What does parenting have to do with chickens? I’m glad you asked! Let me begin with a story about my chickens. When we first got our chickens we had them in an area enclosed by a 4 foot fence. It didn’t take long before the chickens figured out that they could get over the fence. What did they do when they got out? They crossed the road! So I raised the fence and they couldn’t get over it. However, it didn’t take long before they found a gap under one area of the fence and, you guessed it, they got out and crossed the road. I was left pondering a very real question about why the chickens crossed the road. It seemed as though they had a singular focus of getting to the other side and nothing else mattered.
As I pondered this, I began to think about how much we tend to be like that as people and as parents. We often put the blinders on and pursue our goal without really thinking it through. Parents often get so focused on traditional approaches, such as rewards and consequences, that they don’t stop to ask if they are working. When we do this, we react and often get run over by the stress of parenting; we get stuck in unwanted battles and end up with chaos. If you are a parent to a hurting child, this is even more important as it is so easy to fall into that chaos. Or, alternatively, we don’t pursue our goals because of fear of what we cannot see. We shut down and just let the chaos control us or believe that it is just going to be this way. It breaks my heart when I hear a parent of a hurting child just counting down the years and months until the child turns 18. While I understand and empathize with this feeling, there is a better way!
A wise chicken keeps his goal, the other side of the road, in focus but broadens his view to consider other valuable information such as whether a car is coming. He acts wisely. As a parent to a hurting child, are you setting goals and working towards them wisely? Are you considering the hurt your kids have gone through and the specialized parenting techniques needed to repair those wounds? Do you have a vision for your family that includes having peace and joy in your home? Or have you given up on that?
He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
Parenting hurting kids is full of stress. Often we see stress as the enemy, but stress is good if it is kept under control. It helps us know that we need to act in some way, keeps us sharp and builds our resources for not just coping with life, but living the extraordinary and victorious life God calls us to. When we are stressed, we will proceed down one of two paths, the path of the wise chicken or the path of the unwise chicken. These two paths are rooted in one of two primary emotional states, love/security or fear/insecurity. If I can stay on the wise path, I will act in love and security. I don’t act hastily but I do act. I think things through and seek wise counsel. If I stay on this path I will find success and possibilities will unfold before my eyes. This is the green path on the diagram below. If however, I chose the path of the unwise chicken, I will react either by proceeding without considering the potential problems that will run me over, or I stand paralyzed. Both options are motivated by fear and insecurity. This WILL end in some failure in life and will bog me down with limitations and problems. This is the red path on the diagram below.
In the My Kids Therapeutic Parenting Community we specialize in helping parents be wise chicken. We help you learn specific therapeutic parenting techniques and mindsets that will help you not only manage your internal stress but also help you connect with your children in a way that gives them the best opportunity to heal. We would love to come along side you and help you be a wise chicken…are you ready to THRIVE as a parent and have PEACE in your family?
To get there you have to begin the journey, let’s get started!
By Stephen Luther
Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center
Licensed Professional Counselor and Therapeutic Parent Coach
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