Updated: Feb 24, 2021
As parents, and people, we bring our expectations to every situation, and that can cloud our vision from embracing what really is.
As parents, when we found out we were going to have a child, we envisioned their lives, admit it, we all did it. For some, we thought we were going to have a future athlete, a model, a doctor, a cancer curer, a lawyer, or an actor. Our child was going to be super successful, they would have the golden touch, with plenty of fame and fortune and loved by all. Who wouldn't want that for our children?
How did that turn out?
Don't get me wrong, we all love our children, but do we accept them for all that they are, or do we continue to judge them against what we hoped they would be?
How do we react when they show an interest in something that we don't understand? Do we even try to understand them, trust them, see them for what they want? I was thrown a curveball when my son decided that he didn't want to go to college and wanted to be a carpenter. He felt college wasn't for him, construction was. So instead of freaking out, insisting on college, and forcing him to do it our way, we bought him power tools. Like many kids with a new toy, he focused on them for a few months, built a couple of cool things, then started to apply to schools.
How do we feel when they make decisions that we don't agree with? Do you shame them, berate them, guilt them? My 15 yo daughter worked with her guidance counselor to make her school schedule. Against our guidance, she thought it was best to fill her schedule with no breaks, not even a lunch. Just straight through classes from 7:20-3:00, with no breaks. She's a strong student and she figured it would be easy. Well, 2/3 through the year and she has learned her lesson. She knows she took on too much, the work is tough, the nights are long and the sleep is minimal. She needs a break, and next year's schedule will be sure to include them.
How do we support them when they choose a life that we don't accept or even wish for them? Do you embrace them, accept them, love them for the whole person they are? Let's say your child gets the courage to share that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. You were thinking that one day you'd be walking her down the aisle or holding his child in your arms, now that's all changed. Instead of focusing on the negatives, why not look for the positives. Your child is brave, they are open and accepting of all, they know who they really are, they are honest, and they can teach us a few things for sure. These are gifts, these traits to focus on, to embrace, and to love, unconditionally.