If you're a parent you may well identify that raising children can be one of the most rewarding experiences that life has to offer. But it can also be the most challenging! There are times when it is almost impossible to remain calm - especially when everyone's emotions are running high. It is often during these 'trickier' parenting moments that metaphor has come to my rescue.
Metaphor captures the essence of our experiences and helps us understand ourselves in richer ways. When things aren't working so well for us, finding a metaphor that represents how things would work better instead can help to turn a situation around.
For example, a fellow Clean Language facilitator and author of Clean Language in the Classroom, Julie McCracken, once shared with me her metaphor for holding boundaries kindly and firmly in the classroom:
I'm soft and furry like the Honey Monster (only pink). Friendly, warm and comforting ... with a brick wall inside ... firm ... solid.'
The next time I found myself in the middle of one of my daughter's toddler tantrums I paused and thought to myself, I wonder what it would be like to be that Honey Monster with a brick wall inside? It was like clicking on a hyperlink to a state of calm and loving firmness: a shortcut to a much more resourceful way of managing the situation. I was able to focus on a way of being rather than desperately trying to remember all those parenting tips I'd read about.
How about you? What would your metaphor be for managing the more challenging moments in a way you would like to?