One of my life’s greatest joys is found in my children. I am so grateful that I get to be the one to raise them. I would do anything for them. It is through this strong maternal bond, that I found satya sneaking in. I have actually started to notice where my truth is beginning to impact my children’s lives. It impacts my oldest son the most, because he is at an age (6) where he is gaining independence, and at times, I feel that I know what he needs better than anyone. I believe that as his mother, I will be able to protect him. What I am starting to realize though, is that my truth knows nothing about his truth, and that even at such a young age, he has the ability to live his life in a way that is uniquely his own, and who am I to dull that spark? If I raise him to feel that who he is is better hidden, than I am doing so much more damage than he would making the mistakes we all make as we grow. If I were to tell him that he is to contain bits of himself in order to fit in or make a team, then I am telling him that he is not okay being exactly who he is. My children are young enough to be full of wonder and excitement with what life has to offer. It is the adults in their lives that can ultimately make or break them. Lately, I am consciously trying to make sure I allow them to just be.
Recently, we were debating on whether or not we were going to put our son through more hockey training this summer in order to keep him competitive with the kids he has played hockey with for the last two years. My husband and I really thought things through and thought if he really loved it, we would find a way to make it work. One day, I asked my son whether or not he loved hockey (like we thought), or just liked it – to our surprise, hockey was a like. We met our truth and realized that we were the ones wanting him to follow through with his teammates and really, he is just happy to keep on keeping on, no need for the pressure to be put on him through on ice training all year long.
You can see this sort of “ownership of truth” coming from caregivers of any sort (parents, grandparents, guardians) – we see this when families are going through divorce or an illness, when we have a life decision that needs to be made. We seem to think that because we know how much things can hurt, that we are best to protect our children and make decisions for them. What we are forgetting though, is that it isn’t our lives. Even a 4 year old can make important decisions for themselves. A lot of the times, what we think is causing them grief really isn’t.
We live is a society that has children over scheduled and over protected. Even though every loved one has their child’s best interest in mind, we need to be mindful that we are raising kids that can be resilient and make a life for themselves. If we don’t teach our children that life is full of ups and downs, and give them the skills they need to ride those waves, we are causing more harm than good. If our children never hurt themselves by falling down and get bumped and bruised, we are setting them up with unrealistic expectations. When we make decisions for them based on our needs and not theirs, we end up teaching them that they are unable to make decisions for themselves. When we rescue them from the consequences of their own actions, we are teaching them that they do not need to be accountable for their own behaviour.
When we raise our children, we need to take a good look at whether or not what we are doing is based on our own needs and what is truly based on their needs. As I look back and start asking my son specific questions, I have realized how many decisions were made based on the needs of my husband and I, rather than our children. Now, when I feel our children need something, I make sure to sit on it for a bit and really check in as to whose needs are truly being met, and I am surprised at how often it is mine. It has been a tough pill to swallow at times, but in the end, they are all that matters.