In a particular African tribe when someone goes spiritually astray, they form a circle around that person and tell them stories of their life and the good things they've done from their birth until present. Isn't that absolutely beautiful?! It is such an intentional act of connection and compassion. It is an act that refuses to leave the impoverished person to float in and out of their own false sense of self.
I have 5 children who are all at different developmental stages, and sometimes the weight of these differences drive me mad. They annoy each other, they fight, they behave like savages. It can become so easy to overlook who they really are, and just see what is. While my children aren't spiritually astray, it's true that they forget who they are, especially while wearing the degradations of their siblings, and the impatience of their mother.
What if instead of commanding the bickering to stop, we joined hands and spoke into each other's lives? It's not really the act of correction that creates receptivity in our heart. Correction merely calls for behavior to change without digging to see what the root of that behavior attaches to. What if instead of regurgitating some rote and meaningless regulations, we actually looked deep into each other's hearts and met each other there? In our humanness, with the understanding that we all behave worse when we feel bad about ourselves.
I need to dig deep and remind my children why they're loved and who they really are when they've forgotten the way. I need my children to tell me why I am a good mother in those moments when I've misplaced my patience. We all need to feel that powerful connection that comes when hearing "you're good."
It's my responsibility as their mother to be the softness that they can fall into after a hard day, To encourage them through the worst, their worst. The only way that I can do that is by consciously focusing on who they truly are, and keeping that before them (and myself) always. They must get to a point when they know their worth so deeply, that they wouldn't dare disturb another's.
I've accepted this challenge for my children, this daily habit of connection. I want to escape the negative cycles that can bleed us through the day. I want to engage with them in a way that will forcibly adjust what I focus on, encouraging us all into healthier behaviors. I believe that this practice, no, this art of seeing, will divine a powerful shift into my family dynamic, one that will align the heart AND the behavior, igniting both peace and truth into a deeper and more lovingly connected tribe.