Kindred Media http://www.kindredmedia.org Sharing the New Story of Childhood, Parenthood, and the Human Family Sat, 28 Feb 2015 16:20:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Since When Did We Become So Afraid Of The Measles? http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/since-when-did-we-become-so-afraid-of-the-measles/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/since-when-did-we-become-so-afraid-of-the-measles/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 16:13:19 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15905 I’ve blogged about the one-sided and exaggerated media coverage of the measles before. My colleagues and I are used to name-calling. But the hate circulating on the Internet and in mainstream newspapers about measles this week has escalated so much that even I am in shock. In case you missed it, there is an article […]

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ISince when did we become so afraid of the measles?’ve blogged about the one-sided and exaggerated media coverage of the measles before. My colleagues and I are used to name-calling. But the hate circulating on the Internet and in mainstream newspapers about measles this week has escalated so much that even I am in shock.

In case you missed it, there is an article in USA Today claiming that non-vaccinating parents should be jailed and a Forbes opinion piece suggesting lawyers should sue parents whose children are not vaccinated against the measles.

The mainstream is actually endorsing and promoting the idea that we should put parents in jail, take their children away from them, and vaccinate the children against their parents’ best judgment. In America, not Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Note left on a mother's windshield

I’m tired of the exaggeration, the obfuscation, and the one-sided reporting.

Journalists, public health officials, and parents of all stars and stripes need to understand that there are two sides to this discussion, that vaccination is not a cure-all, and that much of the measles media hype directly contradicts the science.

Ready for my reality check about the measles outbreaks in America?

Myth #1: Measles has become an epidemic in America.

Reality Check: Measles is not epidemic, autism is.

From January 1 to January 23, 68 people in 11 states have had the measles,according to the CDC. Out of a population of over 300 million people.

 “Last year, about 1 in every 500,000 Americans came down with the measles,” Gayle DeLong, Ph.D., an associate professor of economics and finance at the Zicklin School of Business in New York who has researched these issues for several years, explains. “Nearly all recovered in a few days without serious consequences. At the same time, about 1 in 68 American children had autism, a crippling neurological disease. Put another way, for everyone who had measles last year, there were over 7,000 children with autism. Which is the epidemic?”

Myth #2: Measles is deadly to American children.

Reality Check: Measles is almost always a mild disease in developed countries. Deaths are rare and far between.

In the last twenty years in the United States, there has been fewer than one death per year from the measles. It is difficult to find accurate data on this but, according to the CDC, there have been no deaths from measles in the last five years.

In other words, your child’s risk of dying from the measles in the United States hovers right around (wait for it) … 0.

measles graph

This is an emotional debate. But if we take our fear and emotions out of the equation, we find that our children are at a vastly greater risk of being hit by lightening, or, sadly, from complications from the MMR vaccination itself, than of dying from complications of the measles.

Nearly 50 percent of children with autism will wander away from a safe environment. They are at high risk of dying from accidental drowning. Children with autism also often have other health problems that sometimes kill them. Scores of children with autism have died in the past few years (source), like 4-year-old Jayden Morrison, 16-year-old Erick Ortiz, and 6-year-old Dena Burns. I can’t tell you the exact number, but I can tell you that people with autism have between twice and nearly ten times the risk of dying than people who do not have it.

Myth #3: Measles is a terrifying disease.

Reality Check: Measles is a bad rash and, yes, it can be terrifying if you’re a new parent who is unfamiliar with the disease.

The truth is measles is very contagious. So contagious that you can contract it from air droplets left by someone who is no longer in the room with you.

The truth is that it can also be terrifying if your child gets a bad rash and a high fever from the measles.

But the other truth is that the majority of people who have severe—or even any—complications from the measles are those who live in developing countries who do not have access to clean water and healthy food.

How do I know that measles is usually a mild disease?

Not only because the World Health Organization states as much:

“Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.” [My emphasis.]

But also because I had the measles when I was a kid. It was so mild I don’t even remember being sick! And my husband, who is an emergency room doctor, also had the measles as a kid. He remembers being happy to have the measles because his older brother had them at the same time and they got to be sick together.

If you think I’m downplaying the severity of the measles, watch this 8-minute YouTube compilation. These popular TV shows all show that measles really were not a big deal.

So why the measles hysteria?

Because, according to the CDC, the best strategy for increasing the uptake for vaccines is to promote the perception that “many people are falling ill” and the perception “of vulnerability to contracting the disease and experiencing bad illness.”

The measles hype is the latest in the infectious disease hysteria (I’m thinking SARS, Avian bird flu, MERS, the list goes on) that is a smoke screen for the real and devastating health problems in America right now.

You’ve heard me say this before, but the real problem in America that the media is ignoring is chronic disease:

  • Autism
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Poor mental health

The cost of measles to our society is very low.

But the cost of autism to our society is exorbitant.

The costs of providing care for each person with autism affected through his or her lifespan are $2.3 million in the U.S. Autism is currently estimated to cost society a staggering $126 billion per year – a number that has more than tripled since 2006 (source).

And those numbers do not factor in the emotional costs to a family, the money spent by local law enforcement when children with autism run away, the collective social burden of adults who cannot function independently, or theexhausting day-to-day tasks of changing the diapers of a 17-year-old.

Myth #4 The MMR vaccine is safe.

Reality Check: MMR vaccination may well be more dangerous than the measles.

Though most people who receive the MMR vaccine are not going to have any noticeable and immediate adverse reactions, in 2014, vaccine recipients reported over 3,300 adverse events from the MMR vaccine, including 132 serious reactions.

The adverse reactions that have been reported in clinical trials following the MMR vaccine are too numerous for me to list here. I’ll just give you a few highlights: anaphylactic shock, thrombocytopenia, arthritis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and … death.

The MMR combination vaccine carries such a high risk of fever and febrile seizures for children ages 12 to 23 months of age for seven to ten days after the vaccine that researchers, who published their findings in a study in Pediatrics that has been largely ignored, concluded that doctors must inform parents of the elevated risk.

