We can spend a lot of time in parenting trying to change our children, or thinking about how we could change our children.
You know, like when they are babies we hope and try to help them sleep longer or walk earlier or eat solid foods when they don’t care. As they grow and become toddlers and preschoolers, we hope they aren’t too clingy or too fussy or have too many temper tantrums. As they grow even older, we hope and try to help them with their tempers, their shyness, their this or their that. Then we spend time shaping even more of their habits so we hope that they will do well in the adult world. There isn’t probably anything inherently wrong in any of this; boundaries and guiding are part of parenting and so are hopes and dreams for our children.
However, sometimes it is easy to forget that our children are exactly who they should be! Sometimes children have traits that are just uniquely them, and make them so wonderful. Some children have traits that really do make it harder to parent, but will serve them so well in the adult world and the adult world needs them so badly.
Boundaries and guiding are beautiful things. Balancing things to help a child unfold is also a beautiful thing. But let us also never doubt the sun we see shining in our children’s eyes, and let us never diminish that.
If you feel like all you notice or call attention to are the bad things a child is doing, take a deep breath. Get a break from someone you love and trust. Or bundle everyone up and go take a walk together out in the sunshine and just reset. Do something fun and just love each other!
You are all on the journey together and becoming together. I hope to be sitting around years from now with my adult children and their beautiful families and I hope we are having a great time and laughing. Because that’s what it is about. The light that shines so brillantly in all of us that the world so desperately needs begins right at home.
So balance and guide, but never forget that your children are wonderful with all their unique strengths, abilities, talents, and love to share. Perhaps they are meant to be in this time and place. May we all grow and shine together!