Peace Under Pressure
The Peaceful Parenting Newsletter
A free e-mail newsletter from Naomi Drew
Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.
Saint Francis of Assisi
I love the above quote, also known as the serenity prayer, because this is the essence of peace within ourselves - knowing when to let go, and doing what we can in areas where we do have control. In this issue well look at practical things we can do to regain a sense of grounding when we are pressured.
Speaking of pressure, I have been busy working on a new book which has to be finished within the next four months! Its called Peaceful Parenting: Toward Hope and Healing in a Time of Uncertainty., and the planned release date is September, 2001. Id like to invite your participation: I would love to hear about specific things you have been doing to cope and heal, not only from recent events in our world, but during any other times of difficulty. I would also love to hear about your family rituals - things you do with your children that bring you joy and comfort. One more thing: stories of contribution; things you and your family have done to reach out to your communities or to people in need. If you would like to share something to be considered for this book, please e-mail me either your story or your phone number and the best time to call.
Im looking forward to hearing from you and as always, wish you and your families peace and happiness. Have a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving!
Peace Under Pressure
Harmony in the home begins when we take care of ourselves and live congruently with whatever is most important to us. The tenor of our familys rhythms can become dissonant if were exhausted, stressed, or over-scheduled, or if our kids are any of these. Because peace starts with us, it is so important that we do whatever we can to find peace and balance in our own lives. It is only then that we can best model what we need to for our children.
When everyday tensions start to build and we have no outlet for them, we lose our grounding. Thats when a chain reaction begins: we become overly reactive, our kids react to our reactions, then pandemonium sets in and everyone is miserable. What follows are some pivotal steps you can take to break the cycle of tension-reaction-pandemonium. doing any of the things suggested below will help you deflect negative situations, and restore balance when the pressure is on.
- Stop, breathe, and tune in to what you need.
Ask yourself the question: Is there something I need right now? If you possibly can, give yourself even a small piece of what you need. Is it a quick cup of tea, a moment of silence, a breath of fresh air? Too often, as parents, we put our own needs aside so often that we lose complete touch with what they are. When that happens, we end up tense, grouchy, and irritable. Its OK to say in response to our kids demands, Youll need to wait. Mommy needs to do this right now. And then do what you need to restore your own equilibrium. Your children will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Remember too: Our children learn to honor us when they see us honoring ourselves.
- Ask yourself what is really important? Sometimes we put extra pressure on ourselves by trying to do too much. As one mom said, When I die, if they write on my tombstone Her laundry was always folded and her beds were always made, will it really matter in the larger picture? Is there anything you can let go of that does not add to the quality of your life? If so, do it now.
- Build calming activities into your day. Deep breathing, envisioning, stopping what you are doing and taking an occasional break, finding ways to slow the pace of your day - all these calm the body and the mind, preventing the stress that leads to conflict. None of these suggestions take a lot of time either. Encourage yourself to turn down the volume on your life; quell tension before it has the chance to overtake you. In doing so you will give yourself added peace of mind while providing invaluable role modeling for your children.
- Avoid rushing. Even if you have to get up fifteen minutes earlier each day, take things a little slower. Rushing causes pressure. Pressure causes stress and stress leads to conflict. As one busy dad of two children, ages six and four observed: I rush all the time, trying to get the kids ready for the day and out of the house on time, getting to work, having appointments, making phone calls - all that stuff is constant. Then I started to realize something: rushing really doesnt help me accomplish more, it just makes me tense. In fact, I think rushing makes me accomplish less, because when I get really tense I start forgetting things and making more mistakes. Im actually defeating my own purpose by rushing too much.
It seems like everyone lives hurried lives today. The place to begin changing this pattern is right in your own home.
- Schedule fun into your day. Fun??!! You might be saying right now. How do I schedule in fun when I dont even have time to go to the bathroom? (Now you have two things to add to your schedule.) Donald Trump, who I very rarely quote, once said something thats always stuck in my mind: If its not fun, why bother.
Sure, theres a lot we have to do that isnt fun, but that doesnt mean we have to eliminate fun completely. Fun restores balance to life.
So how can you schedule in some fun? Here are three simple suggestions:
** Set the intention every morning that you will find something to laugh about and someone to laugh with. Start creating opportunities to make this happen.