Even more troubling, a recent study that has also been conveniently ignored by the medical mainstream, found that when the combined measles vaccine was given to girls at 12 months of age it was associated with a 1 in 110 risk of an emergency room visit and/or hospitalization.

Then there is the fact that the CDC manipulated and falsified data in one of the epidemiological studies that “proves” that vaccines do not cause autism. The data they left out, according to a CDC scientist, shows that African-American boys are at a much higher risk of getting autism following MMR vaccination before 36 months of age.

On September 23, 2014 an Italian court awarded compensation to a family whose son had vaccine-induced autism, confirming that the MMR vaccine can cause autism.

And the American government has also acknowledged that vaccines can lead to autism in susceptible children. Hannah Poling’s father is a prominent doctor. Her mother is a nurse and a lawyer. A normally developing child, Hannah became severely damaged by vaccines, including the MMR vaccine. She now needs 24-hour 7-day a week care. The family was compensated for her vaccine-induced autism by the federal government.

Myth #5: The mainstream media is telling you the truth.

Reality Check: The mainstream media is systematically shutting down any intelligent and open discussion about vaccine safety and how to improve it.

Jonathan Rose, Ph.D., William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History at Drew University, has a compelling reason why:

“The mainstream media is telling only one side of the story because it has lost so much advertising revenue to the Web, and is therefore dependent on one of the few industries that continues to advertise in traditional media: the pharmaceutical companies,” Rose explained to us in an email exchange this week.

“In her recent book, Stonewalled, Sharyl Attkisson reported that CBS was pressured by pharmaceutical advertisers after she aired a story about adverse reactions to vaccines,” Rose continues. “And not long ago an article touting vaccines appeared in Parade magazine: fully a third of the advertisements in that issue were placed by pharmaceutical companies.

“Even Katie Couric, probably the best-known journalist in America, was forced to back off after she aired a program that reported both sides of the story about Gardasil, featuring those who defended its safety and effectiveness and those who alleged that some girls had been seriously injured by the vaccine. So the only media that remain free to report honestly about vaccines are those not dependent on drug advertising: books and alternative websites.”

Myth #6: Anti-vaxxers are stupid.

Reality check: Anti-vaxxers may not even exist, but those choosing to forego some vaccines for legitimate reasons are among the best educated and the most intelligent people in America.

The umbrella “anti-vax” insult includes parents who chose to forego just one or two vaccines, parents whose children have had severe reactions to vaccines and can no longer vaccinate, and even people, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., whose children are fully vaccinated on the recommended schedule but who speak openly about their concerns about vaccine safety.

But who are these lazy, stupid, selfish parents? Let me give you just a few examples: They are people like Yale-educated Aviva Romm, M.D. who has spent her career empowering women to take charge of their health; San Diego-based pediatrician Jay Gordon, M.D., who was a senior fellow in pediatric nutrition at Sloan-Kettering in New York City and on the faculty of UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; and Howard Morningstar, M.D., who graduated from Yale Medical School and did his residency in family medicine at Brown University.

Indeed, several studies, including this one, have shown that it is usually the most highly educated, affluent families who choose to forgo some vaccines.

Professor Rose has something to say about those “anti-vaxxers” we’ve all been reading about as well.

 “Most of them aren’t actually anti-vaxxers,” Rose insists. “By definition, antivaccinationists reject all vaccines. Relatively few people take that radical position, though their numbers are growing. A much larger proportion of the population are ‘vaccine skeptics’–that is, those who refuse some but not all vaccines. But the term ‘anti-vaxxer’ is commonly used to smear anyone who has any reservations about any vaccine. In much the same way, back in the McCarthy era, the epithet ‘Commie’ was applied to civil rights workers, beatniks, labor union reformers, Hubert Humphrey liberals, and occasionally (but not very often) actual members of the (tiny) American Communist Party.

In the past, resistance to vaccines was concentrated among the illiterate and the working classes, but today the resisters tend to be well educated, and often have graduate degrees. Vaccine advocates find it difficult to explain why the best educated people would deliberately and recklessly endanger the health of the children. The answer, obviously, is that these people have research skills, they know how to find and read scientific papers, and thus they discover problems with vaccines that aren’t reported in the mainstream media.”

All this measles hype is diverting our attention away from any serious discussion of what our public health priorities should be.

I’m worried about chronic disease.

I’m worried about autism.

I’m worried about vaccine safety.

I’m worried about the kids who are aging out of state-funded help.

I’m worried about supporting parents who are at their wit’s ends because their children are so sick.

We do have something to fear: the rising rates of autism.

Stopping the autism epidemic, helping children with autism, and finding a cure for this sometimes debilitating disease should be our nation’s first priority and concern.  Support SafeMinds efforts to do this by donating today.

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Russell Brand On 50 Shades Of Grey Asks: Has Porn Ruined My Chance Of A Happy Marriage? http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/russell-brand-50-shades-grey-asks-porn-ruined-chance-happy-marriage/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/russell-brand-50-shades-grey-asks-porn-ruined-chance-happy-marriage/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 05:08:23 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15900 Russell Brand reacts to the new 50 Shades Of Grey film and talks about how our exposure to soft core porn could be diminishing our capacity for real intimacy and bonded relationships.  Brand goes through research that shows how soft core porn, including every day commercials and print advertising, sets up young men for culturally […]

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Russell Brand reacts to the new 50 Shades Of Grey film and talks about how our exposure to soft core porn could be diminishing our capacity for real intimacy and bonded relationships.  Brand goes through research that shows how soft core porn, including every day commercials and print advertising, sets up young men for culturally conditioned and wildly wrong ideas about sex and women.  He also shares how viewing porn impacts a developing brain.

