I really look forward to reading our book for April, The Enneagram of Parenting, The 9 Types of Children and How to Raise Them Successfully, by my favorite enneagram author, Elizabeth Wagele. Elizabeth brings humor, simplicity and wisdom to the enneagram. In her book, she explains the enneagram’s nine different personality types. And she explains how to better parent the nine types of kids, touching on issues related to school, bedtime, friendships and more! Fun also to read her book and reflect on yourself as a child–a way to discover your own type.
A friend and I met last night at a local book store to discuss Pema’s third commitment from her book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change: Committing to Embrace the World Just as it is. While my friend and I normally avoid highlighting in books, or making notes, we both chose to with this book; and interestingly we both highlighted some of the same sections as our favorite sections. We both liked page 110, where Pema says:
“That captures the feeling of the third commitment: falling in love with the human condition and not dividing ourselves in two, with the so-called good part condemning the so-called bad part and the bad part scheming to undermining the good part. We’re not trying to cultivate one part of ourselves and get rid of another part. We’re training in opening to it all.”
I know, personally, I always work at that so called “bad” part and try to grow the good part. I love the thought that we work with the whole part and stay open to all parts of us. As a parent, I know I confront that “bad” part sometimes; maybe instead of berating myself for those “bad” moments, I hope to simply accept those moments with less judgement.
Share your thoughts, if you like, on her ideas about embracing the world and simply staying present to the moment, without so much judgement. Any parenting times to relate to the idea?
After reading Pema’s work on the first commitment-committing to not cause harm-I tried to integrate her ideas into my parenting. The kids really get into battles in the car. I found myself spouting Pema’s ideas; after they belittled each other with name calling, I suggested we commit to not causing any harm. They seemed interested in the idea. Great ideas take time, of course, to take effect. I love her ideas percolating in my head, as I navigate the murky waters of parenting. I like that her book reminded me of such a basic and simple concept. And I plan to commit to bringing the language of the first commitment into my daily parenting challenges.
In her book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, Pema Chodron explains the first of three commitments to make. She says we commit to: “doing our best to not cause harm with our actions or words or thoughts, a commitment to being good to each other.” The words offer good advice for a nation divided by the recent election. I feel saddened by the hatred expressed by so many. What if instead our nation committed to not cause harm?
Today, holed up in a cabin in the foothills of the Wallowas, my oldest daughter introduced me to her favorite podcast–Stuff You Should Know. The episode focused on enlightenment and reminded me of the concept of tabula rasa, meaning blank slate. They spoke about humans essentially coming into the world with a blank slate. Experiences write on the slate, and along with a person’s nature, help to form that person. And as a parent I try to nurture the spirit of my children, essentially writing on their slate. And coupled with their nature, I see how the slate affects my kids in different ways. Perhaps, for example, they reject my ideas or perhaps my thoughts align with their ideas or personality. Comforting to ponder that to mother with spirit, I also need to accept the spirit of the child.