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Integral Parenting Thread!

Last post 04-11-2007, 11:13 PM by miriam. 161 replies.
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  •  07-25-2006, 5:34 PM 1992 in reply to 1906

    Re: Integral parent education

    Tim, I think your bottom line is key: Love!

    I have two quotes that echo this sentiment nicely:

    Don't let your fears guide you, let your hopes guide you.
    ~ Brian J Robertson, aka Ternarybrian (in a presentation on integral organization and holacracy on his blog

    "To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what's right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less effective and kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience is the opposite. Love is action. It's clear, it's kind, it's effortless, and it's irresistible."
    ~ Byron Katie (author of the book Loving What Is)

    The more we can find health and happiness for ourselves, the more we are able to relate to others in healthy and happy ways. So Integral parenting to me is to take the best care of yourself that you can, using the knowledge and theories that Integral Life Practices provides, and then let your peaceful countennance be your guide as you share your life with your kids. You will naturally know that a decision is right when it feels good.

    Oh, and as far as books, I think they are great. So many wonderful perspectives and ideas! There may be no one perfect way to parent well, but there are certainly plenty of ideas that can help make life so much easier! Honestly, parenting is just like any other skill in life - some of it is natural talent, some is experimentation, and some is learned. Books help you with those last two...

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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  •  07-25-2006, 5:42 PM 1993 in reply to 1992

    Re: Integral parent education

    Ooooo, I love that Byron Katie quote (no pun intended). It's so true.

    Love is action.

    You know, after a decade of working with children in theatre I finally came to the conclusion as to what it was all about-for everybody:

    Love in action.

    The smiles, the applause, the laughter, the unforgettable moments . . .

    That's all it was; Love in action.

    And that's all those prayers were either . . .


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  07-26-2006, 8:38 AM 2057 in reply to 1993

    • lajla is not online. Last active: 03-12-2007, 2:56 PM lajla
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Ack, I'm swamped with translation work right now (I sometimes translate German websites into English; right now I'm working on one for this spiritual group in Switzerland - and, super cool, I'm translating an article on the centralized "German Integralists" homepage!), aside from my usual full time stay-at-home-parenting, so I won't be able to write more than two or three short lines for awhile.  But I just wanted to mention that, though I hadn't read here since the last time I posted, I must be in tune with y'all.  First, at one point in the last couple days, I asked myself, "So, what is the absolute most important facet, the 'bottom line', the basic of 'good' parenting, no matter what?"  The answer to me, of course, was "Love."  Second, I was wondering whether any of you were familiar with Byron Katie.  I do her "Work" pretty frequently.    Nothing's true, and everything's true.  : )

    Third, Turtle I like how you sum up, "Oh, and as far as books, I think they are great. So many wonderful perspectives and ideas! There may be no one perfect way to parent well, but there are certainly plenty of ideas that can help make life so much easier! Honestly, parenting is just like any other skill in life - some of it is natural talent, some is experimentation, and some is learned. Books help you with those last two..."  Since we've been mentioning M3 (Miriam Mason Martineau), I wonder what her eventual book will look like.

    I think I wrote somewhere something about how cool the Integral model is b/c there's "room for so much at the table".  I heard Fred Koffman state once that there's always more to integrate.  How true.  And reminds me again of Byron Katie.

    Finally, I've been thinking about starting a blog called something like, "An Integrally-Informed Mother's Reflections on Parenting".  I'll let you know if I actually get around to it.
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  •  07-28-2006, 6:54 AM 2261 in reply to 2057

    Re: Integral parent education

    a poem for mothers . . .

    The Lanyard

    Billy Collins

     

    The other day I was ricocheting slowly

    off the blue walls of this room,

    moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,

    from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,

    when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary

    where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

     

    No cookie nibbled by a French novelist

    could send one into the past more suddenly-

    a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp

    by a deep Adirondack lake

    learning how to braid long thin plastic strips

    into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

     

    I had never seen anyone use a lanyard

    or wear one, if that's what you did with them,

    but that did not keep me from crossing

    strand over strand again and again

    until I had made a boxy

    red and white lanyard for my mother.

     

    She gave me life and milk from her breasts,

    and I gave her a lanyard.

