Our guest today is Betsy Henry from,
"The Zen Mama's Blog."
Betsy shares inspiring stories, on family, travel, advice on how to be a loving parent. She is a teacher, mother, wife and also the author of How to Be a Zen Mama and the Zen Mama's Book of Quotes.
Because Betsy's family has traveled extensively together, she's recently decided to begin a new blog Zen Mama Travels.
"Things don’t change. You change your way of looking, that’s all."
~ Carlos Casteneda
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
~ Mahatma Ghandi
Tonight over dinner, our youngest son was telling us how his children would turn out and what he would have them do. We said, "Good luck with that!" He replied, "Don't tell me how to control my children's lives."
We all laughed but I thought how true it is! We’d like to control our children’s lives but that’s not possible. You can’t control people.
You can control the environment. You can control yourself.
A couple of years ago I was going crazy! I wasn’t sure my son was going to graduate from high school. He had a severe case of “senioritis”. He kept telling me, “You’re so pessimistic. Of course I’ll graduate.”
He’d never been much of a student during his high school years. But this was the worst! With the grades he had in his 2nd semester (including swimming) not graduating was a possibility. I was so angry. I was such a nag. I couldn’t sleep at night.
Finally, I realized I couldn’t live like this anymore. I couldn’t change him. I couldn’t make him get the grades he needed. After doing everything I could, I let go. I wrote my book, "How to Be A Zen Mama," during the nights I couldn't sleep!
I finally told him, “Its, alright if you don’t graduate. You can still live at home and attend community college. We’d love to have you!”
I stopped worrying and trying to make him do what I wanted him to do. That’s when he decided to change.
He pulled everything together. He did graduate. And he loves college! He loves living in the mountain town of Durango, Colorado. He continues to enjoy the music he loves. In fact, he just bought an accordion last summer.
Did he change so much that he had all straight A’s. No. Is he happy? Yes! I think he’s never been happier.
I changed my reaction to him. I see him as a musician, a hard worker, not a school student but a student of life with great common sense.
A friend recently told me a story of how her 5 year old was driving her crazy!
She went to a spa where they practiced mindfulness, took yoga classes and discussed solving their problems in a group.
She explained her problems with her son, how he drove her crazy, and why his personality caused problems in the family. A a man turned to her and said, "I can help you solve your problems.
She eagerly looked at him and he said, “Change yourself and your reaction to him.”
She did change. Over the last year, she has seen a huge improvement in her relationship with her son.
"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it." ~ Harry S. Truman
You cannot change other people. Humanity has tried to do this through the ages.
Girlfriends and wives have tried to change their men. Parents have tried to control their children. It doesn’t work! It never has. There is always some problem when you try to change and control another person.
You cannot change your children, but you can change the environment you’re bringing them up in.
Don’t like the video games your children are playing? Get rid of them. Don’t want your young children touching your special possessions? Pack them away until they are older. Don’t like the junk food they eat? Don’t buy it.
We can only change ourselves. When we don’t like something, we need to change our reaction to the people we love.
They are on their own path. They are individuals. When you see them as an individual, you can accept them and get along much better. As an individual, you can teach them that you can transform yourself!
Read on for tips to be the change you wish to see in your family.
1. Start by listening
You automatically say, “I respect you” when you listen."
Be nonjudgmental. Maybe it’s you who is wrong. Did Albert Einstein’s mother want him to drop out of high school? Were Steve Jobs parents upset when he only finished his Freshman year of college?
3. Let go of expectations
Let go of your expectations and find out what the person in your life wants out of their life. It will be a relief for you, too.
4. Accept what the person in your life wants to do with their life.
As a parent, friend or spouse you can be the biggest help. Help the people in your life get where they need to be to accomplish their dreams (not yours).
Sometimes people think that if you change yourself you are letting go of responsibility or that you’re giving up. Not at all!
You are letting go of your emotional attachment to the outcome and control of a person.
"Life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it." ~ John Maxwell