Barefoot Parenting: Presence, Word and Action

So often I try to make parenting a zero-sum, formulaic game, and in doing so I miss all the fun and impact of parenting. When I become more focused on a result rather than my child's well-being, when I become more attached to a system, a time-schedule, the felt pressure or expectations of others, I end up compromising my own integrity and love. When I use fear-tactics, punitive discipline, ultimatums or an aggressive tone, I end up parenting more to protect my own ego than for the thriving of my kids. 

Which leaves me with a question: What does "barefoot" parenting look like?

I think it looks like being more attached in bonds of love than to a parenting philosophy or "biblical principle."

It might look like sitting on the floor in silence while your two year old screams indefinitely rather than shutting her down. Something that happened last night. 

If I'm an expert at parenting, I'm only one among many. More and more of us are tired of the truisms, the formulas, the preset schedules, the demand for unquestioning obedience. We're willing to experiment, to question what we've been told, to trust our inner instincts while being aware of our own baggage.

Parenting isn't easy, and it's the most rewarding work and play that I'm doing with my life. It requires being present, being mindful of my words, and being intentional with my actions.

Benjamin FaderComment