    She nursed me in many a sick room,

    lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,

    laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,

    and then led me out into the airy light

     

    and taught me to walk and swim,

    and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.

    Here are thousands of meals, she said,

    and here is clothing and a good education.

    And here is your lanyard, I replied,

    which I made with a little help from a counselor.

     

    Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,

    strong legs, bones and teeth,

    and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,

    and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.

    And here, I wish to say to her now,

    is a smaller gift-not the worn truth

     

    that you can never repay your mother,

    but the rueful admission that when she took

    the two-tone lanyard from my hand,

    I was as sure as a boy could be

    that this useless, worthless thing I wove

    out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

     

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  •  07-28-2006, 9:43 AM 2275 in reply to 2261

    Re: Integral parent education

    Gene,

    A virtual hug for you, my friend!

    OK, here's a proposal.....at the Integral Education Center we're deeply into research and writing and preparing for a seminar next summer, including parenting and  parent education component.  But we'd also like to form affinity groups, that will be delving into the topic both virtually such as this forum, and in-person.  I know Gene is in the NY area, and I wondered if anyone else who reads this might be up to monthly meetings to discuss/problem solve/create action-research projects on this topic??

    Let me know!

    Lynne

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  •  08-03-2006, 1:47 PM 3122 in reply to 557

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Hi, Yes, this is the thought that came to me yesterday...

    If I'm the parent, and I'm doing the parenting, then this AQAL isn't just about what I'm trying to do with my child but about who I am being. In other words, in my role as a parent, what's my practice...in the four quadrants?  I'm a new parent to a 4-mos.-old baby (lovely Isaac!), and I'm also a single parent.  So I've found myself starving at moments for spiritual practice, certain kinds of exercise, community connections, and so on.  My question is how to maintain my practices to an extent that keeps me sane, creative and loving so I lead by example with my son.  I won't be able to raise him in a truly AQAL way, if my own application of it is something I set aside for the next 18 years or so...

    So, on a practical level, some of the things I am doing now are...

    1) Looking for opportunities to build community, like this site and with friends who are deeply spiritual and also in the midst of parenthood themselves.

    2) Doing a little seated meditation in the evenings, after I've finished work (I work part-time, and I do it when Isaac sleeps, so I get to be a full-time mom....).  I don't have a whole lot of energy at this point to commit to a lot of seated meditation, but what I do is work on my consciousness of the entire day, my whole life being "One Taste," or one long meditation ('course the down side is that sometimes I feel isolated and confronted by a hard life...like being on a super long meditation retreat with no breaks...).

    3) Walking with Isaac, and as he's developing strength, I do little stretches on the floor while playing with him.  Eventually, I want a whole yoga practice back, but even a few stretches here and there helps.

    4) Eating well, sleeping as much as possible.  I am working on accepting that part of my "job" (or, perhaps my vocation at this time...) is to get enough rest so I can produce milk, be happy and contented enough to be present to my son, and do the other things that nurture me.

    These are some of my thoughts on this topic...I look forward to more conversation about integral parenting....

    Lora


    Lora
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  •  08-03-2006, 1:53 PM 3124 in reply to 2261

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks, Bill!  What a lovely poem...

    I am a new mom to a 4-mos. old baby, Isaac.  My own mother died just 2 1/2 mos. ago, and she was schizophrenic.  I am so grateful that she lived to see my son, and that I was able to thank her, as she lay dying, for giving birth to me and raising me as best she could.  She made a lot of mistakes, but in becoming a mother myself, I recognized the depth of her love for me and the great sacrifices she made for me.  I thanked her from the bottom of my heart, while holding my own son, and we were able to be with her as she died.  It was, I hope, a gift that meant something to her:  that I got to help midwife her into the next life, as she brought me into this one...


    Lora
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  •  08-03-2006, 2:04 PM 3127 in reply to 1992

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Hi, Turtle,

    I'm not very familiar with Byron Katie, but you've sparked my interest...

