The Sue Atkins Weekly Parenting Story
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Well, I remember the old Hollies hit “Silence is Golden” and today’s story from my never ending notebook and everlasting pencil is along this theme.
Silence is Golden
A young man joined a group of Buddhist monks after listening to their message and prayers. The father of the young man went to the Buddha and in his anger and hurt, accused him of many things: of corrupting youth, of stealing his son, of distorting the truth, of infamy, of disgracing his reputation as a good father, of blasphemy and many, many other terrible things besides.
In response to all these accusations and harsh words the Buddha said nothing.
When the father of the young man had finally exhausted himself and was quiet, he said to the Buddha, “Why do you remain silent? Why do you not defend yourself?”
The Buddha said, “If a man brought me a tray of sweet, golden mangoes and I refused them, what would happen to the mangoes?”
The father said, “Well, they would remain with the giver.”
“And it is just so with your words,” said the Buddha. “They remain with you.”
So what has this story got to do with your parenting?
What happens when you don’t match the emotional energy of your toddler in a tantrum or teen in a strop?
How can you hold the space for your child to vent their anger, their disappointment, their frustration, their fear and to listen respectfully without rushing in with advice, suggestions or to rescue them?
What will that give your child?
Will they feel understood, heard, and respected?
How will that increase their self esteem?
What does being calm bring to your relationships?
What better decisions do you reach when you are calm?
Does calmness give you more clarity?
Does calmness give you less guilt?
How can you listen to others at work, at school or in your business transactions without disrespecting the other person’s values even though they are different to yours?
What will that give you?
Is it about being passive or being patient?
What’s the difference?
Is it about non acceptance, non reaction or using silence to move towards a more powerful outcome?
So what’s stopping you trying a new approach to an old problem and seeing what changes?
“Be a witness, not a judge. Focus on yourself, not on others. Listen to your heart, not to the crowd.”