READ MORE ABOUT SEXUALITY, PORNOGRAPHY RELATIONSHIPS AND DEVELOPING OR ANCIENT MINDS HERE

The Impact of Pornography On The Birthing Woman’s Body

The Porn and Violence Link

How To Talk To Your Teenage Boy About Porn

Peace Between the Sheets: Discovering Healing and Transformation Through Intimacy

 

Parenting As A Hero's Journey Paper Li Ad

 

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Saving Chase: Will A Court-Sanctioned Circumcision Of 4-year-old Be Stopped? http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/saving-chase-will-court-sanctioned-circumcision-4-year-old-stopped/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/saving-chase-will-court-sanctioned-circumcision-4-year-old-stopped/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:47:57 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15874 If all unfolds according to Dennis Nebus’ plan, today Dr. Subhash Puranik will pick up a scalpel and cut apart the genitals of a healthy 4-year-old boy. The boy’s name is Chase Nebus-Hironimus. He is Nebus’ son. For readers accustomed to regarding the cosmetic removal of a male’s foreskin as a normal medical procedure, the […]

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If all unfolds according to Dennis Nebus’ plan, today Dr. Subhash Puranik will pick up a scalpel and cut apart the genitals of a healthy 4-year-old boy.

The boy’s name is Chase Nebus-Hironimus. He is Nebus’ son.

For readers accustomed to regarding the cosmetic removal of a male’s foreskin as a normal medical procedure, the above sentence is jolting. Cutting apart healthy genitals? What is she talking about?

Read Amy Glenn’s full story here

Photo: Guardians of Chase/Facebook

Donate to SavingChase.org

About Saving Chase

elephant-small-fb-avatarOn November 6, 2014, a Florida court ordered the circumcision of a healthy four year old boy, a painful and risky surgery for young boys, at the insistence of his father. The boy’s name is Chase and his mother, Heather Hironimus, is fighting a battle to save him.

In December 2011, Chase’s mother signed a parenting agreement which gave Chase’s father permission to have their (then) baby boy circumcised. Three years later, Chase is still intact, happy and healthy.

Heather Hironimus realized over the years that removing Chase’s foreskin was unnecessary. She argues that the parenting plan circumcision agreement no longer applies to a now older, and more aware, boy.

Pediatric urologist Dr. Charles Flack testified to the court that circumcision is not medically necessary after examining the boy.

Genital autonomy advocates believe Chase’s physical and mental health are at risk. He is aware of his body and does not want to have surgery on his genitals. Amputating a healthy, functional body part is a violation of basic human rights and medical ethics.

The purpose of this site is to draw attention to Chase’s case and to provide a place for concerned citizens to support Heather’s struggle.

We are a coalition of activists committed to saving Chase from a tragic and violent invasion of his body. Funds are collected by Doctors Opposing Circumcision, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Please visit our donate page to support Chase. If you would like to contribute to our efforts in other ways, please contact us through our contact page.

 KINDRED’S CIRCUMCISION ARTICLES HERE

 RESOURCES

Intact America. Intact America works to protect babies and children from circumcision and all other forms of medically unnecessary genital alteration, whether carried out for cultural conformity or profit, in medical or non-medical settings. We seek to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of our supporters, partners, and volunteers. You can read our Statement of Principles here.

National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers. NOCIRC was founded by healthcare professionals to provide information to expectant parents, healthcare professionals, educators, lawyers, ethicists, and concerned individuals about circumcision and genital cutting of male, female, and intersex infants and children, genital integrity, and human rights.

Intact America Facebook GraphicNational Organization of Restoring Men (NORM), Information and Support Group on Foreskin Restoration

National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males, NOHARMM, 
Activist Organization for Men

Nurses for the Rights of the Child, NRC, Conscientious Objector Information for Nurses

Doctors Opposing Circumcision, DOC, Physician Information and Networking

Attorneys for the Rights of the Child, ARC

Jewish Circumcision Resource Center

Jews Against Circumcision

Why Circumcision Is Medically Unnecessary And The History Of The Barbaric Mutilation Of Neonates

An interview with John Travis, MD, by Kindred’s executive editor, Lisa Reagan, in 2011

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Teresa Graham Brett http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/teresa-graham-brett/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/teresa-graham-brett/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:30:01 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15868 Teresa Graham Brett, J.D., joined Kindred as its editor in March 2014.  She is the founder of the Kindred Parent Liberation Alliance and Project and the author of Parenting for Social Change.  Teresa is also a board of director’s member of Kindred’s parent nonprofit, Families for Conscious Living.

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Teresa Graham Brett, J.D., joined Kindred as its editor in March 2014.  She is the founder of the Kindred Parent Liberation Alliance and Project and the author of Parenting for Social Change.  Teresa is also a board of director’s member of Kindred’s parent nonprofit, Families for Conscious Living.

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Robin Grille http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/robin-grille-2/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/robin-grille-2/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:26:42 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15865 Normally, when in dialogue with the public I introduce myself as a psychologist, parent-educator and author of two parenting books. That’s the ‘business-card’ approach – and it sounds very adult.

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Normally, when in dialogue with the public I introduce myself as a psychologist, parent-educator and author of two parenting books. That’s the ‘business-card’ approach – and it sounds very adult.

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Bruce Lipton http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/bruce-lipton-2/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/bruce-lipton-2/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:22:54 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15859 Bruce H. Lipton, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. He’s a developmental biologist, bestselling author, guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, and a keynote presenter for national and international conferences.

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Bruce H. Lipton, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. He’s a developmental biologist, bestselling author, guest speaker on hundreds of TV and radio shows, and a keynote presenter for national and international conferences.

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Darcia Narvaez http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/darcia-narvaez/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/darcia-narvaez/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:15:00 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15856 Darcia Narvaez is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Collaborative for Ethical Education at the University of Notre Dame. Her research explores questions of moral cognition, moral development and moral character education. She has developed several integrative theories: Adaptive Ethical Expertise, Integrative Ethical Education, Triune Ethics Theory.

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Darcia Narvaez is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Collaborative for Ethical Education at the University of Notre Dame. Her research explores questions of moral cognition, moral development and moral character education. She has developed several integrative theories: Adaptive Ethical Expertise, Integrative Ethical Education, Triune Ethics Theory.

