Have you ever heard of a sport called Curling? In it one player throws a heavy, polished granite stone along ice towards a goal and two others skate alongside the moving stone to help it get as close to the goal as possible.
The Wikepedia, or as my colleague likes to call it, Ask-Your-Auntie, has this to say, “…The path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone. A great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement for each situation, and the skills of the curlers determine how close to the desired result the stone will achieve”.
I feel my job as a parent is that of a sweeper. The universe consented to release these beings through me. I need to travel alongside them as best I can and smooth or guide their paths as much as possible so that they can go as far as they are able in their lives, as close as possible to the goal of their becoming the best possible version of themselves.
Their path is their own though.
Yes, even if we don’t like that idea, it’s the truth. We all know that no matter how much pressure and guidance and effort parents put in, a child will eventually make her own choices whether their parent likes it or not. As parents we can’t protect children from their choices or from their life traumas. So in reality I know I have little or no say on where my child’s life path goes or how it looks. Just like my parents – despite their attempts to influence it – had no real say over mine.
The real impact I can have is by clearing their path as they travel their journey. In my opinion, the best way to clear children’s paths and help them along is by being self-aware as a parent. If I take responsibility for my own anxieties, insecurities, fears and dreams as much as possible, then my children won’t be slowed, misdirected by, or saddled with them. They are free to become who they are meant to be.
More interestingly, my children play a huge role in helping me be free to become who I am meant to be. We are equal partners in the task of becoming our greatest selves. Their task in my life is to point out where I need to sweep my path. They show me – through my own reactions and emotions in response to them – where I am still tripping over or blinded by things that are slowing, misdirecting or saddling me in my own life.
Their greatest gift to me is showing me where I am out of alignment with my soul, where I am forgetting to love myself as I need.
When I’m triggered by something they do, it doesn’t feel like I have options, but I do. I can feel victimized, angry, helpless and react to that in some way or I can seek out which untruth is driving my reaction. Beneath any of our pain and self-doubt is joy and peace. Freeing myself from the false beliefs that create pain and self-doubt leaves me FREE to live my life in the peace and joy that is my true nature. This freedom of spirit is what my children offer me when they do the things that make me want to scream, pull my hair out and walk out of the door.
It is what your children are offering you too.