Parenting Begins with Me
Today's guest post comes from Sana Johnson-Quijada, MD, who blogs at Friend To Yourself. Dr. Johnson-Quijada is a psychiatrist, and I met her (like so many other fab folks) through social media. Recently, I posted about dealing with toddler tantrums, and Dr. Q tweeted me, "What about the parents?" Ahhh, she is a smart, smart cookie. Of course, as Dr. Q well knows, everything begins and ends with Me. That prompted an invite from me to her to write a guest post to cover that. She happily obliged!
Here, Dr. Q's thought-provoking response:
We have all heard that the youth are our future, that kids need our full undivided attention and that the ultimate calling of God is to serve others. I tell you that this is true.
The perceived approach to achieving this, however, ...not so true.
See Mom frozen in her pew as Pastor Green describes the morality of behaviors.See Dad at the school bake-sale; his stay-at-home experiment on the cookie table, his wishful face and in his edgy voice.
See Me in our slippers at work; we forgot to change into our shoes. (Using this terminology of “Me” encourages us to see ourselves as a vital being worth the work it takes to achieve health. Capitalizing and speaking of the “Me,” gives us a tool to view ourselves more objectively as well as remind us of our connection with each other. In so many words, Me is not so different and far from me.)
Dear Mom, Pastor Green, Dad and Me,
Dad wants to stay home to take care of his kids and confuses that process with one that erases him.
Mom wants to do what’s right but doesn’t know that many people, including Pastor Green, perceive right-and-wrong, good-and-bad and up-and-down by our wiring, by our temperaments and in so many words by what we perceive truth to be.
Pastor Green’s (introverted intuitive cognitive perception) may not know where other typed people are coming from. Further more, her brain disease (Major Depressive Disorder) can do no more than personalize what isn’t at all about her.
We can almost universally say that if you are reading this blog, you want to give your kids your “undivided” attention. You aren’t a beast. You want to “serve.” That’s obvious. You want to teach your kid(s) to be healthy and be kind and not set fire to bunnies. To do these things however, we must first grow insight that we do them for Me. Hopefully acting on that insight is next.
God knew that for Me, service is healthy.
The youth are our future... And?!
Kids need our full undivided attention. Then, after five or twenty minutes, when we or they are done, we attend to other things. At no time during this five or twenty minutes does Me stop being accountable for Me.
Everything starts and ends with Me. What happens in the trajectory between the start and ending is a lot, true. That’s where You fit in. Are we good here?
Questions: Does insight into your accountability to Me improve your parenting? Do you enjoy serving your children’s needs better when you know you are doing it because it is what is best for Me? Please tell us your story.
Sana Johnson-Quijada, M.D. writes on being a friend to yourself. She practices psychiatry and parents, with her husband, their three small children. Her blog, FriendtoYourself.com reflects years of study, along with life and patient experience.