Humans are mammals with individuating personalities. In our house, we’ve been talking about what helps a young (or older) person be successful in our society. We’ve decided that all depends on where within society one is spending ones time.
Our family includes two 40-somethings, a brand new six year old, a nearly 11 year old, and a mystery aged young adult dog. Call him 3-4 years old. We are a beautiful little unit, with a mixture of quirks all consolidated into one stick-built structure.
Right now, we are working on something. With intelligence, fierceness, and independence, comes the need for compromise. We’re all learning.
Parenting in the Weeds Beast Mode/Peace Mode Lesson
Personalities vary incredibly from person to person.
Some of us are born with a well-toned Beast Mode. Others are born with an innate, predominant Peace Mode. From there, the circumstances we walk through can further shape us to one side or the other. Then, we can learn to shape and manage ourselves and our behaviors, with intention and varying degrees of success.
In other words, if you are prone to Beast Mode, you’ve gotta practice your Peace Mode, and if you awaken every day with a heavy Peace Mode, you’ve gotta practice your Beast Mode. Right now, I know which one I’d prefer to have, and it’s the one I don’t, in real time, actually have. I bet something like that could have happened for you, as you read that, too.
Neither is inherently better. But sometimes, your job requires you to Beast up and you are a Peace Mode person. Then, it can become a challenge–a personal development challenge. Or it can become a stressor. And if your job requires you to be more Peace Mode and you’re a Beast, it’s the same.
In our house these days, the Beasts are practicing being more Peace Mode, and our Peace Moders are practicing being Uncrushable. While some of us are learning to be more, “I’m rubber and you’re glue,” the rest of us are honing our Do Not Hulk Smash. We’re learning to meet in the meadow and chill, all together, and maybe tone our whole central nervous systems, all together, with some laughter and respect for our differences.
On any given day you may hear these refrains from outside our sweet little beehive of a home:
• It’s time to practice being Uncrushable. Put your Uncrushable on, you’ve got this.
• Please lie down with me on the floor. Let’s put air in our bodies and our feet up on the couch and listen to our airs come in and out. How long shall I set a timer for?
• Go. Lie. Down. And. Do. Some. Mindfulness. Practice. (There may or may not be a God Damnit tacked on there. I am so sorry, for you Unswearable types. For you, I’ll add that sometimes I say instead, For. The. Love. Of. God.)
• Go. Outside. And. Let. Some. Fresh. Air. Take. Your. Big. Energies. Into. The. Sky. Now. Please.
And you may hear screaming. You may hear Hulk Smash sounds. You may understand there are Beasts inside. Then, if you stick around a little longer, you’ll hear us getting our Peace on. Our oxytocin repair on. Our love, resiliency, and bonding on, so we can get beneath the things that would do us all in. My family is amazing, and I bet yours is too and/or has the capacity to be, if it’s not already.
Both sides. We need to honor both sides, and we have to work to find the sweet spot in the middle.
We’re not a perfect family. Our society seems to understand, some days, that that’s not an expectation anymore and hasn’t been for at least a generation or two. Other days, it’s lost on the collective lot of us. A society’s short term memory is fallible.
And while I’d never prescribe forced mindfulness, I can tell you most clients, and most children I’ve worked with, and my own Hulk and Flower, share that they appreciate the opportunity to practice it, even if they are fighting it a little at first.
I can also share that if you do it with them, rather than sending them off to do it alone without your modeling, they are more willing. It’s like practicing swimming in the ocean in a lot of ways. We need that safety net and team to cheer us on and help us along. So do our kids.