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11" x 14" acrylic on canvas

A huge part of parenting is teaching my daughter how to cope. When faced with difficulties, what can she draw from to help her cope? The same strategies we use to cope with "small" challenges help us deal with bigger tragedies as we get older. How she deals with a broken toy as a toddler helps her manage a broken friendship in gradeschool. Learning how to handle failure as an adolescent will hopefully make her able to manage setbacks as an adult.

But what happens if I don't know how to cope? What if my coping skills are deficient or not very productive? I think that's why I keep reading these "self-help" books. It's not that I neccessarily think I am "broken" in some way but, I want to find out as many different strategies as I can to help me deal with the worries, anxieties and difficulties that Life naturally brings. So, I can work through arguments I might have with my husband or co-worker in a way that is productive for myself but, also so I can share what I've learned with my daughter. I know that in the end her Life are lessons she has to learn on her own, but I don't think any parent wouldn't at least try to help their kids figure it out along the way.

As the year draws to an end, I can honestly say that each year I've gotten better about "dealing." I still lose it sometimes. There are days when I don't know what direction I'm going or when something in the news will trigger a sadness that is too deep and painful. However, I've learned to draw on different tools to help me cope. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I write. Sometimes I talk. I reflect and be honest about my role and complicity in whatever is making my angry. I try to be brave about forgiving and brave about being hopeful. I look for answers from others around me, but always take time to look within and be truly honest about what I want and what I need.

It can be a tough time for many during the holidays. I wish the very best for everyone this holiday season and for the years to come. And that if you are suffering or feeling unable to cope that you find solace and a way to be at peace.


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