Researcher and author, Dr. Brene Brown, wrote “The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto” which lays the groundwork for successful parenting. Whether you have children or not, we are all children, and we know how the guidance of caring, conscious parents can encourage our development into adults who make healthy choices from a core belief of worthiness.
Here are some of Dr. Brown’s statements:
“I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. The lessons on love will be in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply seeing you.”
It is refreshing that Dr. Brown allows herself to be less than perfect and continually learning, naturally humble. That takes some pressure off! She acknowledges that children learn from observing parents and how we negotiate through life’s challenges. I’ve noticed one thing about children at any age, from my grandchildren to young adults: they are watching us. They might decide to emulate or to veer away from our process and behavior, but they are always watching. My daughter learned to say “shit!” at a young age from driving in the car with me when we were late. She thought that the word meant that you are driving and you left something at home. (Did I ever say that I am perfect?)
Their lazer-like senses focus on us in the most inopportune times. When we take on too much work and allow ourselves to be depleted, they see it. When we exclude someone from our group or interrupt someone with our more important comment, they get it. When we fail to stand up for ourselves and others, they integrate it. Yet, when we remember to breathe and rest and do something that is actually fun, they feel it. When we take a risk and cherish feeling alive and forgive ourselves for not being perfect, they notice. Profound and meaningful lessons are learned everyday when we choose joy over anger, forgiveness over resentment, effort over complacency, hope over despair and always love over fear. Beware! They are watching it all!