I recently republished a post I wrote last year on what makes us come alive. Knowing what makes us come alive is important to helping us come to understand our core values – which in turn helps us to sift and sort through the competing messages we have in our heads.
But then someone messaged me and said, “I think a lot of people cannot even answer the question. Between jobs and kids and life…what make people come alive often gets buried and can be hard to figure out. And what if what makes you come alive is at odds with real life?”
Which were fantastic questions, so I thought I would try to answer them today.
Learning to tell the truth means getting honest about our emotions and about our motivations. Learning to tell the truth means getting honest about our pain and our limitations, about our hopes and our dreams. Learning to tell the truth means learning how to tell those things to other people, yes, but possibly more important than anything else, it means learning how to tell these truths to ourselves.
A few weeks’ back I discovered an incredible resource by Peter Walker. Okay, it was actually just a simple list, but as I read it through I realized that even though I loved all of the things on this list, I had never accepted that they were true for me. Which was brain-boggling for me. How had I gotten this far into life without realizing that these things could be true for me?
It’s not until we know where we want our story to take us, that we can begin to find the narrative to get us there. Not until we determine what type of image we want to capture that we can choose which lens to use. Not until we discover what program we want to write that we can start to lay down a code base that will deal with both the primary functionality and all of the interesting edge cases that life will throw at us.
There is this concept in eastern religions of yin and yang. It’s this idea of finding balance between two opposites: things like dark/light; work/rest; tense/release; hard/easy; do/be. And just like we understand that we need muscle pairs to, for example, lift our arm up and then bring our arm back down, these eastern knowledge traditions understand that there can be no dark without a light; no work without rest; no tension without release; no hard without easy; no doing if there is no space to simply be.
Affirmation, support, responding to bids, giving words and celebration – those are our five keys to attachment from 0 – 18 and beyond. When we put these together with the other ideas we’ve explored this month, we find we can be increasingly successful at raising adults by the age of 18!
This week we are looking at five ways of helping to give our kids the attachment – the sense of safety and connectedness that comes from feeling seen, known and precious – that allows them to learn and develop to reach their full potential. Today, we are looking at the idea of support.
Attachment parenting has been a phrase in parenting circles for quite a while now – you see it talked about a fair amount in books on parenting infants, babies and toddlers, and it even seems to sneak into a few of the books on preschoolers, but then it’s as if it simply disappears.
As if, having laid this foundation of attachment you don’t really have to think about it after that.
And although I completely understand that life is life and there will be times when we can’t be as attached and connected with our kids and teens as we might want, that doesn’t mean this is a program we can set up at the beginning of life and then walk away and leave to run on it’s own. The simple truth is that we as humans can’t learn if we’re afraid, and the best way to turn off the alarm bells in our kids’ heads is by helping them to maintain the feeling that they are connected and attached – that they are ‘seen, known and precious’ – whatever age they may be.