Hands Upturned: The Wisdom of Mick


Every year around Christmas time, my best friends and our families gather at our house for a holiday dinner, singing and celebration.  One of the highlights for the kids is their annual gift exchange of $10 or less.  As the kiddos wait expectantly to share and open their nerf footballs, bath gels and  iTunes gift cards, they can also plan on hearing what I call the Wisdom of Mick in the background, as he and the Stones remind them, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want!”

No you can’t.  Not when it comes to Christmas presents and certainly NOT, as we all know, when it comes to parenting!  It’s a song I love playing, not just for our kids at Christmas, but also in my Mindful Parenting classes when we talk about Acceptance.

There’s a wonderful story  I like to share from the book, Golden Rules, by Wayne Dosick.  It’s about a woman who plants a garden that blooms beautiful flowers in the spring but also blooms an abundance of dandelion weeds.  No matter how hard she tries, the woman can’t get rid of those weeds.  Finally she hears about a Zen Master who can help her with her problem.  He comes to her garden, looks around, and tells her, that the best way for her to solve the problem of the dandelion weeds, is for her to learn to like dandelion weeds!

Acceptance.  That inner orientation which acknowledges that things are the way they are, whether we want them to be or not.  How often have we been in those moments–standing knee deep and stuck in the dandelion weeds of parenting?  Maybe it’s the weeds of our spirited child’s challenging temperament (intense, persistent, active, or sensitive)?  Maybe it’s the dandelion weeds of challenging situations (10 minutes late to practice with crazy traffic?  Or a melting down child with three people ahead of us in the Target checkout)?  Maybe it’s feeling stuck in the weeds of the past, whether it’s our own imperfect childhoods, or last night, when we hurled hurtful words at our child when we were tired?

Acceptance.  Knowing that we can’t always get what we want.  But as parents, it’s  important to remember that acceptance is NOT the same as resignation or passivity. That just because we accept something, doesn’t mean we are powerless. Taiwan . And here’s where the Wisdom of Mick comes in again, going beyond that first line of the song, to the just as important second line: “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need!”

So accepting the weeds of my spirited child…why do I need that?  Because by striving to accept rather than resist my child’s true nature, I can help him channel his spiritedness into ways to optimize his success, while also seeing what accepting him, teaches me about myself, and MY true nature.   Acceptance also helps me become a more mindful parent by reminding me that I’d better have real clarity about the “why” behind the  boundaries and decisions I make, as they will undoubtedly be questioned and researched by my child.

And what do I need from life’s challenging moments?  It’s in situations like these, I can practice letting go and accepting that I can’t and don’t control everything, especially when it’s difficult.  These situations also give me the opportunity to reflect upon our daily schedule and demands and how they are influencing our family.  Maybe those traffic jams and meltdowns can help me see the need to become better organized or downsize/eliminate some of the things we are choosing to do?

Finally, acceptance of my past, whether 30 minutes ago or 30 years ago, helps me to see what I need to do for the future–how to learn from my mistakes, rewrite the scripts and internal dialogues going on in my head, take better care of myself when I’m tired, and model the importance and power of apologizing to my children when I do or say something I regret.

So if like me,  you need a little clarity  and guidance while wading through the springtime gardens of beautiful flowers and tenacious weeds blooming inside and outside our homes, I invite you to join me in this practice of Acceptance…with hands upturned and the Wisdom of Mick.


Mindful Parenting Playlist Song#3 “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” The Rolling Stones

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  • Susie

    Great post! I feel like this is a topic I will revisit a lot. =)

  • Mia

    That was a wonderful post Shaila. It’s the image of you with hands upturned and dandelion weeds around you with Mick singing that I will try to recall whenever I’m about to blow up at the kids.
    Miss ya. Thank goodness now I at least have your words of wisdom to visit and revisit. From home!! Thanks Shaila.

  • Vialegirl

    Oh yeah baby! You get what you neeeeeeed. I have continued to think of that often since our acceptance class.

  • Vialegirl

    Oh yeah baby! You get what you neeeeeeed. I have continued to think of that often since our acceptance class.

  • Jhund

    Wow, Shaila, when I read this, I felt like you were writing directly to me. Thank you so much for the words of Shaila and Mick here. Some days are more challenging than others. Some days I feel like I am a thriving mama of two (like yesterday) while other days (like today), I just have to try to breathe slowly and sometimes just get away from those dandelion weeds for a moment.