The night after reading about the art of making mistakes wakefully, I attended the first class of a four-class seminar on Love and Logic, wonderfully facilitated by Cindy Horst. The premise of this approach to parenting a child is to "empower him/her to make his/her own decisions, live with his/her mistakes and grow through the consequences." The three "rules" of Love and Logic are:
- Take care of yourself by setting limits in a loving way
- Give choices whenever it's reasonable.
- Let empathy and consequences do the teaching.
When I arrived at the school, I saw a television monitor and VCR, and Cindy mentioned during her introduction that this was a videotape-based course. I feared the worse (sitting and watching videotapes with little interaction). Fortunately, the videotape -- of Love and Logic co-founder and master storyteller Jim Fay giving a lecture -- was pretty good (although difficult to hear at times). Even more fortunately, only a small portion of the two hour class was spent watching the videotape; Cindy, herself a marvelous storyteller, really brought the material to life with engaging examples from her own experience as mother, teacher and coach.
Cindy noted that the Love and Logic principles can be used not only by parents interacting with their children, but in school and the workplace as well. Connecting back with A Path with Heart, I see these principles as applying equally well to my interactions with my self. Although the emphasis [so far in the class] seems to be on relationships in which the person applying these rules and principles is in some kind of superordinate position to the person on the "receiving" end, I believe they can apply more broadly to relationships of peers and even when one is in a subordinate position to one or more others.
Throughout the class, I was reminded at several times of "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers, a book that helped me the work up the gumption to accept my first post-graduate job, at Accenture Technology Labs, a job I feared would be well beyond my [then] current qualities and qualifications -- requiring me to create new visions of the future based on sociotechnological innovations, build prototypes to illustrate those visions and use those prototypes to clearly and compellingly communicate the visions to a wide variety of audiences. Although I did not feel I was capable of performing any of these tasks (except perhaps the "building prototypes" part), I had a strong intention to develop these skills and capabilities, and so I felt my fear and accepted the job anyway ... and experienced tremendous personal and professional growth in my six years working there.
Oh, and the reason I bring up the book (and my experience of it) in this context is that Jeffers emphasizes the importance of affirming the belief that "Whatever happens, I can handle it!" This is an especially useful affirmation for those of us who grew up with overprotective parents, through which we learned that "whatever happens, mom [and/or dad] will handle it!" Jeffers presents a No-Lose Model of making decisions:
- Affirm the No-Lose Model: "I can't lose -- regardless of the outcome of the decision I make. The world is a place for opportunity, and I look forward to the opportunities for learning and growing that either pathway gives me."
- Do your homework: "It is most helpful to talk to as many people as will listen... People you meet in unlikely places can create a valuable connection for you in ways you never could have imagined, or they might give you insight learned from their personal experiences... Putting your ideas out into the world by constantly talking about them ... clarifies your intention to have it happen." [reminiscent of a quote by W.H. Murray]
- Establish your priorities: "ask yourself with pathway is more in line with your overall goals -- at the present time." [i.e., a path with heart]
- Trust your impluses: "Although you might have difficulty getting to the 'person within' through the soul-searching process, your body sometimes gives some good clues on which way to go." [I would argue that the body always gives good clues]
- Lighten up: Don't take yourself so seriously ... whatever happens, you can handle it!