Raising the Parenting White Flag

For the few of you that don’t know, I am a mom of three precious kiddos, ages nine, seven and three. As their schedules go, the two older kiddos have the same school breaks, but the baby (don’t tell her I called her that... she’s a big girl!) is on a different schedule. 

We were only three quarters of the way through the first day of her spring break when I posted to my Instagram story that I had already ordered two parenting books. Vigorously waving the white flag in surrender, I searched: “how to raise a child who says she doesn’t love ANYBODY” and “how to win an argument with a 3-year-old.” 

My desperate search landed me on Raising Good Humans by Hunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE and The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel MD, Tina Payne Bryson PhD, et al. These finds came just in time too, because that week, my nine-year-old son was developing a ringworm around his eye, my seven-year-old had written ‘I Love You <3’ on her bed sheets in marker and my three-year-old had me feeling like I was slipping into an out-of-control spiral with six whole days left of her spring break.

I beg you not to check out even if you’re thinking: “I am a kick ass parent and could write these books myself.” or “I am in a footloose and fancy free stage of life.” BECAUSE... After reading Raising Good Humans, it became clear to me that we could all take nuggets away from this book to not only be better parents but maybe better bosses, or siblings, or friends, or pastors, or leaders, or… people. Surely you are one of those, right?

Admittedly, this book focuses a lot on raising children and if you are a parent or a teacher, I would recommend reading The Whole Brain Child first and following up with Raising Good Humans. They work together harmoniously and I can already feel the fruits of my learning paying off in my home.

In all practicality, if you’re not raising a little one, the primary objective of the book is working to make you a better person, which will rub off on those around you. It begins with the idea of mindful meditation, which I believe could work for all of us. While a fan of meditation, I was surprised to learn that meditation is like exercise for your brain without having to involve the treadmill or a heart rate monitor. It might even be better for you than your daily Wordle (but don’t mess with my streak). Two of the many neurological benefits that come from giving your brain daily exercise are sharpening our attention and our concentration. Raise your hand if you think that sounds nice... and necessary.

“So mindfulness meditation is intentionally training our attention to be in the present moment, nonreactive, and nonjudgmentally curious. Mindfulness is a quality we are aiming for; mindfulness meditation is the tool for building that quality in ourselves.”
—Hunter Clarke-Fields, Raising Good Humans

For me, I appreciated the strategies offered to work on making me a less reactive human and really digging deep to unearth what triggers me, causing me to be less than kind to the people around me. Turns out there is still plenty to learn and work to be done.

“The only way out of our difficult feelings is through.”
—Hunter Clarke-Fields, Raising Good Humans

“You literally cannot access the rational part of your brain when your stress response is triggered.”
― Hunter Clarke-Fields, Raising Good Humans

Raising Good Humans is a fairly quick read at 184 pages or quick listen (five and a half hours) if you’re an audio person. I recommend this book to all because I think there are shiny nuggets of insight that can help us all be good humans. And for the record, my three-year-old is back to loving people. Only a few people, but we put that in the win column.


 

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