Parenting on Purpose

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Back in the late 70’s Kenny Rogers recorded the song “The Gambler.” The song was used later as the theme song for Kenny’s TV movie series of the same name. In song lyrics the gambler counsels:

You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away, know when to run.

While I am not trying to suggest that we encourage our children to take up gambling, (or smoking and drinking that are also mentioned in the song), there are some great lessons in these simple lyrics.

Just how do you know when you have what you need, when you should ask for more, or when you should throw in the towel?

By listening to your Internal Guidance System (IGS).

The message in these first two lines is that we have to live in the present moment. The cards are neither good nor bad in and of themselves. The right choices are based on the entire picture — the cards as well as everything else that is happening at the table.

We cannot get caught up in the hands we have been dealt in the past. Also we cannot assume that the choice we made the last time we had a similar hand will be the right choice now.

Nor can we count on what cards someone else will hand us in the future. We must pay attention to how it feels in the current moment and assess whether the time is right for us to go left or go right. To walk away, or to run. Not out of fear, but out of knowing that this is the right decision in that moment.

Of course every gambler knows that practice helps. That is true with just about everything in life: including checking in with our IGS and really hearing the directions we are being given. But practice doesn’t mean that we will have the exact same hand, or that the same decision will always be right for us.

Circumstances change, so even if the hand looks the same, our best choice may be different in this moment. Maybe because we are different now than we were the last time we faced a similar choice. Or perhaps because we are dealing with different people.

There are so many variables at play in our lives that most of us cannot accurately predict our correct course based on past experience like it was a mathematical equation.

Parents can help teach their kids to tap into their IGS at a very early age. In age appropriate ways, we can give kids options and ask them to see how each one feels. Would this choice be made out of fear or anger? Does it feel positive, loving and like they want to move toward it?

Encourage your kids to practice this skill as often as possible. The more we help our children recognize the guidance they are receiving, the better they will be able to handle whatever cards are dealt them in the future.

Please feel free to comment.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.


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