Susan Stiffelman and Byron Katie appear together in the second of three sessions of The Work on Parenting. “In these webcasts,” Susan explains, “we discover how we can use The Work to step into a place with our children that is not fueled by our stressful beliefs and stories, the ones that disempower us as parents and keep us from really showing up for our kids.” “As parents,” Katie adds, “we can feel like such failures and experience so much guilt about the things we say and do to our children, and it’s always a result of what we’re thinking and believing.”
Katie uses the example of asking a child to take out the trash to illustrate how we can better interact with our kids when it comes to these common requests for their help.
April, a working mother, joins Katie and Susan to question her upsetting thoughts about being away from her children all day. The most poignant example for her is when she drops her child off at daycare and he cries. She feels guilty that she is choosing work over him. “He should know that I care.” “He should understand that I’m doing something important.” As she questions these thoughts, April begins to be aware of what separates her from her son.
Another mother, Cynthia from Hawaii, does a Worksheet on “Asher the nighttime crasher.” She is frustrated with her son because he won’t go to sleep on his own. After doing The Work, she finds, to her embarrassment and laughter, that she won’t go to sleep on her own.
There are many gems in this ninety-minute webcast. Don’t miss the opportunity for more freedom.
The Work on Parenting webcasts will continue with part 3 on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 at 10 a.m. PDT. For more information, visit http://www.livewithbyronkatie.com
Susan Stiffelman and Byron Katie appear together in the first of three sessions of the Work on Parenting. By way of introduction to the series, Susan explains how we can take what Katie has understood and apply it to parenting. Katie describes her experience of waking up to reality in terms of her relationships with her children.”Through inquiry, I came to see that my children were fine. It’s what I was thinking and believing about them that needed a little work.”
Katie uses the example of a child being at a party where illegal drugs are present to show how The Work untangles the confusion often experienced in dealing with these situations. “We inform our children how much they can tell us by how we react to what they share,” Susan says.
A caller from the UK asks, “How can I have a loving and mutually respectful relationship with my twenty-year-old son, who is impossible to live with?” Katie helps her to view this situation from a fresh perspective.
Kristen from Minnesota asks, “How do I give my children the individual attention they need, and how do I know it’s enough?” Katie guides her to fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and question the concepts she has written down. After careful inquiry, Kristen sees that she is the one who is needy, and finds great compassion and love for her son in the moment of his perceived neediness.
“If we argue with our children, we teach them to argue as a way of life.” —Byron Katie
The Work on Parenting webcasts will continue for parts 2 and 3 on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 and Wednesday, 27 May 2015 at 10 a.m. PDT. For more information, visit http://www.livewithbyronkatie.com
My children tell me what they want all the time. And I just hear them. What does that have to do with me? They’re just expressing their wants. Those wants are their property. I have mine, and they have theirs. When they give me their wants can I just listen, without thinking it’s about me? That’s what we all want from our parents: just someone to hear us and understand. We may think we want other things, but that’s what we really want — Byron Katie
“Whose business are my children? Their business! When we’re mentally out of our children’s business, we have a shot at happiness, and so do they, because finally there’s an example in the house” – Byron Katie
I did The Work with my students yesterday. During a journal writing assignment about parents, Trevor came up with the thought, “My parents are not interesting.” He shared that he felt frustration with this thought. I did popcorn inquiry with the entire class. When we got to the turnaround, “My parents ARE interesting.” Sweet Trevor was the first one to find something interesting about his parents. Today he came in and told me his mom was interesting last night because she told a joke. 🙂
In the fall of 2013 Linda D. and her eleven-year-old daughter Kate flew from Denver to Austin to see Katie. As the event was ending, Katie motioned to Kate, who then ran onto the stage and they walked off stage together. Linda soon found them sitting on a couch backstage, Katie’s arm around Kate as Kate told her all about school, friends, and interests. Kate said, “Kids need to know The Work, otherwise we’ll spend years believing things that aren’t true and suffering when we don’t have to!”
Linda came back to Denver invigorated, looking for ways to bring The Work to kids.
I’ve been working to find effective, creative ways to integrate The Work in my classroom for years now. As my teaching practice grows stronger, this integration is starting to materialize. (More on classroom integration later.) It just so happens that I teach not only in the Denver area, but in the same district where Linda’s kids attend school. Wow! On a weekend soon after she got back from Austin, we met for breakfast to talk about ways to bring The Work to kids… and Summer Camp for The Work was born.
We spent the next five months working crazy hard to design the Camp and get it ready.
We decided that the pilot would be free (kids “paid” with their feedback on each activity), and since it was free and served the community (nine of the kids who came were my former students) we were able to use my classroom and my school’s technology. Katie generously donated T-shirts and cloth bags for the kids. We put together camp binders and bags, got the classroom ready, set up registration, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 28th-August 1st, 2014 we held Camp.
