Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Finding the Easy Way to Parent Difficult Children

on October 22, 2014

When there is no time or money for a vacation, when formal practices like meditation seem too arduous to embrace, I go on a mini-retreat by reading a good book.  

The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant. It is a story of cowardly actions and disloyalty, shame and redemption.

As a young boy, Amir writes his first story and reads it to Hassan:

A poor man found a magic cup.  He discovered that if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich.

As the pearls piled, his greed grew. The story ends with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in hand weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife’s slain body in his arms.

Upon hearing the story, Hassan applauds and compliments Amir. Then, he asks permission to ask a question.  Hassan says, “Why did he ever have to feel sad to shed tears? Couldn’t he have just smelled an onion?”

The Stories We Tell

Most of our beliefs about ourselves and how the world works/how we will be treated are established by the time we are seven years old. Our early experiences teach us that the world is a safe place – or that it is not. Our parents, teachers, and friends validate our early learning by encouraging us or tearing us down.

As we grow, we continue to learn about how things should be. We learn words and associate meanings with them. We determine what it means to be a mother. We decide how our children are supposed to be.

But what if everything we learned is wrong? What if we do not have to cause ourselves grief, but just smell an onion, and pearls will show up in our lives?

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