Can it be true that the greatest noose we string around our children’s necks is too much love and caring? Dr. Shefali Tsabary says it is. What does she mean?? Dr. Tsabary has written several books about parenting. The underlying theme of them all is that we as parents don’t break the ties we are raised by, loosening the noose around our own necks until we have grown up ourselves, and live in conscious enlightenment after letting go of the institutions that dictate who we are, and how we live.
Stay with me here…. I have always said I wanted to raise my kids to be happy, and to be independent, and to make their own choices in life. I chose to stay home and raise my kids rather than going into the business world. I made sure they understood social graces. I made sure they played team sports. I made sure they were educated to the best I could afford. I made sure they felt their family roots by educating them in both Canada and the US. I made sure they had spiritual education so they knew what they’d be saying no to later in adolescence. I put them into box after box, all in the name of providing them with the tools they would need to live a successful happy life,(aka my life) thinking that this was love and care.
“Is it wrong to want your kids to be just like you? Are you so bad?”
Apparently the answer is yes.
The love and care we assume will bolster our kids up and into mini us, is misguided by many generations of conditioning. I thought I was breaking the mold when I purposely spent time with my kids after school helping them with their homework, cheering them on the playing field, and hosting millions of play dates, all of which my mother never did. Apparently I made it worse. Encouraging my daughter to read beyond her ability, encouraging my son to run faster and score a goal, and insisting that they go to Sunday School, was all a ruse, and it was all about me. I exerted my control over them hence stomping on their sense of self. They saw their worth not through themselves but through my approval of things that I designed for them in the name of love and care for their wellbeing.
“I missed that they arrived to me whole”.
My real job was to make sure they were seen, heard, validated, and approved. To give my unconditional presence, and that can only come from a parent who’s already aligned and who’s listening.
Dr. Tsabary also says our kids are our Guru’s and we achieve enlightenment when we listen and learn from them. Waking up to this fact happened after my youngest left for college and it has been one of my greatest gifts. Realizing it’s not too late to turn the tide when they reach their twenties was the second greatest gift. Letting go of my vision for them and giving them unconditional presence has shifted our relationship. I ask them to tell me everything they know and that I want to learn from them. I let them know I accept them unconditionally. I see them healing from the boxes I put them in as they start to create and explore what they want independently and without judgement.
You can learn more from Dr.Tsabary on her talk with Oprah here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RseB2wIi4bY
-What have you learned about yourself because you are a parent?
-Have you become enlightened by letting go of the structures you were raised in?
-What structures are still keeping you from unconditional presence?