** Look for the humor and ridiculousness in every-day situations. Once you start looking youll see more than youd ever thought possible. Did you know that in Japan they have laughing clubs? These are clubs devoted to laughing daily and finding things to laugh about at work and at home. I wish someone would start those clubs here!
** Tell jokes - One year when I was teaching and things were getting a little too pressured, something I would do to relieve pressure was make time every day to share really silly jokes with my students. There are tons of joke books in the library and it was easy to find at least one or two jokes a day. Sometimes we would end up laughing at the stupidness of the joke - but the point was, we laughed. And right now, with life so serious, humor can be our best ally. So enjoy the silly jokes below, and I hope you get a least a small chuckle out of reading them.
Perfectly Silly Jokes to Share to With Your Kids
Q; How can you tell an elephant from a grape?
A: Jump up and down on it for awhile. If you dont get grape juice, assume it is an elephant.
Q: Name five things that contain milk.
A: Butter, cheese, ice cream, and two cows.
Dog Owner: Doctor, Im worried. I think my dog has ticks. What should I do?
Veterinarian: This could be serious. Be careful not to get him too wound up.
Q: What lies at the bottom of the sea and shakes?
A: A nervous wreck.
Teacher: Did you know that you will never float away because the Law of Gravity holds you down?
Concerned student: But what did people do before that law was passed?
This is For Real:
Actual laws that are now or have been on the books
- In Tahoe City, California, cowbells may not be worn by horses.
- In San Francisco, you are forbidden by law to spit on your laundry. (This is actually allowed in New Jersey, thank goodness).
- In Idaho, you cannot buy a chicken after dark without permission of the sherrif.
- In Wyoming, it is illegal to take a picture of a rabbit during January, February, March, or April unless you have a license.
(from The Laugh Book by Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson)
p.s. If you have some silly jokes you would like to share please send them to me.
Make a Difference Now
Amy Callahan was about to be married. A 30 year-old special education teacher from Hoboken, New Jersey, Amy and her fiancé, Scott Hazelcorn were planning for their lives together, when all of a sudden, on September 11th, their plans were halted forever. Scott, a broker at Canter Fitzgerald, was killed in the World Trade Center bombings, and from that moment on everything in Amys life changed. Instead of giving into the grief and despair that overcomes so many who have been touched by tragedy, Amy decided to use her life to honor Scott. He had always had a dream of one day starting a camp for children, a place kids could learn, love, grow and most importantly, smile. In the wake of his death, Amy decided to make Scotts dream a reality: she started a foundation in his name and dedicated all the proceeds to a camp for children affected by the September 11th tragedy. Within two months of making this commitment, Amy has raised over $65,000, has garnered the help of friends, family, and strangers, and has formed the Scott Hazelcorn Childrens Foundation. The camp that she plans to open will be called Camp Haze (Scotts nickname was Haze). When asked how she does it all - fund-raising, networking, planning and organizing a camp, while holding a full-time teaching job, Amy replied,
This is my reason to get up in the morning.
You can contribute to Camp Haze and find out more information by going to the website:
You Are Invited
I will be leading a Peaceful Parenting workshop at the Lawrence Library on Route 1 in Lawrenceville on November 28th, sponsored by the Association for Resolving Conflicts and the Bucks County peace Center. This workshop is free and open to the public. Registration is at 6:30 and the talk starts at 7:00. My books will be available for signing. Please come and bring as many friends as youd like. For more information contact Blaine Greenfield at BGinNJ@aol.com.
Peaceful Parenting Coaching
Peaceful Parenting Coaching enables parents to work individually, as couples, or with their children on practical strategies that create greater harmony, less conflict. Sessions can be done by phone or in person. Crisis coaching is also available.
To schedule a complimentary "Peaceful Parenting" coaching session by phone, e-mail Naomi Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-844-1138.
Naomi Drew is the author of three books, all available through Amazon.com:
Peaceful Parents, Peaceful Kids (Kensington Publishers)
Learning the Skills of Peacemaking (Jalmar Press)
The Peaceful Classroom in Action (Jalmar Press)
Peaceful Parenting is a free bi-weekly service. Please share this newsletter.
Copyright Naomi Drew, August, 2001 All Rights Reserved.
This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright/contact/creation information intact,without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from the author is required.
Love and Peace to All of You.