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Peggy O’Mara http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/peggy-omara/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/peggy-omara/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:10:14 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15852 Peggy O’Mara continues the journalistic tradition of thought leader, Peggy O’Mara, who has been curating exceptional editorial content for over 30 years. Articles on the site are carefully chosen to bring you provocative ideas, excellent writing, and moving photography, all to help you make better decisions.

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Peggy O’Mara continues the journalistic tradition of thought leader, Peggy O’Mara, who has been curating exceptional editorial content for over 30 years. Articles on the site are carefully chosen to bring you provocative ideas, excellent writing, and moving photography, all to help you make better decisions.

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Parenting As A Hero’s Journey: Unmasking Modern, Uber Parent Mythology http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/parenting-heros-journey-unmasking-modern-uber-parent-mythology/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/parenting-heros-journey-unmasking-modern-uber-parent-mythology/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:09:17 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15848 Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats 2015 MEET YOUR GUIDES AND PICK YOUR DATES       Will You Answer The Call? Parenting is a transformational journey for parents, just as intense and challenging as childhood is for children. Every new encounter for you and for your child is step into a vast and […]

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Parenting As A Hero's Journey Circle Graphic

Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats 2015

MEET YOUR GUIDES AND PICK YOUR DATES

Robin Grille March 9-25
Robin Grille
March 9-25

Karen Brody April 9-25
Karen Brody
April 9-25

Kelly Wendorf May 9-25
Kelly Wendorf
May 9-25

 
Elly Taylor July 13-29
Elly Taylor
July 13-29

 

 

Will You Answer The Call?

Parenting is a transformational journey for parents, just as intense and challenging as childhood is for children. Every new encounter for you and for your child is step into a vast and mysterious unknown. In many ways becoming a parent is like being born.

Imagine suddenly being born into a completely new world filled with strange sensations, shapes, sounds, some vaguely familiar, others terrifying. The process, call it a journey if you like, demands that each of us rediscover what primary learning is all about: experiencing a need, finding skilled models, letting go of the old, questioning, discovering, reaching, testing, trusting, exploring and with guidance, fellow travelers and practice then mastering, only to be challenged in new and greater ways again and again.

The mythic hero is the archetype for this journey; leaving or being forced out of the familiar, traveling through uncharted territories, meeting and being challenged by unimagined forces, being more vulnerable than ever, having our hearts broken wide open, and because of these experiences, transforming, reaching deep inside, uncovering truths and strengths that were there all along but hidden by our habits, need for security, fitting in and our conditioning. Parenting as a Hero’s Journey means all this and much more. Like it or not, being a parent means that you are already on the journey. The essential questions are; do you have a map and who will be your guides, first class or coach?

Join a fellowship of international travelers and mentors in 2015 on an epic quest to explore the emerging realm of conscious parenting. On this quest you will learn: 

Why conscious parenting IS a modern incarnation of the ancient hero’s journey.

How to spot and avoid the traps of soul-draining modern, uber parenting mythology.

How to create daily habits that allow you to draw strength, wisdom and inspiration for your rite-of-parenthood journey.

How to immerse yourself in the natural magic of connection with your self, partner and child.

How parenthood, unlike any other rite-of-passage you will face, provides the greatest adventure of your lifetime.

Meet your guides here and learn about our virtual retreats together here.

 

Why Parenting As A Hero’s Journey?

By Lisa Reagan

In the opening of the movie version of JRR Tolkein’s The Lord of The Rings, we hear Galadrial’s voice saying, “The world is changed, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost; for none now live who remember it.”  Galadriel is speaking of the end of an epic era and the beginning of a new one.PHRONESIS

While most of us go about our daily lives rarely contemplating what epic era we’re participating in, many of us are noticing the world’s changes imposing on us in ways that are harder and harder to ignore.  For adults who decide to bring children into this changing world, the perils and pitfalls of parenthood are so cleverly disguised in sleek marketing campaigns and collectively silenced with cultural taboos, we are shocked to find how lonely and stressful our walk through the timeless rite-of-passage can be (read The Trauma of Parenthood in the New York Times).  In our modern, disconnected world, with no village or tribe to welcome and support newly born families, the “condition” of new parenthood is medically considered high risk factor for clinical depression, while our children face increasing levels of chronic illness, learning disabilities and a horrifying epidemic of young children committing suicide.

READ THIS BOOK NOW
READ THIS BOOK NOW

From an evolutionary perspective, it is not surprising that there is a growing segment of the world’s population committed to questioning and even challenging disempowering, culturally accepted attitudes (read “story lines”) toward children, parents and families.  This growing population was identified by social scientists Paul Ray, PhD, and Sherry Anderson, PhD, in the 1980s as Cultural Creatives: people who are committed to conscious, holistic, sustainable living and who, through their personal and daily actions, are changing the world simply by being themselves.

According to the book, Cultural Creatives, the actions of this growing population, at 33% worldwide, are to bring forward a missing but crucial element in our culture: the ancient insight of phronesis, or practical wisdom. It is Cultural Creatives who are questioning the Old Story’s industrial values of production, competition and disconnection and exploring the possibilities of a New Story. It is these emerging human capacities – mindfulness, compassion, wholeness/wellness – that are facilitating paths to individual healing, community empowerment and a shift in collective consciousness.

It is Cultural Creatives who have actively brought forward and shaped a New Story since the mid 20th century.  By championing the rights of women, children, minorities, LBGT and human rights, the consciousness-raising movements inspired by Cultural Creatives show how the transformation and empowerment of an individual and community transforms, and therefore changes, the world.

It is Cultural Creative families that Families for Conscious Living, a 20 year-old American nonprofit, serves with its commitment to Sharing the New Story of Childhood, Parenthood and the Human Family through its alternative media project, Kindred.

It is Cultural Creatives who are just now, at this moment in time, bringing forward the holistic awareness that conscious parenting could liberate the next and future generations from an Old Story that no longer serves humanity.

