Since becoming the parent of three overnight, I have realized that, if I want to be a good father and husband, I must become an expert of sorts in the field of parenting. I must become Eric Granata, Professional Parent. This has caused me to look out for audio books and other resources that I can ingest during my work commute. One such book is Scream Free Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel.
Scream Free Parenting is less about how you can make your kids act the way you want them to and more about keeping yourself in check. How not to blow your top. I’m now on my second listening and I’ve decided that, while it is a parenting book, it could just as easily be a self improvement book. Take the following gem for example…One chapter of the book is called “Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First.” This chapter takes a look at the familiar pre-flight ritual of having the flight attendant demonstrate the use of the oxygen masks in case of loss of cabin pressure. We all know that if we have small children, we make sure our own masks are on and working before assisting them and others. But have you ever really thought about why? We need oxygen to our brains to function properly. If we deny ourselves oxygen so that we can help someone else with their mask, we may end up malfunctioning. To put it grimly, we may end up suffocating before we are able to help anybody and then they may suffocate as well. Hearing that hit me hard and it’s application is far reaching. Think about it. If you are not taking care of your own needs first, be they physical, mental or spiritual, how can you expect to help others with theirs? How can you…
- Teach your kids to control their emotions if you don’t take the time to learn to control your own?
- Council a friend who is having marital problems if you’re not investing time in your own marriage.
- Help someone with a broken leg up the stairs if you’re too breathless because you have not taken the time to hit the gym?
- Help your kids with their homework if you don’t invest in your own brain’s health.
It seems unthinkable, almost unethical, to do something seemingly selfish like take time and resources from other activities (playing with your kids, keeping up the house, errands, etc.) so that you can have the time to invest in your own health and lifestyle (going to the gym, reading a book, going on a date with your spouse, etc.). However, time does not create itself. You have to make it and that involves cutting time from somewhere else. Take the time to put on your own “mask”. Your kids can hold their breath while they wait for you, and you will be better equipped to help them with their own “mask.”