Deep Roots: Growing Resilient Families
Endeavoring to raise healthy humans at this time is no small task.
Our families are not insulated from these pivotal times - many are feeling the tension of trying to stand steady while the sands are shifting beneath our feet.
We are being called to raise our awareness to new levels, to see with Eagle eyes, and equip ourselves with the right tools to build the world we most want to live in.
The tools we used to get to this point are not the tools we need to build the future our children deserve.
There is no one right map for each family to follow, but thankfully we still have access to the most-wise guide of all – Mother Nature.
How exactly will the guidance of Mother Nature help me to navigate toddler tantrums, my own temper, the world of social media and video games, the incongruence around parenting styles with my partner or the myriad challenges inherent to the terrain of raising a teen, you ask?
Come, let’s explore together…
The ecology of your family system is not unlike that of the forest or coral reefs – it’s also comprised of many interwoven and interdependent relationships. Some are obvious, like the relationship between parent and child. Others might be a bit harder to tease out like the relationship between the non-living elements of the home, and the external influences coming from the workplace, school, community, and society at large.
Our family systems are complex woven webs. In optimal health they functions to support our growing connection and resilience; in this state it’s easy to take for granted, or simply not even notice the bedrock that supports us. Remove one rock in the foundation, or strand in the web, however, and we become acutely aware that something isn’t working. The symptoms often become harder and harder to ignore while the root – literally – cause of the situation can be hard to identify.
Symptoms of a weakened family foundation might present as:
difficulty connecting with your child; knowing what they need, or how they are feeling,
angst and heartache caused by incongruent parenting styles between partners,
lack of cooperation between family members.
frequent, unproductive arguments that seem to drive a deeper wedge between members of the family.
a persistent feeling of being out of alignment with the way life is being lived, but not knowing what to do differently.
swinging from trying to control your children to passive parenting and feeling like neither one works.
Beneath the forest floor, out of sight from the human eye, is the very web of life that supports all the above ground beauty we see and feel as we walk through the landscape. The health of the forest depends on the health of the underground root systems reaching, in many cases, deeper and wider than the above ground branch structure and canopy.
There is, indeed, more than meets the eye to any thriving family or natural system.
The roots of our families are ultimately that of connection. There are many names we can give to these expressions of connection, such as: open and honest communication, aligned values, cooperation, peaceful limits, healthy boundaries, joy, gratitude and play to name a few, but they all boil down to connection.
So what is this thing called connection?
Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment, and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.
If you’re thinking to yourself “yeah, that connection thing really isn’t happening in many areas of my life right now.” It’s not your fault -it began long before you were born, before your parents even. We carry the scars of historical trauma, disconnection passed down.
Epigenetics shows us in scientific terms what we’ve known forever: patterns of relationship and response are passed down from generation to generation. We also now know that we are not stuck just tolerating the way it is, or accepting it as “just the way it’s done”. We have the power, and neuroplasticity, to mend the fragmented strands in our complex, interdependent web of connection.
We can cultivate our legacy of love and pass along ripples of new patterns and ways of relationship that will have a positive, healthy impact on not only our own children, but also all who they come into contact with in their lifetime and the many generations beyond.
We begin with the foundation of family; learning the practices to nourish the root system that supports all else. We are shifting the paradigm of relationship from one of power-over, authority and control, to one of connection, cooperation and relationship-with. By nourishing the root system first we allow for healthy upward and outward growth with the resilience to bend and sway rather than snap or topple when the storms inevitable with a growing family move through.
If you feel called to delve deeper into the practices of nourishing your healthy root system through cultivating connection in your family, you can learn more about Family Foundations below.