3 Practices for Wonderful Parenting: Zen Cat’s Advice

Once upon a time there was a Mom who thought of her children as burdensome work. One late morning, she sat on a bench putting on her sneakers preparing to take a Bokwa Class. She said to the other women nearby, “This is the fourth week of school. The first week was only four days. The second week was four days. The Third week was four days and now this week they’ll be home on Friday again!!.” That afternoon, when her son and daughter arrived home from school, they walked in the door, dropped their book-bags right at the doorstep and instantly began to whine. Mom heaved a deep sigh of disdain and thought, ‘Oh God, six more hours until they go to sleep.’

On Saturday, it was Mom’s turn in the carpool to drive her kids and three other children to their soccer games and pick them up. She hated that it was her turn. She hated wasting her time on the sidelines, while they played. She hated the noise in the car and she hated the other kids even more than she disliked being with her own brood. Once she was finished with that chore, with her daughter in tow, she drove to the nearest Sporting Goods store to return some golf balls that had been mis-packaged. As she stood in the checkout line, she texted on her cell phone oblivious to her daughter who was whining and arguing about wanting something. In the next moment, her daughter swung her arm back and hit her mom square on arm making her drop the phone. Mom began to scream, “What’s wrong with you? Look at everything I’ve done for you today!! You’re such a brat! You’re so ungrateful.”

That following Monday, Mom raced back home to get there before the school bus arrived. Her seven hours of freedom had just ended. Though her heart was heavy, she busied herself with online shopping, waiting to hear the bus turn the corner outside. She became lost in her web browsing having never been distracted by the sound of the bus, and when she looked at her watch it was five o’clock! The children never came home. “Oh My God, Oh My God!!“ She called the school and no one answered. She called the bus company and no one answered. She called her husband. She called the Police. She ran out into the street crying uncontrollably.

Just then a large tiger cat, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, was curled up on the grass next to the curb. The cat looked up at her and Mom locked eyes with the cat. Then, the strangest thing of all happened, the cat spoke. “I see that you are crying.” Though in that moment it seemed incredulous to have heard a cat speak, she unwittingly heard herself respond, “Did you take my children, she screamed?” The cat, very slowly and quietly said, “I did not take your children but I know how to get them to be returned to you.” Believing she was hallucinating from the fear but desperate enough, she screamed again, “What do you mean? You had something to do with this!! I’ve already called the police!”

“Just be calm, said the cat, and listen carefully. Take a deep breath and look into my eyes. I will speak when I know you are calm and can understand what I am saying to you.” Mom stared into the cat’s green eyes. She immediately felt a calm come over her. She felt the breeze blow against her blouse and face. She smelled the grass that had been cut next door. Time and motion seemed to slow down. The cat spoke again. “You must remember and practice these three rituals every day.” If you promise to do this, your children will be returned to you.” “Of course, she submitted. I would do anything to have my children back.”

The cat sat up poised for the important message it was about to impart. Mom was mesmerized.

  • “First, you must thank the Universe every day for your children. You must express your gratitude for having children who are alive and well.”

  • “Second, you must be Present with your children. By that I mean that you need to be aware of their every word, movement, emotion…moment to moment. Drink them in. Rejoice in their life force, which is part of your own. Be one with your children, moment to moment. Notice their experience and tell them that you have done so. This is very re-assuring to children.” Narrate their play like a sports commentator. When children are informed that they are in the cocoon of your awareness, they feel safe, secure, loved and validated.”

  • “And last and most importantly, glue this question to your forehead and refer to it at all times. It will guide you to parent perfection always. It is, ‘The Mindful Love Question’: “How Can I Show My Child Love at this Moment?” If you always have that question at the forefront of your mind, moment to moment, you will constantly be affectionate and praiseful, when your child has done something to please you. If you always have that question at the forefront of your mind, moment to moment, you will be able to quietly and calmly turn and walk away with disappointment, not anger, when your child misbehaves, which is the proper thing to do. Consequences can come later. But that is another lesson.”
  • “Do you understand?” “Yes, she replied.” Just then Mom heard a car’s engine and as she looked up, she saw a familiar sedan pull up to her driveway. The back doors swung open and her children bounded out onto the sidewalk. “Oh My God! There you are!! I was so worried!” She immediately hugged and kissed her children with tears in her eyes. A woman behind the wheel unrolled her window and said, “Didn’t you remember? They had the afterschool activity and I was picking them up.” “No, I forgot. But I will never forget again. Never.” Mom took her children each by the hand, and walked to her front door. Her children walked calmly and quietly as they entered the doorway. Mom looked back. The cat was gone.

    Mom stared into her children’s eyes. “My goodness. You both look hungry. Why don’t we all go to the kitchen and scare up a small snack to eat before dinner.” The kids were compliant under this umbrella of newfound attention. Mom thanked the Universe for her children and was Present with them. She filtered all of her children’s behavior through the ‘Mindful Love Question.’ The children settled into peaceful and secure temperaments. The house was filled with love, even when there were broken dishes and bad choices. Mom was calm and aware. And….They all lived happily ever after.