Last month I had the honor of being a vendor at the Theosophical Society’s TheosoFEST. This was a Mind*Body*Spirit*Festival–right up my ally. The Theosophical Society is a learning environment with a beautiful campus located in Wheaton, Illinois. Their mission statement is: To encourage open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and help people explore spiritual self-transformation. I love that! So many like-minded people on a beautiful sunny day.
Not only did I have a vendor booth, I also read my book Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog in the children’s area. About a dozen or so children gathered around me as we sat on the grass. I read and taught them the calming, loving, healing techniques of my book. It was fun! When I finished, I headed back to my table to pass out bookmarks and post cards while chatting with whomever passed by looking curious about my book.
Now I love talking about my book, and I really love talking to people who are interested in hearing about my book! Not surprisingly, I get parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, schoolteachers, school social workers, therapist and friends with little ones in mind who want to know more.
I have heard so many times, boy I wish I had Gilbert when I was a child. These adults are concerned that their unhealthy responses, learned in their childhoods, may be affecting their relationships, and they may be passing these behaviors on. For example, if parents are not good at time management and are always late in organizing their kids to get out the door for school, they may feel anxious and start to yell. They may begin to blame their child for being disorganized, when in fact it is their issue. Their yelling starts to cue their child’s young body to get tense and nervous, as if something must be wrong, or they may be in danger.
This connection of running late to being in danger causes anxiety in the child and can get triggered for the rest of their lives. The best thing a parent can do in that moment is to pause, take a breath, and cut herself some slack. It’s hard having anxiety and it’s really hard to turn it off. Let your child know you are human and just had a human moment of losing control. Apologize for your behavior. And then shake it off! Literally! Both of you can jump up and down, yell into your hands, or do the floss dance. Movement moves the anxiety out of your body so you both will feel calmer and more in control of your feelings. And you may even end up laughing. Not a bad way to start your day.