All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open.… How can we give and accept care with strong-back, soft-front compassion, moving past fear into a place of genuine tenderness? I believe it comes about when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly—and letting the world see into us. —ROSHI JOAN HALIFAX quoted in
Brown, Brené. Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone
I remember first hearing these words in at the start of the chapter 7 ‘Strong Back, Soft Front. Wild Heart’ in Brené Brown‘s Book Braving the Wilderness and it really spoke to me when I thought about what was important and what I wanted to say about Special Needs Parenting and Caring. I just kept thinking that if we are going to make a place in our daily lives of true belonging for ourselves and those we care for, we are going to need to have ‘strong backs, soft front with a wild heart’. We need to be
- courageous as we abandon certainty, scarcity, fears of the unknown, numbing, perfectionism and move towards braving the wildness. Strengthening our back means facing our concerns driven by what people think. Perfecting, pleasing, proving and pretending get in the way of having a strong back.
- vulnerable and embrace uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We need to embrace vulnerability as it is the birthplace of love, joy, trust, intimacy and courage. And know that vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage. An armoured front does nothing to help either ourselves or those we care for.
- able to live our live in paradox. To be able tough and tender at the same time, excited and scared, brave and afraid. To struggle and experience difficulty but keep a heart that is open, living and strong.
Whether you’re a parent of a special needs child, a full-time carer or a volunteer at a local charity or school, most of us are showing up to ensure that people’s needs are met and their rights are upheld. But we’re also working to make sure that everyone gets to experience what brings meaning to life: love, belonging, and joy. These are essential, irreducible needs for all of us. And we can’t give people what we don’t have. We can’t fight for what’s not in our hearts.
Wildheart Parenting is a site focusing on Wellbeing and Self-Care for Special Needs Parents and Carers. Here I would like to create a safe place to help parents and carers look after themselves and through helping carers be able to also help those that they care for. We can not give to those that we care for what we do not have ourselves. We need to care for our bodies, our mind & spirit and create space for play & rest, creativity, meaningful work and study.
We also address some of the barriers that create disability in the lives of those that we care for. Here we believe in the Social Model of Disability and believe that these struggles these barriers created by attitudes, behaviours, physical and product/service barriers make the lives we care for more difficult. We will also be respectful of the rights, dignity and privacy of those that we care for.
Welcome to the journey …