Tag Archives: change

The Struggle For Control

29 May

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about control and children.}

 Truthfully, early childhood is similar to incarceration, because children can do little without their parents’ assistance, their direct participation, or their approval; nor do they have any significant responsibilities. They are completely dependent and can neither choose their options, nor remove themselves from their controlled environment. The older our children get, the more they strive for independence and freedom from this perceived incarceration. At about six months old, kids/children begin subtly expressing that their personal wishes don’t coincide with our own; putting us squarely in conflict practically from the get go! This is the beginning of their natural resistance to control.

The simple but social fact that our opposition to control, on a much larger scale, has generated most of the monumental changes in our world; and has been an important and critical process of progress and change. It is how we are wired. We humans seem to resist control even more than we resist change…at any age!

It is easy to create the illusion of control. When my boys were young, if I spoke in a loud, sharp voice, they would stop instantly; and for a moment, I was sure I had them! I believed I could control my kids with my voice and sheer determination, but they were really just being forced to pay attention by my strong action and louder-than-normal voice. This is not control, but rather just directs their attention to my issue. I remember the time when I tossed Ian (my older son at age 11) because of his completely unacceptable behavior. Although it was a very short toss to a comfortable landing in the couch, it seemed like I had control at the time because I held the power for a brief moment. But power is not the same as control. It was my fortunate opportunity to establish my dominant position at that time and that time only. Although it came from a place of anger and frustration and is not what I believe is good parenting, it straightened out his attitude and created a clear understanding. However, I never attempted it again.

At age 17, did you really believe that your parent had control over you? At what point do you think your parents lost control and you gained it? These are important questions to ask ourselves because they reach the root of our perceptions of control, as well as our instinct to rebel against anything that resembles it. The illusion of parental control develops during the child’s early state of dependency, but this temporary dominance will pass quickly and we probably will not become aware of its fading until it is too late to do much about it.

I remember when I first realized that my idea of control was an illusion. Ian, my first son, was just starting to talk, which was wonderful for me because I could begin to communicate with and relate to him. One of his first strongest first words was “no.” When I heard the first “no” from Ian, I was dumbstruck. I could not fathom how he could choose to use it so perfectly and be able to clearly express his choice. When he said, “No,” he was telling me that he wanted to make a different decision. Of course, he was too young to understand all the ramifications of most any decision at that age, but nonetheless, he felt compelled to decide for himself, and was already beginning to wrestle control from me, control I really didn’t have. By trying not to exert my control I was able to focus on other aspects of our expanding relationship with more joy, less tension, and depth.

Please check back with me on 5/31/2012 for more on this topic! Until then, feel free to let me know if you have any questions or thoughts.

Dads on Grads Part 2: Technology is Changing the Way We Interact

2 Jun

The world is changing. With technology, medicine, education and the over lifestyle changing so rapidly it’s hard enough to keep up as it is.

We are on the sharp edge of change every few months now as technology cuts it’s way deeper into every sector of our lives. How can any young person look at their future without some real apprehension for their own financial opportunity in the face of such uncertainty?

Change is always threatening. Deeper more permanent change generally leads to a drift towards self and individualism out of a sense of survival rather than choice.

Gen ‘Y’ is coming and they are even more focused on self and it is the opposite. They are choosing it…they are willing to set aside older style community values and previous generational idealisms for some immediate
benefits today out of choice not survival.

This does not make them lessor people, but it does make them different and significantly different than their parents. They seem to want less but they also want themselves served first. This is different.

I believe that our culture has to evolve to accommodate this new paradigm of incorporating a ‘me first’ behavior…without completely dissolving the human value of serving others.

It is not our challenge but theirs.

Check back next week for more on how relationships are changed with technology.

Thank you for reading.

Embracing the Feminine: Yin & Yang Part 4

31 Mar

I had the unique opportunity to have the custody of my two boys when they were quite young (5 & 7).

My system began to open to ways of nurturing simply because it was required. At first while lying in bed reading to both boys, I started accessing my ‘feminine’ side. Far from feeling awkward it felt deeply satisfying. Soon it felt natural to ‘nourish’ first and structure later.

Blending the yin and yang of my energy made me whole and allowed me to have a significantly greater sense of my responsibilities which then extended into my ‘yang’ duties with regard to support and protection as well. I was having an emotionally expressive connection with my boys!

This yin/yang experience continued to grow and began to slowly seep into my adult relationships. I was increasingly  able to connect with other men and women on meaningful levels. Most people see me as a ‘man’s man,’ which is perfectly fine. I was a star Rugby player in college, had a strong male presence and plenty of testosterone. But I truly understood the beauty of the feminine side of life and learned to embrace it when I began to take full responsibility of raising my kids.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been thrown into that role.

I believe our world culture is slowly bending in the direction of the feminine. It has been too far on the other side for too long. This is a good thing and is gaining more and more acceptance. Women are strengthening their own core sense of who they are as contributors and men are sensitizing themselves to the emotional energies that they have successfully avoided for centuries.

There’s a change a-comin’!