As animated, thinking, feeling, energetic beings, we are innately powerful. How we use this power affects our overall energy and health, as well as the energy and health of those around us. I often find the metaphor of the elements helpful in assisting me to channel my power constructively vs. destructively. We as parents, are the guardians and guides for our children. We mirror for them the characteristics of self-control and discipline. If dad is punitive and domineering in his delivery of a “consequence,” then Johnny learns that lesson. If dad is fair and consistent in his use of power, Johnny grows up learning those lessons. When reviewing the qualities of each element, it is easy to overlay these qualities in real-life situations. For example, when the earth becomes too hard (fear, stubbornness, inflexibility) the antidote is water to soften things up (sharing of emotions, connection, re-directing the flow of energy).
When Amanda stubbornly refuses to cooperate by putting away her toys, dad can stop, spend time connecting with her in that moment, reflect back to her what it appears she is feeling and help her re-direct her energy more positively. Dad can say something like, “You don’t want to put your toys away right now. You are having too much fun. You’re trying to pretend that you didn’t hear me.” Amanda “feels” dad connecting with her and also hears him mirroring back what she is feeling. Dad continues, “I bet we could make putting away these toys a fun game. Who can put away the most toys the quickest, you or me? I bet you I will win.” Dad re-directs Amanda’s need to continue the fun, keeps his connection by participating with her and helps her to do what she is asked to do. Everyone wins. The balance of power remains intact and Amanda benefits from the wise guidance of such a loving parent. If, however, dad becomes angry and begins threatening (fiery), the heat of his anger will only (harden the earth) and increase the stubbornness. A power struggle will ensue. Using airy energy in this situation to plead or cajole would probably have minimal or no effect, the message falling on “deaf ears.” Using the logical higher reasoning of ether to reach this child is probably beyond her ability to process and understand at this point and will also have little effect. Approaching each situation energetically ensures success.