    I absolutely agree that love is what it's all about...and I have to say that I don't find that love is always effortless.  This last weekend my four-month-old son, Isaac, was teething.  We had several sleep-poor nights, and I was trying to work by day (I'm a single mom, and I work from home on the internet while he sleeps).  It was horrendous.  I didn't falter in my love for Isaac, but I had to work very, very hard at my own programming from childhood.  I really had to face my dark (a.k.a., disowned parts of myself) side - the rage that comes up when I'm powerless and afraid (in this case, afraid I wouldn't be able to get my work done/wouldn't be able to support us), the selfish part that just wants a good night's sleep and wants to ignore the poor crying baby, the part of me that questions my sanity (surely I should have given him up for adoption to a nice, two-parent family who would be able to do this more easily, I think in my darkest moments, and not without pain...).  I was good to Isaac, but it took effort the likes of which I can only begin to describe.  And that was love...it wasn't pretty or poetic.  It was a little grisly, actually, much as giving birth was.

    I wrote a series of meditations on God as Mother after Isaac's birth.  We hear a lot in our culture about God's father characteristics.  After Isaac's birth, I found myself inexorably drawn to the idea of God's mother characteristics, and I took some time to toy with that idea.  In one of the meditations I wrote, entitled She is Fierce, I wrote the following:

    Hallmark gives us many ways to express our love and appreciation for mothers on Mother’s Day.  After the birth of my son, what I want to see is the card with the naked warrior woman, flecked in blood and gore, with her sword in one hand and her other holding her baby to her hip, the corpses of defeated demons at her feet.  After birthing my son, that is motherhood to me.

     


    Lora
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  •  08-03-2006, 2:29 PM 3134 in reply to 1673

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Hi, Lajla,

    I'm pretty new to the site and reading back through old posts, and I had some thoughts on this.  Allow me to preface this with a very big, humble caveat:  I'm a new parent, and so I may look back on this post one day and laugh at myself.  But I am very interested in what it means to parent in an integral/AQAL way, so I have to start somewhere...

    First, I won't repeat in entirety what I wrote a little earlier today in response to someone else's post, but to summarize:  being an integral, AQAL parent to me means starting off with living my life that way, in the midst of having a child's presence.  In other words, while I am, on the one hand, trying to figure out how to be with my child, I'm also trying very hard to figure out how to be with myself in all four quadrants and lead by example. 

    So, to continue that thought...

    One of the things I find arising out of this experience of having this child present with me is that any unhealed areas of myself are arising in response to being in a parenting role.  And I wonder if that is going to be continuous throughout Isaac's life.  As he passes through stages in his own journey, I travel next to him (though at a different level myself), and I hit bumps in the road that reflect the red, orange, blue, green, etc. parts of myself that have not completely found their place.

    One example is just in his birth...I used to be an evangelical Christian.  I'm now Buddhist and finding reconciliation with my Christian roots by exploring the Christian mystics.  Many of my old friends from those days expressed their own judgments and fears around the fact that I was having sex (horror!) outside of marriage (more horror!) and going to be a single parent (gasp!).  I found a lot of anger arising within me in response to comments they made.  And then I found myself also choosing to think and act compassionately toward them and their black-and-white ideas of what was right and wrong in God's eyes.  After all, that particular level of functioning in the world feels a hell of a lot safer, sometimes, than not knowing all the answers and not always knowing what to do.  I'm sure that was a huge part of the appeal for me, at least.  So I found that during the period of Isaac's gestation, I was experiencing and making peace with some of my own shadow parts...

    And, lastly, I think that if I'm living an AQAL life, I'm going to have a lot more wherewithal to deal with and accept what comes up for Isaac as his own shadow side emerges, as he has questions he doesn't know the answers to, and so on.  As I am aware of the culture in which we live, my own light and darkness, how our bodies work optimally and such, I'll be able to guide him in a much less theoretical way and in a more pratical, grounded way.

    Oh, and I'll add that I think the theory is essential as well.  And I love the idea of knowing what kinds of language/concepts a child is able to grasp best at their own level of functioning.  So this particular writing is more about just staying grounded in my own experience, rather than thinking that parenting is ever going to be something that someone out there is going to be able to fully tell me how to do...

    Thanks so much for listening...

     

     


    Lora
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  •  08-03-2006, 6:58 PM 3168 in reply to 3127

    Re: Integral parent education

    Welcome Lora (and Isaac, too!).

    Do check out Byron Katie. If you can handle Wilber's challenging shadow work, you can handle Katie's inquiry. It's a fascinating and surprisingly humorous ride into and out of your shadows, in my experience, anyway.

