“To me it appears that every child, indeed every human being, for some reason, is continually striving to answer questions, to overcome difficulties, to solve riddles, and to develop himself in some degree towards a self-satisfying completion, the full achievement of his life purpose. No matter what may be the age of an individual, you will find tendencies which have their beginnings—if one may venture to use the phrase—in the dawn of life, and which, by their persistence, ever demand a development to a higher level.” (From “The Cause and Prevention of Neuroses,” IZIP, Vol 5, 1927.)
This idea – “The purpose of life, is a life of purpose”, has been a major theme in my life for as long as I can remember.So when I read Adler’s eloquent suggestion that every individual is in the process of identifying and then aligning themselves with a “purpose” it was enough to hook me on his entire philosophy.As a mother, Adler’s ideas served as my inspiration. This one quote was a constant companion when my children were still in their infancy.
Striving to answer questions
Instead of doing a survey of friends, books or experts, each time I hit a snag with one of my kids, I learned to trust myself – to quiet down before I began a frantic search for the right answer. Digging deep inside and challenging my assumptions about parenthood and kids and the world served me well. It still does. And it has provided me with the knowledge that indeed, within each of us is the answer to every question we will ever ask about our roles as parents.
To overcome difficulties
Learning to move beyond the momentary blip or temper tantrum or all out rage of the moment and trusting that, in fact, with time, and with patience, a way around or through or over the difficulty is presented. Making the space for this truth allowed me to “wait” to remember “this too shall pass” and to create a set of resources for myself that I would use over and over again in my life as a mother.
To solve riddles
Learning to ask inquisitive questions that led me in a new direction and looking at my child’s peculiar behavior as a puzzle instead of taking it personally, allowed me to step away from the drama, to activate my creative thinking process to tap into otherwise dormant quadrants of my brain and miraculously “see” the riddle, the puzzle and it’s solution.
These are just 3 examples of how I used Adler’s work and how, because of them, I was able to parent with a keen sense of confidence, enthusiasm, joy, and in some cases fearless abandon. As I reflect on my early years as a parent, I see that these ideas were responsible for my ability to develop clarity, wisdom, flexibility and compassion as a mother.
Being a mother requires courage.
Lately, I am hearing from a whole new group of parents wondering how I did it. How I raised kids the “Adlerian” way in such a successful and joyous manner. We all know that sometimes parenting from this perspective can be damn difficult. And instead of blathering on for weeks about ALL of Adler’s really cool concepts, I whittled it down to this one.
Today, I find myself awe struck, speechless, touched, tearful and joyous as I witness from the sidelines, as children everywhere, including mine, engage in the incredible journey towards a self-satisfying completion.
I was inspired each day to not only live MY purpose, but to support each of my children as they find theirs. I found the courage to turn away from popular culture and trust myself first until I tapped into this unyielding confidence in – me, my children and the world-at-large.
And now that I have opened up the topic of Adler, I will be posting regularly on all the delightful ways this amazing theory has acted as my silent partner in raising myself and my children to enjoy the magical and mysterious life we live.