Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Notes: Hold onto your Kids, Gordon Neufield


Six ways of attaching:
  • Senses
  • Sameness
  • Belonging and loyalty
  • Significance
  • Feeling
  • Being known

"Parenthood is above all a relationship, not a skill to be acquired." P55

"It's the child's attachment to the adult that fosters goodness." P70

"Children do not internalize values --make them their own-- until adolescence." P 71

" Even if a child was never able to measure up to your expectations or realize his own intentions, it would still be important to trust in his desire to be good for us. To withdraw that trust is to take the wind out of his sails and to hurt him deeply. If the desire to be good for us is not treasured and nurtured, the child will lose his motivation to keep trying to measure up. It is children's desire to be good for us that warrants our trust, not their ability to perform to our expectations." P73

" His attachment to his parents renders him highly vulnerable in relationships with them but less vulnerable in relationship to others. There is an inside and an outside to attachment: the vulnerability is on the inside, the invulnerability on the outside. Attachment is both a shield and a sword. Attachment divides the world into those who can hurt you and those who can't. Attachment and vulnerability - these two great themes of human existence - go hand in hand." P100

" Frustration is a deep and primitive emotion, so primitive in fact, that it exists in other animals as well. Frustration is not something that is necessarily conscious, but like any emotion it will move us none the less." " The greatest source of frustration is attachments that do not work: loss of contact, thwarted connection, too much separation, feeling spurned, losing a loved one, a lack of belonging or being understood." P131

" It is not a given that frustration must lead to aggression. The healthy response to frustration is to attempt to change things. If that proves impossible, we can accept how things are and adapt creatively to a situation that cannot be changed. If this doesn't occur, the impulses to attack can still be kept in check by tempering thoughts and feelings - in other words, by mature self regulation. It is quite possible to become intensely frustrated and yet not be driven to attack. In peer oriented children, acceptable outcomes to frustration are likely to be blocked in ways I will now explain. These children become aggressive by default." P133

3 deficiencies in peer oriented children that lead to frustration erupting in aggression:
1. can't effect change
When we feel frustrated, our first inclination is to change whatever isn't working for us.
2. less able to adapt
Frustration that comes up against impossible obstacles is meant to dissolve into feelings of futility. Frustration engenders adaptation, causing us to change ourselves when we are unable to change the circumstances. A child able to adapt does not attack: adaptation and aggression, both potential outcomes of frustration, are incompatible." P133-135

" There is a great difference between sexual contact as an expression of genuine intimacy and sexual contact as a primitive attachment dynamic. The result of the latter is, inevitably, dissatisfaction and an addictive promiscuity, as seventeen-year-old Nicholas experienced." P155

" It takes little courage to reveal something that is not the least bit intimate. There is nothing to be discreet about if one doesn't feel exposed. When sex is divorced from vulnerability, sex fails to touch us deeply enough to hurt. What should be highly personal and intimate can be broadcast to the world." 161

" Children learn fast when they like their teacher and they think their teacher likes them. The way to children's minds has always been through their hearts." P173

" We face too much competition. To compensate for the cultural chaos of our times, we need to make a habit of collecting are children daily and repeatedly until they are old enough to function as independent beings. The good news is that nature - our nature - tells us how to do that." 179

" In short, we need to build routines of collecting our children into our daily lives. In addition to that, it is especially important to reconnect with them after any sort of emotional separation. The sense of connection maybe broken, say, after a fight or argument, whether by distancing, misunderstanding, or anger. The context for parenting is lost until we move to restore what psychologist Gershon Kaufman has called " the interpersonal bridge." 182

" Perhaps we feel free to invite the dependence of adults because we're not responsible for their growth and maturity. We don't bear the burden of getting them to be independent. Here is the core of the problem: we are assuming too much responsibility for the maturation of our children. We have forgotten that we are not alone - we have nature as an ally. Independence is a fruit of maturation; our job in raising children is to look after their dependence needs. When we do our job with meeting genuine dependence needs, Nature is free to do its job of promoting maturity." 187-188

Hair Portfolio: Fairmont Jan 2016

 Same hairstyle but with the bottom rolled in.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bleeding Hearts to Buoyant Hearts

The infant is crying. He needs to nurse.
The one year old is screaming. He is dealing with separation anxiety and desperately needs my love.
~ ~
The two and four year olds are hungry for lunch and are responding to the chaos by adding their chorus of mimicking cries, right in the ear of the baby, then hysterically laughing.
~ ~ ~

Unless I yell, my voice won't be heard. I'm putting lunch together, hurriedly trying to get the older ones fed in order to help the younger two.  Trying to avoid the anger reflex.

My heart feels tight, suffocating me. My anxiety levels are creeping ever higher. Someone told me once that the body's response to a baby's cry is the same hormone that pumps through you when having a heart attack. I feel like that's about right.
Logic goes out the window, emotional fuses are short, there is too much noise and too many needs to address. I know I'm about to yell, really a pleading for it all to stop, but with all the wrong energy.

