I used to be a parenting expert–I had endless opinions about how to do it “right.” Then our son was actually born. From that first day, we’ve been totally lost. Dogen speaks of spiritual practice as “making one mistake after another,” the most perfect description of parenting I can think of. To have children is to be thrown into an unending state of “I don’t know.” It is the ideal place to see beginner’s mind–every time we figure something out, the kids change and change the game as well, leaving us back at square one the next day. It’s exciting and frustrating and fun, and even at its hardest, it’s what’s immediately in front of us. We might as well enjoy it.
When I was serving as the resident priest of the Anchorage Zen Community, I found, after our son was born, that he kept finding his way into dharma talks–suddenly, there was this person who seemed relevant to everything I was saying. I got a lot from that process, that backward step of looking at him and us and our home from a more objective place and trying to frame it in terms of a practice that was already such a big part of our lives. It helped–in short, that’s why we’re starting this blog, as a reminder to look through that lens and to continue that dialogue. This blog, I hope, is a way of exploring what it means to blindly, fully, enthusiastically take care of these enigmatic and crazy little people. It is not, by the way, a place to wax poetic about how enlightened children are and how we should emulate them. No. No, no, no.