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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Gate of Heaven and the Gate of Hell

One of my greatest challenges in my own life has been admitting to intellectual errors. “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” and “I was wrong about that,” have always stuck in my throat, but since becoming a mother I’ve struggled to make them part of my vocabulary (it’s so painful!) How else to reassure my daughter that her many mistakes along the path of acquiring a new language and alphabet are not just forgivable, but normal? This is a personal courage challenge I am constantly working at – to notice my mistakes, forgive myself, and move on, and to let my daughter see me do this. There is nothing to be gained by stubbornly clinging to an idea or answer or plan of action simply because we can’t admit we’ve made a mistake.

Here is a famous Zen story about intellectual courage, the ability to own our mistakes and change course.

One day a samurai visited the great Zen teacher, Haku-in. “My question is this: does paradise exist? Does hell exist?” asked the warrior.

Haku-in looked him up and down. “Who wants to know?” he said in a bored voice.

The samurai glared, very indignant. “I am a samurai! I protect the Shogun.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

Courage Book Review - The Wanderer

Last week I reviewed two illustrated versions of the Iliad.  Today, we take up the tale with adaptations for kids of the Odyssey.  Although with the earlier epic highlighted the control of the gods, the takeaway for this week is self-control.  Once again, we explore internal vs. external locus of control.

The Wanderings of Odysseus: The Story of the Odyssey [WANDERINGS OF ODYSSEUS -OS]Again, we have the masterful Rosemary Sutcliff at work with The Wanderings of Odysseus.  As many adapters of the story do, she rearranges the events into a chronological narrative.  (The original is full of flashbacks and intercut with "meanwhile, in Ithaca" scenes.)  Sutcliff moves Odysseus briskly from the smoldering ruins of Troy to the island of the Cyclops, where they are captured by the bloodthirsty Polyphemus.   From the extreme external locus of control found in the Iliad, we now have an interior locus of control.  "The Greeks were near despair.  But there was a plan forming in Odysseus' head, by which he might save at least some of them."   In Homer (I have the Fitzgerald translation) Odysseus says, "And now I pondered how to hurt him worst, if but Athena granted what I prayed for.  Here are the means I thought would serve my turn."  Odysseus gets credit now for the plan; you may recall Athena was responsible for putting the thought of the Trojan Horse into his mind.  So we have moved to an interior locus of control in this narrative - and it will be much to the regret of Odysseus, for as they escape from the blinded Cyclops, the cunning man gloats and mocks: "If anyone asks who blinded you, tell them it was Odysseus, son of Laertes and Lord of Ithaca, Odysseus the Sacker of Cities!"  It is this moment of foolish braggadocio that costs Odysseus so dearly, for Polyphemus cries out to his father, Poseidon, god of the sea, to take revenge.  Oops.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Are You Raising an Outy?

What does internal vs. external locus of control have to do with coaching courage in my child? 

Firstly, the cool thing about locus of control is that it is one of those few areas where parenting really matters!  It seems that locus of control is not a genetically-driven trait, but more a nurtured and learned personality adaptation.  The goal in parenting is for children to develop an increasingly internal locus of control over time, combined with a flexibility to move along the continuum depending on life circumstances. 

Given that a child’s sense of diminished control over his/her environment is associated with psychological vulnerability to anxiety in particular, it is imperative that parents coach their kids to really listen to their own inner thoughts, values, feelings, and body.  The more children believe that they are active agents in the successes or failures of their lives—the more likely they are to take responsibility for their actions and develop the six types of courage.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Courage Quote of the Day

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." ~ Erma Bombeck

Friday, May 27, 2011

Courage Challenge of the Day

Lion's Whiskers offers this courage challenge: Before school ends this year and you've lost the chance to exercise your social courage muscles, look around:  Is there someone in your child's class that you and your child haven't spent much time with? 

Seize the opportunity to arrange an end-of-the-year playdate or a chance to hang out. This potential new friend or family could broaden your social horizons in ways you may not yet have even considered! Everybody has a story. Unless we create opportunities to connect, we may never get the chance to know how that story may add a new chapter to your own life story.

