“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.
~ Anne Lamott
I’M A HOPE GENERATOR
Recently, I’ve noticed a common theme in my work with parents. Often at the end of our first session together parents say, Thank you for giving me hope.
I’d never thought about the importance of hope in my work with parents. But it dawned on me that without hope we are hopeless. And when we are hopeless, it’s difficult to take action. And without action, we’re stuck.
Typically when I’m asked how I help parents, my answer is that I help moms and dads become the parent they want to be for their child. That might mean helping them connect with their kids on a deeper level. It might mean helping parents learn to respond to their child rather than react to their behavior.
But before that can occur, I now know (based on what parents are telling me), I first provide hope for parents. I guess you could say I’m a “hope generator”. I inspire parents to be hopeful.
Many parents are feeling hopeless these days…and some are giving up on their kids.
Will my child’s behavior ever get better?
Will their grades improve?
Will there ever be peace in our family or are we doomed to live with daily conflict?
Without hope, there is only hopelessness.
And when parents are feeling hopeless, it’s difficult for them to take action. Parents often throw their hands up and say, Why bother…nothing is going to change. They may not actually verbalize this but their actions, or inactions speak volumes.
Parents want changes to occur but as I remind them…
Nothing changes until something changes (and that means you).
Or as Albert Einstein stated…
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
You may find yourself saying the same thing to your children…over and over again! (Go to bed…Go to bed…Go to bed… How many times do I have to tell you to go to bed?) You may be under the assumption (as many parents are) that if you repeat yourself over and over, your kids will begin to listen. Especially if you raise your voice!
That’s insane right? Yet we do it again and again.
So why is it important that I inspire parents to be hopeful?
Here are my thoughts about hope, included in a short excerpt from my book, Mothering with Courage:
Hope helps create an optimistic future. Hope encourages you to keep going even when a situation seems hopeless. Hope promises a brighter future and reminds you that there are caring people in the world, in spite of what the daily news might show.
Hope helps you endure uncertainty and tough times by encouraging you to maintain a positive focus. Hope also helps guide you through your mothering journey.
Mothers hope that their kids will grow up to be caring individuals, yet they understand that as they teach and model caring behaviors, they increase the likelihood that this will occur.
As mothers, hopes and dreams allow us to hold onto our aspirations and vision for the future. We dream for ourselves and our children. The ability to hope carries all of us through the ups and downs of motherhood—through the sleepless nights, the terrible twos (or threes), and even our uncertainty about our ability to be a good mom.
I’ve heard people say that hope is naive, a weakness, passive, or unrealistic. Recently, I was talking with a girlfriend about hope. She said she viewed hope as a weakness—as if just hoping for something to come true would automatically make it come true. She went on to say, “You have to take action in order for things to change. You can’t just hope that it will.” In her mind, hope was passive. I found this intriguing, because sometimes without hope, you’re less likely to take action to move forward in the direction of what you hope will occur. But before becoming a mother, you probably had hope for yourself and for your child. That hope allowed you to focus on your desires as you began your journey into motherhood.
Hope helps you navigate your way through difficult life circumstances. It helps you remember that nothing lasts forever.
Whether your hopes are for yourself or your family, they are beacons of light on your path. Mothers often tell me they hope their children will grow up to be responsible adults. Hope alone cannot guarantee their children’s success as a young adult. However, a mother’s hope leads her to take action in day-to-day mothering, such as
teaching her child responsible behaviors and allowing him to experience the consequences of his choices.
Positive change begins with hope…and the change begins with you.
Here are a few journaling exercises from my book to help you uncover your beliefs about hope:
Take some time to reflect on the hopes and dreams you held as you anticipated being a mother (or father).
Before I became a mom (or dad), I envisioned that my children would
When I feel hopeless about my child and their behavior, I…
How would hope help me shift my perspective? And take action?
Over the next week, I challenge you to incorporate bits of hope into your day. When you focus on what your child is doing right, this simple shift in your lens helps provide hope, for you and your child.
I’d love to hear how you’re doing…feel free to leave a comment. And if you’ve been inspired by this Mindful Mothering Tip, I’d appreciate it if you’d share it!
Wishing you a peaceful week!
P.S. This blogpost includes adapted excerpts from my book Mothering with Courage: The Mindful Approach to Becoming a Mom Who Listens More, Worries Less and Loves Deeply.
Moms have been sharing that since reading Mothering with Courage, they have a better understanding of themselves and their children. They’re also witnessing positive changes in their children’s behavior and more importantly in the relationship with their children. Simply because they made the decision to focus on themselves rather than on their children’s behavior.
If you’d like to learn more about how to do this, please take a look at my newly released book Mothering with Courage…The Mindful Approach to Becoming a Mom Who Listens More, Worries Less and Loves Deeply.
I’d love to support you in your journey as you learn to trust your inner wisdom and find the answers that work best for you. Please contact me if you’re interested in scheduling a session by phone or in person.
And stay tuned for more mothering tip videos. I’ll be offering tips and will also be asking other moms and professionals to join my conversation and share their mindful mothering tips!
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