As we move full on into summer time, where the living is easy, fish are jumping and the cotton is high… those of us with small children to steward may feel a little challenged by the demands as well as the rewards of parenting. So here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”
Highly connected parenting may seem overwhelming, too much work for a busy parent, a luxury we need to postpone for later. By making parenting into a translucent practice, not only do we usher in more wakefulness, but our parenting also becomes much easier. Recently, while grocery shopping, I passed an aisle where a small child was screaming. She was refusing to walk, and her mother, who looked extremely stressed, was dragging her by the arm away from the freezer. A battle about ice cream was under way. Finally, the mother picked her daughter up by the arm. There she was, dangling in midair. Her screams became louder. Her embarrassed mother yelled at her daughter to be quiet and finally hit her. It didn’t work too well. The child screamed even louder. I winced and moved on. We often see these kinds of battles, where parents are imposing discipline. It hurts. I am always reminded of how easily I used to go in that direction myself as a dad, before the boys were bigger and stronger than I am!
A few minutes later, I was standing in line at the cash register, behind a woman with her young son. Chocolates and candies were on display by the counter. The young boy took a chocolate, nudged his mother, and looked up at her hopefully. I watched as his mother turned and looked, not at her son but right into her son with absolute attention and focus. Smiling, she reached out and touched the boy’s hair. I was transfixed, energized by how much presence and love went into that look. If you tried to translate that look into words it would be: “I totally adore you, I am here for you no matter what you do, I care for you completely.” The boy’s mother did not say a word. She didn’t even need to shake her head. Her son just laughed and put back the chocolate. Many parents, however translucent, think of their children’s demands as a bottomless pit; that if they give in to their demands today, they will want even more tomorrow.
In Vickie Falcone’s experience, children’s requests for things like sweets, television, more new plastic stuff are actually an attempt to fulfill what she sees as their most basic needs. She uses the acronym PHIL to represent them: children need to feel Powerful, Heard, Important, and Loved. What matters most in shifting to greater translucence in parenting is the ability to translate what the child is asking for into a call for their deepest needs to be met. Chocolate becomes irrelevant when a child gets the deep attention and connection he was really asking for. Once we recognize the hidden mechanics, the rest becomes simple. Once basic needs have been met, the demands for external things lessen, and power struggles often subside. This does not take time as much as presence and our willingness to shift into translucence.
To read more about translucent parenting and translucent living in general, pick up your very own copy of Translucent Revolution today.