What kind of parenting style do you use?
People ask me this question quite frequently. I've never really known how to answer that until now.
I read a thought-provoking book a while back called Amazing Grace by David Wolfe and Nick Good. The concept of getting in the "Holy Flow" was mentioned in that book and it resonated with me. So, for the sake of this post we will name our parenting style Holy Flow Parenting.
Freedom: I want these little warriors I've been intrusted with to have FREEDOM!
Freedom to learn, play, explore and discover without my constant, unsolicited opinions and input.
Play: Playtime and time in nature takes top shelf status in this home. The laundry, school, dishes and scattered toys can wait, especially if they are deep in a wonderful, creative mud city outside.
Education: We take the children's education very seriously. We make a conscious choice to do school just the way we do everything else in our life. We flow! We listen and we wait for when the time is right. We wait for those moments when their minds and spirits are open and they are ready. This has worked beautifully for us! We learn just what we were meant to learn in that day, week, month, year. I have no desire to recreate the classroom at home, I want the setting to be natural and non-formal so that learning is never looked at as something we do and then stop. There isn't homework and assignments and then playtime, as if to say that learning is work.
In our home, play is work, learning is play and life is learning!
"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."
Tell me what you eat, and I shall tell you what you are.
Health: We have probably all experienced what it's like trying to communicate with a child who is jacked up on corn syrup, right? If you haven't, then just trust me when I say that it's far from the best experience ever. I know from my own personal experience with my children that what they eat and drink greatly affects their behavior. In our house we have chosen to eat as cleanly as possible. We have grown to love living, organic, super foods that help our bodies and minds feel alive and healthy.
Wellness: "Take it to the mattresses." Fight for what's best for you and your children. It's not easy to break habits once they are formed, but the results are worth the initial struggle. For us it was limiting screen time, spending more time outside, getting grounded (research earthing) and exploring things like Reiki, massage therapy and meditation.
Daily choices: Holy Flow parenting for me has been about making a conscious decision every morning to embrace and enjoy these moments while the kids are under this roof with me. I don't want to just survive this phase of our lives, I want to be fully present and enjoy it!
You only get one shot, there is no pause and rewind button on childhood.
"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see."
John W. Whitehead
Encouraging them:I have come to realize that my children are supposed to be different from me and that's good, and healthy. I don't need them to have all the same views, personality traits and opinions as me. They are here for their own personal journey that really has very little to do with who I am. I want to embrace who they were meant to be, not who I want them to be.
Holding onto self: My identity is not wrapped up in my children. I am here to be their mama and I have given myself to that work -- given, but not lost. I am my own person, a person with a whole host of things that I am meant to do in this life. My children are part of who I am, but they are not all that I am. I don't believe we can be of any service to anyone if we put our happiness and identity into the hands of anyone other than ourselves.
Treat them as equals: Parenting has been about constantly learning and finding new ways to communicate with my children as to avoid ever having to cave into the use of phrases like "because I said so" or "I am the parent and you are the child so just do as I say."
It's the knowing that in this role as mama or caregiver my voice and actions toward these little ones have staying power and my voice and the energy I put toward them can be a confidence building tool or a great weapon. I take that very SERIOUSLY. Just because I'm the mother, that doesn't automatically give me some justified right to be mean.
Breathe: Parenting will test every ounce of inner strength you have. I think birth was perfectly designed to help us prepare for being mamas. I remember leaving the birthing center after having our first child with this knowing that I had more courage and endurance than I had ever dreamed. I had found this powerful and intuitive woman in me that I didn't know was there.
Dig deep and find your inner strength. Stay grounded, take time to listen and get in that Holy Flow. Seek out and give thanks for the beauty in each day as a caregiver to the little ones in your life, because beauty is always there. Some days we just have to look for it harder than others... ha ha!
Let go of pride: The ability to admit I'm wrong has been one of my greatest gifts in helping me find ways of reaching my kids that did work. We are all human and sometimes it comes down to being able to let go of pride to say we are sorry and admit that we are wrong
Listen to yourself: There is no book on parenting for you and your children, there is only you -- you getting in touch with you, your inner compass and your children.
Parenting is about being brave enough to challenge everything we've been taught or shown about parenting so that we can find what works best for our children. It's about pushing ourselves forward as individuals, changing when needed, tuning into and listening to our hearts so that we can each find our own perfectly unique version of Holy Flow Parenting.
Finding "magic" in this ordinary day as me! #barefootfive
Brooke Hampton is the author of Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home and co-founder and owner of Enchanted Cedar, a local Chaga house and Bookstore in Lorena, Texas. She writes at barefootfive.com, where this post first appeared.
Photo Credit: Lacey Miller Photography