PAHJ Save the World GraphicWhere are we to turn for insight into our traditional, historical and even, evolutionary need for stories to guide our reality? The Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats and forthcoming publication utilize the iconic Hero’s Journey monomyth, discovered by scholar Joseph Campbell, to explore and elevate our capacity for becoming the author/authority of our own stories.  While the Hero’s Journey reflects millennia of ancient wisdom teachings, as Cultural Creatives in the 21st century, we are the New Story.  As parents who wish to pioneer a New Story for our children, we are the heroes following a call to adventure, setting out on a quest, transforming ourselves and our consciousness, discovering the elixir of wisdom, and in the end, returning to our ordinary world with our treasures – real treasures, not the hollowed out images in sleek marketing campaigns.  The treasure we carry home from our hero’s journey sustains our souls for our lifetimes, and models for our children the amazing reality of a whole human being.

In Parenting As A Hero’s Journey, we will be unmasking the modern, uber parent mythology that keeps us stuck in the Old Story ideals that we have internalized through cultural conditioning.  If you have felt that there is more to parenthood than what you see around you in your ordinary life, you are hearing the ancient Call to Adventure… Now you just need to step onto your path.

You do not need to go through your adventure alone.  All of the Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Guides have heard this call, followed their own path and are now returning to share their treasures of insights and practical wisdom with you.

Ready?  You can Map Your Quest and Meet Your Guides now.  This will be an adventure, and fun.  We promise.

What’s In A Story?

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It is through the creative constructs of story that human beings have made sense of their reality, and passed those interpretations onto generations, since we could draw on cave walls.  In the early twentieth century, one scholar, Joseph Campbell, took on the Herculean, academic task of compiling and comparing the stories human beings shared through out millenia and cultures.  His comparisons of these stories revealed something fascinating: inside most stories, fables, fairy tales and oral traditions, there slept a “monomyth” or a predictable pattern of events that were necessary for the central character of the story to transcend their ordinary world.

The monomyth shows that a character, later to become a hero/heroine, first exists in the ordinary world but begins to question and feel alien in it (sound familiar?).  A Call to Adventure begins to ring through the din of daily life, which the character usually refuses for fear of being ostracized by his community.  The Refusal of the Call can lead to all sorts of neuroses, suffering and complications that eventually aren’t worth the price of not listening to the call.  The character eventually decides to heed the Call to Adventure… and the Hero’s Journey begins.

In the Monomyth of the Hero’s Journey (see our wheel above), there are many versions and interpretations of the stops along the journey, but the most popular and instantly recognizable hero’s journey is the epic sci-fi series Star Wars, which was based on Campbell’s model, according to creator George Lucas.  I have written before about my first encounter with Star Wars, being 11 years-old in a dark movie theater, watching Luke Skywalker run out of his uncle’s desert igloo, kick the sand and stare at the binary sunset while struggling with his impulse to leave… to follow a Call to Adventure.

While Campbell offered the world a needed overview of the world’s traditions in storytelling, he did not say or intend that the monomyth to be rigid – but instead, a living, evolving model that has always served the people of the present moment.  And in this present moment, there  is a need to examine the ancient wisdom teaching model and bring it into the present, where Cultural Creative families are answering the hero’s Call to Adventure and taking up the challenge of embodying a New Story.

Following The Call To Adventure

With the decision to tell a New Story, to embody this New Story in our daily lives, comes a unfolding of human capacities that – to the eyes of an Old Story observer – would certainly appear to be super powers.  In the upcoming virtual retreat series, your guides will share with you these New Story super powers, including awareness, self-nurturing, self-regeneration, mindfulness, becoming the author/authority of your own story and taking deep dives into your own realm of the Inner Child (Robin Grille) where you will find tools to encounter, slay and re-envision no longer wanted programming and patterns.

With Karen Brody, you will learn to enter into your own unconscious realm through the restorative power of sleep.

With Kelly Wendorf, you will discover ways to distill the ultimate treasure of all heroic journeys: the elixir of wisdom and its practical applications to everyday life.

With Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson, you will find the superpower of mindfulness as a tool for discovering the spiritual essence of attachment in relationship.

With Elly Taylor, you will discover the implications of parenthood as a rite-of-passage and what this individual transformation means for your relationship to yourself and others, especially your partner.

With Teresa Graham Brett, you will discover that you already are the author/authority of your own story, and how to become more conscious of your authorship moving forward.

With Michael Mendizza, you will discover how your hero’s journey can be transformed into a much needed call for mentoring other parents and future generations of parents.

With John Breeding, PhD, you will discover how a break with cultural conformity may appear as a break down, more than a break through, for your or your child, but these openings are how the light gets in!

With Meryn Callader, you will discover that the underbelly of hell, including surviving divorce, abuse or betrayal, can providing the compost for a new, empowering reality to emerge.

And finally, at the end of 2015, your virtual retreat facilitator, Rebecca Thompson, will help you Return to the Village with your treasures with guidance on how to keep the adventure going!

Notice that all of your guides have completed their own hero’s journeys, some of them many times now, and understand what it means to “walk between two worlds” of consciousness – your inner realms and your outer daily and ordinary world reality.  Here’s what your virtual retreat with your guides includes:

 

What is a Virtual Retreat?

 

Parenting As A Hero's Journey Paper Li Small ADA Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreat allows you to skip piling on more information into your overwhelmed mind and instead EXPERIENCE a deep dive into an adventure created specifically for parents like you… parents who are hearing a call to a different way of being as a way to create the world you want your children to inherit. Your guides will share and guide you through:

A Welcoming Initiation: Each virtual retreat begins with a live call with your guide who will share an overview of the journey ahead.

Breadcrumbs On The Trail: Each virtual retreat includes practical guidance, exercises and love notes emailed three times a week.

The Deep Dive: A webinar that covers the deepest, most profound insights into the guide’s teachings.  This webinar is for you to keep and enjoy.

