Do you allow your kids to grow, evolve, explore, make their own mistakes, have their own opinions and to carve their own path?
Most parents don’t. They impose their thoughts and expectations and demand that their kids conform.
I’ve learned that it is not what we say to our kids, it’s how we behave.
We could encourage them to think for themselves, but when they don’t share our beliefs, we challenge them or criticize them or get angry with them. We, over time, teach them to conform and unfortunately squash their spirit.
What works for one generation, may not work for another. More traditional parents believe that you are obligated to put in long hours, sacrifice, pay your dues, do as you are told and essentially be a robot at work just to get paid. That may have been appropriate in their time.
I personally believe that when you do what you are meant to be doing, living your purpose and using your natural skills and talents then your work would be a pleasure. It wouldn’t be painful. Of course, you have to put in the effort – but a parent’s concept of sacrifice doesn’t make sense in this scenario. What they needed to do to get by may not be valid in present times.
I also believe the best parents can do is share their values, their beliefs and model the corresponding behaviour. They also need to acknowledge that that is their perspective and to give their kids permission to explore their own preferences and beliefs. It is a gift we give our children.
I found my own kids would change almost every 6 months as they were evolving, gaining experience and maturing.
I was curious about who their best friends were, what their favourite food, music, TV shows, clothes, interests, etc., were.
I have always felt a responsibility as a mom, to share what my son would call my ‘reach your potential talks.’ I wanted my kids to know that I believed in them and what I saw as their strengths. I also did not hesitate to give my opinion if I thought they were harming themselves in any way.
As they became adults, I had to learn to let go and give them space. I worked at moving my messaging from telling to asking. From judging to being more curious. My kids are adults now, they are all on career paths and are evolving every day. I am still Mom, but I try to be more open and learn about them, who they are, what they believe in, what’s important to them.
They fascinate me. They make me smile. I am so incredibly proud of them and their uniqueness. I constantly learn from them. I am such a blessed Mama. Thank you Jennifer, Michael and Natalie – you fill my heart and enrich my soul. The depth of my love for you is more than I could have ever imagined possible.