summer of love — week 10



This week, we’re going to do the Hokey Pokey. Because, rumor has it, That’s What it’s all About. Possible, I don’t know. What I do know is that Where We Stand with our kids makes a difference. A really, really big one. In how they perceive themselves. In how they interact with others. In how they respond to siblings. And even to us. So what does the Hokey Pokey look like in parenting? Well, we’re going to take it one day at a time. Stepping in, reaching out. And, of course, turning ourselves about.

w10d1 Monday: Put your right foot in. Do you ever have moments parenting when you say to yourself “every single time we do X, Y is the result.” Yup. Pattern recognition. Look for those moments today. Those times that are completely predictable. For my kids, it is transitions. Every time we move from one activity to another, chaos ensues. Along with misbehavior, unkind words, random acts of sibling unkindness. Is there a pattern at your house? Any points in the day when you regularly think {or say} “why do you always…” or “why can’t you…”. Here’s the funny thing. They are actually doing the best they can. They, in fact, can’t handle it. And so, if they are struggling ever. Single. time. It is time to Put Your Right Foot In. To step closer. To not wait until the meltdown, but to step in in anticipation of its arrival. When you see it coming, step in. And it helps to have something in mind before the stepping in begins. What are you going to offer? How will you distract? What tools will you teach them? Be very, extremely, micro-managingly clear. Instead of “play nicely” or “be gentle”, say “go silently and without touching anyone go into the house and put away your backpacks.” So today, look for moments when putting your Right Foot In will change the dance. That’s What It’s All About.

w10d2Tuesday: Put your left hand out. Yesterday, we looked for times when we need to step in. Today, we’re doing the opposite. We’re looking for times when we all would be better served to get out of the way. Times when we normally reach in and now we need to move out. Sometimes we hover a little too close. Or step in a little too soon. We take over a task they can actually do on their own. Often this is harder for us with our first born, but naturally happens with subsequent kiddos. We need to remember that funny feedback loop – they cannot become capable until we give them the opportunity to make messy mistakes along the way. Making mistakes allows them to become strong problem solvers, solid critical thinkers, to know that no matter what, they can find solutions to whatever takes place. So today, watch yourself. Do you step in too soon? Step back so they can launch. That’s What It’s All About.


w10d3Wednesday:  What do you think about this Hokey Pokey? How does it feel to step in? To reach out? How does it feel to watch how your choices change the interactions? Do you need to be stepping in more? Reaching out less? Talk it over with your sumbud. After talking, you know what to do: Shake it all about.


w10d4Thursday: Put Your Whole Self In. You stepped in Monday. You reached back Tuesday. You talked about it Wednesday. Now let’s put it all together: put your whole self in. Practice, practice, practice – that’s what it’s all about. And if you get push back? “But Mooooooommm, you always make my bed / make my lunch / make my playdate”, be totally transparent. “Yes, I always have. And. I’ve really been watching you and noticing that you are completely capable. And now it is your turn to do these tasks. And I am still here. And if you need some clues, I’ll support you along the way.” Or, the complete opposite. “Everybody stop. Take a deep breath. It looks like you need help and I am going to step in until we get through this.” Whole. Self. In.


w10d5Friday: feelings. It’s probably been a few decades since you last did the Hokey Pokey. How did it feel? Mark it on your calendar. You know the sweet spot.



w10d6Saturday: values. Next week is the last one. What’s left? What do you want to value? Without getting too mushy, I just want to say, one of the things I value most is each of you. It’s been a privilege and an honor to spend the summer with you. xoxox


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