Our oldest son just turned 10 and I have been reflecting on the journey it has been. There have been many joys, lots of fun, some sorrows and many challenges. Life gives me many opportunities for growth, in fact every challenge I face is one of those opportunities. For me raising my boys has been the biggest catalyst for my personal and spiritual growth. I came into parenting thinking I had it all figured out, already. Oh, how little I knew! I did know what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to treat my kids the way I was treated when I was a kid growing up. (I’ll write a post on that topic at another time)
The biggest challenges I have faced have not been in getting my kids to comply with what I am asking them to do, dealing with emotional outbursts, or nights of disturbed sleep. My biggest challenges in my 10 years, as a parent ,have been in dealing with my own emotions and my reactivity to my children. Yes, it is true. Some of the things my kids do trigger me, and in looking at this as a journey of self growth I get to ask myself, “Why am I triggered?”. When I notice myself getting angry at my older son, for teasing his brother, it’s because I can see myself as a kid being teased by friends and remember how much I hated it.
If I look at every challenge I experience in my parenting as a possibility for growth and healing my past traumas I welcome them as they help me to grow into the compassionate, loving father I know myself to be. Parenting for me is a spiritual journey, allowing me to let go of old beliefs, stuck emotions, heal past relationships and connect internally to myself and externally with my family and friends.
How can parenting be a spiritual journey for you?
Start by just noticing when you are being the most challenged, when you start feeling angry, upset or triggered. Ask yourself, why is this bothering me so much? It may be as simple as you haven’t had time to nurture yourself lately and are feeling overwhelmed. Or you may notice some memory come up from your past, that this trigger is reminds you of. Either way if you begin to bring awareness to it, you can pause and begin to ask important questions that can bring a new perspective to the situation. It can also allow you to examine old beliefs that may not even belong to you and let them go allowing you to grow into who you want to be.