Question: How many parenting books, blogs, or magazines have you read? Likely, more than one, right? Next question, when you are in the most stressful parenting moments, how effective are you at recalling the golden nuggets of wisdom gained from these sources? If you’re anything like me, not very (and I TEACH this stuff, for Pete’s sake). After working with countless families and having countless ‘not-so-mindful mommy moments’ with my kids, I realized there had to be a better way. I wanted to know “during those high stress moments, how do I intuitively recall the binders full of parenting information stored in my brain?!” What I found? Turns out, unless you have a photographic memory, there isn’t an easy way to memorize mountains of information; especially when the plan is to recall it later under high stress conditions. Sorry! Why not? The reason why recalling memorized parenting skills feels like climbing a mountain is because when we are in those high stress “CRAP! Did I [yell, snap, etc] AGAIN?!” moments with our kids, we have little access to our frontal lobe, the part of our brain that stores all that high grade parenting information.
Don’t worry, there IS hope! Okay yes, during stressful moments, the binders worth of parenting information may be stored in your Fort Knox of a frontal lobe; but you can have access to those binders full of information when they are categorized in a way that makes sense to you. The Elemental LivingTMParenting and Personal Leadership Model takes advantage of the way your brain naturally works. By linking valuable parenting and personal leadership skills to imagery with which we’re all familiar (Earth, Air, Fire, and Water), engaging our kids (and ourselves) during those high stress moments becomes less of a survivalist way of reacting and more of an intuitive way of responding. What this means for your life is less guilt, more balance; less “I have no idea what I’m doing” and more “I got this!”
We can’t drastically increase our brain’s capacity to hold seemingly unrelated and overwhelming parenting facts; but we can use our brain’s natural ability to connect imagery and information, to our advantage. In part 3 we’re going to look deeper into HOW we can use our natural ability to lead more balanced and intuitively guided lives.
Until then, let’s play a game. Think about the four elements–Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. What comes to mind when you think about each one? Don’t overthink it. Just list images, qualities, and phrases that pop up for you as you think about each one.