The Struggle to be a Good Parent

Most of us, the parents, confront the thoughts about good parenting, day-after-day. Have I done enough? Am I making good decisions? Could I have done more?

All the emotions caught up in parenting has been found to be a mush of so many elements including personality types, past hurts, childhood experiences, circumstances, parenting styles, lifestyles …

What always astounds me, is the perspective that time brings to the picture.  When we start our parenting journey we are always seriously on top of our game! Yes, we start off vowing NOT to make our parent’s, or the other parents’ mistakes. We have a certainty to take this challenge, and correct all the wrongs we have suffered, by being extraordinary parents to our children. 

Almost always, these expectations blow up in our faces …

Yes, even those parents that might seem to have the most perfect children and lives, suffer the same fate. It is an utterly uncomfortable experience!

As our children grow up, instead of executing a well-thought-out plan, we are left to navigate the waters of children acting and reacting totally opposite to how we expected they will act. To understand them we must adapt to completely new generational viewpoints. Parents also deal with the whiplash effect of our own most annoying DNA parts being passed onto these little humans, while they hold our hearts in their hands.

BUT, as time move on and our characters build, we realize that this is how it’s supposed to be.

PARENTING: It is hard and unsure. It leaves you totally vulnerable and frustrated, but stays the most rewarding experience in your life.

Why? Because it was never supposed to be about our plans, our specific expectations and all the star charts we felt we must complete for ourselves during this challenge.

The whole purpose of this life changing journey called parenting; is to learn what it means to not just live for ourselves. To help us to understand God’s love for us. The love no parent can put into words.

That is it.

That is what parenting is about. You are not going to be the one who comes last in the “good parenting race”. You will reap what you sowed in love into your children’s lives, but the perfect parent award none of us win, because there is no such thing.

The writers of Education Matters gave these very insightful thoughts:

“Comparing, judging, feeling fear and guilt is totally unhelpful and unproductive. All the rushing around for our kids in a fiercely competitive culture is driving everyone crazy (kids and parents). Children from affluent families are 2-3 times more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress than children in poverty.

There needs to be more time and space to just be.

Perfection at work and at home is unachievable.”

(www.educationmatters.co.uk, 4 Jan 2019, What does it mean to be a ‘good enough parent’?)

Let’s stop wasting time on the unachievable and revel in the peace of being who we are for our children, leaving perfection behind.

Written by Johanni Meiring

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The 11 Super Powers of ADHD Children

Elsa Struwig (Owner, Elsa Struwig Centre for Trauma and Play Therapy) pointed out the following fantastic super powers of ADHD children.

It reminded me that we do not think about this enough!!

Here it is:

#1:  They have boundless energy!

People feed off energy.

#2:  Creativity comes easy

They make great artists, scientists and creative types. Their brains are naturally interesting and inventive.

#3:  They think differently.

They might discover the creative solution that no one would ever think of.

#4: They have an amazing talent for detail.

They actually have the ability to focus, their focus looks different than it does in other people.

#5: They rock the things they are passionate about with hyper focus.

#6: They have serious resilience.

Their talent for quickly shifting gears helps them stay resilient in life.

#7:  They are sensitive to others’ differences.

Since they are a little different and get what it’s like to feel this way, they understand when those around them could use a little empathy for their own unique characteristics.

#8:  They are spontaneous!

“Boring” is not a word that is usually applied to them. With a million ideas a minute, they are not willing to get mired down by routine.

#9. They are willing to take risks.

Taking risks is necessary for achieving big rewards – after all, one can only accomplish so much while staying in your comfort zone.

#10. They are enthusiastic!

Their boundless energy means they’re usually bursting with enthusiasm about the things that excite them. Is it better to go through life feeling super enthusiastic, or bored?

#11.   They have a world class imagination.

Many people with ADHD lead rich inner-lives, and are prone to long and deep daydreaming. They can use this imaginative talent to write incredible stories, dream up new inventions, or anything you want! The world is their oyster…

Remind your superhero of his super powers and see how you both start looking at life from a different angle.

Written by Johanni Meiring

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Dear Special Needs Parent, you know all about only surviving and asking all the questions we discussed in the blog above. It’s a hard and overwhelming experience! I wrote a book just for you. Yes, this book can help you to embrace peace and your purpose as an individual (not just a special parent) again. In Special Needs Special Life I discuss the 3 Keys which truly served as stepping stones from JUST SURVIVING to LIVING MY LIFE again. I know it can do the same for you! For more info click here

If  you want to visit our PARENT REALITY (Special Needs Parent Support) website click HERE

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Rest your way to Productivity

Does this title sound too good to be true? Or even ridiculous?

