For the past several months, I've been really reevaluating my beliefs and have had to completely shift the way I think about certain things. This, especially, had a huge influence on the way I parent my 3 children. For a while, I beat myself up relentlessly because I thought I had really messed up and had damaged my children permanently. So, I started telling my son my new ideas and encouraging him to do the same... But wait! My beliefs would change again in a few days, so I had another set of new rules!
This really confused my poor son. He actually got sick for a whole month, and I just got more frustrated. This was clearly not the way to go.
After awhile, I came across this poem by Kahlil Gibran:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
The first stanza is quoted most often, but the second stanza was the one I needed to get. So, I evolved again. I learned that you can't "teach" your children anything. As soon as you try to do so, your ego steps in and says "I know more than you. I'm better than you." Your children will pick up on this underlying message instantly and feel that they are not good enough as they are.
Well, what CAN you do as a parent, then? #1, Be a good role model. You have to become the type of person you want your children to be. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Sure, there's no guarantee that your children will follow in your footsteps, but that's also the case when you pester them to do this and that. At least, this way, you've improved yourself in the process. And isn't that what we are here on Earth to do? To improve ourselves and not anyone else?
P.S. While this is the number one thing I've learned so far about being a parent, there are few more lessons I had to face. To keep the posts relatively short, I'll be tackling them one at a time in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...