My Child – My Teacher

My Child – My Teacher

In Search for a Perspective 

Today’s world is filled with information. There is so much information circling around everywhere we turn. We are inundated not just with information, but also on information of information — also known as individual or group perspective — we have already consumed. As a matter of fact, people build entire businesses charging for their perspective on readily available free information. Everywhere you turn you can find at your fingertips the answers to any question you have; Someone has shared their perspective on it in some shape or form! 

Yet we continue to grow less and less content, less and less satisfied, less and less smart. Why is that? We go off and we accumulate knowledge through official education standards out of curiosity, out of a need to reach a certain status in life, out of fear we’ll be left behind; Whatever the reason. In addition, we are hooked to a never ending river of How To videos, books, podcasts. All these resources we can use to learn how to do, act, be, stand, talk, think, express, etc. Yet, we continue to wonder why even after all this information we have absorbed from multiple mediums, we continue to feel as lost as ever.

Gaining New Perspective or Filling a Void?

I can not tell you how many times I have found myself in the fast lane of productivity, for instance. I have been consuming this material for years. It seems like the more I dive in, the less knowledgeable I seem to feel and the more there seems to be to learn. It’s a pretty vicious circle and once you are in it it’s hard to break free. It’s hard because it all makes sense. I absorb the information and for the most part I agree with most of it. I set out to try things for yourself and then I keep finding more and more things I must explore. 

It’s like vortex that takes you in and you have no choice but to give in.

If this is you, stop! Pause, sit down; Take a deep breath and ask yourself: Why do I know what I know? Why do I need to know this? Am I using this? Is it improving to my life right now?

There is a difference between gaining a new perspective and filling a void. It’s the difference between consuming information to enrich your life, move forward in your career, become a better parent, or significant other, and consuming information out of fear you may fall behind, be seen as not smart enough or important enough. The first centers you, the latter destroys you. And whether you are willing to admit this to yourself or not, you do know the answer!

Dust It All Off and Go to the Source

In the last five years of my life, I have learned to limit the information I consume at any given time. For example, if I am reading a book I make sure 1) I am addressing a specific aspect in my life by reading it, 2) I study the book. How is this book adding to my life aside from me just reading it so I can say I’m a reader? How is it enriching my life?

There was a time in my life when I would read a book and once done, put it aside. I would feel accomplished. Like I was 300+ pages smarter, more knowledgable, more resourceful. And yes, that absolutely stands true. I am not insinuating here you stop reading books! Not at all! But what I am addressing is the element of how much information consumption on the topic of personal development is too much? 

For me it all started with me reading the book and it ended with me having read the book. I didn’t really apply what I had learned in my daily life in order to make reading the book serve a purpose. No. The reading was the purpose. 

But after a while the whole pointless reading started to get to me. I needed more. So at some point I decided to put the brakes on all of it and simply pause. This pause happened right around the time I got pregnant after a long journey through infertility. 

It’s when I realized what I needed was not a book after a book after a book to teach me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to be this or that. I simply needed to connect with what I already knew, what I already have learned as a child, as teenager, as an adult. And after all the information on personal development I have consumed over the years, I still had zero clue how to go about connecting with it all… Search for more books on how to consume what I have consumed? 😉

Meet Your Teacher

The idea behind letting our children teach us simply borne out of an observation I had while playing with my child, while parenting my child, while being in my child’s presence. My child has taught me patience, accountability, responsibility, structure, time-blocking and everything in between. 

How? By simply existing in my life. Or maybe me existing in her life… Because as she came into this world she brought an uninterrupted, untamed, imaginary orbit around her being, and she is in the center of that orbit. That’s how we all come to this world. In that orbit I am external arbitrator invading it. And as she grows older there will be multiple arbitrators invading her orbit pulling and pushing her of her center. 

As parents we are the first and most persisting arbitrators of our children’s’ orbits. But what if we changed that? What if we put aside all the information we have consumed that has made us feel like we know better than our children and succumb to the purity and wisdom of their existence by helping them strengthen and grow their invisible orbit instead of crushing it so we can “show them better” because they are just children and they don’t know better. 

