The Month of May is being kicked off with the National Children’s Mental Health Awareness week, May 5-11, 2013. It’s a perfect time to increase our emotional awareness and help the children in our lives. Onionhead is dedicated to preventing problems through emotional awareness. Please spend the month of May with us via our blog and learn about the many tools and activities that are available for you and the beloved children in your life!!
I am 36 years old. I have been married to a, “one of a kind” woman for ten years. I do not have any children, but I have 3 dogs and I truly see them as my children. I often feel like a father figure to a lot young people that I meet and get to know. I think this is a sign of how ready I am to be a father, and a sign of how much children need a positive male role model. I have worked in many different fields in my life: building contractor, firefighter, counselor, service industry, outdoor education and non-profits that help animals, children and the environment. The one common denominator has been my desire to serve. I am a grateful Onionhead Man because Onionhead saved my life when I was 21 years old, and that little guy has challenged me to be a better man everyday since. We may stop physically growing in our late teens, but there are no limits to our spiritual and emotional growth. I look forward to sharing my lifes journey with you!
You heard from Rick on Monday that it is time now for the Onionhead Men to speak on transforming feelings. I’m so grateful to The 3 Ohms (Onionhead Mothers) for opening the path to addressing a range of important issues in an authentic, heartfelt and loving way. It is truly refreshing and inspiring. We, The OHM (Onionhead Men) get a chance now to share our perspectives.
My perspective comes from being a working Dad. I have loved every bit of being a father – every up and even all the downs. Every phase my kids have grown through, I have had to grow too. My five children (3 girls and 2 boys) are all in their twenties and out of the house making their way in life. So my wife and I are technically “empty nesters”(although our dog Athena and our cat Maitreya now see themselves as our at-home kids!). My kids are all spread throughout the west coast so staying in touch takes a lot of work. But, our children always need love, support and wisdom — I make the effort to communicate often and “be there, be love”.
My work is helping Onionhead to reach everyone with his tools, teachings and truths. It has been an education to be more authentic, loving and conscious than any other work has demanded. Like being a father, I have loved every bit of Onionhead work – the ups and the emotional downs. I love the people I work with, the people who bring Onionhead into their lives (our customers), and the people who help us bring him to the world (that would be all of our partners).
There you have it! I’m looking forward to sharing my perspective and hearing your comments.
When I heard that, I thought, how is that possible? The tree, the decorations, the party, the presents (!) – what is there not to like about that night?
Further probing brought an interesting answer. It’s not actually the evening that my son dreads; it’s what the end of the night signifies. When the presents are packed up, and the food is put away, and the kids are back home in their own beds for the night, that’s when the realization sinks in. The sadness that it’s another whole long year until we get to celebrate again.
And then I remembered feeling the exact same way when I was a kid. It was too agonizingly long a wait until the next time I got to put on a costume, or hang up a wreath, or blow out my candles. My mother always told me to wait and see, I wouldn’t believe how quickly time began to fly when I got older. And of course, I pooh-poohed that idea. How could time – or our sense of it - shift so dramatically?
Well, here I am, some years later, and of course she was absolutely right. (See that? Moms are always right. At least that’s what I tell my two kids.) It couldn’t possibly be 1 year ago that I packed away those ornaments, but it was. Where did the year go, and how did that much time just speed by me?
I think one of the reasons that children and adults see time so differently is in how each group lives. The kids I know live primarily in the moment, focusing on their current situation. (Anyone who’s heard “I’m hungry!” “I’m tired!” “I’m bored!” can attest to the immediacy of the child’s mind.) Adults live simultaneously in the past, present and future. We take care of our immediate needs in the present, plan for things we’ll need to do in the future, and relive memories of the past (whether good or bad).
I’ve come to believe that focusing on three dimensions takes away from our ability to enjoy the one we’re actually living in, and skewers our sense of time. And with that in mind, I’m planning to take the next couple of weeks as they come. I’m not going to focus on January tasks or February errands. I’m not going to fret about how wonderfully last year’s party went, or wonder whether next week’s will be as fun. I’m just going to enjoy the here and now, and take time as it comes.
I can’t get my son out of bed for school in the morning, yet on Saturday he’s up at the crack of dawn to watch his favorite shows on the couch in his PJ’s. Once a week he can have a morning off, a break from the routine of school. But a week long holiday at home like that? If given the choice of any activity, my son would inevitably choose TV, electronics of any kind, and “hanging out” with friends (which often involves electronics of any kind). It gets a little tougher to entice them into non-electronic activities once they become tweens. It would be very easy to let the hours slip away like that, while I take care of laundry, cleaning, cooking and maybe even something I just plain want to do. It’s up to me, however, to be sure that I don’t let a week go by with my son doing nothing but “screens”.
As the parent, and the adult, I must sacrifice what I might like to do, or see, or even take care of, for the good of my child – even if he doesn’t see it that way. He always enjoys the non-electronic activities in the long run, but the initial reaction is: I don’t want to do that. It can be pretty hard to do something you don’t really want to do for someone who doesn’t really want to do it either. That’s when I have to realize it’s actually a JOB being a parent, and I must stand on principle and know it’s important to stick to it.
So it is a balancing act when school is closed, between allowing some of that “vegging” in front of the TV, mixed with some time with friends, and including some non-electronic, good old-fashioned quality time together. Weather permitting, outdoor fun would be top on my list. If it snows, get out the hot cocoa and the mittens. If it doesn’t, it’s amazing what a little imagination can do. My son will go on wand searching expeditions (due to being a Harry Potter fan), or maybe it’s swords while he creates a story around King Arthur or Star Wars (I realize in that case they would be light sabers) that we begin acting out. If it’s inside time, board games, drawing, and imagination games usually work. Even cooking or baking together can be really fun (as long as he gets to pick the menu).
It’s a balance for both him and for me; there are things I need to take care of, and some things I want to do. I need to patiently accept, with a happy mind, if I can’t accomplish a much as I’d like to. And it’s about quality, not quantity. As long as each day consists of some amount of time where I am really engaged in an activity with my son, the week will have been spent well.
After reading Pam’s entry the first thing I thought of was, “Wow, she caught the teaching moment in her son’s joke that is amazing!” I don’t think I would have caught that in the “Da Nile” joke, I really have to pay more attention. She is so right; there are teaching moments around us all day long. Not only do the kids provide us these opportunities but so do our coworkers, friends and family. It is up to us to pick them out and then to not allow them to pass.
It would have been easy for Pam to laugh and move on to the next joke but to take the TIME to stop and explain to her son what denial is which also allowed her to see how denial has affected her life was the true gift and teaching moment for them both!
Life is full of teaching moments, both for ourselves to grow and for us to help others and I think a lot of times life’s busyness gets in the way and we don’t take the few minutes that could really make a huge difference. So slow down, and see the gifts in every day and don’t let the teaching moments pass you by!
Pick up a feeling card and have them make the face, then say the feeling. Seth, a 2 year old child, did this all day long. He would pick up a card and mirror back the face. Then we moved into the exercise of telling him what the feeling meant every time he did this. He developed more emotional knowledge than any 2 year old we had ever seen.