“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
Anne Frank had it right. You can only give good advice and try to teach your children the path to walk down. While our children may inherit or mimic their parents actions, the one thing we have to remember is they are not us and will choose their own lives. But the “remembering” is not so easy and we often find ourselves with adult children who blow our minds with actions and decisions made that “we” would never do.
The first thing as a parent I have to consider as they are both adults, though still young, is sharing my wisdom (such as it is) and insights without being critical. I also have to now respect each of their differences. It’s truly a balancing act and I don’t know that I will ever have it down, but I do so try.
As I have a solid relationship with both of my daughters, I am and will be forever blessed. As they age, I’m learning they will (or is it still?) come to me if they need help during a “crisis” and that I need to keep clear of unsolicited advice. But the discernment from “crisis” to “chronic” is murky at best sometimes – especially if chronic things have escalated into a crisis.
For example: The ongoing struggle between my sun and moon daughters over cleaning their apartment is a chronic situation that often turns into a small crisis filled with yelling and bitching. But learning to live with others and respecting each other’s choices as adults is something they have to do which means I struggle not to interfere unless called upon by one or both parties. I offer the requested advice and a shoulder, but as young adults, they must learn how to deal with “difficult” people. And each of them finds the other difficult and they have for years.
Again – the whole issue is about respect. They need to respect each other despite their obvious differences. Yoda and I have worked hard to show respect to them and to each other as a model for our lives. They each have to learn they are not the other and will choose their own paths. If they can respect that and respect each other, I believe that at the end of the day, the sun and the moon can come together to create something truly beautiful.
The path we all follow is not easy. It is a lifetime of learning and growing. But in choosing to be a counsellor and friend to my adult children instead of their coach or referee is a better option. In the end, they will each have their own strengths and their own character to be passed down to the next generation.
I’m sitting in my bedroom blogging this evening as my husband spends a few hours with his parents and his sister. Because my sister in law is going through some serious health issues of her own, I have been temporarilly banned from the house. Stupid flu.
This has NOT been a “normal” family Christmas. Daughter #1 worked today and is now crumpled up in bed feeling crummy. Daughter #2 has taken some Christmas food to my mother and gone to see her boyfriend and his family. They are getting older and I’m reminded of how my parents must have felt as my sister and I moved on with our lives. It’s bizarre and saddens me some.
I was starkly reminded of the first Christmases Yoda and I spent together – days when we barely had a couple of dimes to rub together, not much else than that. Those were rough, but good days. Because of the move, cash is at a premium so we drew names for gifts. This was hard because as “mom” or “dad” you want to give your kids everything. This was the first year we had to really limit ourselves so Yoda would have gas money to get back to Dallas and some grocery and laundry money as well. The gifts we exchanged were small, but from the heart. I think this is the way it should be. Forget quantity… quality is a much better thing.
As I have been grounded today, I have spent some time working on my Smash Book. It’s a non-traditional scrapbook by K&C Company that my daughters got me hooked on earlier this summer. I added a few things from a couple of my trips to New York City, San Francisco, Inn of the Mountain Gods, St. Louis, and Dallas, TX. (I think I’ve been a few places, eh?) If you are wanting something a little different for a scrapbook, but don’t want to invest the time and energy in a full-blown big one, I highly recommend a Smash Book. Awesome stuff right there. For me, each page is a reminder of how blessed I truly am.
And speaking of blessings… I pray for you and yours a Merry Christmas filled with Christ’s love, faith, hope and truth. (Whether you believe in Him or not.)
I’ll see you again on the flip side.