Looking to change the world? Put in the work to heal. Heal the generational trauma. Heal the childhood trauma. Heal the trauma from whatever life threw at you. Heal, so you can better love your family, or so you can encourage someone you see loving their family.
One single person doing the work has resounding effects.
Yesterday, I went to the grocery store. I had Eli with me. I was giving him snacks to keep him happy and entertained. At the end of my trip, he spit his chewed bar into my hand. I had to get out of line and go throw it away in the bathroom and wash my hands.
As we got back in line, he wanted more bar. I simply said, “No, you just spit it out. You don't get more when you do that." Well, you’d think I just killed his dog or something because he lost his ever loving shit. Right there in line. I needed the groceries, so leaving wasn’t really an option. He screamed at the top of his lungs and threw a full on tantrum the entire time.
I tried to distract him with looking at other things. I calmly acknowledged his feelings and told him, “I am hearing that you want more bar, but I can’t give it to you because I can’t risk you spitting it out again." A sweet worker tried talking to him to distract him. Nothing was working.
I had to take a breath and settle into the experience. I had to be patient with him, his feelings, myself, and the big feelings this experience was stirring up in me. I could feel the annoyed glares and knew people were probably thinking, “can’t you shut that kid up?!”
I held a flailing and screaming kid while loading our groceries onto the check out counter, and I managed to pay like that as well. It felt like a fiasco. Just as the lady handed us the receipt, he cleared his big feelings and was ready to be happy again delightedly acknowledging a “cute baby” in a stroller.
As I was leaving, this motherly, beautifully put together woman with a stylish boho vibe, came up to me and said, “you handled that very well, and he learned something.”
Her kindness, encouragement, and compassion allowed me to exhale. I held onto her energy and her words.
This random stranger's kindness meant more to me than she probably even realized. It gave me a confidence boost that this frazzled, frizzy haired mom who was wearing shorts that didn’t fit right, with a flipping out kid desperately needed.
It reminded me that I’m on the right track with this gentle parenting thing despite not feeling popular. She also reminded me that so many people are kind, understanding, and compassionate.
Gentle parenting is brutal on us first generation gentle parents. We are literally learning to reparent ourselves and show grace to ourselves as well as our children.
I see a lot of my peers raising their kids differently than past generations.
The Bible tells us to, “Treat others the way you want to be treated” (Luke 6:31).
No where does it say that children are an exception to this.
More and more of my thoughtful and brave friends are daring to do things differently. They are taking the time to slow down, show respect, understanding, patience, and kindness to their kids instead of treating them like second class citizens, shaming them, hitting them, and yelling at them.
We are raising more people like this sweet woman in the store. People who are kind, compassionate, thoughtful, understanding, encouraging, supportive, tolerant, thinking for themselves, accepting of differences etc.
So many people are so negative about the state of the world and future generations. I personally am excited for Eli’s generation to grow up and take over the world. These kids will have something that no past generations ever did.
I have hope that we will veer from the rigid, divisive, and shut off to differences way that we see so prevalently in politics and religion practiced by the unhealed before us. These kids who are being sat with and know first hand what it means to be understood and to be understanding will have the emotional capacity to sit with and be patient with those who are different.
I have hope that someday this generation of healed little people will bring unity back to this country.
However, that doesn’t make it any easier for us cycle breakers. Learning to effectively love and show grace and mercy to ourselves while simultaneously doing the same for our children takes grit and a lot of prayer.
Simple kindness and encouragement from a random stranger went a long way to help me stay strong and calm on an otherwise pretty tough day of gentle parenting.
If you see a Momma doing her best to be patient with her children, encourage her. She needs it! Simple kindness, compassion, and understanding will change the world.