The 5-Minute Solution
The scene: I was working diligently at the computer in my home office when my 2½-year-old daughter, Willow, approached my desk and grabbed a pile of 4x6-inch photos that I had carelessly left within her reach. These pictures of our older daughter and a friend had been sent to us by the friend's mother, and replacing the pictures would have been inconvenient if not impossible.
Given Willow's developmental stage - where "looking" at the pictures might include folding, ripping, and coloring them - I reacted from fear and stood up from my desk to rescue the photos from the wild-child!
Sensing that I was about to thwart her will, she quickly toddled to the other side of the house. When I caught up to her, she realized she was cornered, and she half cowered against the wall. She looked as if she half believed that her will alone would stop me from using my superior size and strength to remove the photos from her possession.
And maybe it did.
I stopped in my tracks and witnessed my thoughts. Damn! I just want to get those pictures away from her so I can get back to work. I don't have time for this!
Then I looked at her eyes. Fiery and defiant, yet vulnerable and afraid. Something in me shifted and I really saw her. I saw beyond her defiance to the beauty of her fire. And I surrendered. Not to her will, but to the will of Life Itself, which was and is so alive in her! My body relaxed, my mind came unstuck, my heart opened, and a simple solution floated gently into my awareness like thistledown on a breeze.
"Would you like to look at the pictures with Daddy?"
She nodded slowly as the tension visibly drained from her body and she willingly handed me the stack of pictures. I kneeled down and she stood next to me while I flipped through the pictures. She asked me "What's that?" about fifty times, and I answered, fifty times.
At one point I noticed my beloved child's soft hair snuggling against my shoulder as I spoke. I became acutely aware that I would now be listening to her cry had I not been graced by that shift in perspective.
In five minutes I was back at my desk... Five minutes!
Five minutes of surrender to Love averted who-knows-how-many tears and who-knows-how-much loss of trust?
Those five minutes bought me a whole afternoon of inner peace and a warm heart.
Scott Noelle is a parenting coach and the author of The Daily Groove: How to Enjoy Parenting... Unconditionally! Through his website, EnjoyParenting.com, Scott offers a variety of tools and support for leading-edge parents. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his partner, Beth Noelle, and their two children.
Copyright © 2002 by Scott Noelle. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted With Permission.