Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Life Gets Messy
My poor children. They have grown up with a mother who always talked with them about her day at work. When they were little, I'd ask each of them about their day and then I coached them to ask me about mine. It was important to me that they learn to think of other people, that they practice empathy. It was adorable to hear a little voice in the car seat behind me asking, "Mama, how was YOUR day?" Most days I would say simply, "I had a really good day. Thank you for asking!" But as my children got older, we began having fuller and deeper conversations about our days, about our joys and struggles, about the people who lifted us up and the people who seemed to stomp on our hearts. We discussed interactions we witnessed between others and we became advocates for the underdogs. They learned early on that their mother released tension through tears. They developed my sense of justice and adopted my biases when ignorance, arrogance, or dishonesty got the upper hand.
I realize I am a serious and hard working individual but I also tried to model the importance of having silly spontaneous fun. When you can laugh with your loved ones at the end of a long hard day at work/school, it gives you strength for the next day. It also helps everyone to have a healthy perspective to better assess the challenges that will surely continue to surface in life.
A friend of mine and I have spoken often about the fine line between 1) allowing our children to be children and not burdening them with adult issues, sheltering their innocence if you will, and 2) gently and cautiously giving them an honest window into the world of adulthood, a place that can be quite disheartening at times. I am not sure what my children will think as they get older and go to make their own parenting decisions, but I can only say that I have followed both my heart and my head and in raising them all, I've tried to do what is right, not what is easy. I may not have always chosen the perfect paths, but I have tried to be honest with my children. That has caused things to get awfully messy at times but I'm okay with that. After all, it's often when life gets messy that we learn the most.