One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to allow our children to be who they want to be.
I just read a post by Madisyn Taylor of Daily Om about that subject. It reminded me of that timeless poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran.
She wrote a great article. It raises some interesting points.
There is very little information about how to accomplish this non-attachment once our children leave home.
It’s not an easy transition. It wasn’t for me.
As we nurture our children from tiny babies into adulthood, we constantly have to adjust through the many stages of childhood. Hopefully, we gradually decrease our need to be in charge to allow their independence.
Ideally, we slowly release the reigns and detach.
However, once they move out on their own, a huge chunk of our purpose suddenly disappears.
Like death, it’s something you cannot prepare for.
This new position we are thrown into is very confusing, often painful. Even if we have a career or a business, we may feel useless.
How do we figure out what role to play in our adult children’s lives now without being overbearing and demanding? Or, God forbid, making them feel guilty for not needing us as much.
We want them to be independent, right?! But we also want to be part of their lives.
So…..What do we want to be? Who do we want to be?
How do we now fit in their lives?
I know I want to be supportive, encouraging, inspiring, stable. I want to be someone they can confide in, someone who listens without judgment.
Someone who gives permission when they want to try something crazy, life-affirming, unusual, out of the norm (We all need permission sometimes).
The Native Americans have a saying: “Let your children choose their own path and it will lead back to you.”
What I found was that I had to take a step back (or two or three) in order to do that.
- I had to let go of my belief that I know better. They have their own thoughts, their own inner knowing, which guides them.
- I had to remember being that age. We quickly forget how we thought and acted when we were younger. My stuff made sense at that time (to me anyway)
- I have to remind myself that my world-view is just that: Mine. Not everyone else’s. That means I work hard at trying to see and understand my children’s perspective.
- I make myself listen, really listen……so they feel heard. So they feel seen, which is what we all long for.
- Finally…sometimes, when I know that my input is valuable, I give it. Lightly, carefully….AND I only pursue the conversation when I see that it has fallen on fertile soil.
It’s an ongoing practice of mindfulness, since relationships are a living thing.
As always, I’m here if you need guidance or support on your journey.
Click here to read Madisyn’s article: http://dailyom.com/cgi-bin/display/articledisplay.cgi?aid=56783
|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,
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,
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
by Kahlil Gibran