By Traci L. Gaffney
Happy New Year!
As parents, we do the best we can. And, unfortunately, we make mistakes along the way. Did you make mistakes in 2008? Did you make choices you wish you could change? Did you hurt someone’s feelings? Did someone hurt you?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, I’ve got great news for you. A “new” year is an opportunity to let goof “stuff” that we no longer need. Here’s a great quote to put things in perspective:
“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.”
~ Samuel Smiles
Mistakes are learning opportunities. We discover a better way to do things, better choices, what works, what doesn’t work. It truly is a world of discovery.
If you find that you are still holding on to something that happened, or didn’t happen, in 2008, allow yourself the gift of letting it go … right now. This is where forgiveness comes in. Forgive yourself. Forgive your children. Forgive your spouse. Clean the slate. And, show your children how to do this as well. This is part of ourjourney as parents. We learn from our mistakes, pass those learnings on to our children, and create a better tomorrow.
Once we let go of the past (forgiveness), it is important that we create new habits. We want to fill in that space with love and the “discoveries” that we made. This is where quality time comes in.
Quality time can be as simple as 5 or 10 minutes of listening to your child tell you a story, a 30 second bear hug, or 30 minutes of cuddle time on the rocking chair. What does quality time look like to your child? Do you know?
My 7-year-old daughter made a list of what quality time with mom looks like to her. Now, my job is to incorporatethose activities, that wish list, into our lives as best I can. And … to reconnect with her frequently to see how we’re doing. Is she feeling loved? That’s really what I want. This connection creates emotionally healthy children who grow up to be emotionally healthy adults.
My challenge to you is to incorporate forgiveness and quality time into each day of 2009. Do you have 15 minutes a day to love yourself, your spouse and your children; to hold your child, to listen to them, and to connect? It really doesn’t take much. (And, sometimes it will take more. Be flexible.) If you miss a day, forgive yourself and start again. Do not take anything negative forward into the next day.
Remember, “He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” Be gentle with yourself and be grateful for the discoveries that you are making as a parent.
May you and your family experience much joy, love and gratitude in the coming year!