One of my greatness joys in life is being a mom. Bill and I are blessed with two great kids. They are both adults in their early 30s. They are very different, have different talents, ambitions, and attitudes toward life. We love them both equally, but differently. Does that ring true to you other parents?
My daughter was just here with us in Las Vegas for a few days, and it was so nice. She is getting ready to make some major changes in her life and wanted to come over and see Mom and Dad for a few days to relax, and talk, and just be.
So why am I writing this today? I think as parents it is in our nature to want to fix, to help, to guide, and heaven forbid, control the decisions of our adult children. Or, maybe it’s just me. I want to make them feel better, I don’t want them to be hurt, and of course with my experience I must know the right answers, right? Not. At least not for them and their life. I am finding that when I pull back and give them room to make their own choices, to allow them the freedom to take their journey, that is what truly helps them. Let’s face it, none of us like to be told what to do.
Here’s what I try to do now. Listen. Easy right? Sometimes it is and sometimes, not so much. I really focus on hearing what they are trying to tell me. In this case my daughter is planning to move. It is a big decision for her and she needs me, as the Mom, to listen, support, and believe in her. When she asks me a question, instead of telling her what to do, I try to ask her what she thinks, what choices does she see. Most of the time there is more than one answer, or way to do things. When we want change, whether it’s a move or something else, there are choices involved. When we ask questions they have a chance to process it themselves, and adapt it to their life and circumstances. It’s a wonderful way to see them grow, when I Listen.
We had a great visit, she went back to California to take the steps she needs to do for her changes. I believe in her, her ability to make good choices, and her resolve to make her life better, one step at a time. She may do it differently than I would, and that is OK. It is her life, her decisions to make, her choices.
As I think about it, this new approach just might work in the work place, on committees, in church meetings. We might learn something and hear new ideas if we listen.
Ummm, listen. Oh my, am I telling you what to do? How about, I choose to listen- how about you?
Enjoy your day!
QUESTION: Do you find that listening comes easy? In what area of your life would it help for you to listen more?
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Delinda Layne says
Hi D – thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are always so insightful and I love your openness. You are right on and it is a blessing to see them make their choices, and blossom into the greatness that we know God has placed in their heart.
I too, agree with you and everyone as you stated Delinda, about our non-interfering parenting of our children’s journey. If we really are using our listening and soft skills to help our children have their own experiences, what self-esteem and reliance on God they will have in their relationship with Him. Not to live own ours lives through them is step back and breath position. Our children are pretty savvy and can see our achievements as well as our mistakes and they grow from those hopefully. What a great finale to see our children to have even a better life than our great life, that to me is truly a successful parenting of love! Thanks for letting me share!
Delinda Layne says
OH WOW- Sharon thanks so much for sharing- that is perfect example, and so on target. Bless you, and God will open that door of opportunity for you!
Sharon Chapman says
I came to this same realization a few days ago. I had been trying to give my son ideas on what he could do about a particular situation. Everything I said, he had an objection to. It was frustrating for both of us. As I thought about our conversation later, I remembered a time when I was asking for advice about a situation and instead of a “you should take the following steps and say these exact words” answer, I got the reply – what do you think you should do and what would you like to say. At first I was inwardly mad that I didn’t get the answer I wanted. I am great at following orders and following step by step instructions. However, as I forced myself to come up with an answer to her question, several things happened. I realized that I did have a good idea of what to do, which gave me confidence and also helped me to see that I could empower others to accomplish what I was trying to accomplish. Also, because it was my idea and my words, I was able to perform the task ahead of me with believability and sincerity which made me more successful. That conversation led me to eventually become a sales director in Mary Kay. I can’t wait to talk with my son again and help him to see that he can become and do what he believes God has called him to do. I am praying for the right opportunity to come up where I can ask him questions that get him thinking instead of giving him instructions of what I think he should do. It also takes a huge burden off of me because it is not up to me to make things happen for him. If he knows that he has parents that love him and believe in him instead of always telling him what he should do, he will be free to experience all that God has for him and he will learn as I did that he has some pretty good ideas.