Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whose Pasture?

I'm excited to host today's guest post from Amy Phoenix of Presence Parenting, a beautiful metaphor for how to take responsibility for your own reactions when someone is pushing your buttons. Reading Amy's wise and thoughtful words always inspires me to do better and to be better. Please read to the bottom to learn more about today's guest writer.

Has someone ever gotten your goat? Any parent can relate to the fact that children know exactly what pastures our goats graze in... and how to wrangle them into jumping around quite easily. (Also referred to as pushing buttons, getting under the skin, and any other semblance of child created irritation or annoyance).

At first it may seem like it's the child's issue, and to some extent it does involve the child. The child is experimenting with attention and energy and highly charged goats are definitely of interest. Children are also looking for limits in the way of feeling. It's sort of like walking in a room with no lights or a blindfold – one must feel around to know where the walls, doors, and stairs are. For a child, life is like that except that it doesn't have to feel bad when a wall is bumped up against. The unknown or questionable can be perceived as friendly instead of scary.

That depends on the wall, though.

Since your goat, buttons, and skin are all a part of you, that means your child is providing you with an awesome opportunity: to love your own goat, neutralize your own buttons, and empower your own skin. (Notice I did not say thicken).

How does a parent go about doing this? In the moment, it's about realizing that any reaction you are having is yours. It's not that you aren't justified in it, but you can cultivate change and love in yourself and your family through backing up a bit, taking a breath (or ten) and see what the situation is telling you.

Simply by choosing to be responsible for your own goats, buttons, and skin you will begin to react less and love more. It all starts with you!

About today's guest writer, Amy:

Amy Phoenix is a gentle yet direct parent educator, meditation facilitator, and momma of five dedicated to liberating anything that gets in the way of experiencing the peace of the present. Amy provides inspiration and support to families committed to being the change they wish to see in themselves, their families, and the world at Presence Parenting.


  1. I have to agree. It always starts with oneself (life events in general apart from parenting), all about personal choices. The outcome of things will highly depend on how we choose to react.

    An analogy to goats is an interesting way to present it.

  2. Wow, that was great. I just settled in, expecting a long post, but there it was, just so simple and perfect. So I read it again. Perfect for me right now with our current stage.


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