us from learning what we need to learn most…
Owning our mistakes and admitting it when we are wrong are hallmarks of growth. Getting it right all the time is not. It just means you have not yet, extended yourself into areas worthy of exploration, so we might never know what was truly possible.
Those are my reflections. What are yours?
“Teach your parents well…” Crosby, Stills Nash & Young
“Change a (hu)man against their will, they will be of the same opinion still”
Unsolicited advice rarely is taken. Those for whom this resonates most, will probably need it the least…
Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says These 5 Habits Matter Most:
Man Honors His Farmworker Parents in Special Way After Graduating Medical School: ‘Victory Lap’
After earning his M.D., Erick Juárez returned to the farm where his parents, Loreto and Maricela, have worked since immigrating to the U.S. from Mexico
Thanks this week to courageous and compassionate parents everywhere!
“Rules without Relationship lead to Rebellion.” –Andy Stanley