When Parents Change, So Do Their Children
FROM GERD: I just had the great pleasure and privilege to teach a family from England, Natalie and Mark Armstrong and work with their beautiful son Jack in their Son-Rise Program Intensive here at The Option Institute.
On day one, Natalie and Mark changed their beliefs about what kind of session they had in the playroom with Jack. There are no “good” or “bad” sessions. They decided to look at every minute that they are in the room as the most joyous and effective time they could ever spend with their boy. The rest is all about learning how to become more and more effective without any judgments.
Because of those changes Natalie and Mark made, Natalie gave Jack more time and space to respond or initiate, by pausing more and being more patient. She no longer had to “work so hard” to get his attention. Sure enough, Jack, on his own terms came running into Mommy’s arms for lots of cuddles and tickles.
Because of the changes Mark made, he felt more relaxed joining Jack’s isms. He was no longer in a hurry to get Jack’s attention and he no longer worried about missing a green light. Sure enough when Jack sensed that in his Dad, he came to Mark with big smiles and giggles, initiating a gentle “rough house” game and he started throwing balls with Daddy.
On another occasion Mark learned how to listen to his wife share, cry and explore, without interrupting her or defending himself, just being there for her as a deeply loving and accepting listener and Natalie cried some more, this time because she loved it when Mark did that.
Natalie on the other hand learned to let go of assumptions she made, thinking she knows what her husband is going to say, how he would feel and she dropped judgments of what he said and actually found out that Mark had wonderful ideas, insightful thoughts and feelings she didn’t know he had.
At the same time in the playroom our wonderful Son-Rise Staff reported that Jack was staying with activities longer, ismed less and was more open and available to their encouragements.
Then Natalie and Mark gave each other feedback on their sessions with Jack. Both learned how to communicate with each other more lovingly and effectively, giving each other points of what they could improve on, without any criticism, but with love and care. In the playroom Jack was doing his part communicating more, leading the staff, using clearer words when he wanted a drink, some more foods or a particular game and maintaining eye contact at the same time.
Then I had a 2 hour session with Jack. It was such utter joy to be with this little bliss ball, called Jack. At one point he was watching me very closely on how I was joining him, then suddenly he dropped the scarf he was flipping in front of his eyes, came to me and put his forehead against mine, looking deeply into my eyes. For a moment there I thought we were one.
He was very interactive in three different activities, laughed a lot and clearly had the best time with someone he’s only known for an hour.
As I learned later, Natalie and Mark were in their group meeting with the Son-Rise Program Staff, making a clear commitment to running a full-time Son-Rise Program for Jack, finding a new level of confidence like never before, and totally believing now that they have the tools, the know how and the attitude to be the best experts on their son.
When parents change, so do their children, even when they are not in the same room.
Natalie and Mark, it was a sheer pleasure working with you and your son Jack. Continue to let go of beliefs, assumptions and judgments that don’t serve you and get behind the new beliefs you have formed while being here. The more you change, the more Jack will follow you.
Big hugs to both of you,