My father would now be 98 years old had he not passed away in 1998. He was a fine guy who had a really good life.
Many readers are already familiar with Simon Sinek’s blockbuster book, Start with Why, and his excellent YouTube video about it. If you are not, Google them right now. Sinek proposes that every person and every enterprise know their why, their what, and their how.
What is my why? As I have blogged here before, my work as a psychologist is fashioned around this principle: the reason we all face so many struggles and dilemmas in life, love, and loss is so we will learn from living and grow from learning. In short, LIFE IS FOR LEARNING AND GROWING!
My what is that people can learn and grow their way into every transition and adjustment demanded of them. The right psychological concepts, insights, and skills are critical to making this possible. You could say that it is all about E-X-P! That is, many important applications of this principle are captured well by words that start with exp-.
Learning and growing involve EXPediting:
Learning and growing also involve:
How refers to accomplishing these lofty goals through our daily activities. The how for my practice consists of the various services I provide. However, each of us also needs a how for our individual life. What specific habits do we practice to keep ourselves growing? What is your how? How do you ensure that your progress toward becoming an EXPert on yourself stays EXPonential and never EXPires?
If you want help with your why, what, or how, give me a call. What Sinek began, we will complete!
Imagine this common scene. At a gathering, Bob sees his friend, Bill, for the first time in two months. After the handshake and hello, Bob asks Bill, “How are you doing?”
A Jewish proverb says, “God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers.” Parents turn the raw fruit of their wombs and loins into people. It is indeed creation. Done well, it is God-like. Done poorly, it is not pretty.
I have seen the full range of quality in mothers.
At one extreme are the heartbreaking depictions of parenting gone wrong, which I hear about in my practice. For example:
“Mother has always been beautiful and wealthy, but unforgiving, unrelentingly demanding, rejecting, consuming, smothering, and angry. She never once told me she loved me. Dad married her for her beauty and learned fast to keep his head down.”
“Mom was impossible. Incredibly selfish and mean, she abused us mentally and physically. She was secretive but expected us to read her mind. We often got the silent treatment, knowing she was unhappy with us but not knowing why or how to fix it. There were frequent spankings. She teased us and would humiliate us in front of others. She had no friends, but ruled our home totally.”
At the other extreme are the many wonderful mothers I have been blessed to observe in my own family and in my circle of friends. These women have been or still are beloved and respected both within and beyond their immediate families for their wisdom, kindness, stability, and hard work.
There is also a middle ground. Children do not need perfect parenting. They just need good-enough parenting. Given the basics, the sufficient minimum, a growing child can finish the job on their own, albeit often with the help of additional adults found along the way.
A 2009 post by Tim Sanford titled The Real Job of Moms on the website, focusonthefamily.com, describes this concept well. I paraphrase it here:
“What is a mom's primary job? The most important assignment a mom has is to nurture her children. This means enabling them to develop fully by pouring life into them. She models joy and passion. Nurturing is filling your child up with aliveness.
A nurturing mom takes time to play, read, and take pictures when the toddler's spaghetti ends up on the head instead of in the mouth. She enters the child's world to see things from his or her perspective. She provides empathetic understanding from a position of strength and support. She finds balance between the healthy desire to give kids freedom and the God-given urge to keep them safe.
Nurturing is not about ‘doing it all’ or doing it perfectly. It's about doing the best you can — without losing yourself or driving yourself crazy. You can't control the results, but you can stir in the right ingredients. You can seek to know your children as individuals, different as they might be, and bring out the best in each.”
Happy Mothers Day!
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.
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