In 2012 I hosted a book group on my blog discussing The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind. This post is the first in a series of reflections on each chapter. I’ll post one each day this week. I hope you find them helpful! Lisa 9/24/16
Since reading Chapter 1: Parenting With the Brain in Mind , I’ve been thinking about the authors’ simple explanation of mental and emotional health as a “river of well-being.”
They describe it using the example of being in a canoe floating peacefully down the center of a river. Life is calm, you feel good, everything is in balance.
The river has two banks and sometimes we drift toward one or the other.
One bank represents Chaos.
Life is out of control, everything feels volatile and unstable, like our canoe just might tip over. That’s not too hard for me to imagine – how about you?
It feels terrible near that bank, so we push back toward the center of the river. But if we paddle too hard, we may end up reaching the other bank.
And this is what I found most fascinating.
The other bank represents Rigidity.
The authors write,
As opposed to being out of control, rigidity is when you are imposing control on everything and everyone around you.” When we hit this bank, we have difficulty seeing clearly, we lose our creativity for solving problems, and flexibility is gone.
As I read this, I thought about our family. When children with significant challenges joined our family, we were plunged into chaos. My little canoe nearly capsized by that bank.
The more chaos we experienced, the more we longed to restore balance, and we paddled hard, crazy hard, sweat dripping down our chins, trying to reach the center of the river.
At times we shot right past it and slammed into the bank of rigidity.
Let me tell you, that feels good for a very short time, but there is no life there.
The energy consumed in the effort to control everyone and everything is phenomenal and in the end – there is no real life and certainly no joy on that bank.
We’re doing our best to keep to the middle of the river. Most days we drift toward chaos, and I’m pretty tired of paddling back to the center, but God gives strength to weak arms and rescues us from drowning near either bank.
Question: What do you think of this description. Have you found it to be true for you – chaos on one side, rigidity on the other? How do you keep to the middle of the river?
Have a great day, friends, and encourage one another.
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