Meggan with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Sydney (and Kate!)
Parenting can be hard. And so it’s awesome to have some people out there who you feel you can turn to for support, support that you can count on and trust. Today I’d like to share 3 of my mentors with you and give some heartfelt credit to them, each who’ve helped me on my parenting journey in different, special ways.
I’ve not met Dr Solter in person, but I’ve read some her books and for me she totally rocks parenting. Of all the parenting books I’ve ever come across hers are the only ones I was strongly drawn to read. I’m so glad I was. They’re awesome. What she offers is a huge amount of practical, sensitive support.
One of the most valuable aspects of her approach for Simon and I was her attitude towards crying, which I was first introduced to when when I was pregnant and a friend suggested I read Tears and Tantrums. Solter’s big on how to be around crying babies and kids and how to help them release emotions. Her book The Aware Baby, (which sold over 150,000 copies worldwide) for example, looks at things like why your baby cries even when all her needs are met, what you can do when they cry and what kind of stress causes babies to cry.
Many people freak out when a baby or toddler cries and do everything they can to repress it. Anything to stop those tears. They might bounce the them, rock them, feed them, tell the baby to shhhh, beg them to be quiet, show them a nice toy or the bird flying by. Anything. But Solter believes that an ongoing acceptance of your child’s emotions is “one of the greatest gifts you can give him.” Babies need to be held and listened to when they cry and your job isn’t necessarily to stop the crying. Listening to and being fully present with a crying child and not distracting them might be really hard for you, especially if you’ve never cried in the arms of someone who loves you, but when you experience what affect this has on your kid you’ll think twice before squashing the expression of those big feelings.
Dr Solter is a Swiss/American developmental psychologist. She’s recognized internationally as an expert on attachment, trauma, and non-punitive discipline. She studied with Piaget, taught psychology at the University of California and her goal is to help create a nonviolent world in which all children are allowed to attain their full potential.
Other books that she’s written include: Helping Young Children Flourish, (which covers the age range from 2 to 8 years), Raising Drug-Free Kids, and Attachment Play.
She totally acknowledges that parenting is a difficult job and that we deserve recognition, information, and support. And why not! If you want to organise a lecture or workshop or have a consultation with her, you can email her at solter@awareparenting. com
Another amazing and most generous, loving woman – Marion Rose. She lives in Byron Bay and runs great courses for parents, mostly online. She’s very much aligned with Aletha Solter’s approach but has her own special touch and heaps of experience in parenting and helping other parents.
When Marion was pregnant with her first child, she came across Aware Parenting. After practising it for three years with her daughter, and seeing how powerful it was, she became an Aware Parenting Instructor.
I’ve been to a couple of Marion’s workshops and what’s clear is how she loves facilitating people to have more authenticity, intimacy, and joy in their lives. She loves connecting deeply with people and being able to contribute and make a difference.
One of the workshops of hers that I attended was ‘Playful Discipline.” It was great. I remember going home from that workshop and suddenly, through playfulness, being able to get Joshi to co-operate and take some homeopathic medicine which I’d been struggling so much to get him to do just before I went for the workshop. It may not sound like much, but I was desperate at the time because Joshi had really hurt his mouth falling down some concrete stairs the day before and Marion’s session really helped me, then and ongoingly. To get a feel for her work and what she’s up to you can watch a short introduction to Playful Discipline here.
If you want support with anything parent-related you can have an over-the-phone consultation with her. She’s awesome. She’s also an excellent writer and you can read a lot of her articles on her website. Check out here website here: www. marionrose. net
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Last but certainly not least, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose work, wisdom and love helps me every single day and I wouldn’t want to be parenting (or doing anything for that matter) without it! He’s my life mentor and has been since 2001 when I first did one of his courses in Zimbabwe, The Art of Living Course (now called the Happiness Program). It totally changed my life. I mean that.
Frequently referred to as “Sri Sri” or as Guruji, he’s a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation. He formed the foundation and all the courses, which are taught by volunteers, as a way of helping people be free from their stress. His vision is to create a world free from violence … and he’s doing an amazing job of it.
He’s no ordinary being. When he was 4 years old he effortlessly recited verses from the Bhagavad Gita without having been taught the text. When he turned 25 he went into silence for 10 days and conceived a simple breathing technique called Sudharshan Kriya, which is now taught in 152 countries (3000 cities) across the globe and recognised by WHO (World Health Organisation) for it’s health benefits. I’m one of millions of people who have done his courses. I’ve practiced the sudharshan kriya almost every day since the 6th of Feb 2001 when I did my first course and am so grateful for the benefits it brings me each time I do it. I honestly can’t imagine being a mum and remaining sane without it.
So, thank you Marion, Aletha and Guruji, for being 3 of my loveliest mentors. Most grateful.