Personal Connection: You will have a personal connection with your guide in our forums.  You can ask questions about your practical exercises and parenting challenges, as well as find more inspiration for your real life parenting adventure.

Closing Circle: A live call at the end of your three-week journey to share your experience, bid farewell to your fellow travelers and guides and discover ways to keep the momentum going if you like.

Your Facilitator: Rebecca Thompson is a licensed therapist and the founder of the Consciously Parenting Project.  Rebecca will be your facilitator for all of the virtual retreats through 2015.

Read more about the virtual retreats here.  Meet your guides here.

Thank you for joining us for this adventure and for inviting us to walk with you on your path.  If you feel inspired, share your journey with me, and perhaps Kindred readers, at editor@kindredmedia.org.

And thank you for Answering the Call!

 

 

 

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Inner Child, Inner Wisdom: Unmasking The Mythology Of The Modern, Uber Parent http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/parenting-heros-journey-unmasking-mythology-modern-uber-parent/ http://www.kindredmedia.org/2015/02/parenting-heros-journey-unmasking-mythology-modern-uber-parent/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 00:21:26 +0000 http://www.kindredmedia.org/?p=15764   Inner Child, Inner Wisdom Unmasking The Mythology Of The Modern, Uber Parent JOIN ROBIN ON A VIRTUAL RETREAT MARCH 9-25 There is no point understating it: there are times when parenting is an agony. But this is so rarely acknowledged and told straight. The dark side of parenting seems to be a well-guarded secret, […]

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Inner Child, Inner Wisdom

Unmasking The Mythology Of The Modern, Uber Parent

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There is no point understating it: there are times when parenting is an agony. But this is so rarely acknowledged and told straight. The dark side of parenting seems to be a well-guarded secret, undetectable in the positive imagery that is usually presented in public.

There’s the ‘Facebook family’ look: all birthday cakes and chubby smiles and heart-melting first dabbles in paint and cookie dough and playgrounds and trees and seaside vacations with a cute new puppy named Jim. And there’s the ‘Stock photo family’, where everyone looks like they have just emerged from a month at a Vipassana retreat, graduated from a modelling school in LA and dressed for church.

And then there’s…what it’s really like on those days – or weeks… or months! – when things get messy, painful, bewildering, out-of-control. I’m talking about the family stories that do not end up on photos in Facebook Land.

It was supposed to be glorious – and often it is. But what about the hard times? The shadow side of parenting. The stuff that feels like it is not supposed to happen. The stuff that we are embarrassed to talk about. In all but the most open and candid relationships, how little we know about the painful and discordant aspects of other people’s family lives. Unseen, hidden behind closed doors there is a secret realm where too often, too many of us endure and suffer alone.  Our distress is all the more painful because we feel ashamed of our ‘ugly parenting’ moments. We feel that somehow we should know better and be able to cope better. Perhaps we blame or diagnose the child for the struggles and disappointments they bring us. This child is naughty, that child is too sensitive, this child has ‘oppositional-defiance disorder’, that child is impossible, this child is a little terror – a whole A-Z of traditional as well as trendy psychobabble labels.

But what about all the preparation we did? The love and sweat we put into painting and decorating our child’s room? The plethora of baby-accessories we invested in? All those parenting books we read? The courses we attended? The vows we made about the kind of parents we were going to be?

Well, get set. As it turns out, the adventure of parenting is far grander than what we can hope to control. Much of it catches us by surprise – makes us feel small and unready.

Sooner or later our child – like a climate event that blew in under the radar – catches us unawares. He or she presents us with that one test that we had not studied for.  We feel helpless.  For a moment – and sometimes for many moments – we become the very person we once vowed to never be.  In states of overwhelming stress, though it pains us to admit it, we sometimes sound or behave like the parents, carers or schoolteachers that we swore we would never emulate. Welcome to the dark side of parenting.

 

Hercule’s Tasks

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In each family home, the points of greatest challenge are different. There are some universal themes, as well as infinite variations.

There are those times you feel like you haven’t slept for a year, and you turn into a grouch. You feel like a walking case of terminal jetlag: short-tempered, hyper-sensitive and dishevelled. You feel alien to yourself.

Once a tidy, house-proud person, you can’t even see the lounge room floor anymore between the strewn toys, unwashed laundry and food wrappers.

Your once-vibrant spousal relationship now feels like a bickering Olympics. And…what president was in power when you last made love?

No matter how many parent-calming books you’ve read (‘Buddhism-for-parents-who-are-going-nuts’), there aren’t enough ‘Oms’ you can chant to stop you blowing a fuse when your toddler refuses to get dressed. Or when she wants to go poo just when you are running late for an important appointment. The last tantrum (number 174) drew a primordial scream out of you that rattled your windows and scattered the birds in your street.

You find yourself arguing with your teenager, despite having promised yourself to respect his opinions. The stakes seem so much higher now: sexuality, careers, cars, drugs and alcohol, social cliques. Doors slam, threats are made. You feel lost, afraid and angry. It’s like walking through a dark tunnel without knowing if there is a light at the end, nor how far it is to get there.

As a couple, you see the signs of ageing creeping in – the spreading waist-line, the new facial lines, the creeping white hair. Your children reject you sometimes. And; do you sometimes get the impression you might be somewhat of an embarrassment before your child’s friends? Sometimes you feel a little worthless, discarded or insignificant. Our mid-life, our children’s flight to independence…this passage can sure feel sad sometimes.

These are just a few of the typical ordeals we face as parents, and there can be many more. Every worthwhile and important journey will be riven with challenges, setbacks and conundrums. Our willingness to surrender and grow is what helps us to emerge from these trials as better persons; a little older, a little frayed around the edges and yet…more luminous somehow.

Moving through stages such as these and somehow finding grace, a deeper love and maturing relationships – this can really be a task of Herculean dimension.

 

The Hero’s Vision: A Call To Adventure

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 The Hero’s Journey is nothing if it is not about gaining a deeper vision.

