5 Healthy Ways To Get High With Your Kids
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
When I read this line I think of how the term, “getting high” is so commonly used in our culture today. As a student of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), I know the real power our language has in influencing our lives. This leads me to wonder about the relationship between how we define getting high and the epidemic we now face with substance abuse disorder in our country.
Merriam Webster defines getting high as exhibiting elation or euphoric excitement.
By this definition, it seems this is a feeling we would all strive for and embrace; at least I certainly do. After all, isn’t that why we stretch ourselves as humans by reaching for the stars? Why else would we jump out of airplanes, climb Mount Everest, or even go on roller coasters?
Getting high is what makes us feel alive.
Referring to the use of harmful substances and behaviors as “getting high” gives it an allure that can seem very attractive to a young mind when, in reality it’s anything but.
I can tell you, as a man who battled substance abuse for several decades, ninety nine point nine percent of the time I was not getting high. I was numbing the painful feelings from thoughts that I had gotten to such a low point. Thoughts that began in early childhood and snowballed from there. Granted, there may have been a few times in the beginning when I felt elated but not many. Still, I have to believe, even then, there were many healthy alternatives I would have chosen, had I not been so young and naïve.
As a recovery life coach, I listen to the struggles that parents of addicts go through daily and I hear the common stories of guilt and blame that once suffocated me while trying to take that journey with my own kids. I suspect it’s the same ones my own parents went through with me during my years as a young addict as well.
-Stories of wishing they didn’t work so much and made more time for their kids during those years when their little brains were being bombarded with life’s tough lessons.
-Times when they saw the red flags but were just too busy doing “life” to pay attention.
-Or, even worse, they don’t have a clue where they went wrong because they did everything they thought they were supposed to do. They followed someone else’s blueprint for success and it blew up in their face. These stories lead me to wonder…
At what point, did we begin to define “getting high” as a toxic, irresponsible thing reserved for dope fiends and decide the better option was to work our asses off so we could provide our children with everything under the sun except the very thing they need most…US?
I’d like to take a stab at restoring a misused term to its original meaning by sharing some ways you can get high with your kids. Who knows, maybe you, too will discover that you like this meaning better and just maybe, it can save you and your kids from travelling down a much darker road.
1. Wake and Bake. Sit at the breakfast table each morning and share 10 things that each of you is grateful for. This is the magic bullet for shifting a shitty mindset into a happy, creative one. Give positive feedback while reflecting them back to your kids.
2. Choose a healthy activity that scares the crap out of one or both of you and JUST DO IT. There is nothing more exhilarating than busting through your fears together. Although it isn’t always possible, the buzz is so much better if you choose something that scares both of you and you get to break through it together. This gives you that lifetime bond and builds trust with each other. It also teaches them the true meaning of courage when they see you walking through your own fear.
3. Take turns spending an entire day in each other’s world. On the rare occasions I used to take my kids to work with me, they absolutely loved it. They could just step into it and use their powerful imaginations to feel the whole effect of the high. For me, it was much more challenging at first. I realized that I had to let go of a lot of pre-conditioned crap before I could allow myself to be present in every way. It’s a waste of a good high if you only show up in body. I don’t know the extent of the impact this will ultimately have on my kids but, learning to play again and think with the mind of a child has been one of the greatest tools to my own recovery.
Even at 57 years old, I’ll take a sand box over a bar room any day.
4. Connect your children with their heroes not just yours. Take them to the ball game, rodeo, NASA, or wherever their role models are. This seems like a no-brainer but often we only take them to our heroes so we can live vicariously through them. Listen deeply to them and discover the people, places, and things that get them high and plan a trip. These may vary in cost so you’ll have to decide whether you can afford it or not. I can tell you that there were many times I thought I couldn’t afford things at the time. Today I would love to take the tens of thousands of dollars I’ve given to rehabs for my children and travel the world with them. When weighing the cost, it’s important to consider the long term return on the investment.
5. Designate at least one day per month to do something new and different. I don’t know how many times I suggested something to my kids that they thought was lame and ended up having the time of their life. Choose things that are new for you too. Remember, you have even more limiting biases than they do. Include their friends and get crazy.
As I see our country going through this major transformation where corporate America is being replaced by the lifestyle entrepreneur, I couldn’t be more optimistic. I believe this will give us the freedom to return to that infinite wisdom in our hearts and reconnect with some long forgotten truths.
I’m not going to pretend that I know the meaning of life because I don’t have a clue. Perhaps it was always meant to be a mystery.
I do know that exhibiting elation and euphoric excitement, AKA getting high, feels good to my soul and doesn’t allow room for thoughts of putting harmful substances in my body. That’s a high worth sharing with my children.
And another thing…Regardless of how old your kids are, it’s never too late to be a good parent.
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