“How high is an Olympic diving board?” Daniel asked one day as we were jumping off the dock into the lake. “Let me check,” said my friend, pulling out her i-Phone. A quick click and a few taps later, we had the answer: three meter spring boards and ten meter platforms.
“What do swans eat?” Jonathon asked a few minutes later, watching a pair swimming toward us with their cygnets. I opened the browser on my phone. “Seaweed, insects, and snails,” I replied.
With the internet in our pockets, or at least easily accessible, most of us have instant access to much of the knowledge of the world. We can answer almost any questions accurately by peering into our magic screens.
Parenting by the Book
Because many of us do not have experience with children, we approach parenting by researching and reading. Soon, we are armed with statistics and historical facts that validate our choices. It feels good to be doing things our way.
This type of information-gathering can help us uncover new ideas and remedy old hurts. At the same time, all this knowing can disconnect us from what we really Know.
I Know! (So why don’t I believe myself?)
Growing up tends to silence our inner voice. We are shushed and learn that it is not right to be overly boisterous when we are joyful. Our tears are wiped away with gentle assurances that “It’s okay,” or a curt, “Big girls don’t cry.” When we are afraid, we are told there’s nothing to be afraid of.
By the time we reach adulthood, most of us understand the proper ways to behave. And most of these correct behaviors require silencing the small still voice inside of us that Knows.
Learning to Trust Ourselves
What if, when we want to know something, we spent time observing and considering what we see and hear before looking up the “right” answer? (We could have enjoyed watching the swans and guessing what they were doing when their heads dunked underwater.)
What if, when our children are distressed we checked in with ourselves and asked, “How can I help my child?” before asking our friends on Facebook for advice? (I suspect that we often Know what our children need and are actually led astray by listing symptoms and asking for solutions.)
Here is a simple and effective way to access your Knowing.
1. Place your hand on your heart.
2. Breathe into your heart for a count of six.
3. Breathe out of your heart for a count of six.
4. Continue until you feel centered and congruent with your heart.
5. Ask your heart a question, such as, “How can I help my child now?” If you want to know something but aren’t sure how to phrase it, ask, “What do I need to know right now?”
I am not abandoning my smart-phone, library, or friends. I do intend to listen to my own wisdom, first, more often.
Where do you find information for the parenting journey? How do you determine if it is right for your family? Tell me in the comments.