Years ago, I was at an event. I can’t tell you the name of the event or who I was with because I can’t remeber, but I do recall something said by one of the speakers.
She shared a story about raising her daughter. This woman talked about how she was outgoing and social while her daughter was more quiet and soft spoken. She then said something that has stayed with me all these years later.
She said she was so busy worrying about who her daughter wasn’t, that she was missing out on who her daughter was.
Wow! That blew my mind. At the time I only had one child and he was only one or two, but I can still remember soaking in how powerful that statement was.
After hearing that, I started to think about how as parents, we can have the best intentions, but that often isn’t enough. Yes, we want our kids to be brave and strong. We want them to make friends and avoid social awkwardness. We want them to dodge pain at every turn.
We want them to be happy. That is what every good parent wants.
And not only do we want all the aforementioned things, but we also want them to possess all of our amazing qualities without inheriting any of the qualities we wish we didn’t have.
But it doesn’t work that way.
Our kids can’t be who we want them to be. If you are loud and outgoing, your kid can be soft spoken and shy. If you love to be alone and buried in a book whenever you have free time, your kid can be a social butterfly that loves to chat.
You see, there is nothing wrong with who you are.
But there also isn’t anything wrong with who your kid is.
I believe my children entered the world with distinct personalities. I believe that is true for all children. But I also believe that who they become is also shaped by the people they spend the most time with–their families. And while you may hope and wish for a child who is a certain way because you want to see him or her happy, I am certain that if you continue to do so, you might be missing out on how amazing your kid already is.
We are all unique. Every child has unique interests and talents. Every child has a personality that adds a bit of light to the world. Our job as parents is to help our kids make wise decisions and navigate the world based on their unique perspectives and needs. Our job isn’t to constantly worry about who they are.
Worrying has never changed a single person’s way of being in the world.
Let’s guide our kids so they can uncover what makes them amazing. Let’s encourage them, even if we don’t always understand them. And let’s remember that smart, kind, loving people are packaged in so many ways. If you stay worried because your kid is missing some quality–or has a quality you don’t care for–you will surely miss out on what makes your kid pretty damn awesome.
And I know this parenting stuff is hard. I make mistakes daily. But I also know that if we try, we can do better. And if we let go of what we hoped for and focus on the blessing God has given us, we will realize that our kids are about as amazing as they come.