I don’t remember why I even said it. But as soon as it came out of my mouth, I knew it was true.
“Mummy is not better or smarter than you are.”
My 10-year old son was just as shocked as I was about the statement that I just uttered out so confidently. There was silence. Then, as thoughts began to flow into my mind, I continued,
“I just have more experience than you do. That’s why I know more about certain things. I’ve been around longer and so can answer a lot of your questions. But I’m not smarter than you are.”
Jack was silent. I’m sure he may have even thought I was being sarcastic. Normally, I’m so good at telling my children what to do, what not to do, how not to do it, and so on and so forth. To a child, you may not always like what your mum or dad tells you, but there would be no questioning that they knew best.
“We are all dealt different cards in life, and it’s up to each of us on how we play our hand.”
My eldest son is quiet and intelligent in the academic sense. But where he excels in being sensible, responsible and motivated, he lacks in confidence and often waits for instructions before attempting anything at all, in case he gets it wrong. People often tell me how lucky I am that my children are all so well-behaved. But I try not to see it as being lucky. We are all dealt different cards in life, and it’s up to each of us on how we play our hand. In theory, there is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ – just what you’re given. And how some would say I am ‘lucky’, I see it as a circumstance, with all circumstances having positives and negatives sides to them.
And so I decided to give an example of how my child was ‘better’ than I was. Now, a couple of years ago, I was struggling with keeping a health regime in place. I couldn’t stick it out in gyms, boot-camps or anything else that required regular (and painful) commitments. But I was always taking my children to their after school clubs, namely karate lessons. Then one day, I was asked if I would join a class if they introduced Parent Classes. I loved the idea. I missed my secret desire at becoming a martial arts expert as a child, but I was equally fearful that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. So if I joined, I would never be able to show my children that I was a quitter. And that was when I thought it was the perfect idea.
And this was one of the best decisions that I ever made, on multiple levels. I love my karate training and although I am ‘forced’ to stick with it, it’s now part of a fitness routine that I love. My children are ranked a higher belt than I am. I’m constantly asking them for help and to correct my stances and sequences. I tell them they are better than I am (and I mean it!). They feel empowered and are happy to help me to get to the next level. Not only do they have more discipline, they also know that results require hard work and that they can achieve what they set their minds to, even if it seems impossible at first. And they can also see their parent as a ‘normal’ person and not as an authority figure.
For me, one of the greatest rewards is that I can see my children shine as themselves. Not because I’m telling them what to do or asking them to live up to my image or expectations. But because they can assume the role of the teacher, this encourages their confidence and gives me a glimpse of what they can become. And as I assume the role of the student, I give them their space to shine their own light rather than being a part of mine.
“Your child is not an extension of you or your energy. They are their own spiritual being who has their own light to shine. Let them be who they are and their light will shine so bright.”