Unless you are a teenager, you might not agree that more rest will make you more productive. We have all have had our share of experiences in life and many of them prove that hard work pays off.  Until, well, it doesn’t, and you experience BURNOUT.

Let’s unpack the word REST.

Oxford Languages defines rest as to cease work or movement to relax, sleep, or recover strength. The word I like most in this definition is recover, in terms of living a productive and significant life, we need to recover continuously to be able to give our best effort.

In comparison, the definition by Oxford Languages for laziness is the quality of being unwilling to work or use energy.

The difference between these two terms is therefore noticeably clear, when you rest you take breaks from continued hard work, where laziness is motivated by being unwilling to work at all.  There is a big difference.

I just wanted to get that out of the way for those who might have thought I was talking about laziness … wink, wink.

If you would ask anyone who would like their hard work to count, they will agree that productivity is the gold standard if it comes to reaching our goals.

So what is productivity?

Well, in short, I would say that productivity is less input that results in more output.

Ironically, it is very seldom that this happens in our lives. It would rather seem that the more we do, the more we must do, and in the maze of all that we do, we seldom keep track of what effort reaps results and which does not.

It is at this point that I want to suggest how proper, healthy rest can move you productively forward.

The most powerful impact that rest brings to our lives is that it has the power to change or keep our perspective about life and all our responsibilities. Have you noticed how much easier you can solve a problem if you give yourself time to “sleep on it”?

Consider these advantages:

  • If you just sleep enough, you will avoid: “cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, impaired mental capacity, and poor motor coordination.” (Source: www.diet-healthinfo.com)
  • Setting a boundary between work time and rest time, will help you to permit yourself to stop now, and start again tomorrow.
  • Well rested and clear thoughts help us out of survival mode and back towards finding the joy and advantages in the work we do.
  • Rested minds avoid the “hamster on the wheel” mentality and when you sit down to work, you’ll make it count.

After all, is said and done, you will still have to choose between working incessantly until your body gives up, OR starting to manage your energy and recovery to live a productive, happy life.

I can write a whole blog on the different ways to rest, but for now, I would just like to leave this verse with you. I have found its message to be significantly true for me.

Matthew 11:28-30

The Message

28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Written by Johanni Meiring

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Wanting what we have in 2021

My experience of this new year, as for many of us, is different.

Every year when the clock turns from the old year to the new, I am compelled to write and put my thoughts, aspirations, and expectations into words.  Each new year is a clean canvas to discover with new plans, experiences, and people.

Where I usually am motivated with aspirations and changes, this time I have this strong sense of just staying where I am, sitting still and properly looking around.  This mindset is particularly hard for me, since moving around comes much more naturally, but God specialises in teaching me the uncomfortable lessons until they seem comfortable.

Thinking about the words and ideas for this blog, a confirmation came directly towards me in the quotation on the first day of my new 2021 diary:

“Happiness is not about getting all you want; it’s about enjoying all you have” – Unknown

I could feel the peace streaming out of this “unknown” person’s words.

It takes my thoughts to a vision of someone sitting on a chair, the chair of 2020, the person is ready to get up and move on, but a loving hand pushes him back gently into the chair, to sit there a bit longer.  There is nothing else for him to do than to stay and look around. His energy of moving out has been stopped and forced to be limited to the moment of just staying where he is. If he accepts the status quo it is much easier to tolerate being where he is and paves the way to peace, but if he resists this moment it causes an unbearable uneasiness from within.

In some way I wonder if the frustration of 2020, lockdowns, and the pandemic has impacted us in this way. We just want to move on, away from this chair, but we are forced to stay and look around. The resistance to sit and deal with our realities will indeed make this season unbearable.

But there is another way …

It’s when:

  • we choose not to resist our status quo and stop focusing on our limitations,
  • we intentionally open our eyes to what we already have,
  • we exercise gratefulness, and
  • we intentionally let these habits guide us towards wanting what we already have and not just merely live with the brew of indignation in our hearts.

We have all experienced the traumatic loss of freedom during this time, none of us can even remember previous years where this has happened before.

The fact remains we do not choose our circumstances, but we do determine our response.

Can you find joy and peace in your here and now? In 2021?

There might be more freedom in acceptance than you ever could imagine.

