This morning I found myself thinking about children and what the role of a parent is in each child’s life. After a long conversation with my mother and noticing how different our views are. I began to read more into my own beliefs and decided to share some thoughts with you.
But before we start, answer this question:
If someone asked you what your role is as a parent and what your responsibilities are, what would you say?
Do you really know what is best?
Sometimes we think that we know everything because of what we are taught by our parents or maybe because of our own life experiences. While looking down on our children and trying to instil our beliefs onto them. We become bitter and so selfish when they’ve got different views or decide to take a different route from what we’ve planned. We become ashamed or better yet unhappy or disappointed in the way they’ve turned out. Turning ourselves into victims and asking ourselves what we’ve done wrong to deserve this. When in reality, you have absolutely no control over their future or their destiny.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about how you were raised, the things that you missed out on and the mistakes that you or your parents have made. Then all of a sudden you find yourself trying to mould your child into what you failed to become or into what you’ve always wanted to become? Do you not know that the one who created us and our children has already planned ahead and only he will know what will come of tomorrow. He has designed what our children will look like and has already given them a purpose in life that not even we know. We can plan and insist that what we think is right, but in reality, that isn’t the case. At the end of the day we are all just spirits walking in flesh to play a role in this world that we live in.
So many parents tend to strip away their children’s sense of individuality and independence. Losing sight of the truth, which is that your child was already born with their own mind and are capable of constructing their own thoughts. They have their own dreams, goals and future plans that are indeed different from yours. And that is completely OK. Most children know that you’ve got their best interest at heart, but at the end of the day, your plans may not be suitable for them at all.
Just like in Luke 2:41-52 where you read about the boy Jesus deciding to stay in Jerusalem to carry out his own mission and his parents concerns. Though Mary and Joseph already knew why Jesus was born into this world and who his father was, they still failed to understand the reasons behind his actions.
“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” – Luke 2:49
Now I’m not saying that everything your child does is right or wrong. I just believe that there is so much more to a child and a lot of people may not see that. We need to learn to bite our tongues and know when and when not to intervene when it comes to our children.
Where does the sense of entitlement come from?
Perhaps it’s simply from the 9 months that you’ve carried your child. Maybe because you’ve formed such a strong attachment to your child or simply because you believe that you’ve given up you’re entire life for them. But when you think about it, each child is indeed innocent. There is not one person that has requested to be born into this world or to even be a part of your earthly family. Not even YOU. So whether you’ve planned to have a child or not. The harsh reality is that the child does not & I repeat, he or she, DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU OR ANYONE ELSE WHO FEELS A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT TOWARDS THEM! Your only job is to nurture, guide, love, feed, clothe, comfort, teach, challenge and provide a home for them until they are capable of taking care of themselves. Not to prevent them from being themselves. This can be applied to all of our relationships. No one on this earth belongs to us, we cannot control them or tell them what to do. But what we can do is be ourselves, show them who we are, what we stand for and stand firm in just that. Not everyone will agree and that is completely OK. Why? Because they don’t have to.
How long do you think that you’ll protect them?
You can never protect your child from what is to come and you can never stop whatever it is from happening. You cannot carry your child’s burdens as they are not your own to carry. But you can advice them and be there to comfort them when they need. Advising them does not mean that they have to listen to you or agree with you. But it will give them an insight and a different perspective of life. Which will then influence their final decision. Providing a place of comfort is also great, but you may also find that your child finds that elsewhere & that is completely OK.
For we are each responsible for our own burdens – Galatians 6:5
I believe that most parents become so use to being responsible for another being, that they completely forget who they are and completely abandon their own calling. Learning to let go of all of these concerns can free you from so much in life. Remind you of where you stand as an individual and even allow you to focus on yourself more.
If you really think about it, your child is a blessing, they can teach you so much in life and it’s not a coincidence that God has placed them specifically into your life. A child can teach you patience, love, gentleness, forgiveness, gratefulness and so much more. So instead of seeing them as a burden or a way out from your own reality. Why not cherish them and use their presence to become the best version of yourself instead? Do not even attempt to change them. But Focus on changing yourself.
I don’t want you to leave this article without benefiting from it. So here are a few questions that I want you to think about. Write them down if you have to and act accordingly. Because this could be your best shot towards wisdom, understanding, mindfulness, love and sanity.
- Why are you clinging to your child?
- Do you believe that your child owes you something?
- What makes you think that they belong to you?
- What past experiences have lead you to think this way?
- What can you do to change this?
- What is right and what is wrong?
- What is good or bad?
- How can you balance parenting and being your own individual?
I’ve also attached Kahil Gibran’s poem On Children and a article that provides Twelve Steps to Follow for Raising Kids. .
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
Feel free to share your own opinions and what you think about this article. I’d love to hear your thoughts.