Glimmering Podcast

Where we learn out loud to love deeply, grow successfully, and live justly.

Evolutionary Parenting: Permission to learn and grow right alongside our kids

This is the third in a series of what I'm calling "Parenting the Glimmering way: scattered thoughts with few conclusions." These are reflections on the intricacies of parenting using the Glimmering triad (Love Deeply, Grow Successfully, Live Justly) as a guide to instilling those same values in our kids.


It’s possible that many people stay within the bounds of their childhood scaffolding, living out the patterns handed down by the generation before, because it is so incredibly daunting to be a psychosocial pioneer.

Life is already demanding enough; we are barely scraping by with our handmedown coping techniques, so how can we possibly have the time, energy, and courage to unlearn everything while simultaneously relearning a new set of beliefs and behaviors - a new scaffolding that we build as we go and that has no guarantees for standing strong?

Well, first, it’s useful to think of these changes as what they are: an evolution. Sometimes there is a catastrophic event that accelerates one’s personal evolution (death, divorce, sickness, etc) - an astroid of emotional upheaval that craters our typical coping mechanisms, forcing us to seek new practices elsewhere.

But changing is also a very natural developmental progression as we age. Babies generally crawl, then walk, then run; adults, too, can grow out of their old ways of moving through life and stress and relationships.

There is always room for growth and change, and incremental change is perfectly okay (not to mention easier than holding out for personal cataclysm to instigate change!)

cataclysm

Many, many people I know - friends and coaching clients alike - are hitting their mid-30s to 40s and realizing that they don't even recognize the identities they've carried with them like outgrown handmedowns since they were children.

It may not be every area of Self. Maybe it's only upheaval at a spiritual level. Or a career they felt obligated to choose long ago that doesn't fit anymore. For some, it's a spouse they never should have married, or family dynamics they've been appeasing at their own expense.

I'm pretty certain that for everyone who is the least bit introspective, it's something.

I am excited for their - your - evolution! If you are someone who feels the impending change, or who is in the thick of restructuring identity right now, welcome. It's not easy, but it is so, so worth it.

{Sidenote: I didn’t intend this to turn into an advertisement for Wild Goose Guidance, but I feel remiss if I don’t point out that I do have some rather excellent resources for personal evolution at WildGooseGuidance.com. I’m not doing coaching calls right now, but my time for back and forth emails are always included in the price of a reading.}

Here's the parenting connection

If we give ourselves permission and space to change, we are naturally going to be more open to the idea of our kids' evolution, too.

And if we are of an evolution mindset, the scaffolding we build through our parenting practices is going to be much more flexible (and temporary) in our minds than if we're using the handmedown mold that squashed our individuality as we were being raised.

An evolutionary parenting kind of scaffolding will create boundaries for safety, of course. But mostly it will guide us to be interested in observing the child - figuring out who this small human is, what they need, how they express those needs, and how we can meet their needs (or teach them to meet or get them met) appropriately. If we embrace this flexible, temporary structure, we will enjoy the uniqueness of each child, bending to stay alongside them, rather than breaking them to conform. We will discard tools that do not work, and pick up new skills as we rise to meet the challenges of our evolving child. We will, actually, reinvent the wheel many times over our parenting career - adjusting the fit so our relationship with our kid can keep on rolling.

This is anthropological parenting. Observational parenting. Radically individualized parenting.

It's really exhausting parenting, quite honestly. It feels easier to lean on the growl of "Because that's the way we do things in this family," instead of leaning in and finding out why the kid is struggling to meet our expectations. It feels easier to use fear and shame as motivators rather than taking on the slow building of intrinsic ideals and lifelong habits rooted in love and self-care.

On most days, it will feel like it's so much easier to just give the kid what-for and shove them through their day - physically and/or emotionally. It would be so much easier. But at what cost?

We can't be slaves to efficiency if we are servants to our children's humanity.

If we choose to serve the evolution of our children, we could be the parents of children whose spirits have not been broken at our hand. We could be in the running as their most trusted ally, wisest council, deepest love. We may hand-craft and set free into the world fellow human beings who are a delight to us, and us to them.

This - the possibility of raising a whole-hearted, fully authenticated human being who won't have to totally reparent themselves in a few decades - is, I think, worth the sacrifice of our days.