After you and your child have decided whom to invite and what might be fun to do together, your challenge as the parent is to make these arrangements on the phone or in-person while your child is present.  That way you are modeling the kind of social outreach, with all the polite, preamble, get-to-know-you conversation that that entails. Whether you have a preschooler, highschooler, or someone in between, it's never too late to help your child create a new friendship.

"There are no strangers here;  Only friends you haven't met yet." William Butler Yeats

What's a true story from your life about a time you reached out to make a new friend or helped your child to do so?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Rightful Heir

Does every child experience doubts about his or her parents? As in, “I wonder if they are really my parents? Who am I, really?” It’s very common (according to Dr. Lisa, and especially if there is an older sibling who has planted a few seeds of doubt!) for children to suspect that they have somehow been switched at birth and ended up in the wrong family. We may share our children's birth stories with them, but working against them we have many many stories throughout history that speak of doubt, in the form of “foundling” stories or stories of abandoned children who achieved greatness.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Courage Tip of the Day

Write your child a thank you note today. What? Your child can't read or write yet? That's okay, you can! 

Maybe even enclose a drawing of your own?  Our kids love to see and even giggle over our drawings.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Mango Tree and a Baby

“Birbal the Wise” is a recurring figure in stories from Moghul India (16th Century). Birbal was an advisor to the emperor, Akbar, and was legendary for his cleverness, quick wits, and sagacity.

Two men lay claim to the same mango tree, and stood bickering and shouting in the palace courtyard. Birbal the Wise was asked to hear their case.

“I see,” said Birbal when it had been explained. “There is but one way to decide fairly. First, we will pick all the mangos and divide them equally between you. Then, chop down the tree, saw it into even lengths, and divide the wood equally as well.”

The first man readily agreed to these terms, but the second one was distraught. “But, Wise Birbal! I have tended to that tree for many years, pruning it and fertilizing it and keeping the birds and monkeys away! Please let this man have it rather than cut it down.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

Courage Book Review - the Black Ships

Yesterday Lisa talked about internal vs. external locus of control.  Today I want to talk about extreme-external locus of control!  I want to talk about Helen of the Fair Cheeks and the death of Achilles.  Yes, the Trojan War.

Offering the Trojan War (and its backstories) to kids 11 years old and up is a fascinating and dramatic way to explore the concept of personal responsibility.  The gods are the ultimate puppeteers here:  Thetis dips Achilles into the River Styx to make him invulnerable; Aphrodite sends Paris to go fall in love with (already married) Helen; Apollo sends disease to the Greeks to punish Agamemnon for kidnapping Chriseis;  Athena, Zeus, Hera -- these gods can't mind their own business for a moment!  They send dreams, they appear in disguise as trusted friends giving counsel, they produce obscuring clouds of mist at crucial moments of battle.  The mortals themselves accept this meddling as natural, if often inconvenient - like weather.

What is so fascinating about all this, aside from the great story-telling of it, is that consciousness itself may have been quite different at the time of these events.  People may not have recognized that their  thoughts, emotions and feelings arose within themselves.  (For a review of the difference between emotions and feelings, please revisit "What is Emotional Courage.") Ascribing  insight, anger, jealousy or passionate love to an external force may have been all the Ancients could do.  And yet we see glimmers of personal responsibility and internal locus of control shining through chinks in the armor.  Behold the 11 year old child!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Are You an Inny or an Outy?

Do you believe that you control your fate or that outside circumstances beyond your control do?  In 1966, psychologist Julian Rotter was busy trying to answer this question and bridge traditional psychoanalytic thought and behaviorism (the zeitgeist at the time) into what is now termed social learning theory.  One aspect of Rotter’s social learning theory, that is particularly relevant to the way we can parent a child to develop courage, is called Locus of Control of Reinforcement.  Locus of control is related to individual difference in the way we generalize our expectancies (i.e. what we think will happen to us in the future). If you want to help your child develop courage, teaching him/her to develop an internal locus of control is important.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Courage Quote of the Day

"I've developed a new philosophy...I only dread one day at a time"  ~ Charlie Brown (a.k.a. Charles Schulz, Creator of the world-famous comic strip Peanuts, 1950-2000)

Friday, May 20, 2011

5-Minute Courage Workout: Talking Dirty

Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:

We have become quite the sanitized culture.  Unless you live in a rural community or on a farm, you may have an arm's-length relationship with dirt.  If you are suffering from a dirt deficit and have forgotten the joy, freedom of self-expression, and just plain fun you can have in the dirt, here's a workout for you and your kids.  (Younger kids will probably not find this one too challenging and may already be leading you down the garden path: parents, this one may be more for your benefit!) Also, please be sure to read Let's Talk Dirty.