Thinking is fuzzy. I know there is a better way, but it is too fuzzy...
Like searching through a dark room so full of cobwebs you can't see, and are attacked on all fronts by loathsome sensations. I can't get away, there is no escape. I have to go through. I can yell, subduing though breaking the older children's spirits and making the younger ones cry harder.


Where are the principles I've learned to POSITIVELY deal with this situation?

Every time I search through that cobweby room, there are less cobwebs. As long as I don't give in to the anger reflex, it keeps getting easier to find:
  • Ask good quality questions (especially in my head!)
  • Validate Feelings
  • Helpful or Hurtful?
  • SMILE instead of mad-face.  Oh yeah, smile. Smile? Yeah, SMILE!
  • Listen for meaning, not words. "The details don't matter compared to the heart."-- Brandon Broadwater
  • Yes, when... (Instead of no, no, no)
  • Get on their eye-level
  • Focus on Solutions
  • Teach/Educate instead of blame/punish

It is SO hard to stop treading in the turbulent river of emotions, and instead swim to the shore, climb out, and fix the source of the emotion. But if I KEEP treading in that poisonous water, I WILL drown. Negativity will win. My brain shuts off when the anxiety flares. I know if I can just remember to pause and find a Positive Principle, a higher law, I`ll weather the storm sucessfully instead of drowning myself and hurting the people I love.

So I`m doing everything I can think of to REMEMBER in the heat of the moment.
What have I done? What can I do?
  • I put a canvas on my wall of all the good and beautiful emotions that I want in my home. 
  • I have flashcards of Positive Discipline tools that I review. 
  • I print off parenting articles that I re-read one of each morning. One of my favorites is 10 Amazingly Enjoyable Things About Having Kids.
  • I put a paper up by my front door of 64 Positive Things To Say To a Child
  • Put the phone down. 
  • Be present. 
  • Wake up early and have a daily devotional where I can be grateful, and fill up my tank.
  • Go to courses that teach parenting and positive communication skills

I'm passionate about 
learning to parent 

One part of this journey that has helped me immensely is Brandon Broadwater's 3-day courses. There is a power for good within each of us, and Brandon's first course is all about Mastering Your Power Within.

I believe my relationships can prosper. When I was 17 I had an incredible mentor who always left me feeling amazing. I eventually realized this pattern, and marveled at his power. I wondered how he did it, and at the same time set a goal for myself to be that person one day.

Every person has a perfect soul, has worth, and goodness in them. I want them to feel that, and I think I'm on the path to mastering how to be that person who spreads the feel-goods. Who keeps a child's heart, instead of breaking it. Who responds calmly, on a level that the tantrumee can understand.

That excites me.

"Growth is how you show love to your future." -Brandon Broadwater

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bearing Burdans

Alma 13:28
"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus being led by the Spirit..."

I have heard many times in church that we will not be tempted above that which we can bear. But this scripture seems to clearly say that we have to be very proactive about not being tempted 'above that which we can bear.' It counsels us to "watch and pray continually" for this blessing. That means the blessing is not automatic. We need to pray for our temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that we'll have the power to conquer them. And we need to always be on guard- "watch... continually." To me that implies that I need to be looking out for and staying clear of things I know might be hard for me to turn down. It implies that I have responsibility to keep the temptations in my life low. Or at least to not escalate them.  This interpretation makes a lot more sense to me, and seems to mesh with principles of agency and consequences more than saying "we'll never be tempted above that which we can bear." I also find it empowering to the repentant person, because it gives clear action steps of how to gain the blessings of not being tempted above what we can handle. That is so much more empowering than just saying, "you won't be tempted more than you can handle, so just deal with it and make the right choice!"

Action steps to receive this wonderful blessing:

  • Pray for my temptations to be bearable, endurable, and that I'll have the power to conquer them. 
  • Actively analyze my mental/emotional/spiritual armor and environment, and look out for things I know might be hard for me to turn down. Like Joseph of Egypt, FLEE from them.

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference Highlights

April 2014 General Conference 
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
~  ~  ~  ~  ~

"Forge unshakable faith." -Elder Holland

"Happiness is not the absence of a load." -Elder Bednar
We need the load for spiritual traction, like a truck with a heavy load can get unstuck.

When we are baptized, we are given the opportunity to be yoked with Christ. If we do so, this gives him the opportunity to share in pulling and lifting our burdens with us. I never thought about the yoke in quite that way before.

"Those we meet in parking lots, elevators, and grocery stores are those God have put in our way to love." - President Monson (requoting Kimball)  
I really appreciated this perspective, and it makes a lot of sense to me! This morning on my run I waved to an older man who was getting the paper off his porch. He waved back with a big smile and a hearty "good morning." That made me pretty happy. :)
Kindness spreads happiness!
"Each person has within them the ability to increase the sum total of the world's happiness." - Monson

Spiritual Whirlwinds
"The world will not glide calmly towards the 2nd Coming. All things will be in commotion." - Elder Anderson
Parable of the Tree in a windy place:
  • A tree in a windy place, in order to stand up to the winds, does two things: 
    • 1. Increases the rate at which its roots grow, spreading them wider and deeper to increase their strength. 
    • 2. Increases trunk strength and flexibility.
  • Likewise, we are the trees, growing among turbulant whirlwinds of the devil's making. Our spiritual strength can and must increase the pace at which it is growing and strengthening. This will keep us from being "tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine." (Ephesians 4:14)

"We have greater access to temples than past generations." This is on purpose! We need the strength of the temple to face the whirlwinds. The feeling of peace in the temple each time we go is a reminder of the feeling we're striving for in life. That feeling of peace is also a contrast to the turbulence of the whirlwinds and what they produce, should we be swept up among them.

