I’ll preface this post by saying I’m someone who appreciates a good self-help book with some quotes thrown in here and there to keep my motor running…but I won’t buy into everything. Afterall, I never bought a baby book when I had my daughter and even though I admit I felt a little scared about not having any real guidance, is there ever any real guidance when you’re a first time parent?
I remember reading somewhere or someone saying to me “your baby will tell you what to do”. And I think Dr Shefali Tsabary is of the same mindset with her philosophy on parenting.
The hubs and I were watching the episode of Super Soul Sunday where Dr Shefali appeared in all her beauty to drop knowledge from her latest book ‘The Conscious Parent’. During the commercial breaks we debriefed and a couple of things got me thinking.
1. The term conscious makes things sound new agey which people might dismiss as elitist and in the words of Sweet Brown “ain’t nobody got time for that!”
But what it really means is being present, open even. We’re living in a world we’re going, going, going, and never take a moment to stop and smell the roses. I always remember an interview I think Toni Morrison did with Oprah and she said her son came up to her one day to show her a picture he drew. She was busy with something and she didn’t look up but said the picture was nice and he tore it before she could even blink. That made her stop. I don’t think I ever want to have that type of reaction to jolt me into the present.
2. Dr Shefali struck a cord with me when she talked about education and how children hate school because of the pressure. In particular, the pressure and expectation (by parents) to be the best, how you can’t just have a hobby or can’t just dream but be a successful dreamer.
I’ve mentioned this before in one of my posts that I was never an A student. It took me a very long time to accept it (university). I was the Theo Huxtable of my family when it came to school. I grew up in Zambia and passing or failing is not by grade per se, but by hierarchy-who passed number 1 out of a class of 30. I’ve always considered myself a pretty confident person whose self-esteem was (and is) intact. But there’s nothing like passing number 17, 18 or 21 out of 30 to bring your esteem down. Being surrounded by smart people was anxiety inducing and made me feel like a pressure cooker everytime I took a test. Did I hate school? No. But it made it hard to love it. So I threw myself into various activities to see where my talents lay. I was forunate enough to go to a primary and secondary school that supported extra curriculars. The school experience allowed me to learn about myself, apply myself as best as I could and the rest would solve itself. And you know what? It did. The moral of my story: School’s not just about X+Y
Do I want my kid to be successful? Hells yes. Intellectually, morally, spiritually, socially and financially. What Dr Shefali is talking about is encouraging (us) parents to separate this desire for greatness rooted in “egoic ideals from essential ideals”. Something to think about.
Check in with me in 20-30 years and I’ll let you know how all this has gone 😉
Honestly, I just hope I live long enough to see my kid be all that she will be and I hope that I will give her the patience and support that she deserves.
Have you heard of or read Dr Shefali’s ‘The Conscious Parent’? What do you think?
Here’s her TED Talk.