Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Future of Being Buzz

I showed my 4 year old the above picture of the new astronaut suits. His eyes open wide and he stopped breathing. When he finally did, he gushed, "I want to be an astronaut! Because then I could be Buzz Light Year!"

I think NASA might be purposely recruiting the next generation of astronauts. That is some pretty clever long term planning. I guess they don't get to be astronauts for nothing!

A hour or so later Bronson came up to me with his brothers.
"Mom ask me a math question," he said in his cute little voice.
"Okay, what's 2+2?"
Bronson already knew that one so he asked me to ask him another one.
"okay what's 2+4?" I asked.
Bronson raised two fingers on one hand and four fingers on the other and then touched each finger to his nose as he counted in whispers to himself.
"6!" he said with a beaming face,
He asked me to ask him more, and one after another, 5+1, 3+3, 4+3 etc...he go them all right.

"WOW!" I said "You are very smart!" I was really quite stunned that my just turned four year old was adding.
"Yeah" Bronson said, none too humbly, "I am going to be an astronaut and Ben said astronauts are good at math."
"Yeah so we taught him math!" my 7 year old Bodee chimed in.
Ben patted Bronson on the back and said "You are the smartest 4 year old ever, Bronson."

I realized what had happened was that Bronson created a future for himself, one that EXCITED him, one that he looked forward to living into, and when he found out part of that future was learning math, he just did it.
It wasn't hard, it wasn't tedious, it was fun.

So I look today, where ever I am resisting life, where ever I think something is hard, what does the future look liek to me in that area? Most likely, it's not an exciting one. But it could be....if I just think, hold my breath and then burst out the declaration for my new future!

Here's to being inspired by our kids to create future that excite us!
Go Buzz Light Year! To Infinity and BEYOND!

Zen Honeycutt

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pop! The Sound of Shift Happening in Parenting

That magical triumphant moment when your child discovers something new and accomplishes something they have never accomplished before has a special sacredness today. Bronson announced he would write "Pop" and he wrote "Pop" this morning, intentionally, for the first time,and his faced glowed with pride and glory.
He wrote it backwards, which in this case, resulted in his intended word, and I began to think...

After Newtown, CT. I am painfully aware that mothers in Connecticut will not have those moments with their children. My heart feels heavy with sadness for them. But then I look at my children, playing a game before breakfast, making up new rules, and I am absorbed into their world.

"Okay Ben, make up the rules," Bodee says.
"Okay. First you have to get past the monsters. Then you have to cross over the bridge of trolls otherwise you fall into the dino slime. And if you land here, you get death by monkeys." Ben says as chief authoritarian.
"And then you have to eat your underwear." Bodee adds with glee.
Bronson cackles,"And the monkey poops on your head!"
They love it. They nibble on their breakfast as they play.
I watch them laugh, make up more new rules, disagree with each other and work it out by agreeing on more gross rules that involve bodily functions.
I have noticed the sadness form my heart has lifted and I have "popped", expanded outside of my bubble...with gratitude.
I get to cherish each moment that my children "Pop" and discover something new. I get to whisper to them how wonderful they are after they lose. I get to smell the tops of their heads when they come in for a hug. I get to kiss soft squishy cheeks and hold their warm little hands. I get to.

I started this blog to share authentically, the breakdowns and breakthroughs I have in parenting and to document the journey. I hope to inspire along the way, a shift from "having" our kids be another thing on the "to do" I "have to" make lunches, I "have to" get them to school, I "have to" wipe his butt...
to I "get to".

I see a shift in parenting that is just there for us all to step into, repeatedly, myself included, a shift from "have to" (which equals being a victim of life) to Opportunity. Pop!

Sometimes people don't want to read about inspiring breakthroughs though. We tell ourselves it's not really true that a person could be that calm or be that happy during chaos. I know I don't always believe it. Plus, it could be just plain boring. There is no drama in "happy happy joy joy" all the time.

But when something horrific like Sandy Hook happens, the pain grabs us, the unbelievable drama (which has us feel really "alive") draws us in, and then something does shift inside us...the fear of loss wakes up gratitude like a hibernating bear.
But like a bears growl, the fear of impending harm grips our hearts and we find ourselves hugging our kids with desperation.

It's not the way I hoped the shift would occur for parents in America, because fear is a reaction and can cause more fear and suppression of self expression.
"Don't talk to boy!", "No you cannot have that Buzz Light Year gun!" or even "Go tell that boy you are sorry!" can all come from fear of something bad happening...
But like Bronson writing "Pop" backwards, perhaps it takes a tragedy to see parenting as an opportunity, to see our children with patience, gratitude and cherish every, (or at least more) moment(s) with them. Perhaps, by looking, we will see things differently, we will "Pop!" and have the same result.

My hope is that the shift in parenting will happen for each of us, continuously, not because of a fear, but because of sheer joy in who they are and in who we get to be as parents. We will let go of the sadness, get down on all fours, play with them on the rug and run around as Superman with them even though we have "a lot of work to do".

