Parenting is hard as is but it is harder if as a parent, you are carrying your own baggage of anger and resentment from the past. I have this image in my head of a person hiking a steep mountain while stones, big and small (other people’s baggage), are being thrown at them. This person is focused on reaching the top of the mountain while also trying to enjoy the journey to the top. They have become very good at catching the stones that are being thrown at them and throwing them back towards the people who threw them in the first place. Now imagine them carrying a heavy bag of their own on their back. They feel the weight of it but they ignore it in the beginning. The longer they ignore it, the heavier it gets. They are no longer enjoying the journey because they are more irritable, less mindful and more exhausted now. This is how I imagine pent up anger and resentment affecting us as parents. It is hard to put that bag down, go through it’s contents carefully and toss them away. It requires a lot of time and effort from our side. But, we owe this to ourselves and to our children.
The root cause of anger is hurt. Unless we resolve our own hurt feelings, we won’t be able to raise emotionally well rounded kids. But, how exactly can we accomplish this? By taking care of our anger the same way we take care of our children. By turning inwards as opposed to outwards. By bathing our internal formations, our blocks of suffering, in the rain of mindfulness. As Thich Nhat Hanh says in my #currentread, what do you do when your house is on fire? You do everything you can to save your house from burning down. It’s not wise to go after the person who burnt your house when your house is in flames, is it?
I have seen so many relationships dismantle because both parties are unable to resolve their own hurt feelings and reestablish communication. It’s not worth it. I have also seen the cycle of hurt, anger and resentment being passed down through generations in families. All it takes is one conscious and motivated parent to put an end to this cycle. The following powerful quote from the book: 10 Mindful Minutes by Goldie Hawn, comes to my mind in this context:
“If a peaceful child can create a peaceful world, then a peaceful parent can create a peaceful child.”