Balance the Swing: Be the Pend to Your Child’s Lum

I recently connected two figurative dots.  Dot One: I have a need for someone to help balance the occasional wide swing of my creative gifts.  Dot Two: Children have the same need.  Conclusion: We all need a Pend to our Lum.

Here’s the way I see it:

When a child is overly withdrawn, upset, wound up, sad, excited… that child is swinging wide. And in that state, a child rarely has yet the skills needed to self-regulate.  So when we as adults with all good intentions (or, admit it, exhaustion) add more of the same to their current state, they swing farther.

When a child in your care is swinging wide, a good approach is to counter-balance. Calm to stormy. Joy to gloomy. Gentle humor to sadness. Hope to despair.

I apply this to my own life: My right-brain strengths of creativity, imagination, encouragement, impulsivity – if left to wholly free-range – can run wildly amuck. I tend to swing wide when I’m in a creative season or space. My enthusiasm has a way of taking over. And at an extreme, that’s not always a good thing. To be successful in what I do, I need a check of pragmatism and relativity.

I need a counterswing.

I’ve learned the importance of having a Pend to my Lum. A Pend is someone who, with all the right and trustful intentions, keeps your Lum (your swing) in check – who has the God-given intuitive gift of knowing when it needs to be evened, encouraged or countered, and how to accomplish that for the best possible outcome.

Suffice it to say my work would not be my work without my business partner, Paula.  Together, we make a great pendulum, each swinging into our gifts while being kept in check by the other.  There’s a good rhythm to it.

And today I realized how that rhythm is really what children need and desire, too. A child who is free to run with her gifts, her expressions, her worldview, is blessed indeed. But secondary to that freedom is the need for an adult to help her learn to regulate when she’s swung too far.

By being a counterswing, a Pend, for our children, we can help them experience during a wide swing how it feels to be drawn back into a more safe and even balance via a countering perspective – and we can help them begin to learn that technique for themselves. It will serve them well, for themselves and others.

Years ago, when we moved into our home, I sought out a pendulum clock for our kitchen.  One that chimes on half hour, the way the clocks in my grandparents’ houses would do. It’s just one of those comfort items for me.  But lately, more than the chiming, the pendulum brings me peace. Because it’s taken on a significance for me: a reminder of the importance of balance and a steady swing.  And the need for a Pend to my Lum.



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