What Everyone Wants

Hi all,

This week I am struggling with the notion of how we can create healthy well adjusted children, that will be able to take that into adulthood, and have what they need to find their way well.

This week my family is struggling with how to help one of it's members who is truly having a horrible time. I will not share the specifics, but suffice it to say that someone I love dearly, is truly in a lot of pain.

With those two things said, I am going to try and say what I think. You know, parenthood is a truly an all consuming love. I think that the idea of loving unconditionally is what I am speaking to. I have talked about how overwhelming it feels when you bring that wonderful new baby home, and how totally unprepared we all really are to understand what is asked of us as a parent. I do not think parenting is for wimps! To truly love someone unconditionally, you have to be very strong and very able to set yourself aside and do what is best for your child. That is the part that goes on and on and on throughout life! I am realizing this more, not less with each year that passes as my children have become adults.

Parenting does not end when your children are grown, actually I would say that is when the real hard stuff begins. When our kids are little we can usually make them feel better and take away the pain they are in. As children grow and enter into the different stages of growth and development it gets harder. We can not solve the problem of a child who is struggling to figure out where and who he belongs with in High School, we can not solve the problem of a horrible roommate situation in college and we can not choose who are children pick to marry. What we can do is sit next to them, listen to them, provide guidance if they ask for it, and just, just love them. That is what gets really, really hard. We can not fix, solve or eliminate the challenges that our children face. We may want to do that, but we can't. What we can do is be there.

What do I mean by "Be There"? I mean be available, present and open. Open to listening to what children have to say, present so they know that you care, and available to them whether it is actually in person or on the phone. I share with my good friend Debbie one of my favorite phrases a lot.." We have two ears and one mouth for a reason." And I think that is it. As our children grow and are confronted with the challenges and pitfalls that will come their way just because all humans deal with challenges, our job is to listen, sit next to them, demonstrate that we care, and that no matter what they are confronted with, they do not have to go it alone. I think that might be the definition of unconditional love... Be there, be present, do not judge and listen.

What everyone wants is for our children to be happy, successful adults. People who feel valued and are valued. Helping our children achieve that, means we have to be there for all of it. All of life, not just the fun parts, but the hard parts. I think that in doing that, we help our children find their way well. Find their way into adulthood and find their way through adulthood. No ones path is perfect, I know perfect does not exist, but find a path that can embrace excellence. Excellence in problem solving, excellence in being flexible, excellence in knowing that no matter what struggle or challenge our children go through, that they can and will find their way. We can not solve the problems that will confront our children, but we can help them find their way through them. We help them do that by loving them unconditionally. If we choose to do that, we can help. Help our children no matter what stage of life they are at, know that they have what it takes to make it through the tough stuff.

Unconditional love. That is what Everyone wants and Everyone needs. We don't outgrow that.

Until next time,