Last of a four-part series | Part Three
Love is a spiritual action. It takes deliberate cultivation, self-discipline, strong motivation and hard work to act with love consistently in various types of situations with all people, children included. It also requires us to set our egos, hurt feelings, resentments and judgments aside. In fact, ego is the antithesis of love. Love is the highest quality we can develop within ourselves. It is taking the high road. It is calling forth the highest and best within ourselves. To practice love, we have to want to be better human beings. Fortunately, many parents do, and I’d like to offer some ways to develop love within yourself and in your behavior with your kids.
1. Meditate on Love. What does it mean to you? What does it look like to you? Why does everyone want it? Why is it the highest quality we have? What’s blocking you from loving more, and what do you have to do to overcome it? Reflect on love, study it, feel it.
2. Every day, take some time to feel love inside you. Here is a simple activity that will accelerate your cultivation of love quickly:
- Step 1: Close your eyes, breath deeply and relax.
- Step 2: Imagine a beautiful pink and gold flower made of light in your heart.
- Step 3: Imagine this flower beginning to open, petal by petal. As it does you begin to feel love opening and expanding in your heart.
- Step 4: Feel this love for yourself. Feel this love for your child. Feel this love for all humankind.
3. Forgive anyone you need to today. Do this daily, including your child. Understand why they did what they did. Was it because they have a weakness, an inadequacy, a fear, an unhappiness. Don’t take it personally; usually it reflects on them, not you. If you were to blame, forgive yourself. Remember that we learn from mistakes and we all have the right to make them as we grow. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you condone a poor behavior. It means you stop energizing it by mulling it over in your mind again and again. Clean your mind. Move on. This must be a conscious choice and commitment.
4. Role play situations with your kids when there is contention. You be the kid, and have your child be you. Both of you will see a different perspective and come to a new understanding. It’s actually fun and very enlightening!
5. Reflect on quotations of love daily. Internalize them and apply them to your parenting especially when it’s difficult.
6. Talk with your child about doing the right thing in every situation. Discuss all kinds of situations. Give your ideas and let your child do the same. Talk about why it’s the right thing to do in that situation. Doing the right thing is the foundation of acting with love. You feel good, energetic, peaceful and calm inside when you do the right thing in every situation with your kids.
7. Inner Listening: Take time to be quiet and listen within yourself for answers. Allow your mind to be quiet as well as all of the voices outside yourself and listen to the inner voice which is your soul and knows the answer. This inner voice reflects your spirit and is innately loving. It knows the answer to your questions. Inner listening daily will change your life and assist you greatly in becoming more loving.
8. Change a criticism into a solution. Set up an action plan for change. Stop criticizing your kids and start making a plan to help them improve. Be creative and encourage and congratulate them along the way. Don’t make this change a punishment, but an adventure or a challenge .
9. Make goals for increasing your actions of love. What is your goal for this week; this month? How will you implement it? See yourself successful in your mind and record your changes and improvements in a journal.