Perhaps none of the scenarios above resemble any part of your personal journey as a parent. Nonetheless, almost every parent meets at least one moment of deep crisis with their children. In these moments we feel confronted, face-to-face with the unknown. We lose our self-possession and we say or do things we will later regret.

Every parent will at least once take a walk through this ‘valley of the shadow of death’. Every one of us will at one time or another find ourselves wandering through the wilderness, disoriented, thirsty and confused, sorely tempted by quick-fix techniques that promise relief – magic tricks for magic results. In this oft-lonesome trek through the desert, we tell ourselves: ‘It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Nobody told me it would feel like this’.

That’s when we think that parenting has gone wrong. We berate ourselves, measure ourselves against some imagined index of ‘good parenting’. Or we point at the child, say the child is naughty, bad or lazy. We diagnose the child with every imaginable kind of new fandangled diagnostic category.

But what if there is a deeper context, a larger lens through which to view and understand our struggles? What if many or most of these ordeals do not mean that something has gone wrong? What if we looked at the hard times as an integral part of the journey? What if the troubles are the lesson?

Heroes in mythical tales go underground, out to sea, deep into forests or out into the open desert. This journey is about intentional vulnerability. A profound learning awaits us and the potential exists for us to emerge from this journey transformed.

 

Where The Journey Takes Us

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Our children press our buttons merely by being themselves, in their unfinished states of development. They act as triggers that cause some of our old emotional wounds to resurface. Their vexing and provocative behaviours awaken dormant hurts that were long secreted in subterranean caverns of our subconscious.

That is how our children expose our own shadow, again and again. Our shadow is merely the parts of ourselves we don’t like to acknowledge or see. We run from it, we turn our backs to it. Embattled with ourselves, we fight to avoid emotional vulnerability – only to be shown by our kids how vulnerable we really are. Parenting hurls us into deep netherworlds where we come face-to-face with disavowed aspects of ourselves.

Try to remember some of the most enduring challenges you have met as a parent. A time that almost felt like you were losing your mind. The crying that grates, the obstinacy that makes you crazy, the gnawing worry when your teen takes a ‘wrong turn’. The friends they choose. The friends they lose. Their failures and their triumphs. We take this journey in parallel. Their journey triggers our own. Here is what I mean.

When we get thrown off centre, when we lose our ground, it is very likely that the emotions that flood us are about unresolved issues from our own childhood. Generally, interactions with our children dredge up old feelings that hail from a similar stage of our own history. Though it might seem otherwise, it is not our child that we are wrestling with; it is ourselves.

The easy and tempting road is to quickly respond to our children’s behaviour with a technique – without pause for inner reflection. Examples include: sleep-training the sleepless infant, or bribing the angry child with rewards. It takes considerable courage to see that the rush of emotion is about us and our history, not about what we think our child is doing.  The most meaningful journeys are internal.

What if the annoyance we feel towards our baby’s prolonged crying in fact springs from the body-memory of our own cries that went unheard? What if the resentment we feel towards our protesting toddler stems mostly from the way our own protests once were punished? The suspicion we direct towards our teenagers might perhaps reflect the authoritarianism that our parents directed at us.

And so, although this journey that our children send us on might feel uncomfortable, it offers a life-giving opportunity – if we dare to take it. Follow those troubling emotions inward, and you are shown something that wants and deserves healing inside yourself. The potholes, steep ravines and speed bumps on the parents’ road are pointers to our healing, liberation and growth.

This inner-child journey can be taken intentionally and consciously, and that’s what makes the difference between a fruitless time of strain, versus an enriching time of growth.

I should say that the inner child journey is not called for in every moment of difficulty. This inner journey is most relevant in relation to conflicts with our children and persistent behavioural issues. It may not necessarily be appropriate for every situation; for instance in times of tragedy, grief or loss.

 

The Hero’s Kit-Bag

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How do we derive a deeper meaning from the daily challenges of parenting so that we can turn these into a ‘hero’s journey’? How can we emerge from each rite of passage healed, renewed and wiser, while at the same time empowering our children?

Once you understand that the most difficult emotions that arise in parenting are usually about your own history rather than about your child, you can utilize your emotions as doorways to your own underworld. The halls of body-memory, containing even the earliest feelings dating all the way back to our time in-utero, can be likened to the treasure-filled underground halls of Khazad-Dum. Tolkien’s epic tale invokes this archetypal moment when the Fellowship of the Ring stands before the Doors of Durin. With the help of the child-like Merry Brandybuck (it is always the ‘Innocenti’ that find the answers!), the wise wizard Gandalf solves the riddle that commands these ancient gates to open and allow the visitors to enter.

To embark on our inner-child journey we need to create a quiet and safe space to sit uninterrupted. Our emotions are the vessel that carries us inward. We can begin by asking: ‘What was going on around me when I was roughly the same age that my child is now?’ Or: ‘When I behaved in ways that were similar to how my child is behaving now, how was I treated? How did my carers respond to me then?’ Another way inwards involves paying close attention to the feelings triggered for you in interaction with your child, and then ask yourself: ‘Are these feelings in any way familiar to me? When did I first feel this way?’

Notice that in every case, your attention to your emotional inner landscape is the vehicle that will draw you inward along the path.

If you pay close attention to your self-talk, the voices you hear internally at these times of conflict and challenge, you will often discover that these voices seem familiar somehow. When did you first hear someone speak these things? Where did you first learn the languaging of shame, blame or judgement that resonates inside you at these times? None of us invented our own judgmental self-talk – these voices are echoes of what has been transmitted to us by other wounded and over-stressed individuals.

As with every Hero’s Journey, at first the path takes us deeper into pain or emotional turmoil. Be reassured that this is not for naught! Your travels through emotional memory help you see yourself with more clarity; and this never comes to you without a worthwhile gift at the end.

