A wonderful friend with a wonderful blog shares a practice of choosing a word for the year. For the purpose of meditation, if you will. Check out her fabulous wordage here: https://kjottinger.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/focus/
I’m thinking I’ll adopt her practice, mostly because life is screaming a particular word at me and even a big deaf dummy like me can hear a boat horn when the chaos dies down a little.
On the wall above my work station (yeah, the observant will observe that’s a clothesdryer, but we are all about using what we have, and since I am usually somewhere close to this location…) I put big post-its with short notes to self, and ideally I look at them every morning to orient myself. To remind myself what I am doing and why. You’ll see that most of them center on interacting with my children, because I need a lot of coaching at that. Parenting is hard, y’all.
The top one, written many months ago, is “Pause. Connect.” Like the first words out of your mouth maybe shouldn’t always be “Oh my God STOP DOING THAT!” when you talk to your three year old. Even when it’s kind of understandable that they would be, I’m still shooting for a healthier relationship. So, “hi! I love you so much. Please stop applying that black sharpie to your little sister’s face,” is multi-level damage control: damage control for your relationship and also control of marker related disasters.
But you have to stop before you scream. The Amish are famous for “the Amish pause,” which is the auditory manifestation of their practice of “thinking ten times before speaking once.” What a wonderful practice. What a bizarre and necessary thing to apply in parenting.
A perk that probably won’t last forever: the Pause is still strange and alarming to my children, so they stop even quicker than if I shouted at them. If mom’s yelling, carry on, good fellow. When she’s silent and taking a deep breath, duck and cover.