Tuned Up for Her Day (Power thinking, Morning routines, Making the journey fun, Moments)

School mornings consist of two objectives:

1) Getting her going w/shower, dressed, breakfast, lunch packed and out the door on time

2) Trying, as often as I can, to winder her up from a sleepy state to a vibrant state

This morning combined both simultaneously.

Was in the kitchen putting the final touches on her lunch when I heard some soft steps behind me. Her arms reached around my waist and she said, “Daddy!”

I turned and picked her up and held her close. Then, I started dancing around the kitchen with her while singing affirmations. One of her favorites is “I love life, I love people, I love what I’m up to…”

That phrase stems from a couple years ago when I asked her, “Why are you so happy almost all the time?” She replied, “I don’t know. I just love life, and I love people.”

Back to this morning-

Other affirming phrases were added on and then I circled back to the “I love life, I love people, I love what I’m up to…”

Finally, I dipped her to end our dance and set her down.

Me – “Okay, get dressed.”

She skipped off. In the playroom, I heard her singing to herself-

Her – “I love life…”

All tuned up for a great day. Mission accomplished!

Buddies (Bond, Balanced parenting, Stability, Core values)

We were driving home from school, and we were both happy to see each other and expressed our love in different ways. I looked at her with a big smile-

Me – “My little buddy.”

She grinned from ear to ear.

Me – “I guess that makes your Dad your big buddy.”

Her – “That sounds funny when you say it like you’re talking about another person.”

Me – “You know, some people say that parents shouldn’t be friends with their kids.”

Her – “Why?”

Me – “They say that if you become friends then the child will lose respect for the parent as a leader.”

Her – “Well, we’re best buddies, and we don’t do that.”

Her comment that “we’re best buddies” melted my heart. Her innocent way of saying “we don’t do that” amused me.

Me – “In my case, it’s not that I want you to listen to me because “I’m the parent” as people say. It’s because, at this point, I sometimes know what is necessary for you to make your life work well and for our family life to work well. That’s the main reason.”

Of course, the subject is more nuanced than this discussion articulated, but I do feel we have a great balance.

Guess my parenting style is a combination of love/praise, playfulness, firmness around certain values and explaining potential consequences of her choices for her life as leverage.

There are times when I lead firmly or even sternly and don’t want a debate. Even then, though, I never use time outs, definitely don’t spank, and rarely use a “take away.” If I feel I was to firm in my tone of voice, I always apologize and tend to her spirit and our relationship as more important than the temporary issue.

Certain values are important to me and a thread through most challenges we have:

Taking responsibility
Being truthful
Being respectful of others and their things, bodies
Mustering the courage and will
Challenging yourself instead of just asking others to do it for you
Doing your part in a family environment

She does have respect for my leadership when I exercise it, and we are best buddies. Every single day I can, I invest in and nurture her spirit and our relationship and her quality of life. She came into this world happy, and it’s my duty to protect that happy spirit. Anyone I let around her has to have that mentality, too. She sees that, and I think that also engenders respect and trust in my leadership.

FInally, I think that when you realize that your child’s consciousness related to being loving and happy is higher than yours, you have to have a little humility as a parent. I respect and admire her, and she also feels that.

To those who say you can’t be buddies with your young, developing child, I beg to differ. So far so good here.

The Parenting No-one Sees (Fostering independence, Persistence)

I’m a believer in fostering independence.

Yes, there are some ways that I am protective and keep her close, but I generally have my eye on looking for opportunities for her to grow in her sense of independence and capabilities.

Since we was very little, I would nudge her to ask for things in public. She learned to muster up the courage time and again. To this day, I nudge her, and she almost always accepts the challenge with resistance and returns to me proud of herself.

She learned how to handle herself on the phone with good manners long ago (though there are often lapses). She runs the dishwasher, can use the stove, has used the ATM machine since she was five, if not sooner, and is pretty handy around the kitchen, even with knives. We also created some good progress this year towards getting her started as an entrepreneur, something we’ll soon do more of. These are just some examples.

Of course, it never stops. Every day, it seems, offers new opportunities to guide her or nudge her in this manner. Sometimes, it’s just small things or a conversation. For example, we were talking about soccer today, which she starts tomorrow.

Her – “Are you going to stay there with me?”

Me – “What do you think?”

Her – “At least until I am comfortable and feel safe, right?”

Me – “Yes, I’ll be there on most days. But, you know, you can handle it. When I was eight, we were living in Switzerland, and I was taking trams, busses and traveling on my own. I want you to feel strong and powerful in the world on your own. You can do it.”

She replied that she did and indicated that she just needed help adjusting to this new experience.

Later on, she wanted to watch her favorite mermaid show on Amazon Prime. She ran to me to help her with my password. Instead of getting up, I told her how to do it.

Her – “I can’t do it. I try but it never works for me. Can you just do it?”

Me – “Don’t say you can’t. Say you don’t know how yet. No, I won’t do it. You need to learn.”

I then went on to give her verbal instructions. Off she went, tried, and then ran back, frustrated. I got up and walked to my office to help her.

Her – “Can you just do it?”

Me – “No. If I do it for you, then you’re dependent on me. Do you want to be dependent on me for this or independent so you can do it any time you want to on your own?”

Her – “Independent.”

Me – “Then you have to learn.”

She approached the computer again, followed my instructions and was successful at logging in.

This was only three minutes out of our day, but it’s another brick in her self-confidence and in expanding her capabilities. Sometimes big advancements as a parent aren’t visible to others and take place in the simplest of ways in the span of a few minutes.

Excited Because (Happiness, Aliveness, Power thinking)

Excited just because she’s excited

The other day, I woke up with an especially excited feeling. A combination of good sleep, feeling grateful, having clear goals that I was enthusiastic about. She woke up soon after and I shared my sentiments…

Me – “I’m excited to be alive!”

Her – “Me, too.”

Me – “I’m excited about my day ahead!”

Her – “I’m excited about… anything!”

Cracked me up.

She’s still at that age where the feeling of joy tends to just flow and pulse as a part of being alive. It doesn’t need reasons or to be cultivated as much as it does when you’re older.

Hope she can stay that way for a long time. If not, she’s seeing from me that she can grow up to be an adult who cultivates enthusiasm for life and the day ahead.

I’m sure she’ll take it to new levels…