We walked into the guidance counselor’s office stiff and a little anxious. We explained our hope that our son would finally discover a passion during his high school years. “He seems to glide through and past all things as though watching the view from a train”, we explained. “Too fast to really focus on anything; too quickly to even develop curiosity. What can we do to broaden his horizons so that something will compel him to get off the train and investigate?”
The counselor looked at us and smiled. “Do you know how many kids come into my office on the verge of a nervous breakdown? So many of them are pressured and stressed and barely coping with the demands of a high school schedule. Your son walks down the halls smiling. He has friends. He is comfortable in his own skin. This is going to serve him well in life. He has time to discover his passion. It may not happen in high school.
That night I told our son how proud of him we were that he was adjusting to the rigors of high school with such ease. “Your ability to roll with the punches and manage the stress is such an important quality that I sometimes overlook. Maybe dad and I even have a thing or two to learn from you about this.”
My son who towers over me, stood up even straighter and he smiled such a pure, joyous smile that it nearly broke my heart to think that I have been withholding this acknowledgment. He thanked me and walked into his room. In all likelihood he was surfing the internet or talking to friends. He was not Googling some topic near and dear to his heart.  And for the moment I was okay with that.
The take-away?

  • Sometimes we are so focused on who we want our children to become (or who they are not)  that we forget to notice who they are!
  • As parents we sometimes fall into the trap of believing that our children need to be finished products by the time they leave our care. We must respect their pace of development and never lose sight of the value we provide in witnessing their unfolding with complete love and acceptance.
  • We can all stand to get a little better at acknowledgement. In particular when it is heartfelt as well as short and to the point.

How can you champion your children today for who they are? Let’s share our stories here.

(photo source)

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