Striving for Balance

Parenting Blog

April 7, 2016

Striving for Balance

Since the equinox, it's officially spring. It's the time of year when the forces of Lady Spring and King Winter battle for supremacy but in spite of King Winter's efforts, we all know how it will work out. The forces of spring are greater at this time of year and under the snow and in the cold, we find daffodils blooming and tulips sprouting. It's a good time of year to consider balance which is a dynamic process. It's like steering a boat; it involves micro-shifts from side to side to stay on course, keeping an eye on the goal.

Balance in parenting involves two primary gestures: one that involves embracing and holding near, the other is about setting limits. You can think of it as "Yes, I love you" and "No, you may not do that." Each gesture supports the other and generally speaking, we might struggle with one aspect or the other depending on our experiences and temperament.

It's important to know ourselves. If our personal emotions are strong and clouding our parenting decisions and throwing off our balance, we have some inner work to do. Often fear lies beneath imbalances. Questions can be helpful. Ask yourself, "What am I afraid of?" and then listen without judgment to the answers that come. If you are feeling angry, you might ask, "Is there something I cannot change that I am having trouble accepting?" If you are feeling guilty ask, "Is there a mistake I need to address?" Fear, anger and guilt can become a vicious cycle that blocks our judgment and equanimity; it's good to explore.

The key to self exploration and finding balance is to develop objectivity (easier said than done). Feelings of sympathy (It's good and I like it) or antipathy (It's bad and I don't like it) do not hold sway over the greater forces of wisdom in the universe but they do impact our emotional balance. Seek to accept all the things that are outside of your power to change and remember to make any adjustments that are yours to make. Just as the captain of the ship keeps an eye on the goal and steers with objectivity, that's our task as well, even or perhaps especially when the weather is stormy.

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