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Parenting without the Fire Extinguisher
Life can be a blur when you have young children. Time races past you at an excruciatingly frantic pace.
The endless chauffeuring and shopping, cooking and cleaning, bills to pay, noses to wipe, calls to return….it can be overwhelming.
Most of us deal with this reality by setting our knob to “auto-pilot” and living within our checklist. We’re either busy checking off tasks or obsessing endlessly about the things that didn’t receive that beloved checkmark.
In our parenting this puts us in firefighter mode. We handle the sibling conflict when it becomes intolerable, we soothe the upset when it becomes ear-shattering, we solve the problem when it becomes completely unworkable. And usually by the time it has gotten to the “unbearable” stage, all we are capable of as parents is grabbing the hose and putting that fire out.
There isn’t anything wrong with this strategy. It gets the job done. It gives us checkmarks on our list, gets the kids to dance and soccer, makes the dinner.
But what about the possibility of wetting the earth so that fires don’t occur as easily? How about creating a foundation that is rich and damp with loving intention and purposeful parenting so that when sparks occur the earth doesn’t ignite? Imagine a day where you spend less time putting out fires and more time enjoying each other…..
It is a radical idea, but easier than you might think…..
When your family is “in a groove” and things are running along smoothly, that is your invitation to wet the earth and do some work on the foundation. It feels completely counter-intuitive to work on your parenting when things are going smoothly…similar to how it feels to wake a sleeping baby. It seems completely nuts, and like the last thing you want to do in that moment.
The truth is, when the fires are out, the earth stops smoldering, and the dirt has cooled it is the perfect time to get down under the ground to the really good stuff. And it is this work that creates real, lasting shifts in your family.
We all get to make a choice. It is in our control. We can live with a fire extinguisher in hand, donning our protective clothing and helmet, prepped and ready for the flames…..or we can do the work it takes to prevent the fires from happening in the first place.
Put away the fire extinguisher and let’s do some work!