Underneath the news, and the election year, and the things we can’t stand hearing about any longer, we are all just here. Our kids are sitting here, beside us, and they still need us sober, and diligent, and shining our love and boundaries onto them.
It’s time to be ruthless. We who are raising the next generation must push past all the s*!t, and get down to business. These people need some things from us, and we cannot go numb, paralyzed, or absent.
They need us to set aside our fears: of the dark, of bad things happening, and of other people. First, though, they need us to hurdle the fear that we are doing it wrong. It’s time to knock down the imagined obstacle course; the one that says you can’t do it right.
If you break the rules of parenting, every single day, welcome to the club. It is a club I like to call Reality. We are all doing it wrong, and the very best we can.
The only incorrect way to parent, I believe, is to show up every day with your own best interests in mind–rather than those of your child. If you show up, to parent one or all of your children, with your feelings and legacy at the forefront, you are unconsciously standing there re-parenting yourself. You may as well send them outside to play, and then walk to the mirror to give yourself a talk and a hug and a sip of water.
If you show up mean, and defended, and self-absorbed, you have got to show them you can get soft, and flexible, and that you can set aside your need to look like a good parent. Your child does not need your baggage. Your child needs you–free of fear, shame, and the things that constrain your clarity and presence. Your child needs you in these morbid times.
If you are fearful, show them you are courageous, too. If you are fearless, that’s a plus. If you are so fearless that you are reckless, show them you can be thoughtful, and careful, too.
When you are afraid of the dark, show them how to use a flashlight and take deep breaths. When you are afraid of people, show them how you surround yourself with safe people. When you are afraid of places, and the world threatens to suffocate you, do not lock yourself away. Show them how to fight back, against the part of your brain that bullies you into submission.
When you are afraid of bad things happening, show them how we put on our smarts and do our very best to walk safely through this world. Show them where we can walk safely, and then how to take that into the scary places when we have to.
There are no guarantees. Bad things are happening. None of us are immune to tragedy. If we do not raise our children to be warriors, carrying love, light, and tenacity into the dark, we will raise them to be a part of the next generation’s problems.
Less s*&t, more shanti–toward one another, and toward ourselves. Walk shanti, talk shanti, be shanti, om. Stand tall, and let’s get there together.