Tuesday, October 27, 2015


My mantra this week has been, ‘respond rather than react.’ And as mantras generally are, it is much easier said than done. My twin sister’s yoga teacher training inspired my efforts, after they discussed this concept in class and she reflected upon it with me. It struck a similar chord in me as it had in her. How often do we react without thinking, when we could have paused and responded with much more calm? How often do we ‘fly off the handle’ at our partner or children, only to feel guilty later? How often do we react in traffic, at inanimate objects, at ourselves? To me it seems that 'reacting' is simply identifying the problem and struggling with it, while 'responding' incorporates problem solving.

It’s so much easier to react to a child doing the wrong thing, than to respond and ask them to explain what they should have been doing instead - encouraging and praising them to make amends. Previously my mantras have included, 'just love them', and 'be the parent you want to be.' Each day, each child, each situation, I am learning and growing. Trying my best to be the parent I want to be, meet their needs, treat them with respect, teach them by example, allow them to be children. My, what a journey it is. Challenging, frustrating, rewarding, exhausting, empowering.

I hope that when they look back on their childhoods they will always have felt loved and supported. I hope they know that everyday I kept trying to do my best, give them my best and find the best in them. And perhaps one day I will be able to encourage them and share my hard won wisdom should they have children of their own.

Here's to responding rather than reacting. With time and practice I hope it becomes so incorporated in to my way of being that I no longer need a mantra to remind me.

What's your mantra? Do you use reminders to encourage peaceful parenting?

Photo by Trudi Le Brese
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