Twelve kids came total (ten high-schoolers, one entering middle school, and one going into fourth grade). The week flew by as we played games and did The Work.
We began each day with name games and trust exercises, which they loved.
Throughout the Camp, insights flowed out of kids. During a partner facilitation, one girl questioned the thought “My sister shouldn’t call me chubby.” As she got to the opposite turnaround she laughed: “My sister should call me chubby. Maybe she was helping me watch my weight!” As part of the camp, kids wrote down their insights and new possibilities onto yellow sticky notes shaped like stars, and then taped them to a Wall of Possibilities. As Linda and I looked over the stars that particular evening, we saw “Maybe my sister helps me watch my weight.”
During another facilitation, a boy questioned the thought “My mother should buy me clothes” and with a generous heart realized “I should buy my mother clothes (or something she needs)” and also “I can buy myself clothes.” The independence and strength of spirit his turnaround left him with was felt by us all.
On Day 3 we made blue antennas out of painted headbands, blue pipe cleaners, and blue fuzzy balls. What if we heard negative or painful things people might say to us (or that we might say to ourselves) as if someone told us we were wearing blue antennas on our heads and we know 100% we’re not? (Thank you, Roxann, for this idea!) With the blue antennas exercise and discussion, kids were able to see that when someone says something negative, it doesn’t hurt until or unless we believe it. Kids LOVED this activity, and blue antennas kept popping up the rest of Camp.
Kids took their time filling out Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheets, and they repeatedly rated doing The Work high on their feedback forms.
They also got the chance to Skype with Katie, which they loved.
We’ve talked with some of them since the Camp, and they’re using The Work. One girl went to a funeral of a close family friend who had died. She said using The Work helped her feel less sadness and more love. She also said that when she got in an argument with her parents, she was able to see their perspective.
Here is feedback from their feedback forms:
“The top three things I learned are to change the way I respond, a better connection to myself, and to think things through in a different way.” – Elisa
“The top three things I learned are that you can be understanding with people, using The Work can help my family, and happiness is love.” – Sarah
“The top three things that meant something to me and that I learned were the trust building, learning that people might be going through the same problems as you, and that when someone tells you something [hurtful] it doesn’t hurt – when you believe it, it hurts.” – Isamar
“I learned how not to let my negative thoughts hurt me, how to view life from a different perspective, and how to question my negative thoughts.” – Ethan
Elisa also said she’d recommend the Camp to others because “it’s really helping me with some difficult decisions and is opening up my eyes to a more peaceful and less confusing world! I really enjoyed it and would like to come back and actually go more into depth with The Work.”
Linda and I are privileged to get to do this work. We are planning a weekend workshop this fall. Also, I’m designing much of the Camp into my first unit of the year (on identity), with all my incoming classes. We’ll end the unit with a video project, where students will take a thought through The Work and make a video. In fact, it looks like the entire ninth grade (over 400 students) will be making videos. (Exciting!!) We made The Work videos last year in my classes for the first time, and some of the students’ videos were incredible! Check out this girl’s video questioning the thought “I’ll never adjust to this change”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq7QLpitI7c
I’m working to integrate The Work into both curriculum and classroom management structures in authentic, creative ways that honestly reach teenagers and connect with best practices in education. If you’re a parent or teacher and would like more information or to connect, please email me at email@example.com or Rachel.W.Pickett@adams12.org or Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Linda and I would love to hear from you and share ideas. We are also researching the effectiveness of the Camp and The Work integrated into the classroom through scales (one we developed and some that are independently validated) and assessments, so if you have interest in research we’d love to connect.
If you’d like to learn more about The Work in Education, you can visit our website and the Summer Camp Facebook page.
A daughter believes that her mother will get sick and possibly die if she doesn’t become more active. By questioning this thought, the daughter begins to take responsibility for herself, and realizes that this is how she can have a happy relationship with her mother.
A woman who consistently argues with her son questions the thinking behind her side of the arguments. Through this inquiry she sees a new way to communicate with her son and finds the possibility of freedom for herself.
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A woman who is a recovering alcoholic does The Work on her beliefs about daughter’s lack of forgiveness. With the help of Byron Katie’s patient and incisive questioning, she comes to see that although the alcohol is out of her life, her deeply-ingrained denial of reality has persisted. In this video we see a vivid example of how The Work can help break through denial, as the woman acknowledges the turnaround “I won’t forgive me.”
I was at the UCLA hospital autism support group for parents. I am a positive person so I don’t always enjoy these sessions because most of the time, everyone is bitching about one thing or another. There was a mother that totally has it together, she has eleven kids (yep, seriously), runs a business herself, and she was sharing some of her amazing philosophy with the other parents, especially referencing one mom who looked like she was truly about to have a panic attack over her child’s welfare. I am eagerly listening because she is saying amazingly true things. Then she goes on to say that we should all buy Byron Katie’s books and our life and our children’s lives would be much better. 🙂 🙂 🙂 ? I had to tell you about it.