Each time I’m about to do something or say something, I pause to think: does this action breed love and compassion, or am I *re-acting*? Am I the change I wish to see, or am I the epitome of what I wish to change?
Reacting to negativity with negativity is simple, it is “natural”. When our children hit, bite, talk back or do anything else that we disapprove of, we re-act to their negative feelings by yelling, withdrawing from them or punishing them in a million other ways that we don’t even perceive as negative. Yet they do.
This is the nature of re-action. What can we do instead? Breed love. At any given moment.
But How Will They Ever Learn?
Children learn much faster and easier through love; and unlike fear-driven learning, this strategy lasts a life time, and keeps our bond unbreakable.
When we re-act, we cultivate fear of consequence. When we raise our voices instead of raising our words, when we are so powerless that we instinctively resort to force, when we can’t communicate in positive discourse, it is then that fear becomes our only hope. We threaten to leave, we threaten to take something away, we threaten our connection, and we trade benefits for limitations. But the truth is that there are only two possible (and legitimate) outcomes to fear-driven learning – obedience and rebellion.
Today’s Obedience is Tomorrow’s Rebellion
Gaining “cooperation” through obedience we might gain the goal of that moment, but to pay for it, we’ll lost so much. For that single instance of cooperation, we’ll lost our children’s trust, their connection, their ability to be genuine and true with us, and so much more. And what for? To get in the car? To leave the mall? To stop throwing things around? Does this really worth it?
The additional problem is that it escalates.
Today’s obedience is tomorrow’s rebellion. And this equation is, unfortunately, always right.
When the connection, the trust, the confidence, the sense of belonging, the sense of emotional safety and security, when all these are broken – rebellion becomes the only possible reaction. because there’s nothing left to lose.
And this is why threats don’t work.
The Single Choice I Make Every Day
Every morning, when I wake up, I promise myself to breathe. Not simply breathe to survive, but breathe to reconnect with ME. When my little one cries and screams, when my husband doesn’t do or say exactly what I had hoped, when my mother’s words translate to critique in my head – I breathe. And before I re-act to their pain, I act out of my LOVE. I make sure that the reason in the name of which I speak is MY LOVE.
Not their words. Not their tone. Not my interpretation of their words or tone.
Does it always work? No. Is it enough? Yes.
It is enough to be a peaceful me and a loving parent and partner, because the circle of peace around me, those dear people who I love most, know that there is nothing they can do to make me love them less. And there is nothing they can do to make me love them more.
Love is Free, it Knows No Boundaries
Learning through fear we can either obey or rebel. Learning through love, we can only love.
Be the change you wish to see, otherwise nothing will ever change
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