These simple words written by Poet Mizuta Masahide in 17th century Japan are now swimming in my head and helping me find new clarity about what's going on with our kids so we can help them.
“Barn’s burnt down, now I can see the moon”. Here’s where those words take me....
Parents find me because their kids are struggling and they've had enough. Medication doesn't feel like a good option, and the therapies they've tried might have hit a ceiling.
So they hunt.
They find me because they want a more whole-body approach to what they're seeing - the tantrums, the aggression, the anxiety, the skin issues and sleep problems, the hyperactivity and attention issues, the autistic symptoms and digestive pain..
They want to help their kids feel better, they want to enjoy their kids more, stop the yelling, end the stress, bring more calm into their home. Find confidence.
Honestly, what they really want... deep down... is to know, for sure, that they're doing everything they can to set their kids up for an amazing, healthy, productive life.
Of course they do. We love our kids with a force that is unimaginable.
But here’s the thing.... no matter what they're struggling with right now, your child is the moon; bright, glowing, reflecting, beautiful, whole. We just might need to burn down the barn so we can let them shine. Let me explain....
I know, on the surface it might look like something is terribly wrong....
They can’t focus.
They have aggressive outbursts.
They bang their head.
They can’t calm down.
They can’t get up.
They have bad skin.
They get overly angry.
They can't sleep.
They won't eat.
And don’t misunderstand me.... something is wrong. But what if we were to think differently about figuring out what that actually is?
What if your child is actually doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing? Reflecting. Being the moon.
Reflecting is what our kids do best. It's in their programming. It's how they learn. It's their instinct.
Krishnamurti said: "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
Think about that. Does it help you see your child's behavior differently?
To build resilient health in our kids and resolve their symptoms, we need to know what they're reflecting... what are they reacting to?
Is it too much noise, too much light, foods, people, energy, patterns, chemicals?
Are they reflecting nutrient deficiencies, microbe imbalances in the gut, the expression of genetic variants? Is it lack of sleep, constipation? Is something causing excess inflammation.... ?
Symptoms are reflections of stress. Stress is defined as: any intrinsic or extrinsic stimulus that evokes a biological response (so stress is a biological response just as as much as it is a psychological response).
Our kids are inviting us to tune in, grow and change. I know they can be hard to manage and are causing all kinds of stress right now for you, but we don't need to fix them; we need to grow with them. And that's where the barn comes in.
Growth requires a pairing down; it requires deconstruction and simplification. Growth is about getting to the core (thank you for that, Dr Shefali).
Growth is about dismantling the barn so you can see the moon.
Deconstructing and simplifying so kids can shine is really, at its core, what the process I call Raising Resilience is all about.
Once we consciously understand that what we're actually doing is dismantling the barn so we can see the moon, we actually see our children behind their struggles and diagnoses.
Raising Resilience is about getting back to the basics of healthy living and healthy connecting and healthy growing, and healthy learning - because our kids are demanding it.
Yes, I give you recipes.
Yes, I suggest some food eliminations.
Yes I teach you about supplements and testing options and biological pathways.
Yes I ask you to cook and try new foods.
Yes it's work.
But the inconvenient truth is, when it comes to healthy living, healthy connecting, healthy growing, and healthy learning... when it comes to what it takes to build resilient health in our kids... we've lost our way.
Once again, "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
And our kids are telling us that, loud and clear.
In the process of Raising Resilience I help families un-pack the biological, social and environmental stress that is contributing to symptoms. I help parents dismantle the barn so they can see the moon and, in the process, grow with their children.
There’s nothing wrong with your child. They are the child they were meant to be. I knew this as a teacher. I know this as a nutritionist. And I know this as a parent.
Believe in them. Tune in. Listen up. They’re trying to tell you something. They are inviting you into change.
Let's connect if you need support with this.
Burn down your barn so you can see your beautiful moon.
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Jess is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist™ and Family Health Educator, specializing in brain health & resilience for kids. She is the author of Raising Resilience: Take the stress out of feeding your family & love your life, a mother and an advocate for children’s health. Her book and online resources have helped families all over the world improve the lives of their children with learning differences, anxiety, ADHD, autism and mood disorders by fitting the food and feeding piece into their health puzzles. She is the 2019 recipient of the CSNNAA award for Clinical Excellence for her work helping families get healthier, and she continues to work at bringing an understanding of the power of good nutrition to the mainstream conversation about children’s mental health, learning, and overall resilience through her blog, courses and as a contributor to print and online magazines. You can reach Jess at www.jesssherman.com
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