As for me, I am moving diligently towards wanting what I have and expecting great treasures in this uncomfortable place of sitting down.

May your 2021 bring peace, maybe more than you planned on having.

I end with these verses from God’s heart:

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Written by Johanni Meiring

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Even 2020 has to end …

Do you enjoy small spaces of breathing? Do you enjoy moments of sitting under a tree, or listening to the rain? Do you enjoy moments of celebrating the end of a year lived?

We lived through a pandemic year. Lot’s of surprises but time carries on regardless.

Your 2020 is ending and your experience can be ANY in a range of MANY.  Whatever that experience was, I want to salute you, because you are here to tell your story.  You lived, fought, laughed or cried through it. And still…We are here, we are here, we are here….” (From: Horton hears a Who!)

How do we enter a new year, if we’re not even sure how to end this one? There are still so many uncertainties ahead…

In the midst of all these questions the re-assurance of 2 Corinthians 12:10 (The Message) keeps me grounded and these words: “My grace is enough, it’s all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness”, help me breathe.

It reminds me that my efforts are good efforts, but not all I have.  That He sees my dedication, my passion and my will to succeed, but that is not the only outcome that determines my destiny.  Not today, not next year.  Sometimes I will succeed, and other times I won’t, and that’s ok.

How can that be ok?

Because He promises me that He is my hope and my salvation.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot save myself.  Only He can, and He wants to.

I believe salvation comes in many forms.  Yes, Jesus saved us from our sins our eternal gift.  Salvation is also applicable in many parts of my life.  He gives me salvation every day in my role as a mother, as a wife, as a friend or family member.  Only He can save me and carry me, and protect me, sometimes even from myself.

Dear reader I want to remind you that You really are special.  There is a purpose for you!  There is salvation for you in your moment of weakness.  Salute yourself at times. Count and celebrate the achievements others don’t see or understand.

We only have today.  Make it count, and be gentle on yourself.

The thought I want to leave with you is mercy.  If not for mercy, where would we be?  Have mercy on others, but also yourself.  This is the foundation of our salvation.

Find closure about 2020, it will help you move forward.

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for reading! It’s a pleasure having you here!

If you would like to find out more about Life Coaching  with Johanni click HERE

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Balance – The Proof Is In the Fruit

BALANCE. Such an extremely complex little word and concept.

If we draw balance back to us, and the way we live and raise our precious children, we are challenged. Well, I am definitely and completely challenged. To me it seems that having a strong, one sided opinion or approach to parenting, marriage, finances, medical treatment etc. is easier than to regard the other side of the coin…continuously.

Living a balanced life is hard work.

If I want to have balance I have to re-think my own opinions, regard others opinions, or any opposing facts to my opinions with open arms, and then I can make a balanced decision.

Only then can I say I have a balanced approach to life.

Interestingly, according to Adam Cash (psychologist and writer), the scientific method of proving that a theory is true; is to actually try to disprove the opposite of the theory. If I succeed in the last mentioned, the theory can be proved as the truth, if not, no truly proved theory.

How many theories do we live by on only hearsay basis and little experiential knowledge? Truth is, I cannot just blindly follow someone else’s opinion, I have to balance it out with either some kind of experience or considering the opposite end of this opinion.

After talking and praying and asking, this logical description opened up to me

Balance in life can only be identified in its fruit, or consequences. A well-balanced life often bear positive fruit of love and peace. For an un-balanced life, the opposite is usually true.

Our lives are made up out of different sections such as: our friends, careers or purpose, money, family, faith and many more. All of these sections represent a part of our functioning. As soon as one of these areas receive a significant, unhealthy increase of attention , a human challenge starts to develop. The fruit of our functioning starts to change. The fruit seems to have a negative influence on yourself, or on the people around you, or both.

If I work too hard, my family relationships will start to suffer and conflict or distance will result. If I spend too much family time and have no commitment towards work, I can lose my job and have no financial provision.
If my whole life revolves around my disabled child, my relationship with the other members of the family will suffer and create dysfunction. If none of my time are spent with my disabled child and all of the focus falls on the rest of the family, his unhappiness or malfunction will affect everyone in the family intensely.
If I find socializing as a means of escaping reality, my home environment will lose its value and fall apart. If I never socialize, and hide behind my home responsibilities I stand the chance of losing myself to such an extent that it will be difficult to find myself again.
The examples are endless.

I don’t think any person can think and behave balanced all of the time. Each person functions out of a unique mindset and approach to these different facets that make up our lives.
In my experience the human race has an inclination to function out of balance.

