There's this old poem by Rudyard Kipling in which he writes, “If you can keep your head when all about you/ Are losing theirs and blaming it on you/If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you/But make allowance for their doubting too… you’ll be a Man my son!” It’s a good poem. You’re probably read it in middle school. It’s worth reading again. The Jungle Book dude has a point.
Mindfulness may be the word of the day, a loose concept that marketers apply to everything in arm’s reach. But it’s also a real thing, a beautiful thing, and, for parents, an important thing. Because if we can’t keep our heads, our children will never learn to be adults. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy and it doesn’t mean parents don’t need advice. They do. That’s why Joshua David Stein and Co-Host Postell Pringle reached out to Roshi Joan Halifax, the famed anthropologist, end-of-life expert, and Zen priest. In the 33rd episode of The Fatherly Podcast, they speak to the holy woman at her office in Santa Fe’s Upaya Institute and Zen Center. Halifax calmly schools them on how to hold it together even when doing so seems impossible and discussing the limits (and, yes, there are limits) of empathy.
Ever had an angry outburst? Thought so. This is the episode for you. Because being good to others, more often than not, requires understanding how to be good to yourself.
This article originally appeared on Fatherly