Worth it

Friday, May 27, 2011

I’ve just finished reading The Broken American Male by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach.

In brief, this book paints a picture of what a broken man in society looks like, how men are made to feel like human doings and not human beings. They find value or feel somehow that their contribution is in doing. They do to provide, they do to move up the work ladder, they do to prove themselves in their work, they do at home (if they aren’t totally worn out from work) and they still aren’t as good as the next guy or more specifically as successful because they aren’t in the top lists and aren’t acknowledged.

This book also explains how their wives are unable to help their husbands because the broken male sees no value in himself and therefore is unable to see value or worth in another close to him. The broken male thinks to himself, how can someone love a failure. He is unable to be and therefore retreats to the TV or computer sinking deeper into seclusion from their families and the cycle of destruction begins. The author puts this down to societal pressures and how men are constantly comparing themselves to one another and how success is often measured in monetary or material things. Top lists aid in this feeling.

I’ve taken a few things to heart from this book and adapted what he has said for males specifically to something we can all do. I think these things are important for ourselves and our relationships.
The first is making our spouses feel wanted at home. The author suggests that children should greet their parents when they come in the door and that wives should ask their husbands how their day was. It is such a simple thing but when husbands get home, get off the phone, get off the computer, give them a hug and ask “how was your day?”

I remember one day, I had come home from a conference, I don’t go to them often and it is quite draining after a long day of concentrating. I ‘d missed two buses, had a huge headache and was walking up the street from the bus stop, an hour later than I had planned to. I saw my husband and son who had walked down to meet me, it suddenly gave me a boost to keep going to keep walking. Don’t we all have a basic need to feel reassured to feel worthy?

I don’t think this is purely a male problem, there are plenty of women who feel the same. Plenty of women at home feeling like they aren’t good enough. Perhaps your husband isn’t loving towards you or doesn’t help as much as you would like, perhaps he is distant. Perhaps he feels like a human doing and not a human being? Perhaps you feel unworthy and a human doing not a human being?

Feeling worthy is a gift you give yourself, you need to find worth in yourself and what you are doing at home - BEING a mother is important. Being a mother means setting an example of a successful life, a life where being on top lists and wanting acknowledgement is not everything.

Some examples adapted from the author are: cuddling your toddler so they know they are the most adorable person in the world. Reading to or saying a prayer with your child, playing or riding in the park with your child so they learn there is pleasure in nature and natural things not just man-made material objects. Studying with your teenager so they learn the value of relationship and being knowledgeable and wise.

You are valuable and worthy.  Will you give yourself the gift of believing in yourself today? What would you like to see different in your home?

The Paradoxical Life

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why is it?

We tell our children they’re perfect just the way they are, then we tell them to not be so shy or not be so loud or to not be so...

We tell our children beauty is within and looks aren’t everything, then they see us putting on our makeup

We tell them to love one another, yet we do not love their father or mother

We tell them not to laugh at others suffering , then we watch Funniest Home Videos, talent shows and Youtube videos.

We tell them when they’re watching something sad or scary that that can’t or won’t happen to them, but who really knows

We tell them to be friends with everyone, then they hear us gossiping about the other mother from school or work

We tell them they’re special and lovely, then they hear us call them ‘little S****” or some other endearing? term....

We tell them we love them, then threaten them when things aren’t going our way

We tell them and then we wonder why they don’t believe us.

We are told to enjoy our children, yet our children don’t listen to us or won’t talk to us

We are told to enjoy parenting, yet being a parent is the most demanding, tiring, and at times the most difficult job to do

We are told to think about the positives, yet it’s the negatives that are so easy to see

We are told we are equal .....

We are told we are... and we also can’t believe it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

It is not yesterday and it is not tomorrow. It is today.

Today will be different!

Today I will do that which I keep putting off,

Today I will do that which I dream,

Today I will do what I really want to do,

Today I will do....

Today I will be different!

Today I will believe in myself and not compare myself,

Today I will focus on my strengths and not my weaknesses,

Today I will think about what I can do and not what I can't do,

Today I will look at others and not judge,

Today I will be....

Today I will....

“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.” – Mark Twain

Reflecting on Mothers

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Affectionate, beautiful and brave, caring and comforting, daring, encouraging, flexible, generous, helpful, intuitive, judging, kind, loving, mindful, original, provider, responsible, sensitive and satisfied, tolerant, wise, zealous

We can write poems about mothers, we can believe in mothers, we can read about other mothers, we can love our mothers, we can hear our children say how wonderful we are as mothers.
If we don’t acknowledge ourselves we may fail to see what all the fuss is about.
If you are a mother, take a moment to think about what it is that makes YOU an extraordinary mother...

M ________________________________

O ________________________________

T ________________________________

H ________________________________

E ________________________________

R ________________________________

"Seeing the good in yourself will help you see the good in your family even during tough times" David Nevin,  2004 - The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families: What Scientists have learned and how you can use it.
"The only way to really think about others is to first believe in yourself." Martin Breck

Parenting = Pressure

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Parenting is pressure - Why? To do things right, the pressure to do things, the pressure for our kids to be, the pressure for us to be.
Pressure is not always pleasurable, perhaps pressure is a negative state or word that needs to be reframed – what if parenting = passion.

In my what’s the word question yesterday I asked what it is that parents need to have when they have children, it is necessary at various points of the journey of parenting... It starts with "P" and I had two words in mind.
Many parents guessed "patience" and one parent guessed "perserverance" correctly.  One parent wrote PASSION– I was immediately challenged. I love being challenged because it means I’m about to grow.  Passion and Parent/ing?  I lack passion. I may be passionate about my work, about causes but somehow that word did not come up when I thought about my children, my family.

Passionate about being a parent?  Passion as a parent what does it look like? What does it mean to be passionate about parenting? Is this what I lack?

If I were to replace the “pressure” with “passion”, my life might look a little rosier, a little different. What does it mean to me to have passion. We may look at romance novels or movies like twilight and think that is passion but simply passion can be a strong emotion synomyms include fervour, dedication, eagerness, indignation, intensity and zeal – how do these not apply to parenting?  It is what we want as parents for our children.  We are zealous, we are eager to teach them, we are intense and indignation may rise when our children are wronged, we are dedicated. Wow, I see lots of pages relating to people’s passions for causes but perhaps as parents we need to feel passion at home too. 
If you lack passion, take the challenge. Choose a word and think about how it changes how you parent or even feel as a parent. I know reading these words I felt lighter and better, positive. Compare that with pressure and synonyms like burden, load, strain, demand, difficulty, coercion, force or obligation. I am drawing a line in my life today – I want to have passion for my family, my children, my parenting not pressure.
What word do you choose to put up today?

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