Main Teacher

Karen Brennan
  • Karen Brennan

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Strength for the journey

Sunday, May 31, 2015

HAD I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

This poem by William Butler Yeats captures for me something of the feeling of being a parent, of wanting to give our child everything, of holding our hopes and dreams for them so close, of not knowing how or not being able to give them all we want to.  Parenting is process. It is an opportunity to bring more consciousness into everything we do.  It can be a spiritual path—before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.  Not that I am always conscious of the wonder and joy of everyday activities, but being a parent certainly woke me to that possibility.

It has brought me much joy to share some of your parenting path with you, to share some of the joys and challenges of parenting a young child in Chicago in 2015.  This year we have read the book, You Are Your Child’s First Teacher.  I hope you have enjoyed it and learned something, as well.  But I also think that as much as we teach our children, our children teach us even more.  And they love us no matter how long it takes for us to learn the lessons they bring us. 

In Simplicity Parenting, Kim Payne says, “ When your child seems to deserve affection least, that’s when they need it the most….It’s quite another thing to maintain a loving presence with a child who is exploring their inner shadow as they push every one of your buttons as though you were the elevator panel in a skyscraper.”  Certainly, our children are good at pushing our buttons.  We can try to keep a loving presence when they are doing this.  Sometimes we will succeed better than others.  But I also think that part of the learning is also to hold ourselves close, to forgive ourselves and love ourselves when our own inner shadow rises to the surface.  So many of the lessons that we learn about our children also apply to ourselves.  We all benefit from living a life that has a healthy rhythm, a balance between work and play and rest, from having our senses nourished and from being loved for who we are.  As adults, we have the opportunity (and sometimes burden) to provide this for both ourselves and our children.

I hope that your participation in this program has supported you in your journey as a parent and as a human being.  I have loved this time I have spent with you and your children.  It is an honor to share this special time of life with you.  It is a gift to share some special moments of childhood with you—first steps, first friendships, snacks, sandbox, crafts, songs, stories, laughter and tears.

I will see many of you again (and many of you next week!), but I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you well as you continue on this amazing path of parenting.  Much love and joy to you and yours.