Friday, October 25, 2013

Life's Longing for Itself

Every parent needs to remember regularly that your kid is both entirely and not entirely your fault.  I get stuck in this frame of mind sometimes where every time my child acts out, either in public or around friends, I think to myself, well, now everyone knows that I'm both a bad parent and have bad insides, and my kid is proof.

But reverse the situation, Momma. When you see other kids acting out in public, you think to yourself, gosh, that kid is tired/going through a phase/I totally remember my kid being like that.  You don't think, wow, what awful parents that kid has.  You just don't.  Very rarely do I judge a parent by a child's behavior, unless that parent is standing right there and takes an action I feel is either too harsh or too weak.  What I mean is, I tend to judge parents on their own merits, not on their child's behavior.

So why do I judge myself based on the behavior of my three year old?  Why do I assume that every failing of hers is a failing of mine?  I think it's a pretty common trap of parenthood.  We see so much of ourselves in our children we sometimes forget that they are fully independent beings, with their own growth curve and their own path to find.  That doesn't mean I'm not responsible for her, because obviously I am.  It's my job to raise her.  But it wasn't my job to build her from scratch, at least any more than physically.  As Khalil Gibran so rightly says:

Your children are not your children.
They are the 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.

That little sprout of mine has a mind of her own, full of her own thoughts.  And it's my job to encourage and enlighten who SHE is, not get caught up in thinking that I'm raising a miniature version of myself.  Besides, I love her herness.  It's what makes me want to wake up in the morning and see what on earth she will do and be like today.  

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