Growing Up with Our Kids

Several days ago my heart was touched by my son and Ottis, our young dog.  Ottis was chewing on something, as young dogs often do, that we didn’t want him chewing on.  My son said to Ottis, “Hey buddy, here’s your bone. How about you chew on that?”

Ottis and my son
Ottis and my son

This could seem like nothing out of the ordinary.

Why would I be so celebratory over this!

When this same scene happened in my childhood, my red-faced father would get so angry that he’d hit and yell at our dog.

I’m guessing my dad felt helpless or powerless or his sense of security was threatened when the dog was eating something he valued. His automatic response was to fight.

I’m imagining that this reaction came down through the generations to him from his father and from his father before him and so on.

What I’m celebrating is THE SHIFT that’s happening with my children.

Over the years I’ve been steadily exploring with empathy my own triggers.  Feeling my feelings – my own powerlessness when my kids wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do.  Healing the automatic fighting neuro-pathways passed down through the generations to me.

Raising my kids has given me plenty of opportunity to explore my triggers!  I remember the times I gave myself “time-outs” from heated situations to go be with my automatic reactivity. In Viktor Frankl’s words, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

In a way my kids and I have grown up together.  Thanks kids.  🙂

And I celebrate this precious place our family enjoys with less reactivity and greater choice.

Parents, how about you … would you share the changes in your family that you feel gratified about?

In peace and love, Teresa

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