Sweet, sweet September. Of course it’s still warm in Houston, but there’s a light at the end of the hot, humid tunnel and pumpkin everything is just around the corner. The start of school is a great opportunity to pause and take a look at our lives and decide what we want- for ourselves and our families. If you’re like me, self-care is always a challenge. Knowing when to ask for help and receiving it gracefully is a challenge. Slowing down and listening to what I really need is a challenge.
Knowing something is good for us is not always enough to make that thing happen. Many factors can get in the way of taking steps towards the life we want: budgetary constraints, the logistics of finding the right product or service, or getting your partner on board, for example. Often, we find ourselves navigating a gap between where we are and where we’d like to be. And these gaps keep showing up all over the place, the more we pay attention.
Brene Brown, PhD writes in her book Daring Greatly, “We have to pay attention to the space between where we’re actually standing and where we want to be. More importantly, we have to practice the values that we’re holding out as important in our culture...We don’t have to be perfect, just engaged and committed to aligning values with action.”
Whether it’s how we feed our families, screen time, dealing with challenging behaviors, or how we sleep, the conversation around making healthy choices for our families is riddled with shame and judgment amongst parents (this is not news to most of us). In the very place where we have the opportunity to create a supportive community by encouraging and learning from one another, what often occurs is disengagement, quick judgment, and feeling inadequate as we navigate the reality of life as a family.
We don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be perfect! Just engaged and committed to aligning values with action. Living well is a process. And this process requires grace- towards ourselves first, then towards each other in the communities of our families, schools, sports teams, churches and so on. Maybe this new school year, we can actually grow communities of parents and caregivers who model grace, compassion and resilience. Let’s show up for each other in courageous ways that create the world we want our children to grow up in. Let’s build the village we all need to live well.