I love being a parent, it is by far my greatest accomplishment. My children are beautiful, funny, and like all kids they can be extremely challenging at times... but even still, I love every minute (well almost every minute) of being a mom. Like most every parent in the world I want my children's lives to be easy and fulfilling, a constant state of bliss. However that isn't reality, life is complicated and sometimes we have to go through stuff, hard stuff. One of the hardest things about being a parent for me is watching one of my children struggle as they try to navigate through this crazy world, wanting desperately to rescue them and to somehow make everything OK but at the sometime understanding that life's lessons sometimes come through the most difficult of circumstances.
This has been a year full of ups and downs. I have watched one of my children cry, fake being sick to avoid school, and crushed by the words from a group of bullies that have singled out my very amazing daughter (I realize that I am biased, but I dare you to spend just 15 minutes with her... you will agree with me, she is freaking amazing). Watching your daughter go to the extreme of being hospitalized with a undiagnoseable illness just so she wouldn't have to brave the battlefield (AKA the hallways of middle-school) has been one of the most frustrating things I have ever been through in my long career as a parent. I am grateful to say that things have settled for my daughter. We made some changes to remove her from the situation and feel good about the upcoming semester but this blog is not about that... it's about the importance of teaching our children tools so they understand how to let go.
This morning was the last morning of 2017 and I knew that we needed to take some time to talk about what had transpired this year before going into 2018. So we headed to Sanibel. I knew that we needed a long walk in one of the most beautiful places in the world. While we were walking and talking I asked the girls to think about something that they wanted to leave behind in 2017. Some ideas about themselves, behaviors, or feelings that were no longer serving their greatest good. Next I asked them what they felt like they were missing in their lives that they hoped to manifest in 2018. Then I asked them what they could do on a daily basis to help create the feeling that they were seeking. I shared my own examples so that I was sure they understood exactly what I meant. I talked to them about how I am leaving a judgmental mindset in 2017 and focusing on producing more joy in my life in 2018. Practically, when I have a judgmental thought about myself or someone else I am going to mindfully let it go and focus on replacing that thought with something new and good. To manifest more joy in my life I will make time to do the things that causes joy in my heart like walking in nature, laughing with them, and going to the beach. I made the conversation very practical so that they could understand. Both of my girls not only understood but also shared with me some things that they were going to let go of and several things they were planning to manifest in 2018 and exactly what they needed to do everyday to make those things happen. The entire conversation took about 30 minutes but the impact will hopefully last a lifetime.
Our job as parents is to empower our children how to navigate through life; letting go of disappointment, pain, and hurt while clinging to joy, peace, and love. We can equip our children with the tools that they need to walk through this life with the ability to face difficult circumstances. Take the time to share with them practical ways to let go, share your own experiences, walk them through the steps. I am very grateful that we took the time this morning to connect and talk in a way that will help them navigate through 2018 full of intention. I encourage you to make the time and get your kids out in nature, away from electronics and communicate with them like real people. Help them understand practical life applications to the situations they are currently facing. They are capable of understanding much more than we give them credit for! Set them up for success in life and teach them how to navigate through seemingly difficult situations and feelings!