Want to be a more peaceful parent? Do this first.

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Photo by Peter Rodrigues

 

Transcript from my first two-minute Peaceful Parent segment on The Journey Catholic radio show:

 

If you’re a parent, I’m sure you can picture this: Mum stands at the kitchen bench, in her pyjamas, with hair awry and bloodshot eyes.

She’s packing school lunchboxes while barking out instructions to the children. Her mind is racing through everything she has to do – really more than can fit in one day. They’re already running late.

A fight breaks out amongst the children, there is screaming, arguing and door slamming.

Then, you guessed it, Mum loses it. Now everyone is in trouble, and upset. And the day never really gets back on track. It’s as though the opportunity for a really good day has been lost before it’s even begun.

A 20th century philosopher named Edith Stein, who later became known as St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, wrote beautifully on how to start each day on the right foot, and it think it especially applies to anyone wanting to be a peaceful parent.

This is what she said:

The duties and cares of the day ahead crowd about us when we awake in the morning. Now arises the uneasy question: How can all this be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How shall I start on this and that? Thus agitated, we would like to run around and rush forth. We must then take the reins in hand and say, “Take it easy! Not any of this may touch me now. My first morning’s hour belongs to the Lord. I will tackle the day’s work which He charges me with, and He will give me the power to accomplish it.

C.S Lewis similarly pointed out that the most important moment for a Christian is upon waking each morning. Then, he says:

All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.

Giving some space for God’s perspective to come flowing in, before I stamp the day with all of my wishes and frettings makes a huge difference to how I face my children in the morning.

Some parents may find it nearly impossible to get up before their children for some quiet prayer, meditation, or spiritual reading.

But just a few moments of quiet, especially if they’re spent with Jesus, are much better than nothing and can make a huge difference in enabling us to tackle those busy mornings with grace rather than with angst.

Let’s pray, for more peaceful mornings.

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