LOVE, NO MATTER WHAT

I came across this insightful and thought-provoking TED Talk and wanted to share this with as many people out there as possible (and with Mina when she’s older, of course)!

You don’t have to be a parent to find his talk moving and compelling, only human. “Diversity is what unites us. … [T]he experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love.”

Another quote with profound meaning to me: “Love is something that ideally is there unconditionally throughout the relationship between a parent and a child. But acceptance is something that takes time. It always takes time.

This distinction he made between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance was an aha moment for me.  This distinction is something I knew by experience, by living through the pain of nonacceptance from my family; but something I was never able to make sense or articulate.  All I managed to do through it all was LOVE.  “LOVE, NO MATTER WHAT,” as his title says.  Yes, indeed.  And in the end, almost miraculously in my eyes, my parents have come around to accept me and my family for who we are.

Now, seeing that fine line and separating the two gives me an odd sense of security and relief.  I’ve arrived here: a calm understanding and compassionate resignation that acceptance from those unwilling will take time, on their time.

There is a lesson here for just about anyone willing to listen and give the next 23 minutes a chance.  Profound meaning is here, wherever we are; but only found to those who are open and present.  Both his books, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression are on my reading list now!

“Andrew Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children, but also find profound meaning in doing so. Solomon’s startling proposition is that diversity is what unites us. He writes about families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, who are transgender. While each of these characteristics is potentially isolating, the experience of difference within families is universal, as are the struggles toward compassion and the triumphs of love Solomon documents in every chapter.  Woven into these courageous and affirming stories is Solomon’s journey to accepting his own identity, which culminated in his midlife decision, influenced by this research, to become a parent.”

Andrew Solomon Bio on TED

andrewsolomon.com

BRAIN POWER

I came across this fascinating, insightful, thought-provoking video on Facebook. In moments like these, I am in awe of the power of social media (thank you, Students Rebuild!…you really never know who you’re reaching, whose minds you’re growing!). This 10-minute film echoed and reaffirmed many of my thoughts I’ve shared here on parenting and mindfulness, like another nod from the universe.

I will pay attention to the tickled glances and coy smiles, take notice of the petty annoyances and profound nuances, and pause to interact with loving intention, attentive adoration. I will fill each day with meaningful exchanges of love. Because “every interaction counts.”

Favorite quotes transcribed here:

“As we said, a baby is born with 100 billion neurons, but those quadrillion connections, they’re not there yet.  Those connections [in a child’s brain] form at a very rapid speed during the first five years of life, at 700 to 1,000 new synapses per second.  Those connections are created through every interaction a child has, and are important because they form the architecture of the brain.  So every time you talk to and engage with a child, you are literally growing a brain; connecting the different parts of the brain, which allows for new ideas, insights and creative thinking.  So each moment of eye contact, each new word exchanged, each time you make a child laugh, you are strengthening these connections [in that child’s brain].

So how do we nurture both these growing interconnected networks to set a course for a better future? By paying attention to what we are paying attention to. Attention is the mind’s valuable resource. Every interaction counts.”