I think we have all had the experience of trying to do what others expect of us, only to find out they still were not happy with us and worse, we were even less happy with ourselves. Perhaps one of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them to understand what they want and to be able to communicate that in a healthy, responsible way. I have a feeling that might make for a much more meaningful life, with a better chance for them to get what they need instead of just parroting what others want to hear, as they have been taught.
I no longer believe that peer pressure is at its worst during teen years. I think that is the time we most fear that our kids are not going to do as we want them to, to think for themselves, to question the status quo, and we project that on to them. WE are actually the ones more interested in keeping them “like” all the other kids and some of their peers have just already been assimilated and are armed soldiers in that battle.
Help your kids be themselves. Don’t make it have to be a lifelong struggle for them like it has been for some of us.
I think back to when my father would come home and my mother would provide him with the list of all the bad things my brother and I did that day. I remember going to parent/teacher interviews were the negative list was so long and extensive and detailed I felt compelled to interrupt her, “I’m sorry, may I ask you a question? ”
“Do you like my child? Is there anything you can share about my child that is good or worthwhile? Because I am not sure you even know him. Let me tell you about the child I know ….”
And I did.
Then I went home and talked to my son about the wonderful things that were said (even though they came from me) and that we had some projects to work on together and we became a family team to deal with the 2 valid issues she raised.
The world has long made lists of our “faults” and our “failings.” We like to hang them from the moon to further punish people as if having “caught” them we prove they are worthless human beings. Failings are only a negative if we choose to see them that way, if we accept that they prove we are worthless human beings. Actually, they only prove we are human beings. Imperfect, but capable of greatness, even in the face of terrible adversity.
I wear my mistakes, my adversities, not with shame, but with pride. They made me who I am.
I am humbled that the same son, who has had unspeakable adversity in his life, spoke of his life in the same way. No shame, no guilt, just acceptance and gratitude for lessons learned. Fighting for ourselves, and seeing the good in ourselves, even when we struggle and no-one else does, is worth it. No problem can defeat us unless we tell ourselves that it has and then cloak our lives with shame.
I read this one several times.
I wonder, is it like “guns don’t kill people, people kill people?” Our eyes and even our vision are tools of sort. It is what we do with them that makes it something else. We take those images in and we weave the meaning through them. We create it. We do that.
Observing without engaging that process takes practice and mindfulness.
Do I see a mother doing a great job dealing with an out of control child or do I see a spoiled brat, a mother who shouldn’t have had kids, and someone who will never be as good a mother as I was because my children never did that?
I thought about religion and how we teach our children to look at things with fear. It makes them feel powerless. Something hidden in a box, that we must never look at, never see . . . has tremendous power over us. It is so much more powerful than we are that to even see it, it would … what? When my children were afraid of the dark and perhaps their closets or under their beds, we turned on the lights and looked in the closet and under the beds. We showed them that there was nothing there for them to fear. We sat with them in the dark and taught them they had nothing to fear from darkness.
Looking at something is power.
What you see when you look at something is where the problems lies. You make a decision to deny your own power. You make a decision to make God smaller and less than your fears.