Here's a list of 5-Minute Courage Workouts by age range to boost confidence in our dirt-deprived and germophobic world.

Remember, all workouts are more effective when followed regularly.
 Grab Some Lion's Whiskers Today!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Let's Talk Dirty

I am a gardener. I get dirty. I often wear dark nail polish in the summer to hide how unscrubbably grimy my fingernails have become.

And that’s okay. Dirt’s not that bad.

Becoming a mom for the first time to a little girl who had already grown out of the crawling stage (so I thought) I was rather foolish about some of the clothing choices I made early on. K. was 8 when she came here, and needed her first snow suit. I bought a white one. Oh dear. She goes to a Waldorf school where there are two recess periods a day, in a play yard that is wood chips and mud. They crawl in it, jump in it, roll in it, dig in it – there seems to be nothing they don’t do with mud. I’d meet her at the gate that first winter, and behold a child in a white snow suit that was entirely coated with mud. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Courage Quote of the Day

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, it is the form of every virtue at the testing point." 
~ C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Another Lion Story (actually two!)

A startling video on YouTube made the rounds a few years back, about a lion named Christian and the two men who had raised him. The background is that in 1969 these men saw a lion cub for sale in London (let’s not even begin to talk about how this could have been legal) and brought it home, raising it in their apartment and exercising it in the neighboring churchyard. Inevitably, this male lion (named Christian) became too big, and the young men did what they must to reintroduce it to the wild in Africa. More than a year later they returned to look for their old friend; the lion came to them and embraced them, rubbing against them like an overgrown kitty, and even introduced them to its wild-born mate. Watching this video (with a power ballad soundtrack!) brings tears and also the question – how could those men be so sure they were safe? What sort of courage is that?

It immediately brought to mind the story of Androcles and the Lion, one of my favorites from childhood and a great example of emotional courage.

A Greek slave named Androcles was badly abused by his Roman master for many years. One day, when an opportunity presented itself, Androcles ran away, choosing the unknown dangers of the forest over the known dangers of life as a slave. He wandered for many days, hungry and exposed to the elements. At last, he found a cave where he could take shelter, and lay down to rest.

Hours later, a sound awakened him. To his horror, he saw the daylight at the mouth of the cave obscured by a great shape, and by its shaggy mane and powerful frame he recognized his terrible mistake: he had taken shelter in a lion’s den. With a short prayer he resigned himself to his fate and closed his eyes, but when minutes passed with no attack he peeked. The lion lay just within the opening of the cave, grunting as if in pain and licking at a front paw.

Androcles crept closer, and saw that a large green thorn was stuck in the paw, which was swollen and infected from the sap. His heart was pounding with fear, but when the man crept even closer the lion stretched out his leg, as if asking for help. Trembling, Androcles reached out and, bit by bit, worked the thorn loose. The lion sighed, and lay his head down, blinking tiredly at Androcles before falling asleep. Androcles too, exhausted by the fear and relief, soon gave way to sleep.

For several days, Androcles and the lion shared the cave with growing trust and friendship. The lion brought food to Androcles as if the man were the lion’s cub, and they both regained their strength and walked among the trees together. One day, however, a team of hunters ensnared the lion in a net, and guessing that Androcles was a runaway slave, they captured him as well.

In those days, it was the Roman custom to watch criminals be torn to pieces by wild animals as a spectacle in the open-air theater called the Coliseum. This was to be Androcles’ fate, as a warning to other slaves not to try running away. On the appointed day, Androcles was thrown into the ring, while hundreds of spectators cheered and applauded from all sides. On the far side of the arena, a gate was drawn open by a chain, and a ferocious lion burst out, roaring and snarling in rage. 

