Friday, July 24, 2009

A Novel Approach to Being a Parent

I just saw the movie – Confessions of a Shopaholic. I loved the whole “The girl in the Green Scarf” approach. So I thought I'd try out “The Mom in the Green Mini-Van" :-)

Did you ever notice that life as a parent is very similar to reading a great story? We could title our story – A Story about -Your child’s name goes here - The Trials and Tribulations of Growing Up. UGH. Just the title makes you want to think twice about reading it. For one thing, we would need to have a full stock of tissues on hand, I’m sure. However, we ignore the warning signs and lift the tissue from the tissue box and anxiously begin to read our first chapter.

As we get introduced to our main character (your child), we inevitably become one and can identify with many things that are happening. As the pages of the book get turned each new tissue is being pulled out of the box. We laugh, cry, we worry and encourage our character to keep going. We hear ourselves talking at the story saying “Everything will be okay!” or “Wow, You Did It Again, I’m So Proud of You!”

We say to ourselves, “Our character is something else, huh?" "Wow – how remarkable!" "How precious and beautiful is this person!” We remember when we went through these kinds of things. But then, we also gasp when read about some of the difficulties being introduced. We reflect on our lives and recall the situations we were able to champion. You remember those, right? Like, trying to fit in with the cool kids, getting new clothes instead of hand-me-downs and being allowed to stay over at a friend’s house are just some of the many battles we fought in our lives.

Yet, we are amazed, at some of the challenges set forth for our character in this story. The adventures seem like enormous elephants charging towards us at full speed compared to our little mouse standing still while nibbling on a tiny little piece of cheese. How will our character get through this? Will it be okay? What is going to happen next? Will it get easier? It can’t get harder, can it?

Sometimes, we find that the story keeps repeating itself over and over again. We wonder why? It seems like we’ve been through one page of the story several times. We feel as if the chapter’s theme is a bit “stuck” and wonder when it will “flow” freely again. Then, we realize we never turned the page! Once we recognize this and we are ready to move on, we turn the page. The story changes a bit as we get more information. Our character continues to grow and change as each page is turned in our chapter.

Sometimes though, we purposely choose not to turn the page. You see, even though we recognize we have been through this part of the story several times already, we are comfortable here. Is it because we are terrified of what we will read about on the next page of our story? Is it because we like where we are in our character’s life? Do we feel we are finally in control of the story? Is this why we do not want to turn the page?

Yet still, some of us like to stay on the same page to revel in joy. The page tells about our character’s struggle to become a champion. We relate to how relieved and exhausted our character must be. We choose to give the story a time to “rest”. We remain on the same page and read the details of the success for many days, months, even years. Undoubtedly, though, we turn the page. We hunker down and continue along for the ride.

Often we find ourselves judging our main character. On some pages we wish our character did things a bit differently. On other pages, we are so proud we want to call our friends and share the great news. Yet on other pages, we are so happy that we do not have any real connection to our fictional character (this is deep).

Even though we go through tons of tissues from both crying for sadness and joy, our character's story continues. We choose how to perceive the story. We choose if we will continue along the journey with our character. For the vast majority of readers, we come to terms with our main character. We learn to believe in our character’s ability. We see our character as whole and perfect just the way they present in the pages. Since we are comfortable with our character, we start to relax and laugh as we continue reading. We begin to make our character a priority in our life. All of the trials and tribulations begin to take center stage in our life. We are motivated and make time to turn a page.

In some rare situations, we find ourselves visualizing the outcome of our character. When we are not reading and analyzing the story, we are dreaming of the possible outcomes. We focus on only the good ones! As we continue to turn the pages, we are joyfully surprised to find our dreams and visions are coming true. Our character is turning out better than okay. Just like we hoped for, our character is supported by many people who are passionate about living their life on purpose. Our character is in good hands. We are so proud of ourselves for believing in our character and never giving up!

I know this is a bit deep for many. The last couple of weeks have been somewhat difficult for me. Ever since our local docs refused treatment for Shannon, I have been trying to create my own objective data to try and get her help. This is not very easy to do. During this adventure, Shannon got sick with a virus. With her autoimmune issue, illness lends to behavioral issues and possible additional chronic brain injury.

When Shannon is sick, I don’t usually sleep much. When I'm not at the office, I seem to spend most of my time at home as a referee between Shannon and Sean. Shannon is usually provoking and Sean is right there to finish it. This lends itself to many emotional exchanges. Not because I cannot stand my children anymore.

Rather, because I do not like the way my two characters’ story is shaping up at the moment. I am wishing I never turned the page a few weeks ago. Can you relate? If you can, this is the reason I wrote this long article. It is an important time to reflect. I need to choose to turn the page and believe in my children. Sometimes, I can be a bit intense and will try to predict the end of the story before it even begins. I am still learning to tend to what is right in front of me and believe in only happy endings. Everyone is an author to their own life story. We are all learning.

You see, even though the character in your story may be different in many ways to my character, they are alike in one way. Every character is a child with a caring and passionate parent. Although this parent believes they are taking a back seat in their life to help their child succeed, this is far from the truth. In some unique way, every child has helped their parent expand their knowledge, belief, faith and understanding of what it means to live life with purpose.

I know for me, Shannon and Sean and even my husband, Tom, have helped me discover my life purpose. I have learned that my life purpose is to help families recognize their hope through alternative solutions. My strengths lay within setting goals, boundaries and creating structure for other people. At the present moment, I am living my life on purpose through my business. Through the creation of the Student Transformation System, I am helping to cultivate academic minds through the power of brain training. I help families and students (of all types), set goals, create plans and structure to enable success in their life.

Now it is your turn. What is your main character going through today? Have you visualized your character as happy, healthy and whole yet? How has your child helped you discover your life purpose?