Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pardon me, your Lack is showing...

I've written about children and their feelings of lack. I've written about my own struggle with feelings of lack that are rooted in my childhood. Now I'm going to write about your feelings of lack. I have gotten pretty familiar with your feelings of lack over the last year. They show up when you post on facebook, respond on group lists, and in your comments on blogs. When someone writes something that pushes your lack button you respond from your place of lack. Your lack speaks of your pain, your fear, your childhood, your grasping and your rejecting. Your lack tells others that you reject what they are saying because it makes you feel uncomfortable or judged or angry or insulted. Often when the person wasn't writing to you, and sometimes even when they do not know who you are. Your place of lack is deep inside you and when it takes control you are no longer able to hear what others are saying or respond from a rational place or take a deep breath before you blurt out a harsh and negative response. It clouds your perception of what others are saying. Walls that protected you as a child go back up. You have your feet planted in your personal place of lack, your arms crossed in front of you and you know, you absolutely know, that what the other person is saying does not apply to you or your life, or your children, because you can't have what they have, there isn't enough, you aren't entitled, or it just isn't possible because of all those reasons your mind replays over and over again.

"It must be nice to have (money, time, a husband, a partner, energy, the option, family near by who will help) but I don't so that's not possible for me."

You then seem determined to teach your children that lack is the natural way of life by creating it in their life.

"It's my job to teach my children that they can't have everything they want."
"I have to say no to my child because they can't have (junk food, plastic crap, unlimited screen time, the electronic game they want) because (they'll get cancer, the planet is doomed, they will become addicted, they will not learn the difference between wants and needs.)

Lack parenting says, "I didn't get what I needed and wanted as a child and now my child cannot have what they want and need." Lack parenting sometimes stems from a place of not being willing to admit that maybe we didn't turn out as o.k. as we thought we did, maybe our parents weren't as absolutely perfect as we hold them up to be. Maybe if we admit that our childhood wasn't perfect we will have to admit to the hurt, the injustice, the damage that we have bottled up and hidden in the dark, sad, scared place in our heart.

Do you like living in a place of lack? Do you like filling your children with your fears about the environment and the food they eat and the people around them and the scarcity of everything from love to fossil fuel? People eat junk food and live long lives, people eat healthy food and get cancer. To a young child the connection between the desired toy and toxic chemicals and fossil fuel is sketchy at best. Children who live in freedom, who can play computer games whenever they want, eventually end up playing for however long their personal interest dictates, no addiction involved. In life there are things your child won't be able to have (mine will never have naturally red hair) and we don't need to create scarcity or put road blocks in the way of things they can have if it is really important to them.

In my mind meeting everyone's needs includes meeting the needs of the planet. That's a huge leap, I know. When I am meeting the needs of my children and getting my needs met, we are also in conversation about the world around us. When we decided to get rid of our gas guzzling van and become a one car family again it had to be o.k. with the entire family. Our girls weren't excited about the idea at first. Feelings of lack came to the surface. We talked and more than that we listened. We discussed the oil disaster in the gulf and how getting rid of our van was a gesture of honoring the water and all the living things being affected. We decided that we'd donate it to the Humane Society because that way we were helping animals locally, too. While the couple hundred dollars we might have gotten through selling the van would have helped us, we let go of our feelings of lack and created a lot of positive feelings by donating it and making a symbolic gesture.

Imagine a world where everyone's needs were met. Imagine a world where everyone lived life following their passions and living authentically. Imagine a world where the joy and peace and bliss you feel when you are doing what you were truly meant to do is a common experience. You can live in freedom instead of fear, you can embrace the abundance instead of clinging to lack.

If you are reading this right now and thinking that I'm pointing my finger specifically at you, let me assure you that I am not writing this directed at any one person. The number of people who live in this place of lack that I am writing about, who cling to fear and feel that they have to teach their children to live from a place of lack is, unfortunately, huge. If you are reading this and feeling defensive or uncomfortable or angry then I probably am writing about you, I just didn't have you in mind at the time. Do you really want to raise your children from a place of lack?

Being raised with lack can lead to eating disorders, health issues, compulsive buying, seeking out unhealthy relationships, and addiction, just for starters. Growing up feeling that there is not enough of something can lead to trying to get more of it in the future: control, love, material possessions, food.

Being raised knowing that your needs will be met, that who you are and what you want in life will be respected, that your parents are on your side, have got your back, and are committed to enjoying the adventures along side of you leads to children who grow up feeling secure, confident, capable and understood. These children know how to get their needs met in healthy ways. They also know that everyone has needs and if we all pull together and get creative everyone's needs can be met.

If you are feeling the lack in your life it is time to get creative! Instead of saying "I can't" say "let's figure out how to make this happen." Instead of assuming you can't have the life you want, start looking for all the small ways you can begin to move in that direction. Instead of clinging to fear figure out what makes you feel empowered and start making a difference in ways that matter in your life.

And don't even think about saying "That's easy for you to say because your life is different from mine and I don't have...." Everyone has their challenges. If you come to challenges from a place of lack it is likely you'll feel trapped and defeated. If you come to challenges from a place of "Yes!" the challenge becomes an opportunity for creative problem solving. It becomes a challenge like a sudoku puzzle. The more you work on the puzzles the easier it becomes for your mind to see the paths and patterns that lead to solutions. I am raising my children to be puzzle solvers, capable of getting their needs met and finding solutions to the challenges in life.


  1. oopsy daisy - ya did it again Jenna way to go and, once again, i'm posting a link on my Monday Meanderings post

  2. Wow Jenna!
    This is so thought provoking. I try but I see where things in my childhood creep up and the thoughts that run through my head. I just want to snap out of it. I'm trying to find that place of abundance when things are lean, joy where there is pain or grumpiness. It's definitely something to keep working on :)

  3. Stephanie, it definitely is a journey :). I feel like this has been a big week for me in identifying and responding supportively to lack in my children and myself this week. I find it can be so much easier to respond with empathy, to be supportive, when I realize that the behavior (mine or a child's) is coming from a place of lack. And then we can move forward to figure out how to meet the need that caused the feeling of lack.

  4. Timely and thought provoking post. What often comes up for me in my parenting of my 5 and 6 year old girls is my own experience of lack. I try not to operate out of my lack in my parenting of them but so often as I wade into unschooling I find myself and my needs playing second fiddle and I can feel deep inside myself how this is not sustainable. I want my children to have their every need met and yet how do I get to exist in the relationship too when these needs/wants run counter to each other? Surely you have experienced this? What has been helpful to you?

  5. Kristin,
    Did you ready my post on "Personal Lack"? In it I talk about my own deep feelings of lack.

    The best way I know to meet everyone's needs is to proactively meet the needs of your children. Do everything you can to fill up their cups w/ love and attention and whatever it is they are personally needing. When they know their needs will be met it makes it easier for them to become engaged in some activity or to give you the space and time you need to meet your own needs.

    The other way to meet everyone's needs is to look for more resources. Who is available to do things with your daughters? I have a friend who loves to do things with my oldest because her own daughter is still young. She likes having a big kid (and now a teen) to do things with. This works well because I can stay home w/ my younger two who prefer to stay home and my oldest gets socialization she enjoys.

    And some times I just have to remind myself that the more I meet their needs today the healthier and happier they will be in the future. Then put on some happy music, or watch a movie that makes you all laugh, or create some fun food together and along the way continue to look for things that meet more than one need at a time :).