“Are you the adult you want your child to grow up to be?” ~ Brené Brown from her book Daring Greatly.
Are we being honest here?
Because if we’re being honest, then – no, no I’m not.
I could hit the publish button right now and call this a post, but I’ve got a couple of things to add here.
From Daring Greatly – “…we should strive to raise children who:
- Engage with the world from a place of worthiness
- Embrace their vulnerabilities and imperfections
- Feel a deep sense of love and compassion for themselves and others
- Value hard work, perseverance, and respect
- Carry a sense of authenticity and belonging with them, rather than searching for it in external places
- Have the courage to be imperfect, vulnerable, and creative
- Don’t fear feeling ashamed or unlovable if they are different or if they are struggling
- Move through our rapidly changing world with courage and a resilient spirit
Now read every one of these things as a directive for yourself, like this: Embrace your vulnerabilities and imperfections. Feel a deep sense of love and compassion for yourself and others. Carry a sense of authenticity and belonging with you, rather than searching for it in external places. Don’t fear feeling ashamed or unlovable if you are different or if you are struggling.
I am becoming increasingly aware of how often my critical responses to my children are often reflections of my deepest insecurities. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I’ve made. I think I can control their future by making sure they understand just how serious all of this is. I admonish my son for forgetting to feed the cat, while remembering the time my parents left me in charge when I was fifteen, two years older than my son is now, and how I forgot to feed the horses and had nightmares for years afterward. I try to remember to phrase my sentences as – You forgot to feed the cat, what might help you remember? Instead of my knee jerk response of “Did you forget to feed the cat again? Why can’t you ever remember to do that?” Because, wow, there’s a world of difference between the two… and yes, I’ve said both. The first is when I’m being the adult I want my children to grow up to be and the second is the adult I hope beyond measure they never become.
I worry about what a neighbor is thinking when he asks how we are and my daughter responds with, “Yeah, baby Teddy can’t go on the pogo stick. Baby Teddy might fall and hurt his head. Baby Teddy will cry and have to go to hospital…” and then describes how the doctors are going to have to put a breathing mask on baby Teddy. I stand there feeling increasingly uncomfortable, because I care what our friendly neighbor thinks or because I’m afraid of what this might say about me and the things we put her through years ago? And even as I am writing this, I marvel at how she really was answering his question, far more honestly than I ever would dare.
The truth is my children are closer to the adult I’d like to be, but am not yet. I figure since my husband is hard at work figuring out the whole anti-aging thing, I’ve got at least as many decades ahead of me as I’ve got behind me to work on this goal. I’m grateful for that, really. I’m going to need every year I’ve got left.
“Have the courage to be imperfect, vulnerable, and creative”
“Move through our rapidly changing world with courage and a resilient spirit”
Yup, check. I got this.
Reflections in a puddle