Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Freedom Parenting: Letting Courage Take Root and Fear Take Flight

When I was pregnant with my son, I had a medical condition that doctors watched every two weeks. So...I was watchful. I also work in a hospital, so I see things that can happen unexpectedly in pregnancy and later in the lives of kids and families.  I remember commenting that I think being a parent is one of the riskiest things someone can ever do.  Risk...hmmm.  I tend to be a predictable, perfectionistic, conventional person.  Risk doesn't suit me. It feels...well, risky.  There are so many things in parenting that I have influence over, but not control.  

I have to really watch that fear doesn't creep into my parenting style.  I mean really watch!  My son is in the autistic spectrum, and there have been weighty decisions like...whether to get a diagnosis, what treatment to pursue, what to let go, what to spend money on, how to invest in my marriage and job.  What if I make a mistake?  What if really important things are ruined because of my wrong decisions!  What if things get...messy. 

I have realized that fear can do one of two things in my parenting:
1. Fear can paralyze me and keep me hidden--
Fear can make me feel stuck and unable to make any decision...perhaps second guessing or changing my mind.  Fear can make me avoid seeing what is really there and dealing with it.  "I'm just not going to think about it!" says fear. 
2. Fear can cause restlessness
It can lead me to a place of striving, achievement, and quick decisions--trying to fix everything so nothing is undone, out of place, or without solution.  It can make it difficult to wait, and think, and rest when there is messiness...when things are undone.

Fear in any form - avoiding the decisions or making any decision just to feel like some progress has been made--is a tyrant.  Fear is a ruler that takes away freedom, courage, and peace of mind.  Fear is a story teller, weaving tales of all the possible dire outcomes to your situation.  Fear is a judge, telling you how short you have fallen, how responsible you are for difficulties and bad outcomes.

I have made a commitment (and many re-commitments) to kick fear out before I make decisions.  I want courage to take root and fear to take flight.  So, I ask myself, "What would I do if I wasn't afraid?"  

Think about any area of your life.  What would you do if you weren't afraid?  When fear is out of the equation, what decisions would you make for your kids, household, and family?  What would parenting from courage and love and peace look like?  Would you find your roots?