Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Thank you, child!

Last night I watched a video about a young woman's gratitude towards her mother for all she had done. I see many posts on FB too about how important gratitude is and I understand the concept of it, but it jars me when I see this expectation that we as parents have that our children should be grateful to us for bringing them into the world, for raising them, for being there for them, for taking their tantrums and their rebellion. 

I wanted children for me. When we were planning our family not once did we say "We need to bring a child into this world so he/she can be born." Was I doing it wrong? I remember saying to my husband, "My life is incomplete if I cannot be a mother." I am therefore, grateful that my life was completed by the arrival of my children.

I raised my children for my own pleasure too. Yes, I did want them to be comfortable and I wanted them to feel loved - but that was just a by-product of my need to keep them happy and loved. It was about me! They filled me up. They were born from me and they gave me the opportunity to be a parent and feel accomplished and today I feel if only I had known some of what I know now, I would have done so many things differently. I did them an injustice by not educating myself enough about parenting and simply following instincts. I am fortunate that my children turned out as well as they did despite having me for a mother. They saw through my mistakes and acknowledged my love instead. For that I am grateful.

To teach our children to be grateful we first need to show them the grace of being grateful to them for being amidst us. The gratefulness will come to a child who knows what being graced by gratitude is. We learn so much from our children - as much if not more than what they learn from us. The basics that we claim to teach them would have eventually come to them. How to put food in the mouth, how to walk, how to say Mom, how to bathe, how to clean after a bowel movement, how to dress - these eventually can be learned. We send them to school and educate them because we want to be considered good parents of successful children - wanting them to be successful for themselves comes much later.  

From my children I learned about goodness, about compassion, about love, about joy, about guilt, about those butterflies in the stomach when they got on the bike for the first time or bungee jumped! I learned about weed and about computers and 3D movies and about the soul. I got to read amazing books and watch great TV shows & movies that may never have been part of my horizon if my boys had not been in it. I learned about dorms and about bullying and about watching ones child fail and letting them be. I learned to treat them as babies and as adolescents and as adults by watching how they adjusted to me as they grew older. Most importantly I learned to let go!

I am fortunate to have two amazing sons. Very different from one another and yet perfect the way they are. They truly are my biggest joy. Then I have a beautiful soul as a daughter, thanks to my younger son who brought his wife into our family. I am learning new things from her and am grateful to her for teaching me about following through on ones convictions and doing so with grace towards those who do not have the same belief. For one so young she is wise!

So how about a video on parents showing gratitude towards their children? Anyone?

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