Androcles stood his ground as the lion charged, and a hush fell upon the blood-thirsty crowd. To their astonishment, the lion stopped when it reached the slave and licked his face. Androcles wrapped his arms around the lion’s neck, for it was the same lion who had been his friend in the forest. So great was the wonder of this event, that the emperor granted pardon to both slave and lion, who spent the rest of their days together as free citizens of Rome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Courage Book Review - Three by Idries Shah

Afghan scholar and author, Idries Shah, spent years interpreting the Sufi tradition for a Western audience.  With many illustrated picture books to choose from, Lion's Whiskers here offers three.

The Silly ChickenFirst, we have The Silly Chicken, illustrated by Jeff Jackson, which offers a very amusing parable about intellectual courage.  I remember many years ago asking myself why people in fantasy stories were always so quick to believe talking animals.  Why would you place such confidence in the accuracy of the animal's information, or assume a lack of agenda?  Might the animal not be a liar?  Might the animal not be stupid?  In this book, we have a excellent example of why being skeptical of talking animals may be proper wisdom.   A man spends a great deal of effort teaching a chicken to talk; finally, the chicken does speak, and what the chicken says sends the people of the town off into a  hair-tearing panic.  After a great deal of confusion, the people finally discover they've been given information by someone with no intelligence at all.  They ask "How could you tell us such a thing?"  And the chicken - with common sense that can only be seen as ironic - replies, "Only silly people would listen to a chicken in the first place."  In an age when we swallow information - especially alarming information - without chewing first, this is a timely cautionary tale!  The pictures are cheerful with bright, bold primary colors, and the book is sure to amuse young children.  Feel free to act it out.  The story is just begging for exaggeration and silliness.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Little did I know that all the hours of playing Peek-a-Boo with my children actually produced necessary neuronal growth in their brains so they can feel secure in this world!  Peek-a-Boo teaches our child that we are a secure object.  I thought we were just having fun!?  That’s the cool thing about putting psychology research into practice, it can be fun.  Research now shows that many time-honored traditions in parenting help create the trust and courage in kids necessary to conquer many of life’s challenges. 

Around eight months of age, children develop the cognitive capability called object permanence.  Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget coined the term object permanence, that refers to the cognitive understanding that even when a secure object is out of sight, it doesn’t cease to exist. Even if we can’t see, hear, or touch someone or something, we can access the memory of its existence in our mind.  Imagine how much psychological comfort this cognitive capacity we all develop brings, given healthy and normal development.  Have you ever felt lonely and imagined calling someone you love and what they might say to comfort you?  Have you ever run a race and imagined the people who support you waiting with smiling faces at the finish line—especially when you feel like stopping?  Has it ever brought comfort and solace to remember the funny and loving memories of a relative who has died?  Object permanence can be protective and inspire courage in moments when we feel alone, distressed, or stressed. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Courage Quote of the Day

"Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable." ~ Thomas Vail

Friday, May 13, 2011

5-Minute Courage Workout: Saying "I'm Sorry"

Compiled and written by Lisa and Jennifer:

Saying “I’m sorry” takes emotional and moral courage.  Learning about the true purpose and importance of making an apology begins and ends with empathy.

In learning to say “I’m sorry” children first need to learn to identify and express their own feelings.  Then, to develop empathy for another’s feelings.  Next, they will learn to recognize right from wrong.  Following early emotional and moral development comes responsibility-taking for one’s choices and behaviors, self-discipline, and assertive communication.

Hopefully, by supporting our children to develop emotional intelligence, empathy for others, and a sense of personal responsibility (whilst continuing to develop these skills ourselves) we can all help create more peace in ourselves, our community, and our world. 

Here's a list of 5-Minute Courage Workouts by age range. Remember, all workouts are more effective when followed regularly.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Meat of the Tongue

Okay, by now some readers may be ready to give up on me and my fairy tales and legends. “Too late,” they’ll say. “Didn’t do that when the kids were small, and now that they are reading on their own they don’t want to read these things. They’re too old for bedtime stories, even if Einstein thought they should read them.”