What I am taking on is releasing the grip and growl of fear...and hushing the hissing anger that is runs like an under current of electricity towards our government....and channeling that energy to something positive. Causing the POP! for myself. Like Bronson, declaring I am going to do it and then do it.

I get to clean up their stinky socks. I get to listen when they are screaming about unfairness. I get to write to the White House. I get to make dinner and remind them to clean up the table. I get to.

Love to you and yours,
Zen Honeycutt

Friday, December 14, 2012

5 Ways that Work in Parenting

Sometimes you want to park your kid on the curb with a sign that says "Free". Sometimes, even when tragic things happen to other people's kids, your kid still drives you crazy. You wonder why you can be so stressed out by your kid when you know that you should appreciate them even being alive. It's not easy. Or maybe it is.

How to Be Inspired by Your Children

1. Turn off the news.
Watching bad things happening in the world only makes you fearful and demanding of your children to behave a certain way so bad things won't happen to them.

2. Turn your attention on them.
They have all the magic and entertainment you need in one pinky finger. Focus on them and your world will suddenly be wonderful, promising, fun and delightful.

3. Turn off the voice in your head.
You know the one that says, "He shouldn't do that." or "She should know better." or "Why are they giving me such a hard time?"
The judgement of your children only put you in a place of angst. They are doing exactly what occurs to them as the best thing to do.

4. Turn on your listening.
Find out how their world occurs to them. Ask them, "Hey buddy, can you tell me what's up?" or "Sweetie can you tell me what you want? or "Wow, what's going on, how do you feel?" Just get in their world. The experience could be like slipping on their itchy footy pajamas or sitting in a mud puddle of their feelings. Just do it. Don't fix it. All they want is to be heard.

5. Play.
Create reasons to play with your kids. Make up games, make up ways to win, make up magical whimsical stories and ask them to join in. Play at breakfast, play at homework, play on car rides and when folding laundry. See them as an opportunity for fun and your whole world will expand with love.

Whenever your children are driving you to the brink of insanity, pick any one of these tips, no matter how opposite they seem to your automatic way of reacting, and try them out. When they feel heard and you are inspired by each other, they will listen and everything will work.

All children want is our attention. All we want is their attention so that life together works.
Give what you want.
Receive more than you ever imagined.
Be inspired by your children.

Zen Honeycutt

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Everyday a New Man

As a parent, the most important relationship I have is not the one with my child. This may seem mean, but it isn't. The most important relationship is with my husband. Because, first of all he is amazing. Also without our relationship being strong, alive and connected, I cannot give my children the relationship I want to have with them. I cannot give them the home, my time, the experience of a family that I really want.
I know I could give them a good experience, I am not dependent to the point of submission, but I cannot give them the experience I am committed to without my husband, without their father, being in our home every night, available to them for questions and cuddles. It is also the most important relationship because he chose me and I chose him 13 years ago and we still do. Being chosen to be the one to spend the rest of his life with, is a huge honor. Out of 7.2 billion, he chose me. I think I can muster some gratitude and wipe his hair off the bathroom sink. Out of 7.2 billion people I also chose him. I think I can make time for the man I chose and get gussied up for a date once a month. I think I can also tell the kids that it's Mommy and Daddy time and sit outside on the front porch and ask him about his day.
I can certainly ignore a man who gives me the come hither eyes even though he might be attractive. A new man would only be a whole different host of situations I simply do not choose.

Last night we got some phenomenal coaching from a world class trainer of leaders. She told a story about a man, Let's call him "Lou". Lou loved the ladies. Lou got married many times. He loved to get married. Before he did the course we have taken, the Landmark Forum, he was pretty sure he would never stop getting married...and divorced. When she talk to Lou a year or so after the course, and asked how he was, and whether he was still married to the woman from last year, he said, "Priscilla, I am with a different woman every night!"
"What? " she asked..."What happened? I thought you loved being married?"
He said, "I am married. And my wife, the same wife as last year, is amazing. She is a different woman every night and every day and I get to get to know her!"

Every day he faced his marriage with a fresh outlook. He was vibrant, fulfilled and saw a lifetime with the same woman, excited to get to know here every day and night. What an empowering perspective! How did that one shift alter his whole marriage and whole life? Could you imagine what that kind of perspective could do for your marriage and how that would impact your kids too?

I know it has me curious about what my husband will do rather than predicting what his response will be. I know it has me noticing when he is doing something new more, like last night he talked with our exchange student about her John Adams paper for a hour instead of zoning out into his laptop. I had no idea my man was a John Adams expert! He also helped a team of leaders create a topic talk to empower teens this week. He is standing complete strangers kids to have a life of adventure, freedom and success! Wow! That's MY Man! He not only does something new everyday, he really is being someone new everyday.
Everyday he wakes up and writes, plays with the kids, and supports me support the kids and what matters to me.

Everything I have in my life I have because he supports me. Everyday he could or could not chose me and vice versa. Everyday I have an opportunity to find out what matters to him, and who is is today!
Bring on 50 more years!!!

Zen Honeycutt