A Place to PAUSE – Making Time for Family
I referenced Terry Hershey’s wonderful book, “The Power of Pause,” in this column last month.In that book he explores the concept that maybe we would live more by doingless.As a marriage and family therapist with more years’ of experience than I care to remember, I also feel that our lives are often upside down.We’re always in a hurry… yet we find the time to tweet.We know we need exercise… yet we communicate (dare I say often waste time?) on Facebook.We haven’t had a date with our spouse in so long that we wouldn’t even know what to talk about if we did (other than about problems).
The house needs cleaning; the dog wants a walk; the kids are connected to their technology… and you’re exhausted. So what’s a parent to do? I would suggest by taking care of yourself first so you have the energy to live, as Oprah says, “your best life.” Last month’s column suggested taking pauses and just being.Mr. Hershey says the world has trained us to believe “that we derive our worth and value from what we do or produce.” We can get “addicted” to the adrenaline rush or the rewards of being needed. If we didn’t have that validation, would we feel less as a human being?
You are not being selfish by learning to withdraw for a pause. In fact, it would be something good to teach your children. Just sit and be. In fact, if your child is young enough, you won’t have to teach them as little ones do it automatically when they stare for a long time at a doodle bug, watch with delight leaves blowing in a circle or when they play in the mud!
It would be ideal for families to have a place for nourishment and renewal. This could be done individually or it could be a special place within the home for any member to withdraw. A place to take refuge when overtired… frustrated… scared… or to just be. It’s not sending a child to his room to calm down. This is about learning to give oneself time to be at peace… to renew. The location could be a lovely window seat that absorbs the afternoon sun. Perhaps a rocking chair near the fireplace? Or the old picnic table in the back yard? When family members withdraw to that designated space, it gives others the awareness to let them be.
Think about discussing this with your family and designating a relaxing haven for family members to pause (obviously without technology).
Copyright © 2011, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.