A friend recently gave me a beautiful present which had this quote…
Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain (Vivian Greene).
It got me thinking about hope. As parents, we provide a sense of hope for our children in the simple everyday things we do. We show them that someone is there even when they are at their worst. We show them that they will be okay, that they can survive difficult things, and that they can reach out for help.
Sometimes we also need to know that there is a connection to something good to give us hope in the midst of life’s storms. It is times like Christmas, when we try to create a sense of wonder and hope for our children, which can be most difficult. For some of us, this may not be a time of hope, but may be associated with feelings of pain, loss or sadness.
So, how can we respond to our children in a way that helps them best and fills them with hope, without losing ourselves in life’s storms? If we are honest, there are many times we will struggle with navigating this well. Particularly when we feel the storm is never ending, or at stressful times of the year like Christmas.
If, as a parent, you are struggling, know that storms will ease, that you can find ways to cope in the midst of struggles, that there is help from your community of fellow parents, and sometimes even help from professionals. In the meantime, over this Christmas:
- Know your child will remember you playing with them more than the toy you bought.
- Find small moments of goodness in your child.
- Try to slow down when you can.
- Sometimes a change of scene, like going for a drive or to the park, may help both you and your child.
- Organise a short play date for your children with another parent.
- Reach out to others for help when you can.
- Embrace help when it is offered.
- Be open to creating new family memories without feeling like you may be dismissing the more painful ones.
There are many more little things we can do like this that teach us how to dance in the rain when times are tough.
If you need more urgent help over Christmas the following organisations are great places to get help or to find good resources:
- Lifeline – https://www.lifeline.org.au
- Parentline – 1300 30 1300
- Beyond Blue – https://www.beyondblue.org.au
- Your Local Emergency Department