As a parent, the hardest thing I do is witness my children’s suffering.
Four months ago the Buddhist monk Ajahn Amaro—an elvish man with protruding ears, a wicked grin, and a British accent—came to speak in Ann Arbor. He spoke of three principles, espoused by an ancient sage:
1. Don’t push; just use the weight of your own body.
2. Don’t diagnose; just pay attention.
3. Don’t try to help, but don’t turn away.
Since then, I think of these principles regularly with respect to parenting.
As I said, I find my children’s suffering excruciating. So if they’re crying wildly, claiming people don’t like them, or they don’t like themselves, or they don’t like their lives, all I want to do is fix it, as quickly as possible. I want their suffering to stop, and I want the expression of it to stop. Because I can’t stand it.Read More