Context is decisive…
I found a great article that described what has been the most important spiritual shift in my career as a teacher and a coach.
I trust that you’ll be able to see how it applies to you and how it can transform your life, and create a spiritual shift for you too.
Here is the story:
The Day I Pretended to Babysit My Own Kids
By Chana Bitton
Emotionally exhausted. This is how I was beginning to feel on a regular basis. Everything my kids did that wasn’t “perfect” got on my nerves. If they argued with each other, I yelled. If they didn’t listen to me the first time I asked, I yelled. If they had a complaint about dinner, I got annoyed . . . and yelled. Why was I reacting this way? Why couldn’t I enjoy my job as a mother, and see the beauty in raising a family?When did parenting become such a burden?
It was something I thought about regularly, because I knew that the way I was being was not the kind of parent I wanted to be. I wanted to rediscover the enjoyment in parenting, but I needed to dig deep to figure out how to find it again.
One night during bedtime, as I was putting my 6-year-old to sleep, I began having the same agitated feeling. She kept asking questions, not listening, squirming—basically, being a normal 6-year-old. I hated the way I was feeling, and decided to play a little mind game with myself.
I took a deep breath and told myself, “She’s not mine. She is someone else’s child.” Yes, as awful as it sounds, I pretended that I was babysitting. I felt a little guilty, but also like I had no other choice to maintaining my composure.
What happened next was truly amazing. It really felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. All of the tension and impatience slowly melted away. It didn’t bother me anymore that she was talking, interrupting, jumping; she was a child I was taking care of for someone else. I didn’t take it so seriously anymore. She made me laugh! She was funny, saying such smart things. I was able to enjoy her. I felt responsible for her, but I didn’t feel burdened. She suddenly became her own person with her own personality. It was a rush of pure joy.
I went to bed that night and thought more deeply about what had happened. I knew I couldn’t spend every day pretending I was babysitting someone else’s children. It just wasn’t true. Yet if it wasn’t true, then why did it feel so right? Instinctually, I knew that I was on to something. After some deep thinking, I realized that in fact I wasn’t lying to myself at all. My newfound perspective was very true!
My children do not “belong” to me. In reality, they belong to the Creator of the world. I was entrusted to care for them, love them, teach them, keep them safe. My children are in actuality G-d’s children. Wow! What a huge responsibility! What a huge gift! Suddenly, parenting became the most special job in the world. I am responsible for something precious and unique and wonderful. And when I let go of the worrying and the judgment, I had room to parent out of love and respect. In the end, I felt a deeper love than before.
I have come to understand that I had been putting all of my own anxieties and personal expectations onto my kids. I actually believed that their behavior was a reflection of me. If they did something wrong, it was because I was doing something wrong. I lost what’s called “my job description.” It isn’t as though I don’t feel a responsibility. I do—and in a way, even more now.
But my perspective has changed. It isn’t my job to change them. It isn’t my job to make them perfect. I constantly remind myself to love them for who they are and not who I want them to be.
So now, when I play the “babysitting” game in my mind, I try to remind myself that it’s not a game, after all. It’s the truth. Over time, with hard work, I hope to make my change in perspective more than just a perspective, but rather my everyday reality.
Now, let me take the thought further: your relationship to things you do, your body, your health, your business, your projects, your mistakes, your experiments, your spouse could also benefit from considering your self someone who takes care of the, but their state, their behavior don’t reflect on you, don’t define you.
Can you see it? If you do, please comment. I’d really like to create a conversation. 1By the way, this is the reason why the generation growing up in kibbutzim (communes in Israel) in children’s housing and not with their parents are smarter, happier, better adjusted. The parent’s ego didn’t make them wrong for being a child.
And when I look, when I muscle test what field does a babysitter, a nursery teacher, a nurse interact with the child, it is father-child. The field most of you have been unable to enter, and therefore you are unable to learn and grow.