New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year to all of you! Let us hope and pray that 2008 will be a decisive year of steps toward healing the often overwhelming pain and darkness in our world.
Here at Christopherus, we like to think that one tiny and humble step in that direction is helping parents on their journeys to more conscious and healthy parenting – and homeschooling if that is the path they have chosen. A major part of this is offering suggestions and sharing experiences which can help a parent on her path of self development.
To this end, I have decided to share a few simple New Year’s Resolutions with you all. These four resolutions – or intentions – are, for me, affirmations of steps that I know I need to constantly recommit to on my own journey of self development as a parent. Perhaps they will be helpful to you as well.
Number One – listening. I need to listen. To listen into, to listen directly, to listen behind. To listen within and to others. I need to listen more and speak less. I need to listen with the warmth and compassion which helps people – children and adults – speak what they need to say. I need to listen more to my teenage sons – without censure or judgment or fear. I need to listen to those I disagree with without letting my disagreement predetermine my thoughts. I need to listen without my emotions getting in the way and thus preventing me from truly hearing what is offered – instead of getting caught up with my reaction to those words. I need to listen to others and never let past experiences color what they say right now. I need to listen to my own inner wisdom – to learn which is my Voice of Wisdom and which is my Voice of Fear. I need to take words at face value – and to also be able to hear what lies behind, unspoken.
Number Two – separating my “stuff” from what others bring. I need to always be able to discern what is my stuff – my reactions, fears, childhood yuk, past experiences – which come barging in when a situation arises, through conflict perhaps, and which gets in the way of discerning what is another person’s stuff. When I feel anxiety or anger at something one of my sons do, am I reacting to my own patterns, my own expectations and fears or am I truly embracing his experience and who he is? One major role of a parent is to hold and transform experiences for young children when they are too young to do this themselves – gradually one needs to let go of this and let the young person transform pain – successfully or not – by himself. The parental hand is still there in a gesture of love and support – but needs to know when to restrain itself and not infringe wrongly on the teen’s growing sense of independence. When I confuse my “stuff” – when I cannot be clear on what my son really needs and what he needs to learn, then I am not able to give the appropriate gesture and I will probably turn away from him in anger or nag at him in fear.
Number Three – forgiving myself and others. Forgive, forgive, forgive. The spiritual implications of forgiveness are unsurpassed in their grace and ability to truly free us as individuals and as humanity together. I must remember this – I must not hold on to grudges or nurse scenarios of hurt, carefully prodding the anger to feel again and again the pain like the satisfying pain of an injured tooth which the tongue cannot resist touching. I can free myself of this need and forgive others and myself. I need to recognize that being the Martyr is selfish and helps no one, not myself, not other people.
Number Four – laughter and humor. When it all gets too earnest and too heavy – when my need to be steadfast in my resolutions threatens to turn me into a sour old bag – or, horrors, a self righteous old curmudgeon – I need to remember to laugh! When my son throws his coat on the table despite being told one thousand times not to, I can get angry – or I can attack him with his coat in a moment of play. I can laugh when meetings get painful. When anger threatens. When I get sad. When I forget. For when I remember who I am, when I remember my center and my task, then life is filled with laughter and everything is so much easier. I can listen, I can gently identify my “stuff” and I can forgive. I can laugh.
Wishing you all the blessings of the year,

Posted on January 1, 2008 in Family Life and Parenting

  • Penny in VT says:

    Happy New Year Donna – those are some noble resolutions indeed – #3 pretty much shot an arrow into my heart – I’ll be joining you in that one – and you’ve already forgiven *me* lately, so you’re off and running 🙂 Thanks for setting such a good example! Penny

  • MomToCherubs says:

    Thank you for this MOST encouraging post. I too will consider many of these things in 2008 (and beyond).
    God Bless.

  • donna says:

    Thank you both for your comments! Feedback and sharing from what one does in ones own family is always welcome!

  • dottyspots says:

    A little late, but I hope the New Year brings much happiness to you all!

  • MamatoRiver says:

    I’ve just run across your post, a bit after the new year, but I must say I am so inspired, and seeing in new light one of the many reasons I’m so drawn to Waldorf…
    The path of emotional/physical/spiritual enlightenment is really all part of this type of lifestyle–wanting to be worthy of imitation, I want to be the *best* me I can be…and that is the most grounded, happy, peaceful, loving, compassionate, understanding me…
    Since learning about Waldorf, our home has become much simpler; more good, slow-cooked meals ;), more simple songs and finger plays, *less* toys–but more made by my own hands *and heart* for my son, and just more pride in what I do every day! I feel healthier and happier and simpler, in a wonderful way, and Waldorf has led me back to a path that yoga and Buddhism were taking me on prior to parenthood (when my whole world was rocked!!) My son is only 10 months old now, but I feel like coming to Waldorf, I am coming back to my soul self, and I just wanted you to know your post was inspiring and helped me clarify WHY Waldorf rings so closely to my heart and spirit…I’ve also just ordered your Joyful Movement book, and am excited to share it with my son! I’m just sooo excited about my new discoveries on this journey through life w/ my son and the fun of Waldorf style parenting and living!! (PS: I also loved your entry on benign neglect–after reading The Continuum Concept when my son was 4 months old, I realized that I had made him the center of my universe in the name of AP–our lives have so greatly improved since I got to my adult tasks, and he to his own now-toddler tasks!)
    Anyway, going through your blog, I’m just feeling inspired, and excited to utilize your Christopherus curriculum in the future as I continue on this journey with my family!!
    Thank you for sharing your insights with others!!!

  • donna says:

    Thank you for your kind words! It’s always great to hear from people who are just starting out and who are clear about the path they want to walk with their children. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Evelyne says:

    So beatiful, thank you.

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