Parenting as a Path

Program 227 • 29 mins


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With her husband Tom, a social worker, author Eileen Flanagan has raised two healthy, energized teenagers at their home in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. And for Eileen, bringing up a family has offered her a rich fount of life lessons about patience, knowing when to let go, and just appreciating the wonder and mystery of children. As a Quaker, she looks for the role of a divine higher power in orchestrating these experiences and providing endless opportunities to learn and develop her own spiritual journey. She wrote a powerful essay about the lessons entitled God Raising Us. In this episode, Eileen discusses her perceptions of the spirituality of parenting as well as reflections on the Serenity Prayer, on which she wrote the book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference.

Eileen FlanaganThere are some things we can control, and we should take responsibility for certain things, but there are a lot of things we have to let go of and accept that we’re not in charge. And parenting just seemed to be full of those, ‘I’m not in charge’ opportunities for letting go—I do believe in a greater spiritual force that we are kind of dancing with, and that opportunities are presented to us, and then we get to make a choice about what we’re going to do with them. Am I going to be gracious in that moment when I’m being given a patience lesson, or am I going to not be?”

—Eileen Flanagan, Quaker author


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