This is less about children and more about you. No matter where you are, what your age, what your religion, or what your life looks like, life is complicated and also simple. This is all about parenting and nothing about parenting….because good parents are good people. Yes, good individuals. And I believe we should all work on being good, being better people.
Sometimes the identity lines get blurred when you’re a parent. We dedicate a lot of time and identity to our children thinking it makes us good parents. And, in some ways, we are partly responsible so we do deserve at least a little credit for our children success stories. Should be celebrate their accomplishments? Yes, of course!
But, what about their failures? Do we take partial credit for those too? Well, sometimes we are less likely too want to take credit for those!
Recently, I have met a therapist who has been teaching me, sometimes reminding me, of some basic life skills and a mindset that leads to a fulfilling life. Lawrence has been helping me sort through the way I process problems and think about the world. He’s also been teaching some philosophical principals like these 3 beliefs or tenants that lead to peace and love:
These are concepts that we all have heard of but often times don’t put them together, or at least I don’t.
When we face the truth, accept that things are the way they are, even when life is not the way we want it to be, and choose to live with that truth, we feel more content and find joy more easily. We tell others the truth when we tell them how we really feel or what we really want. We live in truth when we accept the mistakes of others, recognizing that those we love most aren’t perfect, or that we ourselves aren’t perfect. We honor the truth when we are brave enough to face up to our mistakes or the mistakes of our children. I have always honored the truth above all. Without truth, there’s nothing else.
Then, accepting the truth is the next huge challenge because life isn’t always what you want. When we live in wishing something was different, we are not accepting the truth. When we stay in anger, we are not accepting the truth because we are stuck in wanting reality to be different. We accept the truth when we are realizing that our expectations may be different than those around us. Accepting the truth in the world, or accepting the way things really are, is hard! It’s letting go of wishing and wanting.
Finally, we have to remind ourselves that we have choice. When we don’t get our needs and wants met, or someone has been dishonest with us, or someone has done something differently than the way we would, we can choose what to do. We cannot choose for them, even if it’s children. It’s better to let them choose how to handle problems, allowing them to take responsibility. It may take some coaching, talking, and teaching, but we have to let others to make their own choices. And, we have to make our own choices and not rely on others to make them for us.
With our children, our spouses, our friends, family, and others, we are only responsible for our own choices. Do our choices influence others? Yes. Do our children need guidance? Certainly. But, at the end of the day, we show our children through our actions. They observe and often repeat what they see.
There are parents who don’t want to accept the choices their children made. They make excuses for themselves and their kids. These adults are living in denial, wanting the truth to be different. Then, we stay angry and annoyed when we don’t see the results we want. That’s not a fun way to live.
What’s worked the best with my kids is holding them responsible, having realistic expectations, and then being pleasantly surprised when they exceed expectations. In fact, it seems like kids grow and succeed more when you nurture and don’t pressure to achieve. Kids want to be successful; we all do. Allowing room for imperfection in ourselves and others leads to growth just like pressure may lead to doubt, rebellion, or lack of confidence.
And when it doesn’t come easily, and it often doesn’t, rely on others. Take shelter in the Lord, friends, and family. I believe God will bring peace into our hearts and make decisions so clear if we remain open. We must be patient and kind to ourselves. Take moments to reflect and pause for help.
Today is more about being a truer, braver, more joyful person. Truth, Acceptance, and Choice. For ourselves and for our children. Working the truth every day.