Living a conscious life is interesting! Because you are more aware of life as it unfolds you get the opportunity to really know yourself, your life partner, your children and the other family members around you. It can also be a little bit of a contradiction of terms because while you notice more about your surroundings and the actions of others - you may, at the same time, choose not to react to those things in the typical fashion. For instance, you may consciously decide to take fewer things personally, let the more trivial things go (like tooth paste dripped on the counter, laundry that doesn't make it into the hamper, and coats that do not make it onto the hook), and work harder to find the positives in difficult situations. In other words, if you are living in the moment, you may make New Day's Resolutions every day, so New Year's Resolutions might seem silly to you. Instead, let's talk about making New Day's Resolutions.
How can this be applied to parenting? In the past few years, I began a silent, private practice. I re-resolve every morning to be grateful; to be patient, kind and loving to the people I encounter, especially to my husband and child. I re-commit myself every morning to be consistent with Who I Really Am. I wonder if, helping your child to feel these gifts of yourself, and to develop the ability to roll with the changes of life, may be the biggest gifts you can give.
Would you like a small example of this in action? The next time you are about to walk out the door and your child spills the proverbial glass of milk, you can respond with a smile and say, "Oh sweetie, I know you must really feel sorry that you spilled it and I am sorry that you did as well; but you know we don't get upset about spills in this house, we just clean them up, together! Now let's get to work so we can get on our way!" Not only will you illustrate compassion and respect; but sharing the clean-up responsibility helps your children know that you are always there for them, even when the day is rough. These types of gentle interactions can be applied in any situation, at any time, if only you take a moment and breathe before you speak. Think before you react.
Teaching your children to treat others in the same way will help them remember Who They Really Are. Adopting a morning practice of introspection and setting your individual intentions for the day may be beneficial. At first you may want to do it as a family, taking a moment in the morning as you wake up together. You can talk about what each of you wish to commit to for that day whether it is treating others with love or respect or gratitude…eventually your children may wish to do their own practice. Whether you continue together or on your own, I think you will find Daily "New Day's Resolutions" to be much more effective, and more long-lasting, than any New Year's Resolution.
Happy New Year!
Originally printed on The Global Conversation Online Newspaper, (2012). All Rights Reserved.