    Oh, and one a somewhat random note, based on a comment you made about language or something in another post here, I wanted to suggest you explore the new trend of teaching babies sign language (a "baby babble" form of it). Some friends of mine had twins a little over a hear ago and are teaching the kids to sign basic things like food, water, and a few other helpful words. It's appearantly a great way to stretch their language centers of their brains, and, I imagine, even creates a more "integral" way of learning language.

    Just one of the many hits I got when I Googled "baby sign language" was Signing with your baby. It seems like fun, and might be a good way to avoid some of the many "unexplained" cries.

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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  •  08-05-2006, 1:32 PM 3424 in reply to 3168

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks so much for the suggestion, Turtle.  I'm definitely intrigued by infant sign language.  I'd heard of it before Isaac was born, but in the whirlwind since his birth have not actually attempted it.  I don't think it would have been possible earlier, but he might be capable now...?  He's 4 mos. old and everyday becoming more interactive.  Anyway, I will check out that book....

    Peace,

    Lora


    Lora
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  •  08-07-2006, 6:25 PM 3680 in reply to 1940

    • rosecpw is not online. Last active: 04-07-2008, 1:57 PM rosecpw
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Hi,

    I'm back with a Santa Claus story. 

    I felt my parents lied to me when they told me there was a Santa Claus. We were Jewish and I argued (at age 5) with my best friend, a little Jewish boy who knew there was no Santa Claus. (Our family was beyond reformed and even had a Christmas tree, I'm embarassed to admit.) I vividly remember how humiliated I felt--after insisting to my 5 year old best friend that there was a Santa Claus and that my father would never lie to me--when I found out there was no Santa. I felt my father had betrayed me.

    So as a parent, I never told the Santa Claus myth. I sincerely hoped and prayed that my daughter would not tell her friends who believed in Santa that he did't exist, and she didn't. They had their stories and beliefs; she had hers.

    When my daughter was about 8 and many of her friends no longer believed in Santa, I asked her if she had felt deprived of the myth. Would she have preferredif  I'd told her there was a Santa? She said, "Mommy, you don't understand. I know you're the one who buys the presents under the tree, but Santa Claus tells you what to get and where. Like say you're walking past Penny Whistle toy store. Then something pops into your head and tells you that there's a stuffed animal in there I really want. That's Santa talking to you.."

    The moral of the story? I'm not sure. Maybe part of it is just giving your kid enough room to be his/herself, however that shows up. After my daughter told me it was Santa who popped into my head and chose the gifts, I sure didn't disagree with her!

    It was just another one of my cherished parenting ideas, turned on its head! My experience of Santa  as a child was completely different from my daughter's. And she seemed very clear about what she wanted her experience to be.

    Robin

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  •  08-07-2006, 6:41 PM 3683 in reply to 3134

    • rosecpw is not online. Last active: 04-07-2008, 1:57 PM rosecpw
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Lora,

    Thanks for your heartfelt sharing

    "One of the things I find arising out of this experience of having this child present with me is that any unhealed areas of myself are arising in response to being in a parenting role.  And I wonder if that is going to be continuous throughout Isaac's life. "

    My experience is the answer to that is YES. And this affords both a tremendous challenge and an opportunity for healing.

    Kudos on your courage and love to your baby, Robin

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  •  08-07-2006, 6:46 PM 3684 in reply to 2275

    • rosecpw is not online. Last active: 04-07-2008, 1:57 PM rosecpw
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Lynne,

    I'd like to second the motion for an integral parenting affinity group in the NY area. Does anyone live close enought to NYC to attend an in-person meeting? I'd offer to host.

    We could even let the kids meet and play while the grown-ups talked in another room.

    Anyone interested? Post here or contact me directly. I'd love to get this going.

    Robin

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  •  08-11-2006, 10:58 AM 4100 in reply to 3683

    • Lora is not online. Last active: 02-25-2008, 1:13 PM Lora
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    Re: Integral parent education

    Thanks so much, Robin.  At moments I'm so overwhelmed...I love Isaac with all my heart, and I'm committed to both our growth and care...but the immensity of what I'm doing here is breath-taking at times.  It's like a meditation retreat, really, one you can't go home from.  An immense gift, an immense work.

    Peace,

    Lora


    Lora
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