Zen and the Art of Fathering
“The greatest thing you can do for your kids is learn to focus on yourself.”
This quote from Hal Runkel’s ScreamFree Parenting book appears to be counter-intuitive Zen-Speak.
What? How can I focus on me when my child demands all my attention?
This is a must-read book for all parents.
It has the formula for maintaining Zen-like calm in the midst of kid chaos.
A close analysis of Pixar’s Inside Out masterpiece shows that of the five emotions of joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger, that the emotion manning the control panel for us men is, you guessed it, ANGER.
Which is why we explode when our children exhibit sub-optimal behavior (translation: anything that pushes our “buttons”).
Runkel continues by stating: “the only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a position of control over ourselves.”
At home and in the workplace, how we respond to stressful situations is noted and frequently internalized by those we lead and can become their default response as acceptable behavior.
While participating in an Anger Management class may be recommended for some of us, I believe that having clarity of the qualities we strive to eventually instill in our children (character, capabilities, creativity…) can give us the capacity to hit the “Zen Button” instead of launching all our missiles for all-out nuclear war.