When I was pregnant with Aidyn, I read so many different baby books. And then as I progressed toward birth, I started reading books about the baby’s first years. I learned a lot then (forgot a lot now though too that I don’t do with Noah that I tend to feel guilty about and I will try to do and it only lasts like 2 weeks). Not that Noah is behind, no no no, he’s definitely a smart kid. He just expresses himself differently, and doesn’t feel that he needs many words to do so. Maybe I’m guilty of confusing reality with my ability to understand him…but he seems smart to me. He tends to get defiant, already, but I have figured that since he is showing that attribute at such a young age that it is maybe part of his nature, and that I need to nurture him to learn to channel that aspect of himself. Part of parenthood…you have to be flexible in order to let your children not only learn from you but teach you as well. And many times, I find when I look at other people’s relationships with their children, that when they butt heads with their teenagers it is typically over something- but what that something represents is the matter at hand. The way we act in and react to situations indicates a part of who are. When we fight with our teenagers, it is usually over their actions (or reactions), and our inability to relax and let ourselves learn from them in addition to teaching them, and it indicates a part of ourselves we have not dealt with or figured out yet. In order to have a peaceful relationship with your child, no matter how old that child may be, you need to have a peaceful relationship with yourself.
Peace. What is peace anyway? After pouring through tons of crappy search engine results, some not so crappy, I found a prevalent theme among definitions and “meanings” of peace. A lack of conflict. But this just doesn’t seem right to me. A world without conflict, whether it be a physical or theological conflict, is in our modern times a thing of near impossibility. Yet I do not feel that we cannot be at peace because of this. Quite the contrary. I feel our purpose in life is to find our way to our personal existence of peace within a world of conflict. Because the more individuals who live in a constant existence of peace, as that is the only thing true peace can be, the closer our Earthly existence comes to peace as a whole. People who claim to live in peace, yet jump to solutions involving war and control, are not truly living in peace. Only those that do not seek to solve a problem by changing another, live in true peace. Because true peace is the ability to maintain yourself with no anxiety or discourse towards the decisions you yourself make (for even through making a bad decision you feel peace knowing you have learned or experienced what you experienced in order to learn). Coming to the acceptance that everything does happen for a reason.
Resentment over a lack of control over something or someone leads to anxiety/inner conflict. So why do so many hold onto their resentments? This is where instant gratification comes into play. Think about how much society has a whole has turned to instant gratification vs. long term happiness/wellbeing. Me grabbing for another cigarette to level off my anxiety in the right here right now, despite knowing that it’s making me all the more anxious in the long run. The lonely husband whose wife is severely ill, needs instanct gratification and seeks it in the arms of another. What does that do for his and his wife’s long term happiness and wellbeing? Not much good. A hell of a lot of bad. The abuser in withdrawal who caves for one more hit, once more blindly reaching for that instantly gratifying bliss. Instant gratification, seems to play the devil’s advocate in many situations. Many religions teach and speak of devilish actions and temptations and the immediate satisfactions they offer as bait, and they teach of the eternal hell and pain and damnation those who turn to immediate satisfaction find themselves in. It can equate in a situation as small as comparing your neatly trimmed yard to that skunky, dirthole of a lawn next door. You don’t take the time to consider why their yard is as it is, or maybe why you place so much importance on your perfectly pruned hedges and resent them so for their lack of pruned hedges. Instead, we skip to the instant gratification of knowing we are somehow “better” in our own minds. This creates a habit that in turn creates unhappiness. Discontent. Because even by comparing yourself to those who are not as well off as you or clean or smart or pretty, you end up comparing yourself to those you deem “better” than yourself as well. This process of constant comparisons leads to a repetetive cycle of unhappiness.
It’s hard to say it, but I think many parents hold a certain level of resentment towards their children. They will deny it…everybody will. No one wants to accept a label of negative connotation. But in order to come to peace within, we need to accept who we are and who we want to be and the differences in between and work every day to bridge the gap. This resentment is apparent in society in general, with statements like “Oh, now that you have children you can expect to never go anywhere”. Not to say that all parents resent their children. Many that do don’t necessarily do it on a conscious level. That’s part of the problem. Each of us needs to recognize what we do, more on a subconscious level than at a conscious level, in order to change. If we are struggling to control others, or our surroundings/environment, we are not at peace…we subconsciously need to make changes. We can only control ourselves. Only we can create for ourselves habits that create happiness.
“We will not build a peaceful world by following a negative path. It is not enough to say “We must not wage war.” It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace. … We must see that peace represents a sweeter music, a cosmic melody that is far superior to the discords of war. Somehow we must transform the dynamics of the world power struggle from the negative nuclear arms race which no one can win to a positive contest to harness man’s creative genius for the purpose of making peace and prosperity a reality for all of the nations of the world. In short, we must shift the arms race into a “peace race”. If we have the will and determination to mount such a peace offensive, we will unlock hitherto tightly sealed doors of hope and transform our imminent cosmic elegy into a psalm of creative fulfillment” MLK JR