|First Redskins game. Taking it all in...|
|Love that they play so well together. He's making her 'grow' by watering her.|
|Date night silliness!|
The type of boxes I’m referring to are the ‘boxes’ we perhaps ‘build’ around ourselves and/or the ones we love. Ultimately these boxes limit us in one or many ways. I'll explain what I've discussed with friends.
I’m a mother/parent so I’ll speak on this topic from that angle, but I'd guess the same realizations hold true no matter what your state in life. It seems to me sometimes and in some situations we parents can get caught up analyzing the results or consequences of the decisions we make for our family. It seems to me like we may have ideals and agendas in our mind about how life should go. What way is BEST for educating our child. What sport he/she will play or musical instrument he/she should play. Often these dreams we often have when our child is young and reality says these ideals could potentially put the child in a box. The ‘dreams’ we have of our childs success opinions could be getting in the way of our children being given opportunities for success.
Are you still with me? I believe our own parents helped shape our opinions, gave us opportunities and also potentially put us in a ‘box’. Our upbringing has an effect on the why's and hows of making decisions for our own family...whether we like it or not, and whether we realize it or not.
Maybe we like some of what we experienced as a kid, but want to change certain things in an effort to see different results which we may believe will be better for our own children. That’s all good and justified. For instance, say you were made to play the piano as a kid and you HATED it, but you were forced to do take lessons and because you hated it and were still forced to do it now as an adult you don’t want to make your kids play piano because by being made to take lessons you now have a negative reaction to 'making' your kids play piano. Or say you weren’t allowed to play a certain sport because your parents were fearful for your safety. Now, all you want to do is let your child play whatever he/she wants. In these situations you experienced growing up your ‘parenting’ was sorta getting formed wouldn’t you say? So, begins the 'box building'. It seems like the kid who is told ‘No football!’ or ‘You are going to be homeschooled until you graduate’ is being put inside the box built by you.
For my husband and I, we decided early on in our marriage that we would always be open to the wisdom and advice from those around us that we respect and know as friends and family members. We have taken our individual upbringings as well as some of the advice from others and we have tried to strike balance in our approach as parents. We try to direct our children to what we think is best for them based on what we feel is balanced and good. It is hard. It is even hard to write this out because each family is different and each parenting approach is unique. But think about it. It's worth thinking about. And ask yourself if you are REALLY listening to your kids? Or are you forcing them to think a certain way because you do? Has your upbringing shaped a negative opinion of something that really isn’t truly negative. And isn't there more than one good way to 'do' so many of these parenting 'things'. We need to realize that and REALLY believe it if we know it to be true.
I write this blog post in love. I've had several friend to friend conversations about this subject over the last 6 months. My blog post is a means of sharing with friends and even relatives (mainly my mom because I know she stops by regularly ; ) Hi mom!) I'm am not aiming to judge others, but simply to suggest we all look at our children and make sure we’re honest with ourselves. Are we connecting with each childs needs and desires and not imposing our own needs and desires on them. I believe our children will thank us one day for listening to their true needs and opinions and for allowing them to express themselves freely not just in their words, but in their choices. Of course our children need direction from us especially while they’re very young. And I believe when they are young we will make nearly all decisions for them. But as they grow up it seems to me they need to be heard more and need to be allowed to be the individual God created them to me despite what we may 'think' is best. Sometimes we need to try something with them we never thought we'd try in order to really 'see and know' what will be best for them. It is my vocation to love them and guide them- always praying for God’s wisdom along the way.
Aren't some of these parenting moments so emotionally challenging!?
What are some ways you and your spouse allow your kids to express themselves?
And how do you practice REALLY listening to their wants/needs and desires without first influencing their thinking?
Leave me a comment. After all, we're all on this parenting journey and we're learning as we go! I'd love to hear what you think.