The courageous Hero – and this inner journey certainly demands our courage! – invariably finds a treasure. The special treasure lies at the core of the painful memory you are re-visiting – on your child’s invitation. The treasure is…your secret wish. Like the Arkenstone closely guarded by the dragon Smaug, this treasure can only be recovered by confronting the reptilian depths of emotion in ourselves. Our release begins as we ask ourselves: ‘When this happened to me as a child…what would I have wished to happen differently?’

This wishing question is the most crucial. Let the answer be magical if it wants to be, do not censor it in the name of the ‘rational’ or the ‘plausible’. Your dearest unfulfilled childhood wish is representational and not necessarily literal.

Was it a wish to be rescued, a wish to be finally heard, a wish to find your voice of protest, to run and escape? Or was it your wish to find your strength and to push back against the world when you were powerless?

Listen carefully to this wish; it has many gifts for you as well as for your child. Trust your wishing and like the Arkenstone, bring it back with you to the surface, to the world of here-and-now.

 

The Gift

Let yourself feel this wish again, and it may bring a release of emotion, a catharsis. By itself, this can bring you profound release and healing. But there is more.

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The theme (if not the substance) of your inner-child wish, will give you profound and invaluable clues as to what your child needs from you in times of his or her most vexing behaviour. The more you learn to see your child from the inside – that is, from the vantage point of a child’s point of view – the more you will gain enlightened insights into the needs that he or she is inexpertly trying to express. Trust this difficult process, it will bring more peace to your home.

There is one final gift, and this one is principally for you. Your unmet childhood wish can be reinterpreted into an adult version. It is never too late to give this to yourself. Let me briefly illustrate what I mean:

For example: if as a child you felt unable to escape a toxic situation, then…what is an unhealthy environment that you can give yourself permission to escape today? If your personal boundaries were breeched, then what is an interpersonal boundary that needs strengthening in your life right now? If you had felt alone, then who could you learn to reach out to more these days?

The potential themes of personal development are endless. Your current relationships provide you with new and plentiful opportunities to cultivate strengths and skills that might have been arrested in childhood or adolescence, and to liberate yourself to love and be loved more deeply. Over and over, our children’s behaviour pokes us in the very places that need this growth.

Through the inevitable conflicts and dramas of parenting, you have been prompted to discover a part of yourself that has gone un-noticed, that has been crying out for attention and healing. You have been, via the travails of each parenting dilemma, confronted with an opportunity and perhaps even an imperative to be available to your own healing and unfoldment. In one of evolution’s most magically reciprocal arrangements, our children grow us up just as we grow them up.

 

The Mentor

All heroes need a helper from time to time. A teacher, a sage, or sometimes just a friend. Help is at hand, and when required, tools are on offer. No hero is left to wander alone and unaided. Wasn’t Bilbo given ‘Sting’? Wasn’t Luke Skywalker placed under the tutelage of Yoda?

The inner child journey that your child pushes you into places you in good company – all parents are on the same journey! And today, there are so many resources available.

I have added to this library of resources my own version of an Inner Child Process that I have honed in over 20 years of practice with my clients. It is the Process that I use for myself when I (frequently!) find myself in hot water as a father, with each new rite of passage as my daughter grows.

I offer you this process, it has been used by countless parents in several countries, and it has brought heart opening discoveries for many. You will find further reference to this process in chapters 2 and 15 of my book Heart to Heart Parenting. Additionally,  you can  participate with me in this step-by-step inner child journey in the Parenting As A Hero’s Journey Virtual Retreats in March 2015.

 

The Hero’s Death And Rebirth

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Following a gargantuan struggle with the monstrous Balrog from the underworld, Gandalf the Grey dies – to be reborn as Gandalf the White. The Aztec God Quetzalcoatl, the Egyptian Osiris and Ishtar, the Babylonian Goddess of procreation, are but a few mythic examples of a God or Hero who must die in order to be reformed. Carl Jung recognized this as an archetypal, collective unconscious intuition about the necessary regeneration of the Self.

Just as with all mythical ‘Hero’s Journeys’, parenting asks us to undergo a number of egoic deaths. The feeling might be as if some aspect of our identity is laid to rest. This is important if we are to emerge healed and renewed.

Many parents experience a kind of death of the spontaneous, party-going Self as they settle in to the rigours of night-time parenting and intensive baby-care. Clothing, hairstyles and household order tend to go south. Our grip on our carefully groomed public persona or image slips.

Is there not a death of our ideals of being ‘calm’ and ‘in-control’, rational people when we begin to over-react to our toddler’s over-reactive tantrums? To some degree many parents also experience a loss of physical intimacy with each other for a time. And as our hip teenagers parade their nouveau cool before us we feel our identity of youthful vigour and freshness slip through our fingers. Each of these moments of demise can feel threatening – but if we resist these changes, we create conflict. If we on the other hand learn to surrender with grace; every new life-stage offers a new layer of heart opening, a deeper love, more wisdom, a new kind of aliveness… and a richer sense of humour. These ego-deaths simply ask us to embrace our vulnerability. Identity-death means letting go into the next stage of Life, so you can see its gifts.

The Journey will ritually demand that the Hero make some kind of sacrifice. Though at first this can seem like an apocalypse, in truth all that the parent is asked to sacrifice is a perception – a long-held and ossified view of ourselves that no longer works for us because it is too small. Perhaps the slaying of the ‘dragon’ is no more than this: the dispelling of illusions. With every self-image that is stripped from us, a newer and more holistic one awaits us.

 

The Journey’s End-Game

The inner journey is necessary if we are to connect with our children so they want to listen to us and be guided by us willingly. They sense our authenticity when we truly understand them from the inside, with a mind unsullied by culturally derived judgments.

Each chapter of our lives contains something of the Hero’s Journey within it. Every journey brings unique trials and tests that push us to our limits and stretch us beyond the familiar. With the help of friends, mentors, elders; with curiosity and an openness to learning, we find our way, we move through. The Journey works upon us like a forge from which we emerge transformed and enriched, armed with new insights that bring us into closer harmony with those we love.  Parents are indeed heroes; the drivers of a new humanity.

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