We aren’t robots. We learn, we feel, we win and we fight.

BUT if the red lights of negative fruits start flashing lets re-group and consider BALANCE.

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for reading! It was a pleasure having you here!

For more about my book SPECIAL NEEDS SPECIAL LIFE click on the image

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Perspectives

What is your expectation of a new day? Excitement or dread? Are you planning or avoiding?

I have a special feeling towards blank canvases, new pages and new beginnings. This stirs excitement in my soul an indescribable expectation for the new. There is also this nagging fear of disappointment, unfortunately. The combination of these two feelings results in a pause. Here I want to stay, not starting with the new so that I cannot be disappointed, but ending off the old to experience closure.

During our time at the coast, one holiday, the Lord spoke to me about my perspective on life. I hope your spirit will recognize this metaphor.

My life experiences and happenings can be compared with the sea. The water, waves and tides; is ever changing. The sea changes from hour to hour. It changes color, in movement and in depth, as my life does in every season, with every happening, circumstance and from hour to hour. The rocks on the beach and the rocks in the sea is a symbol of His continuous presence. The rock stands, immovable, undeniable. If the rock disappears beneath the tides and waves, the difficulties and challenges in my life, it still exists and stands, even if I fail to see it. He is always present, He never changes, His promises stand. The Rock of all Ages.

Beach sand has a different characteristic, it gets in everywhere, like our sinful nature always creeping in, finding ways to stick to us. The sand (sinful nature) sticks to us especially when we are wet with the sea water (the vulnerable state of living this life with its challenges). The sand can disappear with one spurt of clean water away from the beach. We can be washed, and it will be as if there wasn’t any sand or sin ever. Jesus redeems us fully and thoroughly. He is the Water we yearn for. The relief we have to look for to be washed clean, time and time again. The Water is available to us now.

This perspective gives me hope and security, a new look at my relationship with Him.

On holiday, we were between new people. These people do not know Emma’s story and it presented the usual challenges as we expected it would. Lots of kids around, the boys playing to their hearts content. Emma pulling away, not knowing how to play, and if she does, it only lasts a few minutes. The result frustration, boredom and hours of her just sitting without the motivation to do anything.

My default reaction on her limited social ability is worry. I worry about her future friends, or lack of. Her relationships, the non-activeness, and the list goes on.
Then the Spirit reminded me again: “Enjoy her, for her, imagine life without her, the gap you’ll have. I created her, as is. She’s your gift”. And my perspective changes.

I think about exercise and how I battle to exercise enough. The limited time, the lack of motivation many times. Then I remember: What if my body was lacking in ability and I could not exercise? The struggle I’ll have…and my perspective changes.

I’ve learned that in the big things and in the small things, our perspective changes everything. My perspective can condemn or bring life, it can bring hope or disappoint. I want to re-think my perspectives and look for the hope where I have been missing it.

New perspectives might bring relief in the most unexpected places, on this blank canvas called TODAY.

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for reading! It was a pleasure having you here!

If you would like to find out more about Life Coaching  with Johanni click HERE

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If you want to read more blogs click HERE

A Special Needs Mom’s Prayer

Lord I come before you today
You know my limits, those I forget about
You know my strengths, those I use to cope, and also forget about

Please help me remember WHO You made me to be
Especially on those days when my arms feels like lead next to my body
On those days when it’s hard to find hope

Thank you for my children, I cannot imagine my life without them
But show me how to still be me and not just their arms and legs
Help me live free in my heart and soul
Help me live the joy that is hard for them to understand

Thank you that there will be a day when our bodies won’t matter!

Amen

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for reading! It was a pleasure having you here!

If you would like to find out more about Life Coaching  with Johanni click HERE

If  you want to visit our PARENT REALITY (Special Needs Parent Support) website click HERE

If you want to read more blogs click HERE

His Complete Love

If only we could grasp God’s profound love for each one of His children.  Saved or not.

We constantly battle with the voices of the enemy and the world.  Voices that scream: “You are not good enough, you are judged, you are guilty….”

God’s voice which softly whispers songs of pure love towards you, longs for you to find Him.  A gloriously complete Person who yearns for an authentic, deep, and unconditional relationship with imperfect you. A magnificent Father who longs for His child. An indescribable bridegroom aching for His bride.

We battle to believe what is not seen, to accept what we have not experienced. 

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God,

You are none of what we’ve known. 

You are above our past and more than we can think or imagine for the future.