Treasures in Heaven
I've never really thought much about how to "lay up treasures in heaven," or what exactly those treasures are. Elder Teh explained the treasures as gospel habits and their results, he also stated that my time spent on spiritual things in this life will directly impact the life I have in my next estate.  *WA-BAM* A spiritual puzzle piece just fell firmly into place for me. :D

What kind of a life do I want in my next estate?
Not one full of grumbles, complaints, shopping, endless entertainment or being lonely and unhappy in my head...

I want spiritual frontiers! Creations that bring giddy joy and overwhelming peace. I want the great calming stillness of the universe, as well as the buzzing activity of family. I want kind and courteous relationships that bring delight.

Through Elder Teh's talk I realized that my actions now are creating my "mansion in heaven." They are painting on the canvas of eternity. I don't want the ugly dashes of unpleasant backbiting and hurtful words on that canvas. I want it to be beautiful. And I didn't realize until just now that I am the painter. It is fully in my capacity to keep that canvas beautiful, or not. This is very exciting. I feel like bouncing up and down in my chair and singing "I'm a painter of eternities!"

"Families are the Jewel of heaven." -Sister Reeves That family life and gospel living in the home factor into this is no question. I don't have a home without my honeys to fill it. Creating mansions in heaven would be pointless without my fellow architect to draw the plans with. Thus, another major point I gained from this conference is this renewed understanding of why I want to do all the little things at home-- scriptures with Amy and Will, prayers, FHE's, singing hymns and teaching my littles that we love Jesus-- and the determination to LIVE THE GOSPEL. I want to live the gospel as much as I can live it, and love doing it. This quote sort of wraps up this whole idea for me: "The ultimate end of activity in the church is that  a man, a woman, and their children may be happy at home." - Elder Packer  So it's ok that sometimes Amy won't go play on her own, I have but few choice years to play alongside her in the world of childhood. It's ok that sometimes the dishes pile up and the floor gets days-worth of grimy, as long as the reason is that I'm valuing my family and the gospel first.

Paint on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saint George, Utah

What a great place!
Saint George is where the Higher Laws event took place. Although we were in class from 8am-9pm Monday to Friday, we had Saturday to sight see in Saint George:
Saint George Tabernacle.
I just had to climb the post with the other girl.
Inside the tabernacle.

In the basement art gallery, I found this treasure. This depiction of the Resurrection really resonated me.
Looks like Chinese checkers on the bottom of the balcony seats.
Ahhh, Cafe Rio.
Lunch at Pioneer Park turned into the best part of our sightseeing day for me!
(That's me up on top - big grin face.)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Higher Laws - University 101

Saint George
University 101 - Higher Laws
Relationship Mastery, Mastering Influence

Mr. M and I attended what I can only term a 'self-help' course. Maybe a better name would be 'finishing school.' It was all about successful relationships and communicating with people in ways that would be uplifting and motivating rather than demeaning and unkind, as communications often tend to go...

I wanted to attend this course because I saw it as a great parenting course. I made a commitment to myself when I was a teenager that I would take parenting courses. Being a better person, spouse, and parent every day means a lot to me.
Um, I just like feet pictures. Funny story though, I discovered the hard way
that golf courses dye the grass green. Yup, all that lushness? Fake! It's dyed!
And my feet ended up pretty green for a couple days. :D
Brandon on the right. Brandon Broadwater is the creator of Higher Laws Education.
Some of my favorite lessons from the course are: The forgiveness program. I feel like I have a way to teach my children to say sorry that they can feel good about. (I have been working for several years to overcome my fear of saying sorry).  Also the lesson about Human Needs, and that our actions are the vehicles of those needs. If we have an action that is not good, we can switch up the vehicle and still meet the need. Other highlights are having a family code word, 10 second speed limit (for people who talk too much), managing our state, the hierarchy of relationships, and the Unity triad. Using the word "I" instead of something else when speaking is also an important lesson that was reinforced here. It makes my own my story, and take ownership of my emotions. 

A major Ah-ha moment for me was when we were talking about the Hierarchy of relationships: 
1. God/Universe
2. Self - State
3. Spouse
4. Children
5. Family
6. Others
Brandon put State next to Self, and I realized that if I'm in a bad place emotionally, physically, or mentally, I need to pull in and address me before the others down the chain. Ultimately, doing so will be beneficial to everyone. (Less snapping, anger, and general misery). I've learned this principle before, to take time for myself so I can help other people better, but it just made way more practical sense the way he presented it. And now anger/frustration/snapping will be a trigger for me to take a time out and remember this principle.

It was a great conference!