Resolved to Love: Becoming a More Conscious Parent


In these early days of January, most of us have made resolutions for the year ahead. Some will last weeks or months, while others have petered out already. But every once in a while, we make a resolution that lasts a lifetime. However, those changes don’t usually start on January 1. Those types of transformations require a clarity and conviction rarely available to us in our post-holiday haze.

More often, it is in moments of crisis (though sometimes just out of the blue) that we have a vision of how things might be different, how we ourselves might be different, and how that difference just might change everything. And suddenly, more than anything, we want that change. We want to be that change. Suddenly, that resolution isn’t something we have to do anymore; it’s something we can’t help but do. We are resolved, no matter how difficult it is, or what the task asks of us. We change our habits and our way of operating in the world. We fail repeatedly, but we don’t give up. The vision of what’s possible holds us fast, because it really is that good.

In the course of my life, only a few resolutions have taken hold of me in this way, but I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

  • There was the resolve to become a birth mother, 26 years ago this month.
  • Marrying Tim, 23 years ago.
  • Becoming a Weight Watcher, 6 years, 2 kids and 20 pounds later.
  • Joining the YMCA, 10 years ago.
  • Writing as a spiritual practice and starting this blog, 9 and 5 years ago respectively.

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-8-40-57-amLast month, I had a chance to talk about one of these resolutions (or “course-corrections” as I think of them) on the podcast Contemplify. Paul Swanson, the host, asked me to reflect on a book that had significantly impacted my spiritual journey. I immediately went to my list of “greats” – Merton, Rohr, D’Arcy, Keating, Bell, Bourgeault – the people I have read over and over again. But no one book had inspired the type of metanoia, or complete and total shift that I was looking for. Though they have re-shaped the contours of my heart, their influence has been steady and incremental, more than seismic.

And then I remembered the last big resolution I made and the book that inspired it. In the spring of 2013, I came across The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. Keara had just turned sixteen years old and I was so far from the being the mom I wanted (and she needed me) to be. For all my spiritual work, my daily disciplines and practices, I had been blind to how I was failing to truly love the person (and all the little people in my home) who needed my love the most. I was loving them to the best of my ability, which is to say, not nearly enough. In that moment, I resolved to love them better, more fully and consciously.

It is a resolution I am still committed to, though I fail to keep it each and every day. My hope is that my kids see me trying and that the effort itself will inspire the grace and forgiveness we’ll need to grow old together in love.

That’s all I’ll say here about the resolution, because I hope you’ll tune in to the podcast. If you’re a parent, grandparent, or even have a few “parent issues” you’re still working out, I think you’ll find the podcast interesting and maybe even inspire you to check out the book!

You can download the episode on Itunes. It can be found under Contemplify, Epidsode 17.

Or listen at

Episode 17: Voicemails – Alison Kirkpatrick on The Conscious Parent

Few of you have had a chance to listen to my voice, or seen me speak in person, so I hope you’ll enjoy the alternate experience!




Leave a Comment

  1. you continue to be my mentor. Loved the podcast and have ordered the book for my daughter. Plan to share with my niece also. Thanks Allison. Also found the author interviewed opn youtube throuhg google search. She has a new book out this year which sounds like a complete course for parents called The Awakened Family. Thought we would start with the original. Thanks again. You are awesome. Lynne


      • I am looking forward to reading The Awakened Family though I am afraid it came along a little too late for us to put it into practice with young kids. I really do think the book was such a great start and awakening for me – helping me to see all the unconscious patterns that were hurting my relationships! I am so grateful for your notes and support, Lynne! Please send my love to your kids!


  2. Very good and thought provoking….sure wish i had read this book when you were younger…..ah, but it didn’t exist then! Too bad- that’s my opt out clause. We thought we were “setting standards” so the four of you would not be “slackers”;
    None of you are….so we are feeling pretty proud! Seriously, your part of the podcast was so good and made us cringe when we heard so many of the actions that we took were harmful to each of you. I think we are doing a better job with the grandkids….it’s surely easier and less pressure!


    • Mama – Parenting is always a work in progress and I hope you know how much I appreciate my upbringing! You did raise four great kids with great marriages who are raising grand kids in much the same way you and dad did. A little more softness and a little less attachment to being “right” perhaps, but the goals are pretty similar. Much love to you and Pops!


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