Our complete solution for eternity.

Help us understand how You love us day after day.

Help us live and breathe in THAT LOVE

because in that love everything changes…

Written by Johanni Meiring

Thank you for reading! It was a pleasure having you here!

If you would like to find out more about Life Coaching  with Johanni click HERE

If  you want to visit our PARENT REALITY (Special Needs Parent Support) website click HERE

If you want to read more blogs click HERE

‘n Skoon Kanaal

Dis Sondag en ons sukkel al vir ‘n hele paar dae met een van die pype in ons huis wat net eenvoudig verstop bly. Gister het die probleem egter ‘n hoogtepunt bereik, en vanoggend staan die skottelgoed dak hoogte. Geen water wat ons intap loop teen die regte spoed deur die probleempyp na buite nie.

So sukkel ons om die pyp skoon te kry met ‘n gekrap en uitgespoelery, maar die verstopping bly.  Ons weet wat sal werk om die pyp skoon te spoel, maar ons kon nog nie winkel toe ry om die apparaat te kry nie, so intussen karring ons voort. Dis ‘n morsige affêre.

Ek kon toe uiteindelik vanoggend by die winkel uitkom en ons oplossingsapparaat aanskaf.  In my gedagtes het ek bly wonder of dit gaan werk, en as dit nie werk nie hoeveel geld dit nou weer gaan kos om die probleem op te los (ons huis is nou op daardie ouderdom waar daar ‘n klomp dinge aflos speel om vervang, of reggemaak te word, sug …). Ten einde laas gebruik ons toe die towerapparaat en tot ons groot verligting stroom die verstoppende elemente uit die pyp, en die water kanaal na buite is weer skoon.

Met hierdie hele proses herinner die Heilige Gees my dat ons ook mos maar kanale is, wat die Lewende Water dra na buite en na ander om ons.  Net soos die pyp kan ons, stadig maar seker, verstop raak en al hoe minder water na buite kanaliseer.  Ons het baie tipes water wat elke dag deur ons vloei en elke nou en dan bly daar ‘n stukkie vuiheid agter wat ons nie noodwendig opmerk nie.  “Dis net ‘n klein stukkie, nie noodwendig iets om oor bekommerd te wees nie “, is wat ons dink.  Ongelukkig word hierdie klein stukkies net meer oor tyd, voor ons kan keer wil die pyp nie meer water uitlaat nie en alles om ons voel skielik uitplek en ongemaklik.

Die sukses van die apparaat wat ons gebruik het is die druk wat toegepas word in ‘n beperkte area, te same met die stof wat saam met die druk in die pyp ingespuit word. Die resep werk. Dit blaas vasgeslaande vuilheid vinnig uit aan die ander kant van ‘n pyp, en feitlik onmiddelik, na die episode, loop daar weer skoon water deur die pyp na buite.

Werk dit nie ook maar so met ons nie? Druk van buite is keer op keer nodig om ons skoon te spoel. Ons weet dat die ware karakter van ‘n mens vinnig wys sodra daar druk op ons toegepas word.  Druk so voor die hand liggend soos: Korona Virus finansiële uitdagings, ‘n werk sperdatum of ‘n geliefde wat siek is.  Druk toets ons reaksies, ons geloof en ons ingesteldheid. Wat ons fokuspunte ookal is, sal vinnig aan die ander kant van die pyp uitgespoeg word.  Dan sien ons ook baie keer self wat besig wat om op te bou in ons harte, sonder dat ons dit eintlik self besef het.

Toegepasde druk en ‘n skoon gespuitery is baie ongemaklik, maar die verligting om van ‘n klomp vuilgoed ontslae te raak is defnitief die moeite werd. Dit kan die swaar las op jou skouers verlig en jou vrymaak om weer asem te haal.  Met vryheid om te beweeg is daar meer plek in ons lewens vir ander se behoeftes, ‘n groter hand om oop te maak.

Kom ons kyk dalk na ons druk omstandighede deur ‘n ander bril.  ‘n Bril wat glo dat God ALLES ten goede laat meewerk vir die wat Hom liefhet, en dat Hy ‘n Vader is wat baie geïntereseerd is in ons karakter.

Kom ons vertrou dat Hy ons kan help om skoon kanale te word, al verstaan ons nie hoe alles in mekaar pas nie.

Kom ons sien uit na die ervaring om ‘n kanaal te wees waardeur Lewende Water lig en vrylik vloei.

Geskryf deur Johanni Meiring