Friday, February 23, 2007

Zen and the art of Child Rearing

It’s the middle of the third quarter and the Lakers 4 point lead has turned into a 9 point deficit in the last 3 minutes. Smush is bringing the ball up looking to the sideline to see if Coach Phil Jackson is going to call time out. This seems like a dumb move since I know he’s not going to call it, the other team knows he’s not going to call it, hell the cheerleaders preening on the sideline know he’s not going to call it. Phil doesn’t call time outs in that situation because he wants the guys on the floor to work it out themselves. He has been like that through all 9 championships, 4 books, and countless wins so he might be on to something.

As I’m yelling at Smush through my computer screen Finn is screaming in the other room. It is close to midnight and Finn has been having a rough go at it this evening. I have been in and out of his room most of the night and he calms down for a couple of minutes but then winds back up. Kobe kicks the ball out to Odom for a jumper and 2 points and then the Lakers steal the ball and score again. They are working it out themselves just like Phil knew they would and I think I need a little more Zen in my child care. Finn needs to learn to work things out himself as well. I don’t need to call a time out right now and go soothe him, this is an opportunity for him to expand and learn how to soothe himself. So I watch the game and tell Kate it’s OK, let him work it out when she wakes up and starts to go to Finn.

After about 45 minutes of Finn failing to work it out himself Kate finally gets up, gives Finn his bottle and puts him back to sleep where he sleeps soundly through the night. In the morning Kate asked me why I let him cry so long and I told her about the Lakers, about Phil Jackson and his Zen coching style. I told her I was letting him work it out, not calling a time out, giving Finn the opportunity to see he had it in him all along. Kate rolled her eyes at me saying rather patronizingly “So your taking your parenting cues from a basketball coach now?” Then kissed me on my forhead and said “You’re an idiot honey.” As she headed off to bathroom I knew she was right. Then I thought: I wonder how John Wooden would have handled the situation.


jamie said...

Just remember that you are Finn's safe place, his protector and sometimes he just needs to know he is not alone and that there is someone who will save him if he is having night terrors. Ethan had night terrors and still does occasionally. But he calms in the company of his safe people and falls back asleep. Chase did not have them, not all children do.