Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Being With

[Repost from Here]

Being with someone, doesn't necessarily mean being with someone.

I have been struck by something recently that is beginning to change things for me as a parent.

Obviously, we know that there is a difference between sitting at the dinner table and engaging with your family vs. sitting and texting and checking World Cup updates (ahem! David!) or the latest cute friend's family beach pics on Instagram (ahem! Me!).  And we know that there is a big difference in being together in the same room vs. talking and engaging one another in conversation or play in that same room.

That is not what I'm talking about here.  You thought this might be another put-away-your-iPhone-and-look-at-your-kid type post, didn't you?

When I say Being With vs. Being With, the thing that has been on my mind lately, is more about attunement and a kind of presence, a paradigm if you will.

I give you a scenario:
Little girl draws on walls, cuts her own hair (repeatedly, or better yet- goads her brother to cut it for her!), breaks things, tears things, you get the idea.
This is her struggle.
You have provided for her.  You have taken care of her sensory needs- making sure she has a tearing-appropriate-things outlet- you give her Pop-Beads in the car so she can break and re-snap all she wants to.  You make sure she is drinking water, because she is prone to dehydration.  You hold her, you rock her, you sing to her.
This is your struggle- because nothing is "working".

You are Being With her but somehow the Being With is getting lost in translation.  You are trying, or hustling as a recent blog I read excellently names it, but do you feel like you are With her?  Does she feel like she is desirable to Be With?  Probably not on both counts.  Probably, you feel like NOT being with in these moments if you are anything like me.

We say something around our home called, "getting in the weeds".  I have been thinking a lot about what this really means.  And I think there is more to Being With than simply presence of body AND also more than engaging, trying, or simply putting down the iPhone.

Really Being With, getting into the thick of the weeds with, requires seeing the child beyond the immediate needs and concerns, seeing beyond addressing the behavior.  Really Being With requires attunement to what the child is doing IN you- what buttons are being pushed in you.  Really Being With requires stepping outside of those buttons, outside of our triggers being sprung by our children.  Really Being With requires seeing our child for Who They Are.  And if we don't know who they really are yet, maybe because they have not given us glimpses of their true selves, then seeing them for who they could be.  Then when we are Really Being With them, we can simply just BE, together, cranky mood and wall-drawings and all.

When I think about this kind of Being With, I think about Jesus, Imanuel.  God with us.  Maybe that doesn't just mean that he physically came near, or came to experience all that we experience so that we have a far off idea that he can empathize with us.  Maybe it's much more. Maybe Immanuel means he wants to still be with, no expectations, no pressure, letting us have our emotional freak outs and anger, not wanting to change us but wanting to be With us and knowing the Change will soon follow.  He is secure in that it seems.  He is secure with us when we are insecure with Him.  So thankful for that!

I hope as a parent, I can Be With my kids FIRST.  Then all the other stuff comes later.  You know, like addressing a consequence for dismantling small, expensive electronics into several pieces.  Usual parenting stuff!

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