Allow me to paraphrase a traditional tale from Kenya, called Meat of the Tongue. A ruler was alarmed because his wife was thin and sickly and weak. Looking around, he saw that a humble tailor had a robust and healthy wife, and asked, what was the secret? “Meat of the tongue,” replied the tailor. So the ruler ordered all manner of tongue meat for his wife – wildebeest tongue, lamb tongue, gazelle tongue, even ostrich tongue – none of it availed. In desperation, the ruler asked the tailor to swap wives for a month, to see if that might bring his wife to better health. Sure enough, the ruler’s wife was soon happy and smiling and putting on weight, while the tailor’s wife was looking sad and tired. “What is it, what is it?” the ruler demanded. “What is this meat of the tongue?”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Courage Question of the Day

Lion's Whiskers asks: How do you build trust in the parent-child relationship?  How do you know that you've shown your kids that they can trust you? (i.e. are you always on time, do you promise to tell the truth-the-whole-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth, do you apologize when you make a mistake?)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Tall Tell Tale

Living for a year in Switzerland as a child, I saw and heard frequent mention of that country’s legendary hero, William Tell. Pictures of the man with the crossbow on his shoulder and his son by his side were common. I like this story a lot, because it’s a story about moral courage and emotional courage in action in spite of anger and smoldering resistance. Anger can be a great motivator, but indulging in our passionate indignation can blur our vision and our decision-making. When we storm the castle with pitchforks and flaming torches we get to vent our feelings, but it usually doesn’t get us closer to our goal. This story is literally about keeping a steady hand in spite of anger. Courage requires self-control, or else it risks being mere recklessness.

In long ago days, the forest cantons of Switzerland suffered under the dominion of the Austrian emperors, and for some time, a cruel and tyrannical governor named Gessler ruled the canton of Uri. His authority was absolute, and many of his laws were designed to bring the people shame and humiliation. In the high hill town of Altdorf he had a tall pole raised in the center square and his hat placed on top. All the people were required to show their obedience whenever they passed through the square by bowing to this hat. To avoid this, most people just found a different route through town.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Courage Book Review - 1,001 Versions of the Arabian Nights

The great, overstuffed toy box that is the 1,001 Arabian Nights has provided stories and inspiration for generations, with examples of each of the six types of courage.  How many of us have had occasion to say "Open Sesame!" or joked about the perils of rubbing tarnished lamps?  It is likely that only scholars or novelists would attempt to make their way through the entire collection.  For most of us, "selections" will have to do.  Rather than 1,001 we might be satisfied with far fewer - the highlights reel.  Here are three to consider:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all our wonderful mother readers around the globe!

May you honor yourself today and everyday for the vital role you play in your child's life. Parenting requires everyday and heroic acts of courage to be the best parents we can be. Never underestimate how important you are in a child's life, as a powerful model of courage, compassion, and caring.

Blessings on the parenting journey!

C'mere! C'mere! Go 'way! Go 'way!

Let’s take a look at what happens when infants may not have the opportunity to attach in healthy ways, due to parental death, neglect, abuse, addiction, or infant illness, isolation, or cognitive disability, for example.  Less tragically, but no less significantly, a constant rotation of caregivers will also fail to support the attachment process in ways that are sustaining and mutually beneficial between caregiver and child.

I want to remind everyone that even in cases of parental abandonment for one reason or another, other loving caregivers can securely fill the primary attachment relationship role and ensure a child’s survival and well-being! 

Attachment is not destiny; our brain and our being are flexible and resilient.  We continually develop throughout our lifespan!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Courage Quote of the Day

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 6, 2011

Courage Challenge of the Day

Lion's Whiskers offers this courage challenge: Choose a worthwhile cause that your family can donate some time, petition signatures, or money to this month.  The organization or cause could be local or global.  Here are a couple of websites devoted to making your search for your family's cause easy: Charity Navigator or Global Giving.

Developing the moral courage to be the kind of concerned citizen active in local and global causes begins at home.  Discuss with your child causes that are important to you: environmentalism, religious freedom, reducing poverty, or combating racism (just to name a few).  If your child is young, you could spark a discussion about animal welfare and the protection of endangered species, like Panda or Polar bears. Read Jennifer's story about Holocaust rescuer Irene Opdyke to become inspired about how moral courage and activism starts at home with small steps leading to heroic strides.

