Living Through Our Children

I’ve always prided myself on letting my kids develop their own interests and making many of their own choices. I wasn’t going to be that mom that wanted her child to be Miss Popular because she wasn’t, etc. etc. I’ve even tried to respect my kids’ choices regarding things I think are important, like school work. I have children that could be much better students if they put more time into it – but it isn’t their passion (and I REALLY don’t understand that because it WAS mine!!) so I’ve tried to just encourage them to do their best and not mourn the straight-A student they could have been. I’ve always felt like what I really cared about was having my children be good people and develop a meaningful relationship with their Father in Heaven – everything else could be up to them. But I’m realizing that even those goals can make me that crazy mom who is living through her children. I want my children to make the right choices when it comes to moral issues – I don’t want them to choose to lie. I don’t want them to choose to ignore their prayers. It has been really hard for me to teach and lead and then let them choose. I want to make them make the right choices!

But I’m realizing that these feelings (and sometimes the actions I take to force the issue) aren’t good for any of us. They make my relationship with my children strained – I’m unhappy with them and they can feel it. And these feelings make me crazy because I’m always worrying – “what can I do differently? am I failing as a parent? why can’t they see that it is those things that are making them unhappy?” I think I’m pretty good at letting the people around me be who they are – letting them have their own priorities and their own rates of progression – and loving them without worrying about their choices. I need to do more of that in my own family – trusting in the power of God to lead His children to Him in His own time (and that would include me too!) I need to trust the plan of agency – the plan of choices – the plan of greatest happiness (because truly when we make good choices because WE want to make them, we really do feel joy – unlike when we are only doing it because we feel guilty or coerced).

So I’m back up against the word TRUST. I have a hard time with that one. I like to be prepared and protected and honestly, who can really be those things and at the same time trust? Trust means letting things be out of my control, it means being patient and recognizing that the things I hope for might take a long time to appear, it means loving even when I will get hurt. Every time I think I’ve finally learned how to open myself up, God finds a new way to push me so that I see that I’m still a novice and I need more practice!! I guess that is the true beauty and genius of families – we are in this laboratory designed for the maximum growth. Every day we get to practice true charity, patience, sacrifice, and respect – in a place where it is sometimes the hardest. So I’m off to be a better mom – one that is letting her kids become who they are, instead of who I think they should be! (though I’m still praying REALLY hard!!)

For more about families, see The Family: A Proclamation to the World

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