My angry self

“How can I catch my angry self before it catches me!?”

This is one of many anonymous questions posed by the 300 people who came out to hear Krista interview Sylvia Boorstein at a live event in Birmingham, Michigan last month. The theme of their conversation: “Raising Children in Complex Times.” Now in her 70’s, Boorstein is best known as a Buddhist meditation teacher and author. She’s quick to define herself as both a mother and grandmother.

We came away from this event with a big stack of question cards, many of which didn’t get posed because of time. Here’s a sampler:

Toughening kids

“Sometimes my husband will say - we need to toughen these kids up; they have to live in a tough world.  How do we balance teaching them kindness/gentleness versus being tough.”

Words of comfort

“What words of comfort can we say to our children (22 yrs) when faced with health issues. (Can be major or minor).”

Cultivating caring

“In a time of overbearing parenting and institutionalized narcisism [sic], how do we cultivate caring?”

Spiritual principles for 6-year old

“Spiritual principles for a 6 yr old.  My daughter is 6 — she asks many questions about ‘God.’  Other than modeling behavior do you have other suggestions on how to discuss spirituality when my spirituality is so abstract?”

Anxiety and parenting

“Growing up in an alcoholic family, and with anxiety as an adult, how does one manage anxiety with parenting?”

Looking at the anonymous cards, each one with its distinctive handwriting, I imagine a person on the other side with a longing for their question to be answered.

Which of these questions speak to you? And what responses would you offer?

Share Your Reflection



In all cases, meditate. Get to the center of your true self and the answers will become evident. How and what to say, and what not to say are in each of us. Meditation is just the tool we use to get to our library of wisdom.

6-year-olds are already spiritual. just nourish it.

The very first question (about catching my angry self ) --- speaks to me and issues I have with my own anger. I just replied, too curtly I think, to an email I received from a cousin bashing a religious group. Why could I not just have deleted it?

Try to keep the spiritual conversations practical with your 6 year old. Let religion be abstract.

I want to hear Sylvia's answers.

The 'toughen them up" issue is a perpetual source of conflict in our home and marriage. I have a son, 12, who has had several heart surgeries and may need more who also has dyslexia. We do not know what his world will be. How do we deal with this question if we are at an impasse in our relationship about it?

I think I got my resilience from the feeling that my loved ones would always be there for me, no matter what; ye old unconditional love and profound caring. Might be good for parents to think about where they got strength to keep going when things were rough. Everyone's experience is different and we don't know the future, but an honest look at our own experience might be a guide.