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead
What's a true story from your life about inspiring your children to develop a charitable consciousness and/or one of the examples from your life when you demonstrated moral courage by giving to something or to someone in need?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Everyone Is a Hero

Everyone is the hero of her own story, her own heroic journey. We only play secondary roles in other people’s journeys – guide, helper, obstacle, shadow, grail. Having a deep understanding of this allows us to put responsibility where it belongs: I am responsible for the choices in my heroic journey, you are responsible for the choices in yours. Either making ourselves responsible for someone else’s story, or making someone else responsible for ours, creates havoc, weakness, and confusion. Courage often means seeing the difference between my story and yours, and knowing which role to act.

Let me put this another way: If you are playing a passive role, awaiting rescue by a hero, then by definition this is not your story! You are right now playing a secondary role in someone else’s story! When you step back into the active role of hero you are inhabiting your own story again, and you are back on your own heroic journey.  You are back on your path.   You can also see this from Dr. Lisa's perspective as the question of locus of control: do you believe you are an active agent in your life (internal locus of control) or do you think the actions of others are dictating yours (external locus of control.)

Children are by nature self-centered, taking the lead role in the only story in the world that counts – their own. All other people are merely supporting characters who dwell in suspended animation until their turn comes to deliver their lines on the child’s stage. But if I can reveal to my daughter that all those other people are also the heroes in their own stories, she might begin to see that they all probably have something else to do besides think about her. It might make it more obvious who should be taking an active, heroic, courageous role.  Sometimes it takes courage to admit when you are not the hero.  In other words, sometimes it takes courage to shut up and do nothing!  As a parent, I have to remind myself again and again to be  mindful of when it's appropriate for me to step aside and allow my daughter to take the lead.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Courage Question of the Day

Lion's Whiskers asks: Who was your favorite superhero when you were a kid?  Who is your child's favorite?  Why?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Damon and Pythias, BFFs

The yearning for a BFF runs deep. When I was a child, one of my favorite stories from Ancient Greece was the legend of Damon and Pythias. I haven’t run across it in children’s literature for a long time, however, possibly because of homophobia – I’m not sure, really. All I can say is that it spoke directly to my soul when I was young and had a BFF, and we dreamed that nothing would be better than for us to live together forever, as only best friends can dream. We drew detailed floor plans of the house we would build, remodeling it constantly – at one point it had a room-sized aviary that would house all our parakeets and zebra finches. It was a dream of complete reasonableness for us.

          So, the legend of Damon and Pythias:

          Two men, Damon and Pythias, were the best of friends, loving each other and living as brothers, sharing everything in the greatest joy and confidence and mutual trust. The claim that each would be willing to lay down his life for the other was no exaggeration, for it was put to the test.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Courage Book Review - Speaking of Courage Again

The Brave CowboyHere are a couple of feel-good courage books for your young child.

The Brave Cowboy, by Joan Walsh Anglund is a classic that has been around for over 50 years.  It has a small, square trim size, just right for small hands to hold.  The black line art is enhanced with red line art, indicating the fantasies of the young cowboy, who, needless to say, is not afraid of anything.  Sometimes "he had troubles... when he tent collapsed while he was camping out...when he ran out of food on the trail, far away from camp, when his horse went lame while he was hunting buffalo.  But he was never baffled...he was not afraid...and he never gave up."  Just right for young buckaroos intent on roping teddy bears.  I happen to know a 3-year-old cowboy who could easily have been the inspiration for this sweet book.  It is not a bad place to start.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What's a Good Enough Parent?

When my first child was born, a nurse handed me a form to complete which had two empty spaces, one for "Mother's Name" and the other for "Father's Name."  I completed the form with my own mother and father's names filled into the blanks.  The nurse reviewed the form and promptly asked me "Who are these folks?  Sweetheart, YOU are the mother. This form needs YOUR name."   Everything went a little woozy as I was overcome by the seismic internal shift from daughter to mother.  All I knew was that I wanted to be good enough to warrant this immense responsibility and privilege to now be the guide, not the follower, on this next adventure in life.  I hoped I would have the kind of internal strength and courage to weather all the changes to come.  As I've written about previously, my first tasks would involve ensuring secure attachment and cultivating attunement between myself and my children.