Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were restful, even though I imagine that for some of you, the end of the holiday season may bring more peace and quiet!
I had almost three weeks unplugged from my computer and it was heavenly. I played around with watercolor pencils, started a crochet project, took long walks, and got lost in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books.
During my time off, I was able to see my tendency to push through obstacles. In many ways, this is a great quality which has led to wonderful opportunities and outcomes.
But sometimes, pushing is NOT what the doctor ordered. There are times when we need to accept the way things are, even if we believe that if we could just try a little harder, we could bring about an important change.
I see this tendency in myself when I push through fatigue, ignoring my body’s signals that it’s running on empty, only to end up depleting it to exhaustion. (I’m getting better about this, but it’s an ongoing challenge!)
But I also see it when it comes to parenting. How often do we come AT our kids with “helpful” advice, suggestions, or direction, pushing harder when they resist?
It’s not easy to know when to persist — trying new ways of convincing our kids to stick with basketball or improve an essay — and when to let things be as they are.
There isn’t an easy answer, but what I do know is that, as Lao Tzu so wisely says, there is much to be said for knowing when to yield. Or as I often tell parents in my memberships, “One who is most attached to a particular outcome has the least amount of power.”
Sometimes, our very insistence that a child should do something — even if it’s in their best interest — triggers their determination NOT to do it.
So this week, consider stepping back from a frustrating confrontation to honor your child’s “No” — without trying to change their mind. Interestingly, kids often come around to our point of view when they don’t feel we’re so invested in convincing them of how right we are.
Naturally, there are times when we need to assert our will, even if it upsets our kids. We do need to be that Captain of the ship!
But wise Captains sometimes sail around icebergs and storms, rather than trying to conquer them.
Something to think about, eh?