What happens in our families is deeply and intimately connected with our communities and the world.
To be sure, it does have an enormous affect our own family over time. Unresolved power struggles that we have with a toddler will come back around during adolescence to either be resolved or go underground. Unless we resolve these power struggles with our children in healthy ways, they will continue to live in our relationship.
There will be chance after chance to resolve things, and these chances are not a punishment, they are grace. I know, I'm getting another shot at so many issues as my own kids move through their teen years, and in lots of cases (but now all), I'm handling them better.
But the power issues we have in our families travel far beyond our walls.
They live on in our child's relationship with other people and the world. A child raised with power struggles will act them out in one way or another until there is a way to resolve them. Ongoing relationships with parents and siblings, spouse and children, boss and colleagues, a therapist, or even with themselves may be the field in which they get worked out.
Many people, all with unresolved power issues, combine to form a culture in which power is routinely abused, in which people tend to identify as victims or aggressors, and in which justice and equity are not the norm. Sound familiar to you? It does to me.
As I've been writing about power this week, I've been struck by how much the social issues around gun violence, racism, and the abuse of police power are related to issues happening in so many of our families. If you, like me, want to end gun violence, join me and reflect on your own use of power as a way to control other people, including your children. By practicing peaceful, heart-centered parenting we can change life in our own families AND we can change the world!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.