I assure you, they know so much better! If we only pause, swallow our pride, get pass our ego and let them guide us.

Everything we do, the way we are, who we are comes down to the sum of all things we are to our children. They see us. They can read us better than we can read them. And if we listen, they can teach us lessons we have forgotten, lessons we never learned, lessons that help us. And the best part is: all they ask for is a little bit of space and uninterrupted moments of our time away from the “important” stuff we need to get to. 

I Want to Be Like You, Mommy!

I Want to Be Like You, Mommy!

A Parent Conundrum

I’m in the car driving to the grocery store with my husband and my 5-year old daughter. A learning through motherhood opportunity presents itself when my daughter announces: “Mommy when I grow up I wanna be just like you! Exactly like you!” As a parent, I’m not gonna lie, hearing this feels amazing! Initially, my ego is triggered and pride starts lurking. I can feel its presence rising from deep down inside of me. I’m thinking, this just validates it right here, on the spot, that I, as a mother, am doing something very right to have my child say she wants to be just like me!

…Right?

Wrong. Now, let’s put aside the fact that this statement came from a 5-year old. And let’s put aside the fact that the teenage version of this beautiful angel I have been blessed with after an eleven-year infertility journey, will indeed wanna be nothing like me, for at least a few years, until the teenagites heals (pun intended).

Within a millisecond of my pride taking over and making me feel like the chief leader of “the gifted” mothers tribe, I thought, wait, what?… Oh, shoot! Why does she wanna be like me? Not only do I want her to be ten-fold better than me in every aspect of her life, but most important, I want her to be her! Not some kind of carbon copy version of me. For the past five years, I’ve been taking my time and making intentional effort to explain to her how important it is she is her own, unique, amazing self! Her conclusion to all those talks is that she wants to be just like me?…

A Simple Compliment or a Life Lesson?

Learning through motherhood can be challenging. In questioning my pride, my mind took off completely abandoning my instructions to not make a big deal out of this. Have you ever had this happen to you? Your child says something on a whim and you wanna turn it into a life lesson? I’m sure as a mother you do appreciate grand announcements such as this one, but also as a mother, do you run into conflict with yourself over those same announcements from your child/children?

Maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s the mother of a miracle child syndrome. I don’t know… Or maybe these days we are too consumed with parenting and feelings and how we are doing it right and other moms are doing it wrong or how we are doing it all wrong and other moms seem to have it together.

Whatever the source of this self initiated internal conflict I started with myself triggered by my five-year old in-the-moment amazement with her mother, was a good way to check-in and run inventory with myself. Although it’s healthy to feel good about yourself as a mother and although comments and statements like this one coming from your child are welcomed at any given point in time, I still believe we need to be careful in dismissing them as just something my kid said today that made me feel good.

The Most Valuable Relationship

Because it’s not about you. And this statement was not about me. It wasn’t about my daughter either. It was about our mother-daughter relationship. And her statement as lovely as it sounded at first, it was a minor indication (to me), of a potential one-way street type of relationship. And I can not stand for that.

What do I mean? How does that indicate a one-way street relationship? If I respond by showing excitement she wants to be just like me when she grows up, I run the risk of her associating my love to her following my footsteps. On the flip side of that, if I respond by showing disapproval and tell her she must be and do better than me, that creates the type of pressure I never want to impose on her. I want her to know that she will be equally loved if she is the polar opposite of me.

So this is why, as I’m learning through motherhood, I did not respond with something like: Wow, that’s great sweetie. You are a smart girl… Or something along those lines. I simply said:

How about you are just like you? That way we can share our unique ways of doing and being so we can learn and grow together?

Surprisingly enough, she seemed to have grasped what I was saying because she paused for a second and then said:

“Oh, I know. It’s like when you tell me: “do it your way”.

Yes, it’s like when I tell her: Do it your way.