No Matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime ~ James T. McCay
In these times, when we all are on pause, reset, break, whatever we name it, a forced break from chasing shiny stuff, each one of us is discovering something or other about self.
My most discoveries occurred from the space claimed as a natural expert by me (and by most parents) — space of JOB WELL DONE in nurturing our child.
Why shall I not have claimed, after all, I have given birth to my child, she is part of me.
Myth I have been protecting, to stay significant in my child’s Life always, as Rollo May says, “A myth is a way of making sense in a senseless world. Myths are narrative patterns that give significance to our existence.”
This myth got challenged, every day, one observation at a time, one reflection at a time, and set me on convergence from self to self.
Week 1 of being locked at home, my teen daughter brought a drawing to me like this. The girl was in pink with skin glowing bright & green leave covering her lips (I missed to click pic of that).
Like a good parent would do, I appreciated & encouraged her for such an excellent drawing. I also shared how my hand was nothing compared to this when I was of her age (which is the case today).
Her expression stayed cold, and she went back to her room.
About a week after, I saw the drawing lying under the bed, over the carpet, at the table, every place in her room where it can attract dust.
My natural blurt was, this is what you do every time, your interest never stick to one thing, that is what I feel so bad about, colors lying here & there, next time I find you coloring sitting over the bed and leaving room messy, I am going to throw the stuff in the bin, you hardly care for anything.
Thankfully, this time, I was mindful of my emotional swings because of working from home at a stretch, so it allowed the first reaction to settle and let the drawing lay abandoned.
Another few weeks passed, and She brought this piece of art to me, which developed from the same drawing I thought was abandoned.
I was amazed by her creativity and challenged my limitedness.
Behind every mask is a face and behind it a story.
The statement spoke straight, on my face, to all invisible masks hiding behind encouraging & appreciative parents.
It challenged my significance & role in her growth (and my development), one ounce at a time.
(1) Parenting is a delicate balance between being & becoming.
How cool we thought we were, my friends and I, cycling long tracks after school, painting big dreams in ours’s & other’s mind space.
With time on our side, we vowed not to be like our parents. We would remain forever cool, never abandoning our courageous, explorer, and “question authority” mindset.
- Being curious explorer child inside and
- Becoming wiser older like a tree laden with fruits
Yes! It is that simple.
Close our open compartments of brain spitting beliefs, assumptions & experiences, be in the moment, get curious to explore their world, which is more significant, intense, and amplified than ours.
The kids are all right. PARENT, let go of your need to be needed.
(2) Parenting is a learned skill and starts with raising self.
Until you change your thinking, you will always recycle your experiences.
It is easy to forget how we felt about assumptions & advice from our parents.
It is easy for me to forget a time when I hated my Aunt librarian, who, when I went for book issuance, commented on my brows and nose. I hated her all my years in college and secretly wished that someday a beauty artist would pluck her both brows.
I longed for my freedom and suffocated when I saw myself growing as my parents’ extension.
But here I am, raising teenagers, bemoaning the eye rolls, the grunting, the screen time, all these new apps, horror series over Netflix, and trying to figure out what it takes to keep interest stick.
Despite having limited views of their big world, which has expanded beyond school, home, and local parks, one thing comes clear is.
The kids are all right. PARENT, let go of your beliefs & assumptions.
Every generation thinks their generation knows and does the best way.
Every generation thinks their generation was the best.
I recall my parents muttering the phrase “kids these days” when I was a teenager. I sometimes find myself chiding my daughters about how much better things were in my growing up years.
While sometimes I am bewildered by what engages and motivates my girls, other times, I am genuinely confused.
There is real value in the way kids are navigating themselves through Life. They do not have it easy.
The kids are all right. PARENT, let go of the belief that you know more.
(3) What is the parent’s role then?
Well, in Nothing & Everything! The role is bigger & significant than what you think you have.
Behind every great kid is a mom or dad who is pretty sure they are screwing it all up.
Nothing, to ease her struggles of finding the story behind her thoughts
As Kahlil Gibran says,
Your children are not your children.
They are 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
Everything! when Parent drops the mask invisible & Nurture
Nurture them on life skills, partner with them to welcome, accept and receive; receptive to own thoughts, receptive to own curiosity
And, ask, not to assume
- What do you think?
- How do you feel?
- Genuinely interested to know about them, about their feeling, at the moment
- Expose them to possibilities even more striking, and be the wind beneath their wings, without being attached to results.
Be comfortable with feelings, expressions, and if the life of art they create is the just time to create and is abandoned after.
There is a lot in the world for young minds to digest. The last thing they need is to have parent painting their world.
In mindfulness, the most satisfying part for me (Parent) is not the result, but the process, that brings an evolution in my child’s thought process, clarity & creativity every single time, when
- brush meets new color or water, to deepen or subtle the emotions,
- pen screams feelings that have earlier fallen off deaf ears,
- and when young artists let it linger, to allow expression & experience to unfold.
We understand how dangerous a mask can go with time. We all become what we pretend to be
Drop your mask, get curious about
- their world of possibilities, and
- your world of what is coming in the way
- be FLAWSOME!