Fostering Both Connection AND Resiliency
Happy New Year!
One of my personal projects is co-creating a local kids peace camp each summer that offers kids many experiences, practices, and tools for being at peace within themselves and with each other. We’re heading into our 12th year and it’s a great camp. As the current program coordinator, I’ve explored lots and lots of resources and treasures for fostering emotional intelligence, social-emotional learning, compassionate communication, nature connection, mindfulness, self-regulation, etc. There’s A LOT of good stuff out there.
However, as I was reflecting with one of our staff members recently, the core element of experiencing true peace is not about anything “out there” such as a tool or resource. It’s all about cultivating connection “in here”.
Within each child (and each adult) lives the innate capacity to be at peace. Being "at peace" mean being emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually coherent. When all these aspects are coherent we’re balanced, our whole system is flowing harmoniously.
When a child (or adult) can hold that coherence strongly it doesn’t matter so much what circumstances are happening. Sure, it matters in the sense that it can be significant, may impact our experience and might need their attention. But it doesn’t matter in the sense that it doesn’t destabilize their inner balance. A child who experiences whole system balance is a child who is in their power and less likely to give their power away and fall into victimization.
That’s what we aim for at our camp and that’s what I aim for when I coach parents, guide energy integration sessions and soul realignment readings – the cultivation of self-knowing, inner harmony, and personal empowerment.
One of my favorite elements of parenting with this as my baseline is keeping an eye open for when my kids are already coherent and then supporting them to be there and stay there as long as possible.
Right now my son Julio loves trains. So what’s a parent to do?
Watch oodles of train videos alongside him, listen to his train knowledge, visit train museums, arrange a meeting with a train expert, visit train hobby shops, support his $ earning efforts to save up for a train set, and be the sounding board for all his train dreams and aspirations – of course!
When he’s in the flow of a train story I can see his whole system balance in action. He’s joyful, bouncy, creative, engaging. That's his expression of coherence and what I call Heart Zone. Having lots and lots of daily experience in Heart Zone (as often as possible) entrains our kids to set that inner peace calibration as their home base.
When they’re home-base is Heart Zone they’re more resilient. Which is useful because sooner or later they’ll be bumping up against stuff in the “out there” – like disappointments, challenging new experiences, or other kids who exhibit bullying behavior (expressions of incoherence).
Julio has a new challenging experience coming up – attending a holistic sexuality class. He’s agreed to do it but he’s not excited. It’s not his usual way of learning (class setting) and the topic can be inherently awkward even if you’re not 13.
My intent between now and the first class is to connect with him in Heart Zone as much as possible. Likely that will mean lots more train discussion and train videos and maybe even another trip to the train museum.
And I’ll love doing it because I know how valuable those experiences are right now for his inner wiring – neurologically, emotionally and physically., and how it will support him soon to step into an awkward new experience and yet remain true to himself.
AND because it feels good, authentic and in alignment with how I want to parent. Plus, I know it feels good to my son as well.
Win-win connection + increased resiliency = best parenting approach ever!
If this connection based parenting lens resonates with you I highly recommend tuning into the upcoming virtual Mindful World Parenting Summit January 21-27 where you can listen to several free interviews with aligned parenting experts.
Check it out the summit HERE.
Much love to you as your support your kiddos to navigate their way to their own particular Heart Zone often!